This historic 160-room Victorian mansion was built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune. The many oddities gave the house its name. Here are the Winchester Mystery House tour details.
The Winchester Estate Self-Guided Garden Tour is now open. It will be a completely touchless experience featuring 20 stops throughout four acres of the beautiful Victorian Gardens. Guests will be provided with a link to the audio guide and digital map accessible on their own devices upon check-in.
A visit to the Winchester Mystery House™ is not complete until you have strolled through the beautiful Victorian gardens that surround it. Great care has been taken to restore the grounds to that time when Sarah Winchester had a full-time staff of eight gardeners, and imported trees, shrubs, and flowers from all parts of the world. Nearly 14,000 miniature boxwood hedges, large flowering Carolina cherry laurels, plants, and flowers have been replanted to provide beautiful color year-round. Numerous handcrafted European lead statues and elaborate fountains have been restored. You will see the original mythological statues including Mother Nature, Cupid, a cherub, hippocampus, American Indian, deer, egret, frogs and swans. Mrs. Winchester's fascination with the supernatural is evident in the gardens, where you can count 13 California Fan Palms lining the front driveway! The self-guided Garden Tour includes a guide map and narrative tapes at the 10 major points of interest. Guests also see the green house, garage, car wash, pump and tank houses. Wheelchair guests are invited to tour the Gardens and Historic Firearms Museum as our guests and at no charge (unfortunately the Mansion Tour is NOT accessible to wheel chairs or infant strollers.)
Grand Estate Tour
The Winchester Grand Estate Tour is a 2 ½ hour experience that takes guests on a 65-minute guided tour of the Mansion interior and a 55-minute tour of the Behind-the-Scenes.
Also included in the Grand Estate Tour are the Historic Firearms Museum, which houses the largest collections of Winchester Rifles on the West Coast, and the Antique Products Museum. The Antique Products Museum displays a wide variety of everyday products manufactured by the Winchester Firearms Company in the early 1900's.
Tour Length: 2 Hours, 30 Minutes
Tour through 110 of the 160 rooms and look for the bizarre phenomena that gave the mansion its name; a window built into the floor, staircases leading to nowhere, a chimney that rises four floors, doors that open onto blank walls, and upside down posts! No one has been able to explain the mysteries that exist within the Winchester Mansion, or why Sarah Winchester kept the carpenters' hammers pounding 24 hours a day for 38 years. It is believed that after the untimely deaths of her baby daughter and husband, son of the Winchester Rifle manufacturer, Mrs. Winchester was convinced by a medium that continuous building would appease the evil spirits of those killed by the famous "Gun that Won the West" and help her attain eternal life. Certainly her $20,000,000 inheritance was sufficient to support her obsession until her death at 82!
Tour Length: 1 Hour, 5 Minutes
Behind The Scenes Tour
The guided Behind-the-Scenes Tour adds another dimension to the mystery which surrounds Sarah Winchester's estate while simultaneously offering both a glimpse at an earlier lifestyle and showing the elegance of a lost but gracious era. The Behind-the-Scenes tour shows what made the estate self sustaining, and in reality, a town of its own. Prior to “Silicon Valley,” the San Jose area was known as the “Valley of the Hearts Delight” because of all the fruit orchards and farms. The Winchester estate had over 160 acres of farm and orchard land where prunes, apricots, and walnuts were grown, dried, and then sold at markets under Mrs. Winchester’s own label. This unique tour takes guests into areas which had been unexplored for over 75 years. Tour stops include the Stables, Fruit Drying Shed, Plumber's workshop, Garage, Greenhouse, the unfinished Ballroom, and Basement. The highlight of the Behind-the-Scenes Tour is a journey down into the basement of this 160-room mansion. The basement houses the coal burning furnace where visitors will see the original furnace and directions from the Herendeen Company of Geneva, New York.
Tour Length: 55 Minutes
For Safety Purposes:
Children age 5 and under are not permitted on the Behind-the-Scenes Tour. Wheelchair guests are invited to tour the Firearms Museum and gardens as our guests. Unfortunately both guided tours are NOT accessible to wheel chairs or strollers.
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