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Hearst Castle

Stuart, Florida
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Hearst Castle

There are three different 45 minute tours for $25 each. This seems excessive? Which tour should we consider, if any?

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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1. Re: Hearst Castle

I don't know why you consider that "excessive". The estate is large and the tours are broken down into areas. Read the descriptions and decide which, if any of them, interest you.

http://www.hearstcastle.org/tours

San Jose, California
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for California
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2. Re: Hearst Castle

For a first visit, go for the main tour that covers the pool, main rooms of the house, etc. rather than any of the specialty tours. I think that the 45 minutes quoted is the actual tour duration, but does not include the ride up the hill to the castle and back.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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3. Re: Hearst Castle

The tours last approx. 45 minutes, but you then have the option of exploring the outdoor areas as long as you like or until the last bus leaves at the end of the day. I believe the movie, "Building the Dream" is still included with Tour #1, so your overall visit could be 2+ hours for that $25.00 price tag.

Cambria, California
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for San Simeon, Cambria
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4. Re: Hearst Castle

I work at Hearst Castle and appreciate this chance to clarify how things work with the tours.

First and most important, the decision to come up or not should be based on your interests. If you enjoy art museums, architecture, gardens or history, then you should consider coming on a tour.

Your $25 includes: viewing the IMAX movie, the bus ride up and back down the private road (through Hearst Ranch private property to get to the Castle), the 40-45 guided tour in the buildings (what you see depends on which tour you choose) and then walking around the gardens and sitting around at the pools until closing, if you choose to stay that long. Guides are posted around the grounds so you can continue to ask questions after your indoor guided tour. Personally, I find that a pretty good value.

Monticello in Virginia is $24 for a 30 minute tour. The Biltmore adult ticket is $59, altho' that includes two buildings and wine tasting. Most historic houses have multiple tours. When the Castle first opened in 1958 it was two hours...many people either didn't want to spend that much time on tour, or physically had trouble standing and walking for that long. Over the years, the tour formats have changed. We have been doing this format since June of last year.

The tours are described online and are quite different. The Grand Rooms shows only 5 rooms - because the ground floor, social gathering rooms are big. The Upstairs tour is a smaller group and includes guest accommodations, both libraries and Hearst's suite. Cottages and Kitchen is the wine cellar, kitchen and two guest houses. Choose depending on your interests and ability to navigate stairs (FYI, all the tours require an initial 110 stairs from where the bus drops you off to the Main House).

I hope this helps you with deciding what to do.

Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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5. Re: Hearst Castle

Yes, taking 3 different tours on one day is excessive.

We have done all their tours except for a their specialty tours they do at holiday time....

I agree that taking the Grand Rooms Tour

yelp.com/biz/j-lohr-vineyards-and-wines-paso…

and see the movie

However if you are getting to Hearst Castle late on a summer night and plan to only be in the area for that day, their evening tour is also nice to take instead of the Grand Rooms Tours

http://www.hearstcastle.org/tours/all-tours

The movie is well done and informative - so if interested in history, do plan on seeing it.

It takes about 4 hours if you do a tour and see the movie - perhaps a bit less if you are lucky enough to arrive right when the tour is departing....

but plan on about 4 hours.

And agree - taking more than one tour is excessive (although they do show different aspects of the castle for the serious history buff of this castle.).

And for the price - I think Wanderlust2 who works there has given you a nice reply on that one.

Have a good trip - For your information, residents of the US like the tour more than Europeans do as Europe has a lot of museums similar in nature. The one thing that makes this tour more memorable for them is when we have a clear day in the area and you can look out to the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy your time in California.

Newberg, Oregon
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6. Re: Hearst Castle

We've taken all of the tours -- some several times going back to our 1971 honeymoon. Love each of them and always feel we got our money's worth! As a wine buff, I especially enjoy the tour that includes the wine cellar.

Cambria, California
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for San Simeon, Cambria
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7. Re: Hearst Castle

FYI - evening tours run March-May and October through December. It gets dark too late during the summer.

WRH's castle is certainly unique from those in Europe and the place is more about the man and his life and his dreams as a publisher, art collector and love for the place he called "the ranch" and others called the castle. It's about a time in history and the people who were there as much as it is the building and the art. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy your visit to the central coast!

Edited: 01 May 2012, 01:55
Boston...
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8. Re: Hearst Castle

We are first time visitors to the area and are coming from Montery down Bir Sur with the intention of stopping at Hearst Castle for the tour. We are planning an afternoon tour on a Thursday. I have been watching the ticket sales online and there seems to be alot of tix right now. My concern is purchasing now and having to race to Hearst for a specific time. Do you think we will be able to purchase tickets that day or are we taking a chance?

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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9. Re: Hearst Castle

nonnio926

It would be best to start your own topic of discussion in order for responders to keep track of who is asking what. This thread belongs to CMOPAO and the responses are directed at their questions.

You don't say when you are coming, which will determine whether you can/should wing it or not. As an FYI... Monterey to Hearst Castle is a 3 hour drive WITHOUT stops. If you leave Monterey by 9:00 am and book a 4:00 pm tour, that gives you at least 6 1/2 hours for the drive without feeling rushed.

That gives you a guide to work with. If you are returning to Monterey the same day, you can plan an earlier tour and see some of Big Sur's sights on the drive back.

Edited: 08 May 2012, 14:13
Boston...
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10. Re: Hearst Castle

Thank you I did not realize!

The time line you mention is very helpful.

We are planning early June for our visit.

We are planning to spend the night in Visalia after

our visit to Hearst.