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Hearst Castle and Filoli Gardens

Photo credit Daderot

Photo credit Daderot

Enjoy English gardens? If you can’t quite manage a trip to the UK, you can visit a very English garden not too far away. Located south of San Francisco in Woodside, Filoli is a magnificent estate originally built by the owner of the Empire Mine in 1917. It was expanded and developed by several wealthy families before being gifted to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975. Now it is open to the public: as well as strolling the grounds and visiting the house, there are numerous classes in subjects ranging from flower arranging to botanical drawing to orchard care. Check out their excellent website for all the details, and enjoy a very English garden right here at home: and don’t miss the tea shop!

Where: Filoli, 86 Canada Road, Woodside, CA 94062,USA: approx.. 1 hour south of San Francisco on Hwy 280

Company website: http://www.filoli.org

What to do there: garden and house visits, educational programs

Country Visa info: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Cost: Adults $20, Seniors $17, Students $10

Time: 10am to 3:30pm Tuesdays through Sundays from February 10 through October 25.

Food: excellent café on site

Family experience: Good for older children who enjoy nature.


Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle by TravellingOtter on FlickrFurther south along the coast be sure to stop at the iconic Castle built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1947. A playground for the rich and famous of the day, the Julia Morgan designed house is fascinating to explore, and gardens highlight the amazing views from the hilltop location. The visitor center provides a good introduction to California history in the area and the life of the Hearst family. The bus ride to the top of the hill is awesome!

Where: Hearst Castle, 750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, CA, 93452, USA: approx.. 4 hour south of San Francisco

Company website: hearstcastle.org

What to do there: garden and house visits, visitors center with gift shop and food

Country Visa info: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Cost: Adults $25 and up, children $12, under 5 free –various tours/packages available.

Time: Open at 9am daily except holidays

Food: café at visitors center

Family experience: Good for older children who enjoy history