A Guide to The Newport Mansion Tours

a guide to the newport mansions
Any travel guide of Newport, Rhode Island should include the Newport Mansion Tour. (Some people even go every year during their recurring vacation.) I thought it would be helpful to recap our experience and why we chose the package we did, and then give an overview of each of the mansions.

Guided vs Self-Guided Tours

James had done the mansion tours previously when his family vacationed in Newport, and he had done the self-guided in the past and liked it, so that’s what we did. The self-guided tours give you a headset and phone/iPad and you go through the mansions room-by-room at your own pace. You can skip through rooms or stay in one for as long as you’d like as you listen along to the program and learn about the history of the room you’re in.

As always, buy tickets ahead of time to save time and ensure you are let in. There are often two lines for those who have tickets and those who do not.

Choosing Which Mansions to Visit

We chose the package with 5 mansions (Breakers, Elms, Rosecliff, Marble House, and the Topiary Garden) and felt that was adequate. I don’t think you need to see ALL of them, just visit the most popular ones above.

Best Times to Visit

As with any tourist attraction, it’s best to visit during off-peak hours and on off-peak days. We went in the middle of the week and after lunch. If possible, avoid the weekends and try to go right when they open or later in the day about two hours before they close. There’s a lot of outdoor walking involved, so it’s best to go on a day when its not super rainy. Parking can fill up fast, but there are various nearby lots and streets if the main lots are full.

The Mansions We Visited

Rosecliff Mansion

The Rosecliff was built in 1902 at a reported cost of $2.5 million. Fun fact: scenes from several films have been shot at Rosecliff, including The Great Gatsby, True Lies, and 27 Dresses.

My favorite parts were the beautiful, intricate ceilings and the extravagant chandeliers. Oh and the backyard and garden weren’t too shabby either – see the views below.

rosecliff newport
rosecliff mansion
rosecliff mansion chandelier
backyard of rosecliff mansion
ceiling of rosecliff mansion
rosecliff mansion gardens
rosecliff mansion photo spots
statue at rosecliff mansion
view from the rosecliff mansion

Marble House

Marble House was built in the late 1890’s for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt as their summer house. It was actually given to Mrs. Vanderbilt as a 39th birthday present. Must be nice, huh? On the same property is the Chinese Tea House, where she hosted rallies for women’s right to vote.

marble house newport rhode island

marble house newport kitchen

Chinese Tea House newport rhode island

The Elms

The Elms was constructed in 1901 at reportedly approximately $1.4 million. This mansion to me had the most unique interiors with rich colors, fabrics, and patterns throughout. Check out the old-school toilet below.

the elms newport rhode island

the elms mansion

the elms mansion bedroom

the elms garden newport

statue the elms mansion

willow tree newport rhode island

newport mansion toilet

The Breakers

The Breakers is the largest of the mansions, and the one I think you should save for last. It’s symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America. The Breakers was home to many of the Vanderbilt children, so you get to see their play areas, bedrooms, and more.

the breakers mansion newport

the breakers newport rhode island

the breakers view from inside

the breakers mansion fireplace

girls bedroom the breakers mansion

The Green Animals Topiary Garden is 7 acres of beautiful flowers, plants, shrubs, and topiaries. I don’t know anythign about topiaries or landscaping (or even gardening, if we’re being honest), so I was really amazed at how they can construct these crazy objects out of shrubs.

green animal topiary bears

newport topiary garden

orange flowers topiary garden

topiary fence

hydrangeas newport rhode island

chair topiary

dahlia newport rhode island

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.