Hello, friends! Welcome back to Stylishly Good Vibes! I’m back on the blog to share all about my experience at Candlelight Christmas at the Biltmore!
If you’re not familiar with the Biltmore, or you’ve never been to Asheville, I’ll give you the rundown! The Biltmore is America’s largest private residence, owned and still operated by the Vanderbilt family. Yeah, THAT Vanderbilt family! Construction for the 8,000-acre estate began in 1895, and includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. You read that right. 65 fireplaces!!!
As a new Ashevillian, I knew that I needed to see if for myself within the first few months of living here! When a friend was also interested in going, we made a Sunday night out of it and bought tickets.
The elephant in the room! Anyone who has ever looked into going to the Biltmore knows how expensive it is. If you choose to go to the evening experience for Candlelight Christmas, you’ll be paying about $20 more than daytime tickets.
When you’re searching for available tickets, I would opt for the Audio-Guided Visit, not the Audio-Guided PLUS. The only difference is that the PLUS version includes an immersive Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. I went to the immersive Van Gogh exhibition in Cleveland and thought it was a waste of money and time, but that’s just me!
If you’re feeling super fancy, you could also do an expert-guided visit. That experience will cost you anywhere from $384–$424. To be honest, I kind of wish there was an option for a self-guided tour without the audio component, since the audio held people up in certain rooms.
This was the first time I ever did an audio tour, and I enjoyed it for the most part! If you’re a history buff like me, I think you’ll have a good time. It took us about 1 hour 20 minutes to get through the full tour, which I thought was a decent amount of time for the amount we paid.
Rating: 6/10 – Were tickets stupid expensive? Yes. Would I pay to go inside again? Maybe, but now that I’ve seen the inside, I can tell you it’s just like any other historical house owned by rich people.
The OVERALL Experience
When you arrive at the front of the house, your jaw will undoubtedly drop to the ground—or at least mine did! As I mentioned, we did Candlelight Christmas in the evening, so we got to see the house lit up with all the Christmas lights! As you walk toward the house, paper bags filled with candles line the 1/4-mile walk. In the center of the lawn sits the most magnificent Christmas tree—fully decked out in the brightest lights I’ve ever seen.
Now that you’ve reached the main house, it’s time to wait in line. Our tickets told us to get there by 7 p.m. for our 7:15 p.m. visit, which we did. However, we didn’t end up entering the house until about 7:40 p.m. I thought it was a bit odd that they didn’t have the lines broken up by ticket time, but hey, I don’t manage the tours!
Once we finally got inside the house, the tour didn’t disappoint. I’m a sucker for interior design, so that had to be my favorite part of the tour. I loved gazing at the intricate wallpapers, luxurious upholstery, and intricately carved fireplaces. It felt like stepping back in time!
Rating: 9/10 – I genuinely enjoyed the tour! For the amount of money that was spent on tickets, I thought that we got our money’s worth in terms of how much of the house we saw.
If you’re planning to do the evening tour, you need to make sure you have a reliable ride lined up ahead of time. My friend and I took an Uber because we thought we would get drinks at the winery ahead of time. We didn’t realize the winery was 2 miles away on the opposite side of the Biltmore estate. LOL!
We had no clue that our decision not to drive would cost us . . .
For context: getting into the Biltmore isn’t the problem, getting out IS.
I’m not kidding you when I say that we were stranded there after the tour. I tried to connect to Uber and Lyft drivers and the rides kept getting dropped. We had two separate trolleys pick us up and drive us around, trying to help us connect to Wi-Fi to get a ride.
We finally got dropped off at the Village Hotel on the estate, and were able to get a Lyft from there. Mind you—this entire no-ride debacle went on for over an hour. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to Uber or Lyft out of there. Rent a car or go to the front desk of your hotel to get something set up. Don’t rely on rideshares—especially here.
Rating: -100/10 – There is nothing worse than being stuck outside in complete darkness with no way of getting home!!!
Is Is Worth It?
Like any tourist attraction, there are things that you’ll enjoy and things that’ll piss you off. But the Biltmore had always been on my list of places to see, and now I can check it off!
I probably won’t go back until springtime, where I’ll do a tour of the gardens instead. Oh—and I’ll make sure to drive myself there this time!
Well, that’s all I have for ya today! I hope you enjoyed this little travel blog and I’m excited to share more of my Asheville adventures soon!
Until next time!