Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle
4.5
About
Nestled atop a hill with breathtaking views of Big Sur, Hearst Castle is a must-visit spot on the California coast. With 165 rooms, you'll want to take the Grand Rooms or Upstairs Suites tours to experience the same lavish interiors that William Randolph Hearst and his guests would've experienced in the castle. For art lovers, the Art of San Simeon tour is a must. You'll get to see a stunning collection of ancient and modern artworks that Hearst collected throughout his lifetime. And don't forget to take some time to appreciate the magnificent Neptune Pool and the sweeping views of the mountains and the Pacific. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 2-3 hours
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

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  • Fg
    Davie, Florida327 contributions
    Worth the visit.
    Many years since last visit. Took the grand rooms tour. Ranger was very good giving the tour. Bus to the castle was comfortable enough for the relatively short ride. Only problem were the portable toilets.no working toilets. Apparently a pipe broken which is not yet fixed. Plenty of parking. Buy your ticket online. Go on a weekday if you can, otherwise, it may be very crowded.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 23, 2023
  • patrickmH3714PS
    Fayetteville, Arkansas90 contributions
    Better than we expected! Tip - order your tickets online before you go.
    Wasn't sure what to expect from reading some other reviews. We really enjoyed it We didn't realize the castle was on the top of a mountain which had some amazing views. Our tour guide, Rose was excellent!! We took the Grand Rooms tour which was both outside and inside. The tour also includes a 40 minute IMAX movie if you want to learn more. Note, the Restrooms aren't working but there are port-a-potties :) .
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 26, 2023
  • hmb50
    43 contributions
    Worth the time
    We were a little wary since there seemed to be a few mixed reviews. We were pleasantly surprised. The guide was great - very knowledgeable and well-paced. The home and the acreage is breathtaking. The story of Hearst and Morgan is very interesting. The furnishings and art are cool too. We only wish they would allow for a combo tour so we could go upstairs. It was definitely worth the time, especially since we were staying in Cambria which is very close.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 13, 2023
  • Reslimpan
    Rayong, Thailand3,093 contributions
    Simply incredible
    I finally had the chance of visiting Hearst Castle. Very interesting attraction along route 1. We had reserved a tour which is highly recommended in order to secure a spot. We did the grand rooms tour and were guided by Gary Lindquist who did an outstanding job. Incredible architecture. Magnificent interior. Marvelous views from the castle.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written April 26, 2023
  • Peter M
    Salisbury, United Kingdom4 contributions
    Paul, the tour guide was outstanding.
    Myself and a friend booked the upstairs rooms tour. Very lucky we were the only 2 booked on the 09.20 tour that morning. Paul, our tour guide was outstanding. We were both blown away with the amount of information he knew, and we found him extremely friendly and helpful all the way through the tour. This was my third visit here but by far my favourite due to Paul. Highly recommend anyone to visit this beautiful place.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 11, 2023
  • CatherineBH
    San Diego, California326 contributions
    Experience the building of William Hearst’s dream
    It has been over 30 years since we visited Hearst Castle. We went on the last day tour of the “Grand Rooms” and surrounding area. It is well kept and still spectacular. Lucked out with beautiful weather and encountered an adorable fox exploring the premise. We were hoping to spot the wild zebras. There is now a video about the making of William Randolph Hearst’s dream which was interesting and educational. Highly recommend visiting while in the San Simeon area.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 21, 2023
  • Gayla G
    1 contribution
    Enjoyed the tour
    Our first time at Hearst castle and we found it to be interesting and historical. Our tour guide did a good job and we enjoyed the great rooms tour. However, beware, there are NO restrooms available anywhere on the premises. Only nasty port-a-potties.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 29, 2023
  • themontanatravelgirl
    Great Falls, Montana81 contributions
    Loved it!
    We took both the tour of the main rooms and the upstairs tour. I would recommend doing both. The place is amazing. If you love old house tours don’t miss this one. It is a bit hard to get to but well worth the drive. I’ve wanted to go for years and now that I finally made it, I was not disappointed.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 6, 2023
  • GraceLovesGlitter
    San Francisco, California21 contributions
    Julia Morgan Tour was spectacular!
    This was my second time at Hearst Castle so we did the Julia Morgan tour. It was amazing! Our guide Khrys was very knowledgable and friendly. He was exemplary at shepherding our group of 8 around to avoid the larger tour groups. We learned about the architecture legend that is Julia Morgan and saw several of the private rooms on the upper floors and guest houses. The view from the turret rooms were worth the price of admission alone. If you're an architecture geek, definitely consider this special tour.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 25, 2023
  • TravelJohn092
    Phoenix, Arizona326 contributions
    Beautiful Hearst Castlle
    I went to the California State Parks and made a reservation (many types of tours) for the Grand Rooms tour. We arrived at the Visitor Center about 30 minutes prior, checked in and got on a bus for the 5 mile shuttle. One of the Tour Guides took us through the pools (2 types), surrounding areas of the castle before heading through the castle Grand Rooms. This takes approximately 70 minute and well worth the walk/tour and so informative. This place is more then Beautiful, Amazing! The California State Parks takes good care of this wonder palace. Unfortunately, you are unable to post any pictures you take on any social media!! The Visitor Center has shops and a resturant once you finish and the bus takes you back down the road.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 5, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
6,960 reviews
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Bmoe
uk237 contributions
Feb 2024 • Couples
The castle itself is fascinating. So much grandeur and extravagance. Lots of great stories. We did two tours our guides were brilliant Jessica and Nina. The film
was interesting and well done.
We had to go back down to get another bus up for the second tour what a waste of time all round. The toilets were out of order and the portaloos were gross. They should at least get some decent temporary loos . The food selection was poor mainly fried. Not the standards in the visited centre Hearst would have hoped for. Needs improving .
Written February 24, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin V
Lincoln, NE144 contributions
Feb 2024 • Friends
I wish we had the time and money to do all of the tours. This place was amazing! It will be something that will stick with me for a long time. If we come back this way, we’ll do a different tour.
Written February 17, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

C K
Madison, WI740 contributions
Feb 2024 • Friends
While I have always wanted to see Hearst Castle, I was disappointed that despite traveling across the country I could not see more than three rooms. The website is not clear that you need to have 2 hours between one tour and the next. It is unreasonable to expect people to ride down and up the hill for each tour. It makes no sense. They need to combine tours. When this was mentioned to the docents, they said they shared this sentiment with the administration, but they did not listen.
The tour treated us like 6-year-olds, constantly reminding us of the rules. No gum (we’re adults), if you step off the main carpet, they will take you back to the bus, etc. This was a slap in the face.

The facility has not upgraded its plumbing, so all they provide is porta potty’s. There is no hand sanitizer provided.

We were told that you could not buy tickets on site by Customer Service by phone. This was wrong. You most certainly can purchase tickets at the information center.
I read that there was an onsite museum that could be visited for free. I did not see this museum and would have liked to.

I was unable to hear the audio on the bus because most were talking to others. It would be helpful to Instruct people on the bus to be quiet so others can listen.
Tell participants that there will be a survey and write down the name of your guide.
The movie narrated by Donald Sutherland is excellent.

We were rushed and herded like cows. You must stay in a group and cannot wander around alone. While disappointing, it was not surprising. We were not allowed time to ask questions.
Written February 3, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sophia V
Toronto, Ontario, Canada14 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
The tour treated us like 6 year olds, constantly reminding us of the rules. It was infantilizing. The tour guide herself was lovely. The woman at the Starbucks was rude and dismissive. The indoor restrooms were closed and the portable toilets we were directed to were filthy.
Written February 1, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian
2 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
Pictures can not capture the incredible experience of Hearst Castle. We spent two days taking two different tours and I wished we had another day to go further into the depth of this castle. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and you are free to ask questions. The beauty of the castle is everywhere.
Written January 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MAbelini
Boston, MA941 contributions
Jul 2023 • Family
Our family of four visited the Hearst Castle on a Wednesday in July. We ordered our tickets online and chose the Grand Rooms Tour. This is recommended for first time visitors.

Hearst Castle is a state park and is beautifully maintained. When you arrive, there is plentiful free parking at the visitor center. Every tour begins here. Inside the Visitor Center is a gift shop, rest rooms, some fast food, a mini Starbucks, a kiosk selling the meat from their stock and some coin presses.

About fifteen minutes prior to your timed tour departure time, everyone gathers in the waiting area and then goes outside to board a coach bus. The bus travels up the hill to the castle. Along the way, you may see some wildlife. The bus drops you off at the top where the castle is and you first climb some stairs to see the gardens outside the castle. After viewing some of the gardens, plus the view down the hill and the castle from outside, the group heads into the castle. Inside, you travel through a number of beautifully decorated room including an assembly room and a billiard room , an indoor theater and a large Dining room. The last part of the tour takes you to view the Neptune and Roman pools which are quiet impressive. Everyone re-boards the bus and heads down the hill back to the visitor center. The view traveling down is very scenic. You travel a different route and can see the remains of the cement cags for the exotic zoo.

This is a worthwhile stop on your visit up the California Coast
Written January 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CrabberWheels
Minneapolis, MN68 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
This is a first-rate tour. (We did the general tour -- "grand rooms," I think it was called.) Everything was very efficient and slick, from the narrated bus ride up the hill to the progression of the tour. The guide was tremendously knowledgeable and friendly, very open to questions. The place is obviously impressive and the sense of history from Hollywood's "Golden Age" is really fun. Strongly recommended.
Written January 18, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JT - Colorado
Colorado15 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
Had a wonderful visit /tour of the Grand Rooms. WOW - cannot even try to describe how absolutely beautiful!! Kevin and Mary were amazing guides and extremely knowledgeable!!
Written January 14, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cee
11 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
The reason for the one star was the lack of a decent bathroom. Shame on State of California Tourism Department for allowing the porta potties to continue here at this place. What’s worse are the lies that the workers tell to cover up the problem. One worker at the ticket booth told my spouse and me that the bathrooms were working until the earthquake hit in August. A worker from the house tour told us that the earthquake didn’t affect the Hearst Castle at all since the site was too far away from the earthquake. It was only when I flew home and did research that I found out the bathrooms have been out of order for some time. Strange that there is no running water in the pipes, but the restaurant inside the welcome building (with the porta potties outside) have workers that need to wash their hands with hot soapy water. Does the Department of Health monitor how a porta potty sink rinse passes inspection for food handlers? Who’d trust the food? The Hearst website should have a huge warning banner informing potential customers about the poor bathroom facilities. I wouldn’t have gone had I known. My guess is the employees have a hidden bathroom for their use and the museum/castle do not want visitors to use up the water. If this is the case, please close the place until you build a small reservoir can offer a working bathroom to the visitors. Lack of water is not an ideal situation for elderly, young children, females, people with health issues that necessitate a working bathroom.
Besides that major deterrent, the castle is beautiful and deserves five stars. Just can’t give it because of the poor sanitary conditions. We went on three tours, and the tour operators would do well to offer multiple tours combining floors and sites so one doesn’t need to waste twenty minutes each tour riding up and down the mountain from the visitors center to the castle grounds. Hoping for some positive changes on this site.
Written December 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nzp0ppy
Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand24,677 contributions
Dec 2023 • Family
The closed restrooms and portapotties at the visitor centre were very disappointing - and full.
We were disappointed that there were about 50 people (a full bus load) on our tour and the only people that could hear the tourguide were the ones in front - so we didnt hear the info in the rooms and in fact some of out group were out of the guestrooms before we even went into the building - so we got no commentary. didnt hear any commentary at roman baths and we were mid group.

we went to the holiday lights and not a lot of effort has gone into the theme, except for some big christmas trees. the modern gifts around them was a bit tacky.

loved the neptune pool and roman pool. it was interesting to see. perhaps day would have been better so we could have seen the outside and the views.

good to visit once, i wouldnt go back. but would love to swim in the pool
Written December 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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HEARST CASTLE: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Hearst Castle