"Hearst Castle" Top 5 Page for this destination Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Things to Do Tip by Dabs
Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Things to Do: 95 reviews and 351 photos
No one knows for sure exactly how much Hearst Castle cost to build, it was a work in progress from 1919 when William Randolph Hearst inherited the land from his mother until his death at age 88 in 1951.
Hearst employed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan to build his dream home on his favorite place on earth, collaborated would probably be a better word as Hearst was intimately involved in the design throughout the many years of construction on it's 165 rooms, 127 acres of gardens and the two pools, Neptune and Roman, that are the highlight of any visit to Hearst Castle.
In 1957, after Hearst's death, the Hearst Corporation donated the Castle to the State of California but without an endowment for operating expenses which helps explain the high tour costs. The furnishings are original to the Castle, not something you always see when touring historic homes which often have replica furniture belonging to the period but not the original. Hearst was so involved in the purchase and placement that it is almost essential to the visit that the original furnishings be in place. The docent said the family was allowed to take out so many pieces per year under their agreement but that period had long since lapsed.
Visits to the Hearst Castle are by guided tour only and each tour takes approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes including the bus ride up and down. If you are taking more than 1 tour, you must take the bus ride back down to the visitor center so they recommend scheduling tours 2 hours apart. Although exhausting, you could probably do all four tours in one day if you are willing to part with $80-$96 ($20/$24 per tour depending on season).
We did a tour at 9 am, watched the 40 minute film included with tour #1 at 11:15 and then did a 2nd tour at 12:20. It was perfect timing for us but if you're thinking about grabbing a snack, a little more time in between might be good.
It is highly recommended that you reserve in advance on their website especially during the popular summer months and on the weekends.
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