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Christmas at Biltmore: 125 Years of Vanderbilt Christmas Traditions Celebrated This Holiday Season

Candlelight, firelight, and live music bring holiday warmth to the extravagant holiday décor of Biltmore House on the 125th Anniversary of the first Vanderbilt Christmas celebrated at the estate

Published on November 07, 2020

Christmas at Biltmore begins today, Nov. 6, 2020, and runs through Jan. 10, 2021. Grand décor of more than 100 hand-decorated and styled Christmas trees, 25,000 ornaments, 100,000 holiday lights, 6,000 feet of garland, 1,200 traditional poinsettias and additional favorite holiday plants grace Biltmore House and the estate.

It was Christmas Eve 1895 when Biltmore’s founder George Vanderbilt first opened the doors of Biltmore House to family and friends. Biltmore’s design team has interpreted the theme of “An 1895 Christmas” into this year’s holiday décor with a focus on a traditional and classic Christmas.

Two experiences are available to enjoy Biltmore during the holiday season — the Christmas at Biltmore and Candlelight Christmas Evenings.

Christmas at Biltmore, Nov. 6, 2020 – Jan. 10, 2021

A daytime visit to Biltmore is a feast for the senses, featuring wreaths, garlands, and the sparkle of ornaments. From Biltmore House to the Winery and Antler Hill Village, guests will want to linger on the estate to experience all that Christmas at Biltmore has to offer.

Candlelight Christmas Evenings, Nov. 6, 2020 – Jan. 9, 2021

Biltmore House glows with candlelight and firelight during this nighttime tour. Candlelight Christmas Evenings in Biltmore House allows guests to step back in time with an experience reminiscent of the Vanderbilt’s first Christmas spent in Biltmore House in 1895. Musicians stationed throughout the house perform seasonal favorites. Setting the scene is a 55-foot Norway spruce encircled by 36 illuminated evergreens and shrubs sparkling in the center of the front lawn. Hand-lit luminaries line the walkway to Biltmore House.

Biltmore’s European-inspired village, Antler Hill Village, has appearances from Santa. An elaborate model train display featuring replicas of the country’s most unique train stations, Biltmore Gardens Railway, is decorated for the holidays. As evening falls over Antler Hill Village, a constellation of holiday lights illuminate trees, quaint buildings, the Winery tunnel and walking paths.

Estate restaurants are offering favorite seasonal dishes and craft cocktails.

Adding to the estate’s many shopping options, NEW is a Christmas pop-up shop stocked with everything needed to celebrate the season.

At the Winery, free tastings of wines are offered as well as the opportunity to purchase wines, including the commemorative Christmas at Biltmore Red and White Wines and a special 125th Anniversary Sparkling Wine.

Overnight stays

Biltmore’s lodging properties — Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate and The Inn on Biltmore Estate — feature iconic Christmas trees and festive seasonal flourishes in their lobbies.

For those seeking a luxurious retreat with personalized service, accommodations are in a private hilltop setting with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Special holiday packages at The Inn are available.

Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate is a convenient home base for those wanting to be steps away from shopping, restaurants, the illumination in Antler Hill Village, the Outdoor Adventure Center, Biltmore Winery and more. Special holiday packages at Village Hotel are available.

Visit information

To plan a visit to experience estate-wide holiday happenings, click here for visit information.

Understanding that holiday travel is different this year, the health and safety of our guests and employees remains top priority. 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, click here.

Staff Writer