Enthusiasts say it’s always special to visit Hearst Castle, but especially so at night, being under the lights around the Neptune Pool and seeing elegantly attired Living History docents throughout, adding a sense that you’re at the historic estate as a guest of its former owner, wealthy media magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Evening tours at the state historical monument high above San Simeon will be conducted most Friday and Saturday nights through May 18, and mid-week nights during spring break from April 15 through April 25.
The 100-minute night tours on the hilltop start at the Neptune Pool and proceed to Casa del Mar, one of the lavish guest houses. From there, visitors progress into the 68,500 square foot main house (La Casa Grande), where they’ll stroll through the Assembly Room, Refectory and kitchen on the ground floor and then go upstairs to the large library and Hearst’s private Gothic Suite.
Returning downstairs, the night tours move through the Morning Room and Billiard Room, then go into the theater where some news clips are shown. The tour ends with a visit to the indoor, blue-and-gold mosaic Roman Pool and the ride back down the hill.
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Visitors should arrive 15 minutes before their tour time and allow more than two hours for the experience, including the bus ride up to the hilltop estate and back. Tickets are $36 for adults and $18 for those ages 5 through 12. For reservations, go to www.reservecalifornia.com or call 800-444-4445.