Hearst Castle, San Simeon

4.4
#1 of 417 in Things to do in San Luis Obispo County
Castle · Historic Site
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It took William Randolph Hearst, the famed newspaper magnate, nearly three decades to complete Hearst Castle, one of the largest houses in the United States. Architect Julia Morgan envisioned the house with 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, tennis courts, movie theaters, an airfield, and the world's largest private zoo. Part of a state park since 1958, the house Hearst called his "Enchanted Hill" now offers public tours, attracting visitors with its considerable collection of art and antiques. The estate's focal point is an outdoor swimming pool, rebuilt three times to suit its owner's tastes. The centerpiece of the pool, which offers expansive vistas of the mountains and the ocean, is the facade of an ancient Roman temple Hearst imported from Europe. Add Hearst Castle to your San Simeon travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our San Simeon tour planner.
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Hearst Castle reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
6,848 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The building and grounds are of course spectacular but our experience was a little so-so overall. On the day we visited, it was raining - unexpectedly - very hard. Most of the people on our tour had.....  more
    The building and grounds are of course spectacular but our experience was a little so-so overall. On the day we visited, it was raining - unexpectedly - very hard. Most of the people on our tour had.....  more »
  • How to best enjoy a trip to Hearst Castle: - Buy your tickets online in advance. I recommend a morning tour, before it gets too hot. - Bring sunscreen, bottled water, and a hat, especially if... 
    How to best enjoy a trip to Hearst Castle: - Buy your tickets online in advance. I recommend a morning tour, before it gets too hot. - Bring sunscreen, bottled water, and a hat, especially if...  more »
Google
  • Amazing work of architecture. Definitely recommend a visit. Breathtaking views, stunning landscaping, exquisite and opulent. Very interesting to learn how it was built and the tremendous amount of work, planning, detail, and effort that went into creating this masterpiece, especially for its time. The tour takes about 2 hours so plan accordingly. There is sufficient parking. It was closed until May of this year due to Covid but is now open again.
  • A magnificent 'castle' (it's more of a super luxury mansion and estate) nestled atop a mountain, approached by tour buses from the Visitor Center at San Simeon beside the Pacific coast. Tickets are at $30 per head (adults) per tour. Tour buses take up visitors from the centre, up along winding mountain roads to the castle. There is an interesting narrative that plays on the 20 minute bus journey each way, to and from the castle, but, sadly, parts of it are drowned out by the loud engine noise (I'm surprised they don't run electric buses here, can't say why). The view from this journey up and down, of the ranches, the hill side and the coastline are simply breathtaking. The private Hearst airfield too can be seen from this winding hill side journey. The 'castle' itself appears like a church or a cathedral, with evidence of Italian and Spanish architecture. The terraces and gardens, the awesome Neptune pool, the guest cottages, the grand (Welcome) room and the refectory, the pool room, theatre, the indoor pool - all exceptionally well maintained. The castle exudes splendor, finesse, grandeur and extreme opulence, but is a treat for the eyes. The castle grounds show immaculate upkeep. There are various tours available, but possibly the grand rooms tour is the one that one should go for if it's their first visit. The tours are conducted by eloquent guides who have become pretty well versed with the history and narratives of the castle and make the visit interesting.

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