Located in Charleston, SC, Drayton Hall was founded in 1738 as America’s earliest example of fully-executed Palladian architecture. Now, more than 280 years later, it is preserved as America’s oldest unrestored plantation home that is still open for public tours. A visit to this national treasure allows you to experience Drayton Hall’s new world-class exhibit galleries, education center, courtyard garden, and curated shop. The newly reimagined Drayton Hall also offers an extensive museum experience—on its own, this is worth a visit to Charleston.
Whether it is your first visit or one of many, Drayton Hall’s ongoing research into the people, places, and events of its past means there will always be something new to discover. Drayton Hall is also an active archaeological site, inviting visitors to view artifacts excavated as far back as 400 years. Due to its continuing historical significance, there is no plantation tour or visit to make in Charleston that is more important and impactful than Drayton Hall.
Admission to Drayton Hall includes a wealth of experiences for the visitor:
- House tours of Drayton Hall are offered hourly from 10 AM to 3 PM.
- A Grounds and Galleries Pass, included with admission, allows visitors to enjoy the new Gates Gallery, which houses the Drayton Collections. This exhibit encompass originalfurniture, porcelains, and archaeologically-recovered artifacts, all of which are now on public display for the first time in history.
- The Port to Plantation interpretive presentation is a 30-minute program that explores slavery at Drayton Hall and throughout the Lowcountry.
The landscape of Drayton Hall is as important of an experience as a visit to the house and galleries. Visitors are encouraged to walk the grounds or take a self-guided landscape tour to explore the natural and historical features of the 125-acre Lowcountry riverside estate, including the largest known African American cemetery in North America. Of particular interest to visitors are the remarkable photography opportunities available from the reflecting ponds in the foreground of Drayton Hall and on the walking path along the Ashley River at the rear of the house.
Anchoring the Sally Reahard Visitor Center is the new Lenhardt Garden at Drayton Hall. This beautiful garden is constructed around a magnificent historic oak tree dating back to the founding of Drayton Hall. The garden’s plantings are historically inspired, with horticultural specimens relating to the botanical lists found in the historical diaries of Drayton Hall’s founding generations.
Drayton Hall also offers a tasteful new museum shop in the visitor center, paired with an equally elegant online store. The impeccable Shop at Drayton Hall is now Charleston’s premiere museum shopping experience; it is among the finest places to shop for local Charleston products and historically-inspired gifts. Shopping in person at Drayton Hall and online is tax free and helps to preserve Drayton Hall.