Touring Hearst Castle any time is magnificent but the night tour takes an extra special step back in time when Hollywood's elite strolled the halls and opulent grounds. Volunteer actors dress up in 1930's costume and place themselves in various rooms during the night tour; breathing life back into the mansion while you learn about the rich history of the area. You might pass couples playing poker in the assembly room or a woman reading a book in the library or a man typing in his room.
Tour highlights include House A (Casa del Mar), Assembly Room, Refectory, Kitchen, Library, Gothic Suite, Billiard Room, Gardens, Neptune Pool and Roman Pool features a newsreel shown in the theatre. The film shows snippets of a storm hitting ships, a golf tournament, a wrestling match and an appearance by W.R. Hearst requesting viewers to buy American made goods. The theatre is lavishly decorated with lush red walls, large reclining chairs with blankets set out, and female statues along the wall that hold the lights to the room.
The vast property also hosts a working cattle ranch and an old private zoo which once contained tigers and bears. Some of the old zoo residents commingle with the cattle such as long horned sheep and a pasture of zebras that you might see in the field on the south side of the entrance. After you’ve finished touring, board the bus to head back to the Visitor Center, and experience a new route home, including the vestiges of the “bear pits” that were built for Hearst’s renowned private Zoo.
The Night Tour at Hearst Castle is a great visit for every age. It contains lots of history, beautiful art and architecture, and very knowledgeable tour guides. It is located on Highway 1 in San Simeon. Only five miles north of Hearst Castle is the popular elephant seal overlook. It can be reached from the north via Highway 101 to Paso Robles and from the south via Cambria and Paso Robles.
Note: The Neptune Pool has been drained due to restoration work in progress but the Roman Pool has water.
- Buy your tickets in advance. These tours sell out fast.
- No flash photography.
- Take pictures as you go because you will not have a chance to return.
- Stay on the carpets and resist touching the objects.
- The Evening Tour is 1 hour and 40 minutes long and consists of approximately 303 stairs, both up and down, and a 3/4-mile route to walk.
- Bring water.
- No chewing gum.