Insider's Guide to Newport

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 28 Reviews

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  • Location: Newport, Rhode Island
  • Duration:  3 - 4.5 hours
The magnificent 19th-century mansions along Newport’s famous Ocean Drive (10-Mile Drive) are truly a sight to be seen. On your guided walking tour of The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Isaac Bell House or Chateau-sur-Mer, you’ll feel like royalty as you marvel at the grand exteriors, lavish interior décor and opulent gardens. Inspired by Victorian, Italian Renaissance and French architecture, many of these mansions are now US National Historic Landmarks!

Highlights

  • Mansion tour along Ocean Drive in Newport
  • Enjoy a scenic drive down historic Ocean Drive with your informative guide
  • Take a walking tour of The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Isaac Bell House or Chateau-sur-Mer
  • Marvel at the ornate, lavish interior furnishings and walk through the sculpted gardens
  • Learn about the history of the families who built these iconic Newport landmarks
  • Choose one or two mansions to visit

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Newport Mansion Tour Along Ocean Drive

Newport Mansions

At your selected time, meet at the Newport Visitor’s Center to begin your drive along Newport’s famous Ocean Drive (also known as 10-Mile Drive). You have the option to visit one or two mansions of your choice; simply inform your guide of what you’d like to visit before your tour begins.

Enjoy a comfortable drive by coach or minivan down this treasured stretch of road while hearing historical facts and anecdotes. Ocean Drive is lined with numerous jaw-dropping million-dollar mansions that were once 19th-century houses of the New York elite, who escaped to Rhode Island during the summers. All these mansions played a role in transforming Newport’s coast from a quiet summer colony of wooden cottages to a legendary resort town brimming with opulent palaces.

Visit either of the Vanderbilt family’s homes: The Breakers, the grandest of Newport's summer houses, or Marble House, both US National Historic Landmarks. These were symbols of the family's social and financial reputation at turn of the century.
Modeled after the mid-18th-century French chateau d'Asnieres outside Paris, The Elms was the summer residence of the Berwind family, who made their fortune in the Pennsylvania coast industry. Be sure to take a walk through the elaborate Classical Revival gardens.

Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles.

The Isaac Bell House is one of the country's best surviving examples of shingle-style architecture. Designed for Isaac Bell, a wealthy cotton broker and investor, this mansion is also a US National Historic Landmark.

Chateau-sur-Mer is a landmark of High Victorian architecture, furniture, wallpapers, ceramics and stenciling. It was the most palatial residence in Newport from its completion in 1852 until the appearance of the Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s, and hosted many elaborate, lavish parties.

After your mansion tour, you’ll end with a scenic drive back to the Newport Visitor’s Center.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

The bus tour and walking tours 2 Mansions went well--learned about the people of the past, their thought process and what they wanted in the their lives to be shared by their family and friends. Tour with LIVE people were the best-- the interaction, ability to ask questions, and be challenged was a major draw. Recorded tours are OK- less costly for sure, but may not add to the P and L in the long run.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Wonderful time. Rained every day, but did not care. Mansions were beautiful. Currently re-paving major downtown street. Everybody was extremely friendly.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Guide on time, knowledgeable and friendly. Tour very worth taking.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Good tour of the Newport area and insights into the history behind the mansions. Also took the tour of the Breakers and Elms mansions - both were very informative. Would suggest the addition of the tour behind the scenes at the Elms to see how the servants worked. Tours take a good 2-3 hours each so plan accordingly - we were able to work this over two days since the tour tickets do not expire. Great experience!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

The man who drove the van and his helper were very knowledgeable and helpful!! The mansions which we got to see 3 of them were very interesting, we even entered more numbers into audio tour to get more information on different areas of interest.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

This tour was amazing!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

My fiancee and myself went on this tour and it was excellent ! The van was spotless.The tour guide was excellent and very well informed. The drive along Ocean Drive was beautiful.
We went on to tour The Breakers and Marble House ..it was very beautiful, informative and was so very ostentatious.
Newport is full of history and how much wealth and privilege some acquired at that moment in time.
Will definitely return !

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

The enjoyed our tour of Ocean Drive Newport RI. The minivan held 10 passengers so we were not in a large, cumbersome group. We visited two mansions individually as part of our tour. The driver dropped us at Breakers and we had tickets for bus transport to the next mansion and back to the port. We had a great tour and a fun day at Newport.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

This tour was amazing!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

The tour starts at the Visitors Center which was easy to find and had parking. Cost of parking was expensive. Our tour guide Bob provided a wealth of information on the history and people of Newport. I felt that he "knew" the info as opposed to reciting a script. He stopped and let us step off the bus at several spots to get good pictures. He gave us detailed directions on what to do when he let us off at the mansion for the tour and how to get back to town by bus at the end of the tour. He also recommended some places to see and eat. We had a choice of mansions to see. It was a treat to see the architecture and furnishings up close. The tour was done with an audio headphone. In most rooms there were "featured spots" where you cold listen to even more details on the period or people. This allowed you to go at your own pace. You could walk through the garden to the lawn overlooking the ocean. The breeze showed us why these city people enjoyed their summers here. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour which was well worth the money.

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Tour code: 6026MANS

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