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“Keeps improving over the years” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House
525 S Winchester Blvd, North San Jose, San Jose, CA 95128
+1 408-247-2101
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Ranked #14 of 64 Attractions in San Jose
Type: Historic Sites, Mysterious Sites, Landmarks
Activities: Group tours/day tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: Visitors can tour the house and gardens once owned by wealthy widow Sarah Winchester, who kept construction going on the 160-room Victorian mansion for 38 years.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Keeps improving over the years”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

I'd already been to the WMH 2 times prior to my Christmas visit this year (2012). Once in the late 1950s, when it was physically dangerous to walk through, and had few working lights and broken floors to make it mysterious, once in the 1980s when our tour guide's spiel was spoken in a monotone and the house was painted but soooo dull. I reluctantly toured it this Christmas with my out of town guests (I live in San Jose area.) WHAT a difference. The house is now clean, and many of the rooms are furnished with actual antiques from local San Jose prominent families. The tours go into FAR more rooms (even without taking the basement tour) and there is access to storage rooms showing what extravagant items Sarah bought that were never yet installed. Best of the changes was our tour guide, Todd or Kevin. He actually showed interest in her history, her house, and his well informed enthusiasm sparked interest in his tour group. The Christmas trees set up in many of the living and bedrooms were also pretty as each reflected the room it was in; they and the plants made it easier to visualize how someone could live in the house. The tour was about 60-80 min. long, longer than I'd expected from my other lame visits. And it was well worth the cost. Just be sure that the family uses the restrooms past the gift store and soda diner (like a good Crackerbarrel store and where you buy your tickets and wait to go in), right next to the free Firearms Museum - which was very interesting, especially for my husband. We went so far as to buy the photo of us with the WMH backdrop as a souvenir. So as an afternoon fun excursion, it was successful. I may even return for the basement tour.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Worth a visit but the TOUR was TERRIBLE”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

Whilst in California we decided to visit the Winchester House, as my partner had read up on it and it sounded bizarre to say the least. Firstly, we only allowed a couple of hours for the visit but there is more than the house to see and this could be a good day out (this is why I scored it two).

Having paid for a tour (house only; we did not do the basement) we were bitterly disppointed. Our Tour Guide Justin, started slowly and the tour was late leaving and arriving back. At the beginning of the tour we were provided with hand devices that looked like phones and told as we walked through the rooms we would be told what number to press to receive an automated narration of each room (which was not very informative). Our tour guide did nothing to elaborate on this information but merely guided the group from room to room, whilst discussing basketball with another basketball fan.

In fact I was so annoyed and frustrated, I took a detour and half the group followed me to the roof! yes - Justin lost half the group and this did contribute to the delay.

I did raise the fact with Justin that he was providing no information and that it was really a self tour which could be done without him - to which I was informed that he was only there, as guests could not be allowed in the house on there own.

Based on other reviewers leaving 4's and 5's, I am guessing its down to the particular guide - so a word of advice when booking a tour time ask who the guide is and if its Justin wait for a later tour.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Secaucus, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Something defnitely worth seeing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

We had a really good time here. Although it is a bit pricy to get in (about $30 per person) it is an experience worth seeing if you are in the Bay Area with a car (its about 45 minutes outside of SF)

There are a lot of stairs so if you are disabled it isn't a good idea. However, if you just have trouble walking and are not wheelchair bound, the stairs are less than 2 inches in height so they are easy to tackle. The house's builder had leg problems and couldn't walk up regular stairs.

It is really interesting to see how the construction just stopped when she passed and they have done a very good job preserving the house.

My only complaint is that they do not allow photographs inside of the house.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“We caught a spirit on camera.....very cool”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

Very nice guide who takes you from waiting area to the end of the tour and keeps your attention while you learn the history of the house. Not many areas blocked from our access. Staff was a little skittish when asked questions about ghosts. We took a picture with a camera on a tripod and a duplicate shot showed something next to the fireplace that wasn't in the first shot. It is an amazing place to visit and explore. Window in the floor (or ceiling) dependent on your point of view was so cool. A must see.

Visited April 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jackson, California
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Its a mystery alright”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

Went there ten years ago. I doubt that its changed at all. very interesting place to see. Kids will love it.. Stained glass aficionados will love it.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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