As a native North Carolinian, I grew up learning about the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, though it wasn’t until December 2020 that I had my first visit to the estate. I’ll be honest, I truly wasn’t sure what to expect and I certainly underestimated just how much there is to do on the property. I’ve spent the last two Decembers celebrating the holidays at Biltmore Estate, so today, I thought I would share an overview of some of my favorite things to do on the property in December. And a quick note that there were some notable differences year to year, which I think it quite enjoyable and keeps it interesting.
Holidays at the Biltmore Estate
For starters, I will never not be overwhelmed by the opulence of the Biltmore Estate. You can anticipate it taking you at least a half an hour to get up to the house from the entrance and anywhere from 15-20 minutes to get to Antler Village. It’s a beautiful drive and so enjoyable to take in the various elements of the property. It’s worth noting that George Vanderbilt built this as a grand retreat in the 1890s, and brought in Frederick Law Olmstead (the same gentleman who designed Central Park) to design the outdoor spaces of the property.
Biltmore Estate opened to guests on Christmas Eve in 1895 and so the Christmas at Biltmore experience really pays tribute to that. I definitely recommend experiencing this at least once, along with these 9 other North Carolina traditions.
Be sure to book your tickets in advance–they sell fast for the holiday season. If you do the Christmas Candlelight tour, your ticket is good for either the same day (if you enter prior to 4:30), or the day after (4:30 or after).
Enjoy a Wine Tasting at Biltmore Winery
Included in your ticket is a wine tasting at Biltmore Winery. You book your wine tasting on the same day as your visit. While we had a brief wait before our wine tasting, it moved quickly. You’ll need about an hour to get through the line and tasting. There is also a wine bar near the winery for you to enjoy a glass, just know that wine glasses aren’t allowed in the tasting room. Also, there are plenty of places in Antler Village and near the Biltmore House that sell wine (plus beer and cocktails) for you to enjoy while exploring the property. If you enter the winery through Antler Hill Village, you get to walk through this gorgeous, twinkle lit tunnel.
I brought home bottles of the Tempranillo, Blanc de Blanc, and Malbec for the holiday season.
Stroll Antler Hill Village
Antler Hill Village features shops, a museum, a green space, plus the barns and farmyard area. There are places to grab a coffee or a glass of wine plus restaurants and a food truck. It’s also a great place to enjoy a seat to people watch and take in the scenes of the mountains.
Explore the Gardens
These gardens, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, are simply dreamy. We started in the Walled Gardens, which features a rose garden with over 250 varieties of roses, before making our way up to the Italian Gardens with the reflecting pools. And be sure to take some time exploring the Conservatory greenhouse. It’s one of my favorite spots on the property.
Grab a Snack & a Cup of Coffee
As we made our way up to the house, we headed over to the Courtyard Market by the house to grab a cup of coffee and a cookie. There are quite a few cute shops in the old stables as well that are a great place to check out.
Catch a Sunset with the Mountain View
I highly recommend being on the property by the house to catch the sunset. It’s one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen and it is truly worth finding a spot with your coffee and treat to enjoy.
Experience the Opulent Christmas Candlelight Tour
Honestly, I have a hard time explaining the conundrum that I feel when experiencing the Biltmore House. It is simply breathtaking and also overwhelming to think that one family designed this space as a vacation home. The rooms are gorgeous and have been well maintained and they are just stunning by candlelight. I have yet to visit the home in any other season and during the daylight, so I would say that I’m a big fan of the candlelight tour if you’re going to do it. Enjoy some of the scenes you may experience on your tour below.
Shop this Holidays at the Biltmore Estate Post: