What began as 40,000 acres of ranchland in 1865 has now been transformed into a destination for those seeking to retreat to 250,000 acres of history, majesty, and beauty. Located in San Simeon, California, Hearst Castle is an expansive estate that features 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, and paths. The early 20th century newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, first envisioned the creation of a spacious mansion to present his art collection and spent twenty-eight years working with architect Julia Morgan to craft his vision. He named his inherited grandeur La Cuesta Encantada, translating to the “Spanish Hill” in Spanish. The now much-visited museum and monument has become the ideal place for Central Coast Californians to wander in utter peace. Here are our tips for visiting Hearst Castle.
Visitors can experience the marvels of Hearst’s mansion masterpiece through a variety of different guided tours. Ranging from the grand rooms tour, upstairs suite tour, cottages and kitchen tour, and an evening tour, travelers have a wide selection to choose their perfect, specialized exploration. The museum also offers wheelchair accessible tours, particularly for the grand rooms and evening visits. After you arrive at the museum’s visitor center for your tour’s departure, you will board a bus and immerse into W. R. Hearst’s world by riding five miles to Hearst Castle. Enjoy your selected guided tour followed by the opportunity to take in Hearst Castle’s stunning beauty at your pace.
Notable spectacles include the Neptune Pool and Roman Pool, Hearst’s extravagant wine cellar, and the remains of what was once named the world’s largest private zoo. Truly feel that you are a guest of Hearst’s by stopping by his original airplane strip behind the visitor center. There, Hearst offered his famous company a much faster and more luxurious welcome to his manor. The most famous and awing wonder to W. R. Hearst’s gem of an estate would certainly be his luscious gardens that extend for acres throughout the California landscape.
Scholarly and leisurely art critics alike will be pleased to study Hearst’s actual art collection, the original purpose of the estate’s existence. Much of his pieces were European and Mediterranean and can be seen at almost every corner of the manor. Many of the paintings, for example, highlight mythological themes. Hearst has intricately showcased several distinguished pieces such as the white marble copy of The Three Graces and the original base from Tiffany & Co.’s 1889 “Orchid Vase” lamp. The gardens also feature several marble, Renaissance-styled wellheads, dating back to the 16th century, whereas the mansion’s elaborate ceilings have both ancient roots and 20th century handcrafted origins from artists during Hearst’s era.
Guests should book arrangements in advance by visiting Hearst Castle online, over the telephone at 1-800-444-4445, or in person. Ticket pricing begins at $25.00 for adults and $12.00 for children. Tour schedules vary by season.
Do not miss the opportunity to walk through the historian’s paradise of Hearst Castle for a blissful day in artistic wonder.