Winchester Mystery House: Tour & Experience

1/22/2017

Sidenote: This blog post was written and prepped last November, but I never got a chance to upload it (Okay, okay. I forgot.). I know it's late, but the Winchester House isn't a time sensitive place and I figure it might still be helpful for anyone out there who may be debating going. So, please excuse the pumpkins. 

My mum has somehow made me a fan of the show Ghost Adventures. I don't know how or when it happened, but it did. I am now a Zak Bagans supporter and I laugh when I hear the word "step". Oy vey. Prior to my leaving for vacation, me and my mother watched both lockdowns that took place at the Winchester Mystery House. It's on her bucket list of places she wants to visit and half sulked/half demanded I go there to take photos so she can live vicariously through me (confusing times, aye?). Sadly it is not permitted to take photos during the tour itself, to prevent future visitors from getting spoilt. Confusing seen as the whole house was on a TV show, but alrighty. I can respect some rules. I did my best in the photo department, but this reasoning for this post is to clue you up on the pricing, tour and whether I thought it was worth a visit. Remember all thoughts are my own.


Unavoidably, this is going to cost a good chunk of money. It's the ultimate tourist attraction. Is it worth it? Yes, absolutely. But only if the history of the house and everything that goes alongside it interests you. I booked our tickets through Groupon, which saved us $18 and then on top of that, I had a coupon of 25% off. I love these deal sites for day trips. GetYourGuide is another great one and went to good use during our trip to Scotland. These sites are always worth a look. The apps are good and easy to navigate, which is a bonus. 

Back to the house.. You enter through the very large gift shop that will rob you of all your money and either buy your tickets there or hand the electronic ones over to the clerk, who then tells you what time your tour is. The gardens are beautiful and if you have some time to kill, take a wander. They do free guided tours of said gardens at certain times, so that is worth asking about if it interests you. Which I would recommend. We didn't, as we were on a time crunch, but given how much the tickets are, it is worth it to get the freebie bonuses out of the trip.

The house itself looks fake, in a really good way. The architecture is wonderful. It's like a funky dollhouse, each nook and cranny offers a new adventure for your eyes. That part certainly didn't disappoint. Unlike some things (I speak being a homebody), the Winchester Mystery House can't be appreciated through a screen. It's just one of those things you have to appreciate in person.



They have a cafe on site, but it really is pricey so maybe think of taking your own bottle of water. Possibly some snacks. Food and drink is not permitted inside the house, for obvious reasons, but it's worth having something on you during the wait for the tour to start if you're on a budget.

In the central waiting area, the house that stores the famous Winchester rifles is open for anyone, so you can take your time (and take countless photos for your mother, if you're like me). There's a game that involves shooting lights, or something of that nature. My point being, you won't get bored if you have an hour or so to spare.
When the tour starts you line up and have the option of taking a photo that you can purchase on the way out. We skipped this step because of my dislike of not controlling the camera (sorry, boyfriend), but hey, fun for normal people! The tour lasted approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. I won't delve deeply into the details as it should be something for you to enjoy with the experience (or, you know, episode of GA). But it was fascinating and I left with a lot more knowledge on the history of the house than I expected to. I don't know why, but I was half expecting for the guide to just say what everyone already knew. Places like the Winchester Mystery House can sometimes, not a tourist trap per say, but you can know the entire history of a building or site going in and yet still pay to hear someone read the facts out to you despite the fact you can just find them on Google. This was different.

For all you people out there like my mother, no, I didn't see anything paranormal nor did anyone else on the tour. There weren't any cold spots and nobody fell at the portal point on the stair case. Maybe the ghosts were napping in prep for all hallows eve! You never know.





All in all, I would recommend this as a day trip, but make sure you have a few hours to explore everything else the location has to offer. There is more to this place than the house. Don't let it go to waste. And most definitely check out the discount/coupon sites that there are to offer. There's never any point spending more than you have to on tickets. 

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to shoot me a question on here or Twitter. (@RootingBranches just FYI)

- Anne x

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