Sometimes when one thinks of large estates and historical homes (like what is seen in Jane Austin's Pride And Prejudice) one thinks of England. But there is a number just as large and opulent estates to be found in the United States. One of the largest and most historic estates is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, in western North Carolina.

The Biltmore House was built between 1889 and 1895 for George Washington Vanderbilt II (people had interesting names back then). Today it is the largest privately-owned house in the United States and is still owned by George Vanderbilt's descendants. It is regarded as one of the most notable examples of the Gilded Age mansions. It is open to the public offering a range of tours.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

History Of The Biltmore House

Vanderbilt intended to replicate the estates of Europe and designed it in the French Châteauesque style. This magnificent French Renaissance-inspired castle is located in the heart of Asheville and nestled in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. It sits on an 8,000-acre estate complete with forested trails and beautiful gardens. One can come for a tour or stay the night on other accommodation on this vast estate.

  • Size: 178,926 Square Feet or 16,623 Square Meters
  • Built: Completed In 1895
  • In Numbers: 250 Rooms, 35 Bedrooms, 43 Bathrooms, 65 Fireplaces

class="contentRender contentRender_13 contentRender_type_widget contentRender_name_plugins_core_textbox">

Visiting Biltmore Estate

One can visit the Biltmore Estate and experience the elegance and grandeur that define the luxurious estate. If one is visiting Ireland, check out the stunning Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny in Ireland for a taste of European opulence.

The tickets can be purchase online or at the Asheville Visitor Center (where they are at a $10.00 discount). Tickets can sell out so one should plan in advance. Kids under 9 are free, while youth aged 10-16 can visit freely in the summer. At other times of the year, the youth rate is 50% that of adults.

  • Cost: Between $60-85 Depending On The Season And The Day Of the Week
  • Hours: 9:00 am to 5:30 (Admission Gate)

Related: This Is What It's Like To Visit The Queen Mary Ship (Now A Hotel And Restaurant)

While there are many attractions at this estate (the house, the winery, etc.) there is no separate ticket for individual attractions. Instead one needs to pay for the general admission ticket listed above or an annual pass.

Parking And Estate Transportation

Guests can no longer drive through the historic area directly in front of the Biltmore House. Instead, one should park at the "Central Parking" and get the complimentary shuttle service from the parking lot to the Biltmore House, Antler Hill Village & Winery, and Deerpark/Amherst.

Tours Of Biltmore House & Services

There are scores of tours to choose from. These include

Expert-Guided Small-Group Tour

  • Where: Biltmore House
  • Duration: 90 Minutes

Candlelight Christmas Evenings Expert-Guided Tour

  • Where: Biltmore House
  • Duration: 90 Minutes

The Biltmore House Backstairs Tour

  • Where: Biltmore House
  • Duration: 1 Hour

Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting

  • Where: Antler Hill Village, Winery
  • Duration: 45 Minutes

Rooftop Tour

  • Where: Biltmore House
  • Duration: 1 Hour

Behind The Scenes Winery Tour & Tasting

  • Where: Winery
  • Duration: 1 Hour

In addition to the actual Biltmore house, the stunning grounds are very much worth a visit. Explore the meticulously preserved forests and enjoy a number of activities for everyone - including horseback riding and a carriage tour. There are biking and hiking opportunities here including falconry in the finest European tradition. For a list of activities to do on the grounds of the estates see here. Everyone must have a daytime ticket, an Annual Pass, or be staying overnight on the estate to visit the grounds.

For more information, the prices, and scheduling as well as other tours, check out their website here.

Accommodation On The Estate

One can stay overnight on the estate. There are a number of accommodation options on the large estate but outside of the actual Biltmore house.

  • Village Hotel On Biltmore Estate: Moderate Luxury Accommodation
  • The Inn on Biltmore Estate: Four Star Luxury
  • Cottages On Biltmore Estate: Premier

Related: These Stunning Places In The UK Are A Must-See For Any Jane Austen Fan

Biltmore Spa

As one may expect for an estate of this caliber, it also boasts its own spa. The spa is at the Inn on Biltmore Estate and offers a full range of rejuvenating services. Examples of their therapeutic services include:

  • Custom Massage: $155 For 1 Hour or $235 For 90 Minutes
  • Custom Facial: $170 For 1 Hour
  • Premium Custom Facial: $205 For 1 Hour

class="with-headline">

All prices are without tax and a 20% service fee. For more information and other services offered check out their website.

If all that was not enough, it is also home to America's most-visited winery and there are tours of the winery. For another massive American home, see the odd and very much haunted Winchester Mystery House in California - a house haunted by those slain by Winchester rifles.

Next: What It's Like To Stay At The Greenbrier in West Virginia, One Of The Oldest American Resorts