The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Visit the Biltmore Estate for Christmas

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Visit the Biltmore Estate for Christmas

If you’ve never experienced the Biltmore Estate during Christmas, then you are definitely missing out. This impressive 250-room chateau sits in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville. And 2020 is a particularly special year to visit, as this Christmas Eve marks the 125th year that Biltmore House has been open. Here’s why you should put this on your must-do list for North Carolina travel.

The History of the Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate Christmas
George Vanderbilt.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

George Vanderbilt was born in Staten Island, NY, in 1862. He first visited Asheville in 1887 while considering it as a location to build his country home. But upon visiting, he fell in love with the area and began construction of his 250-room French Renaissance chateau in 1889. However, its construction took over six years, and the process is known as the largest undertaking in residential architecture. The home itself contains over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces.

The Tradition of Christmas at the Biltmore

Biltmore Estate Christmas
Image courtesy of wsoctv.

On Christmas Eve in 1895, George Vanderbilt opened the Biltmore House to family and friends for the first time. No detail was overlooked when planning for this celebration, and that same elaborate tradition still continues today.

Ahead of the 2020 celebration, you’ll find 55 hand-decorated Christmas trees in Biltmore House and over 75 on the estate. Biltmore’s illustrious past have always inspired its present decorations. And so this year the theme is “Hearth and Home.” Over 30,000 Christmas lights and 150 candles will illuminate just the house’s interior. In addition, there are over 1,200 poinsettias, 225 fresh wreaths and more than 3,000 feet of fresh evergreen garland.

But don’t be blinded by the larger sights: you can’t miss the beautiful collection of handmade gingerbread cottages. Each year, the pastry team at The Inn on Biltmore Estate® constructs a very intricate gingerbread confection inspired by the details of George Vanderbilt’s estate.

Other things to do at the Biltmore:

Image courtesy of Explore Asheville.
  • A Christmas candlelight tour of the house
  • Visits to the winery with complimentary wine tastings
  • Self-guided visit through the gardens
  • Antler Hill Village Illumination, which has unique shops, restaurants and that winery
  • Hiking, bike rentals and horseback riding on the beautiful trails of the Estate
  • Falconry, fly-fishing, sporting clay and craft lessons, and demonstrations
  • Private carriage rides

But after all these activities, you can stay right on the Estate with three options: the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, the four-star luxury Inn on Biltmore Estate and The Cottage on Biltmore Estate. Treat yourself to award-winning gourmet food and luxurious spa treatments.

Schedule of Events

Now that we’ve laid out some of the Christmas sights and traditions, let’s add in the when:

Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration: Nov. 6, 2020 — Jan. 10, 2021

Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore: Nov. 6, 2020 — Jan. 9, 2021

Candlelight Christmas Evenings require a separate ticket for entry from daytime admission, and you can get them by reservation only. The ticket includes an evening self-guided candlelight tour of the Biltmore House, same or next day visit to the gardens, Antler Hill Village, and Biltmore Estate Winery.

For ticket information, please visit Biltmore’s website.

Social Distancing Guidelines and COVID-19 Precautions: “Understanding that holiday travel is different this year, the health and safety of our guests and employees remain top priorities. Biltmore is following CDC guidelines and the state of North Carolina’s recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. This includes limited capacity of guests inside Biltmore House and other buildings, reservations for house tours, and mandatory face coverings. For complete information on the estate’s safety protocols, please click here.”

Biltmore Estate at Christmas
Image courtesy of Romantic Asheville.

At the end of the day, nothing compares to spending Christmas at Biltmore, Asheville’s favorite Yuletide destination. So come and make this experience a part of your own annual Christmas tradition!

And visit any time of the year, for that matter. There are tons of events all year, and the Biltmore is a sight to behold in any season.

Be sure to check out NCND’s other articles for safe vacationing ideas: North Carolina Safe Vacation: Cape Lookout and Boone, NC: Vacationing in a Pandemic!