Montpelier offers a variety of tours that cater to your interests and help make your visit unique and memorable. Don't forget to check our calendar of events for special events and unique seasonal activities.
Year Round Tours
The Signature Tour
Duration of 1 hour and includes a tour of the mansion
March 29, 2016 - November 6, 2016: Monday-Sunday, 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM, every half hour
The classic, keystone experience of Montpelier touches on a little bit of everything: Madison the man; The Constitution & Bill of Rights; Slavery, Madison’s worst regret; and Dolley Madison, our first First Lady.
Duration of 1 hour and includes a tour of the mansion
Madison and the Constitution
March 29, 2016 - November 6, 2016: daily at 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM.
Liberty, democracy, and the ideas that inspired a nation and changed the world come alive in this tour featuring the life and career of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, as well as the political philosophies and debates embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the "spirit" not just the "letter" of America’s greatest document.
Dolley Madison and the Women of Montpelier
March 29, 2016 - November 6, 2016: daily at 1:30 PM.
Henry Clay once said, “Everyone loves Mrs. Madison.” Learn how a young Quaker widow deftly manipulated boundaries to fashion a persona that shaped Washington culture and forged a role for the First Lady that still influences American society today. Guests will also meet some of the other dynamic and strong women—enslaved and free—who founded, farmed, managed, and maintained Montpelier over the past 300 years.
Discovering Montpelier: A Family-Friendly Tour
June 13, 2016 - September 5, 2016: daily at 10:00 AM.
July 9, 2016 - August 28, 2016: additional tour on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 PM.
How do we know what we know about the people who lived here? Like a puzzle, we must reassemble the pieces of the past. On this hands-on tour for children and families, discover the artifacts, documents, paintings, and the house itself to learn about Montpelier, the Madisons, and the enslaved community.
Tours Included in Admission Price
Duration of 1 hour
Behind-the-Scenes Tours (Year Round)
Montpelier offers intimate behind-the-scenes tours led by our top staff for an exclusive experience. Please contact Haley Backlund, Ticketing Sales Manager at 540.672.2728, ext. 148 to make your reservation.
Meet the Madisons
Reservations required. Thursday-Sunday, 9:00 AM
$45/person. 8 persons max.
Enjoy an extended mansion tour before the rush of the crowds. This special 90–minute experience will allow you to focus on the in–depth details that reveal the Madisons’ style, taste, friendships, and accomplishments. This tour concludes on the south terrace which provides visitors with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. Tickets should be purchased at least 48-hours in advance to ensure availability.
By appointment only. $600/group. 8 persons max.
This three-hour tour of the mansion and surrounding grounds is tailored to your interests. It can include the Annie duPont Formal Garden, the plantation grounds, the galleries, the Madison Family Cemetery, and slave sites; or a visit to the Gilmore Cabin, the Civil War and Confederate encampment site, and the 1910 Train Depot.
2016 Walking Tours
Journey from Slavery to Freedom
January 16, February 13, April 9, June 18, September 10, October 8 at 2:00 PM; FREE
Begins at 2 PM at Visitor Center.
Experience the African American transition from slavery to freedom. Visit sites and original structures that bring to life the generations of enslaved individuals who lived at Montpelier, and learn how citizenship in America evolved through Emancipation, Reconstruction, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. This walking and driving tour will visit sites of enslavement near the mansion, as well as the Gilmore Cabin and the 1910 Train Depot.
Big Woods Walk
Sunday, 2:00 PM on January 24, April 10, July 10, October 16. $10/$5 with purchase of mansion tour. Begins at Visitor Center.
Join Montpelier Horticulturist, Sandy Mudrinich, for hike through Montpelier’s Landmark Forest—a rare hardwood old growth forest consisting of towering poplars, stately oaks, and sprawling beeches. Learn about ecology, conservation, and Madison's role as an early environmentalist. The trail is a gentle 1-mile loop.
Working Woods Walk
Sunday, 2:00 PM on January 31, April 17, July 17, October 23. $10/$5 with purchase of mansion tour. Begins at Visitor Center.
Venture deep into the Montpelier Demonstration Forest on a two-hour hike with Montpelier Horticulturist, Sandy Mudrinich. Learn from experts about conservation and cultivation strategies that generate mutual benefit to man and nature, both in the Madisons' time and today.
Civil War Trail & Gilmore Farm Walking Tour
Saturday, 2:00 PM on February 27, April 30, June 11, October 15. FREE. Begins at parking lot across from the Montpelier Station Train Depot on Route 20.
Walk in the footsteps of McGowan's Brigade on Montpelier's Civil War Trail, carving a path through archaeological remains of this Confederate winter camp to a reconstructed camp street. Conclude at the cabin and farm of George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810 and turned farmer and landowner after Emancipation, on the site of an abandoned Confederate hut.
Historic Landscape Tour (April-October only)
Saturdays, April 2, May 7, June 4, July 2, August 6, September 3, October 1, 1:00 PM. FREE. Begins at Visitor Center.
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to learn how the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over generations of care and preservation.
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Daily Ticket Prices
Prices for Signature or Specialty Tours
Senior (62+) or Military: $19
Children (6-14 years): $7
Children (under 6 years): free
Friends of Montpelier: No charge
National Trust Members: $10.00
Kids are Free!
July 5-September 2, house tours for all kids through age 14 are free with paid adult.