Building Biltmore was, at the time, one of the largest undertakings in the history of American residential architecture and the results were astounding. Over a six-year period, an entire community of craftsmen worked to build the country's premier home. The estate boasted its own brick factory, woodworking shop, and a three-mile railway spur for transporting materials to the site.
The celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt modeled the house on three châteaux built in 16th-century France. It would feature 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement alone would house a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants' quarters, kitchens, and more.
The grounds of the original 125,000-acre estate were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of New York's Central Park and the father of American landscape architecture. He not only developed acres of gardens and parkland, but in his efforts to protect the environment and reclaim over-farmed land, Olmsted established America's first managed forest.
George Vanderbilt officially opened the home to friends and family on Christmas Eve in 1895. He had created a country retreat where he could pursue his passion for art, literature, and horticulture. After marrying the American Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1873–1958) in Paris during the summer of 1898, George and his new bride came to live at the estate. Their only child, Cornelia (1900–1976), was born and grew up at Biltmore.
Your half-day visit to America’s largest home® includes a Guided Tour* of the main
rooms of the house, family and guest bedrooms, kitchen, laundry areas, indoor pool,
bowling alley, and servants’ quarters. We’ll also delve into the state-of-the-art
technologies that kept George Vanderbilt’s home running.
$16.00 per student (Chaperone 1 free with every 10 paying students)
Add to your day with a self-guided visit to the gardens, conservatory, Antler Hill
Village & Farm and a box lunch.
$24.00 per student (Chaperones 1 free with every 10 paying students plus $8.00 for box lunch)
A Guided Hike* at Antler Hill Farm can be added for $5.00 per person.
Take an excursion around the estate while looking for clues about land use. We’ll go beyond the picturesque beauty and learn how time and human contact impacted the landscape.
Box Lunch includes your choice of Turkey or Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich, bag of chips, fruit, cookie and bottle of water.
*Guided Tours and Hikes are available Monday through Friday Only. Weekends are self-guided.