Biltmore with Kids

 

 

The Biltmore Estate is a beautiful French Chateau in Asheville, North Carolina. This mansion has 250 rooms and more than 4 acres of floor space. There are 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, an indoor bowling alley, and an indoor swimming pool. The home and the grounds are fascinating and -at times- breathtaking.

 

I visited Biltmore about 20 years ago when I was **cough**  **cough** years old, and I was excited to go back with my little family now. I was a little nervous that my kiddos might not enjoy it – worrying that it was a trip just for grown-ups.  I told them that we were going to visit the largest home in America and it was like a castle.  I have to say they really enjoyed our visit and they learned a lot. My husband and I really loved visiting Biltmore. It was really captivating- the beautiful gardens… the architecture… the art…the antiques… the sheer size of the home…

 

 

 

 

 

Here is some info and some tips for visiting Biltmore with kiddos:

-First, let me say that kids visiting Biltmore with paying parents will receive FREE admission (Ages 9 and younger). Children ages 10-16 get 1/2 priced tickets. In the summertime, kids 16 years and younger are FREE through Labor Day.

-There is a 90-minute audio tour for adults (about $11.00), and a 90-minute audio tour for children (about $11.00).  The children’s audio tour is narrated by Cedric, the Vanderbilts’  Saint Bernard and he tells stories about Biltmore from his point of view.

-You can download a Treasure Hunt (it also features Cedric the Saint Bernard) to keep the kiddos entertained during the tour. You can download the Treasure Hunt HERE.

-There are books about Biltmore that are for young readers (recommended 8-12 years old).  Some parents like to get these books for their kiddos to read before their visit to get the kids excited for the trip and tour. Book Ideas HERE and HERE (full disclosure – some of these books look really scary!) One mom told me that you can pick up a Serafina Adventure Map at the Asheville Visitor Center if your kiddos are fans of that book series.

-There are 43 bathrooms inside Biltmore, none of which are open to the public. I recommend taking the kiddos to the restrooms in the Stable Courtyard area before beginning the house tour.

-It’s also recommended that you wear very comfy shoes.  After touring the house, and walking to the gardens (and through the conservatory), my husband’s FITBIT showed that we had walked almost 3 miles in 2 1/2 hours! And we hadn’t even been to Antler Hill yet!

-If you are worried the kids will get too tired from all the walking, you can take a shuttle from the parking lot to the Biltmore House (and vice versa).  You can also take the shuttle from the Biltmore House back to the parking lot and then drive your car to the Gardens/Conservatory where there is additional parking. There is also the option to drive or take the shuttle service to Antler Hill which is about 5 miles from the Biltmore House.

-Strollers are welcome at Biltmore!

-If you feel like you need more than one day to enjoy Biltmore, they have the Biltmore Village Hotel and the Biltmore Inn right there on the property next to Antler Hill.

-Eating at Biltmore can be very expensive, but all of the food that we have tried has been fantastic (and all of the restaurants have a Kid’s Menu and the staff is very accommodating). There is also an ice cream shop and a candy shop (we didn’t go before the tour because we didn’t want hyper kids while on the tour since we would spend a lot of time in line). We actually stopped to eat before we toured the Biltmore Estate. We could have brought some snacks (there is no food or eating inside the Biltmore House).

-You can now take photos inside the Biltmore House, but you cannot use flash.

-Included in your ticket/admission is free wine samples at the Winery at Antler Hill, and the kids will be treated to complimentary grape juice.

-Before reaching the parking lots, you purchase a ticket at the Reception & Ticketing Sales Center. If you don’t want to wait in line with the kids, you can order tickets online and save yourself some time. You can buy tickets HERE

 

P.S. The following photos show some of the highlights of the Biltmore Estate. There is a lot more than what is shown (it’s crazy massive!)

 

The Shuttle

After purchasing tickets, we drove to the parking area. We then hopped on the Biltmore shuttles (there is also the option to walk to the house).  There are two shuttles. One runs back and forth to the parking lots and one runs from the Biltmore House to Antler Hill and The Biltmore Hotels.

 

 

 

Biltmore House (Exterior)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Terrace

 

Above: Such a wonderful view! The Biltmore’s Mansion, Gardens and Antler Hill (and land) are on 8.000 acres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Library Terrace

 

 

 

 

The Biltmore House

Above: The Winter Garden

 

 

 

The Dining Room

 

There was a special exhibit that was being featured during our visit to Biltmore. The exhibit was Designed for Drama: Fashion From the Classics (running from February 10-July 4).  George Vanderbilt had a love of literature and this exhibition showcases more than 40 award-winning movie costumes from films based on some of his favorite literary works. That is why you will see these costumes in many of my photos.

 

 

 

Tapestry Garden

See tapestries from the 1530’s in this small music room

 

 

 

 

Above: This is actually a portrait of Edith Vanderbilt (painted by Giovanni Boldini)

 

 

 

The Library

George Vanderbilt had a collection of 22,000 books, and this library contains almost half of his books. There is also a game table and chess set here in the library that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte.

 

 

I wonder how many people it took (and still takes) to clean this home… just thinking about the dusting and sweeping and mopping wears me out!

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom

 

Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom

 

The Oak Sitting Room

 

Stone Hallway, Bowling Alley, and Swimming Pool

In the picture on the left, you can see the stone hallway.  This hallway actually lets you see the foundation walls. The foundation is actually about 29 feet deep and took about two years to build.

In the picture on the right, you can see the bowling alley.

 

Below:  After walking past a hall of dressing rooms, you can see the indoor swimming pool.

 

 

 

 

The Gymnasium

We all got a good laugh at this “gym”, but it was probably very modern in 1895.

 

 

The Kitchen

 

 

 

 

The Laundry Room

 

 

 

The Halloween Room

The walls of the Halloween Room were painted with very colorful murals, and there was a lot of information and photos showing the construction of the Biltmore Estate.

 

 

 

 

The Billiards Room

The Billiards Room featured costumes from the Sherlock Holmes movies (one of George Vanderbilt’s favorite books).

 

 

 

 

 

BUT WAIT!   There’s More…

 

 

Conservatory & Gardens

There is an Azalea Garden, Walled Garden, Italian Garden, Spring Garden, Shrub Garden, and Rose Garden just a short walk from the Biltmore House. The Conservatory is also located in this area and there is also a Bass Pond here as well. (You can also drive to the gardens and conservatory. The long road that leads to the exit will take you right by the gardens, but parking is limited).

 

Above photo via

 

 

 

 

But wait! There’s MORE!

 

The Waterfall (and lots of walking trails)

 

Antler Hill & Winery

Antler Hill is a cute little village in the Biltmore property. It has a Winery, Hotels, Walking Trails, Biking Trails, a Farm (with a petting zoo), a playground, shopping areas, restaurants, etc. There is plenty to keep a family busy during your visit.

It is also a very peaceful area. There are Adirondack chairs scattered all over the Antler Hill area. Several people were sitting in the chairs, reading books or napping.

 

Above photo via

 

 

  • The Antler Hill & Winery (as well as the Biltmore Village Hotel and The Biltmore Inn) are about an 8-mile drive from the Biltmore House (you drive really slow and it is a beautiful property!)
  • All of the activities at Antler Hill are included in the price of admission.
  • On the day of our visit, there were many activities for children at Antler Hill. There was a petting zoo, arts and crafts, and even grape stomping!   There is also a sandy play area, playground, and rock climbing area. When purchasing tickets at the main gate, you can ask about the children’s activities for that day (and the times they will be occurring).
  • There are other outdoor activities that the family can participate in at an additional fee (carriage rides, fly fishing, hiking, horseback riding, river float trips, Segway tours, sporting clay, and stand up paddleboarding). More info HERE.
  • We saw several families walking on the trails and riding bikes also. You can bring your own bikes or rent them HERE.
  • You can also visit the winery for some free samples of wine, and the kiddos can have complimentary grape juice while you are there.
  • Antler Hill Village also has a Bistro and Cedric’s Tavern if you want to stop for a bite to eat.

    Above photo via

     

     

     

    If you feel like you want to spend more than just a few hours or just one day at Biltmore (or you need more time to let the kiddos rest), there are two hotels on the property – The Village Hotel and the Biltmore Inn. They are located in Antler Hill.

     

    Village Hotel. Above photo via

 

The beautiful Biltmore Inn on the hill.  Above photos via

 

 

Have you been to Biltmore Estate? I would love to hear about your experience there!

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