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“Incredible Place!”
Review of Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle
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US$ 139.00*
and up
Small-Group Full-Day Hearst Castle Tour from Paso...
Ranked #3 of 15 things to do in San Simeon
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: It took 28 years to complete William Randolph Hearst's lavish estate, which includes 165 rooms on 125 acres.
Reviewed 6 May 2012

You can see the castle up on the hill as you drive south on Hwy 1. I wasn't expecting to see such grandeur! You can't drive up to the castle in your car. You have to purchase tickets at the visitor center at the bottom of the hill, and a tour bus takes you up to the castle. We had a choice of three tours--the first floor with the ballroom, grand salon, etc.; the bedrooms tour or the cottages tour. Since the first was sold out we took the bedrooms tour ($25). It was fun and interesting and really awe inspiring. The scenery from every window was so beautiful. After the tour we could roam around the grounds as long as we wanted, and when we took the bus back down the hill, our ticket stubs got us into an imax movie about Hearst and his journey. There's a great gift store also. We really loved this tour. I was sorry we didn't get a glimpse of the herd of zebra that roam the thousands of acres surrounding the castle, but we did get to see a herd of African goats making their way up a hill. Don't forget your cameras!!

2  Thank vickyzzzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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JPMiles / Payback Arrow
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
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Reviewed 6 May 2012

We visited the castle today. We had booked the evening tour and our plan was to have a look round the grounds, then have a meal in the restaurant before doing the evening tour which we had pre booked on the Internet. Sounds fine, till we arrived at 3pm and were told that we could go no further than the reception area before the 7.10pm tour. The last showing of the film, which we saw for a further 10dollars, was at 5pm so had we arrived for the 7.10pm tour we would have missed. On top of that the restaurant closed at 3.30pm so there was no evening meal to be had. Even the staff couldn't understand the early closing times especially when the venue is open to the public until the evening. Even the shop selling their own beef closed at 5 pm. The tour itself was good but like all tours it depends on your guide. Ours enjoyed the theatrical side but was lacking in factual input unless pushed. The castle is amazing but I do think they could take a leaf out of the book of UK castle tours as they are much better value for money and are much more factual. Saying that we did enjoy the experience and it is worth a visit if you can forgive the short comings and the cost. Because we had time to spare we left the reception area and went to see the elephant seals about 5 meals up the coast - fascinating free and freezing! Then we came back and walked along San Simeon pier and were lucky enough to see a whale and baby out at sea. That was the icing on the cake.

4  Thank Jennifer R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2012

We took the Friday night tour. Our tour guide was very informative, personable & professional. By taking the tour on Friday night we were able to see more of the castle. It was enjoyable to view guests & staff dressed in 1930's period attire throughout our tour. I am amazed at William Randolph Hearst's castle. My hat goes off to Julia Morgan & the workmen who built the castle. Mr. Hearst instructed her to build “something that would be more comfortable” than the platform tents which he previously used at the ranch. That they did!
Before you visit William Randolph Hearst castle watch 'Hearst Castle the Enchanted Hill'. Its an older video, but is more informative the the movie shown at the visitors center. If you can skip the movie, 'Hearst Castle : building the dream.' Especially if you have to pay for it. We received a $2.00 discount, so the cost was $8.00 a ticket. I found the dvd at my local library.
Look for wildlife on the bus ride up. I saw a deer.

Thank LoveCali4nia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2012

We took the evening tour (only available certain times of the year). We had a great time seeing the actors dressed up in period clothing and the trip down the hill at night was an added rush. Fun green screen picture before the tour. Friendly staff in the theater, stores and food area. A little disappointed that some park rangers were not very informative (they couldn't even help with information found in the brochure!), but they were nice about it.

1  Thank ME R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 May 2012

You must visit Hearst Castle at least once! I've been there 2-3 times now, and will return again. Great tours, great scenery, great history - A must-see.

Thank KMoor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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