Hearst Castle is decked out in all its holiday finery. Here's how you can see it
Visitors can create long-lasting holiday memories and immerse themselves in festive splendor for about six weeks at Hearst Castle, seeing the estate as the guests of media magnate William Randolph Hearst experienced it during the 1920s and 1930s.
No matter when you go, a holiday visit to the grounds, pools, guest house and grand social rooms and other areas of Hearst Castle can be a special experience.
See spectacularly large decorated trees, oversized wreaths, miles of garlands, thousands of lights and enough Christmas ornaments, toys and gifts to stock a holiday store.
There are three different opportunities to enjoy the large and lavish decorations and the extensive estate, but here's a spoiler alert: It takes a long time to decorate such a large estate, so some of the holiday décor is already up.
Hearst Castle tours
During the holiday season, visitors can choose between three options.
You can see the estate's lavish holiday decorations during daylight hours on regular tours, every day but Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Tickets for the 60-minute guided tour are $25 for adults, $12 for children ages 5 through 12.
After the formal tour, guests are allowed to explore the gardens and revisit the pools on their own.
Explore Hearst Castle at dusk during a special 75-minute Twilight Tour, available Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, Dec. 6 through 9, Dec. 13 through 23, and Dec. 26 through 30. Tickets start at $30 for adults, and $15 for children ages 5 through 12.
Expect about 190 steps, both up and down, and a 2/3-mile walk.
Accessibly designed, wheelchair-accessible holiday twilight tours are available twice a night on those dates. Advance reservations are strongly recommended; call 866-712-2286 for more information.
Get the complete experience on most Friday and Saturday nights through Nov. 23 on a 140-minute Holiday Night Tour, with period-costumed docents adding to the ambiance. (About 100 minutes of that tour are guided.) Tickets start at $36 for adults and $18 for children ages 5 through 12.
Service fees apply to all ticket sales. There also are charges for reservation cancellations or changes.
For reservations, call 800-444-4445 or to go to www.ReserveCalifornia.com.
An elegant, black-tie holiday feast dinner and celebration for 75 members of The Foundation at Hearst Castle will be held Dec. 7 on castle grounds and in the refectory. Tickets are $1,750 for this rare opportunity.
For details, go to https://foundationathearstcastle.com/events.