ASHEVILLE – Slow down and smell the tulips at an Asheville destination that’s been voted as the ideal place to visit in the spring.

Just in time for the spring equinox, Biltmore Estate ranked No. 2 on a list of the best places to explore in springtime in the world. The study was performed by Premier Inn, a hotel chain in the U.K., and was based on 34,000 reviews for 295 different popular tourist spots on the travel website, TripAdvisor.

Biltmore Estate, referred to as a “botanical paradise,” sits on more than 8,000 acres of land south of downtown and offers picturesque mountain views.

 

 

The Biltmore Estate features the Biltmore House, the landmark home built for famed entrepreneur George W. Vanderbilt and his family in the late 1800s, and its lush gardens and conservatory.

Biltmore Estate came in second only to New York City’s Central Park, which was originally designed by the same renowned landscape architect as the estate, Frederick Law Olmsted. Central Park received 2,337 reviews that mentioned “spring.”

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Biltmore Estate was a close second with 1,651 springtime reviews with praises going to its “Biltmore Blooms” display of bulbs, plants, shrubs and trees.

The top three were rounded out by another NYC destination, The High Line, a railway-turned-park with green space, architectural features and contemporary art installations. It received 1,391 springtime reviews.

The top 10 world’s most popular spring sights

Central Park (New York City)Biltmore Estate (Asheville)The High Line (New York City)Keukenhof (Lisse, The Netherlands)Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens (Dallas, Texas)The Butchart Gardens (Central Saanich, Canada)Kings Park and Botanic Garden (Perth, Australia)Luxembourg Gardens (Paris, France)Magnolia Plantation & Gardens (Charleston, South Carolina)Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania)

View the full list at premierinn.com.

Year-round, there is a bevy of things to see, do and eat on the estate. Here are five ideal things to explore this spring at Biltmore Estate.

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Biltmore Gardens and The Conservatory

Steps away from the doorstep of the 250-room chateau that is Biltmore House are expansive indoor and outdoor flora and fauna displays, decorative water fountains and sprawling lawns.

Biltmore’s prize-winning roses aren’t the only stars to inhabit the garden.

During Biltmore Blooms, running through May 25, admire the floral arrangements inside the house and the thousands of colorful tulips, wisterias and azaleas in the garden. Then, escape into The Conservatory to see the showcase of floor-to-ceiling species, including springtime floral favorites and tropical plants spanning multiple rooms.

Italian Renaissance Alive

Italian Renaissance Alive made its world premiere at Biltmore in March.

The special exhibition, created by Grande Experiences, celebrates Italian culture, architecture, sculpture, and literature spanning the Renaissance period of the 14th to 17th centuries.

Masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo are showcased in the vivid, large-scale, multisensory projections backed by powerful Italian operatic score sets, including works by Puccini and Verdi.

 Italian Renaissance Alive, running through Jan. 7, is showing at Amherst at Deerpark.

On April 1, Ciao! From Italy, eight large-scale sculptural postcards inspired by George and Edith Vanderbilt’s Italian travels and created by Applied Imagination, will go on display in Antler Hill Village.

Biking and hiking

Venture past the Biltmore House and gardens and traverse the more than 20 miles of biking trails ? bikes are available for rental ? or walk, hike or jog the woodland dirt paths, gravel-packed and paved sidewalks and other trails that wind through the estate.

Also, Biltmore offers equestrian trails and various guided tours, including horseback and carriage rides and more.

Outdoor adventures and tours

Set off on a unique Biltmore quest, curated by the Outdoor Adventure Center.

Activity options include croquet, falconry and a Geocache Challenge – an outdoor scavenger hunt through forests and fields.

River float tours, Land Rover driving excursions, bass fishing and more to keep guests well-entertained and immersed in nature.

Many activities are family-friendly and available for group booking.

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Dining and tasting experiences

Sit back and enjoy the springtime views with a glass of wine or a cone of ice cream.

Biltmore Estate is home to restaurants, cafés, a winery, a creamery and more at the Biltmore House and in Antler Hill & Village.

Complimentary wine tastings at the winery are available by reservation on the day of the visit.  

For more information and to purchase tickets to visit the estate and special event, visit biltmore.com.

Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at tkennell@citizentimes.com or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please support this type of journalism with asubscription to the Citizen Times.

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