Appropriately dubbed “a museum like no other,” Hearst Castle sits among 127 lush acres of land in the city of San Simeon, near the gorgeous, glistening coast of Central California. The history of this grandiose piece of architecture began way back in the 1860’s, when George Hearst bought more than 40,000 acres of land where the castle now resides. When George and his wife Phoebe died, their only son, William, inherited the land, and even purchased more - totalling to roughly 250,000 acres. In 1919, nearly 100 years ago, Hearst Castle began its construction. Built with over 100 hundred rooms, more than 40 bathrooms, a theatre, and plenty of extravagant spaces to host parties and social events, this is a mega mansion you have to see to believe. William Hearst died in 1951 and just a few years later, the Castle and surrounding lands became a California State Park. In 1958, the Castle was officially open for public tours.
Today, Hearst Castle has become known as one of California’s most beloved monuments, attracting over one million visitors each year. Tours are now offered here on most days, and you must purchase a tour ticket to visit the Castle. My fiance and I decided on the Grand Rooms Tour, since we read that this was recommended for first-time visitors. The Grand Rooms Tour runs $25 per person and is about 1.5 hours long. The tour covers a good portion of the first floor of the Castle, where you will walk through the main “social rooms,” making you feel as if you were a guest here in the roaring 20’s. You’ll start your tour on the beautiful and well-maintained grounds, make your way inside the Castle starting in the Assembly Room, stroll through the dining hall and billiard room, and end your tour in the stunning theatre. After the tour, you are free to explore the grounds at your leisure. As you make your way toward the exit of the grounds, you will walk by the gorgeous blue-tiled Roman Pool, which for me, was definitely a highlight of visiting the Castle.
For more information on the tour offerings at Hearst Castle, visit this link: http://hearstcastle.org/tour-hearst-castle/daily-tours/. For more information about the tour we decided on, the Grand Rooms Tour, visit this link directly: http://hearstcastle.org/tour-hearst-castle/daily-tours/grand-rooms-tour/.
We visited Hearst Castle on Memorial Day weekend, so as you can imagine, it was pretty crowded and hectic. As such, the tour felt a little rushed. This was the main downside in my opinion. The Castle itself was beautifully and impeccably designed - inside and out - and I enjoyed hearing more about the history of the property. If you’re in the Central California area and are looking for something to do, this may be the right adventure for you!
I’d highly recommend you visit their official website here for planning your own trip here: http://hearstcastle.org/
Heart Castle is located at: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452
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