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“No cameras inside please!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House
Ranked #5 of 132 things to do in San Jose
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Felton, Pennsylvania, United States
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“No cameras inside please!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2012

The Winchester Mystery House is a fantastic place to explore. This house was built under the direct supervision of Mrs. Sarah Winchester after to loss of her husband and daughter and at the advice of a medium. Starting in 1884 she had construction crews working 24/7 for 38 years to build her 160 room home in San Jose for a cost of $5,500,00. She believed that constant construction was the only way to calm the spirits of those killed by the Winchester riffle and to keep herself safe from them. On your tour you will follow a guide through many of the 160+ rooms of Mrs. Winchesters sprawling 25,000 square foot estate. Since construction never stopped until the day Mrs. Winchester died in 1922, there are many areas that are unfinished and some that are unsafe to enter. Some of the oddities you will see are: the stairway to a ceiling, the doorway to nowhere, the $25,000 storage room of Tiffany glass doors (worth 10 times that now), some very tiny steps to help her maneuver her house when her arthritis made it took difficult to get up and down regular stairs, and the seance room where Sarah communicated nightly with the spirits to get the new construction plans for the next day. During your tour you will listen to an audio headset that will explain details of each area you visit. The tour guide is available for questions. There are a few optional add on tours as well. We did the basement tour for and extra $5.00 and boy was it worth it. Under the house you could see the special foundation that helped the house survive many earthquakes, a massive old furnace, the radiators for the heated floors, and the area where a ghost has often been seen. The only downside to the tour was that you were not allowed to take any pictures inside the mansion or in the basement. They grounds however are allowed to be photographed. It was a shame that we could not take picture perfect memories home from the inside, but it was still a wonderful place to visit. It is also not wheelchair or stroller friendly inside due to the nature of the layout inside the home such as the stairways. The home opened for tours shortly after the death of Mrs. Winchester but the furniture inside is now hers as hers was sold in auction right after her death. A few rooms have been furnished in period style however.

Visited October 2012
2 Thank Heidi M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cornwall, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
307 reviews
177 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2012

This is an amazing house with wonderful Tiffany stained glass windows & doors. It is certainly worth a visit, as you never know what to expect in each room. There is so much to see so give yourself at least 2 hours for the house & longer if you want to see the gardens & shop.

Visited September 2012
Thank Flo413
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
124 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Quirky place”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2012

I have visited San Jose for years, and finally decided to visit the Winchester Mystery House. The owner was a little off her rocker, and the house is a result. It takes about 1-2 hours for a self-guided tour (they provide you with a "remote control device" that you activate when you get to different parts of the house. We didn't get to view the gardens due to their Halloween preparations, but we hear that the gardens are the best part of the tour. They have an extensive gift shop. The house is a nice diversion if you are in the area.

Visited September 2012
Thank peamomma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bainbridge, OH
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2012

The tour lasted just over 1 hour, with a headset/audio device. However, for my family of 4 it cost $100 to get in! We also thought this would include the garden/maze outside when you're done with the tour but it did not. They said we'd have to pay an additional $10/person. I refused after having spent $100 in one hour already. I also thought they should let children 10 and under enter for free or restrict children alrogether, because mine were 7 and 10 and got kind of bored. There was little opportunity to ask the guide any questions because she moves you through with the audio tour. We could have learned a lot more from hearing other tourist's questions. In conclusion, $100 for a 1 hour tour was way overpriced for what you get...and no entrance to the gardens after! Bummer. I think this "anonimous private owner" is raking in the big bucks from unknowing tourists.

Visited October 2012
Thank 245Cal245
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Bad Tour Guide”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2012

Cool place to visit. Dislike the head set tours in this setting. Groups are small enough that they could have the guide giving tour info. Keep it personal and not so "Knotts Berry Farm-ish" Ours RUSHED us through, even saying, Please don't lag and hurry up. We struggled to look at things and enjoy our walk through as we raced from room to room. Once we exited LO AND BE-FREAKIN HOLD.... he was getting off work..No wonder we got a crummy tour. He just wanted to go home. And he stunk. in all seriousness, He really did. No wonder no one wanted to follow too close.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank thevactioner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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