Charleston is one of the South’s prettiest towns, located on a peninsula between two rivers. Originally named after Charles II, the city was founded in 1670 before becoming a wealthy colony for the tobacco, rice and indigo trades. It’s these riches that still shine through today in grand period architecture.
All this has made Charleston something of a time capsule. Whether it’s Georgian townhouses, antebellum mansions or neoclassical flourishes, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’d stepped back into the 18th century. Take a stroll along the Gateway Walk, a garden path that will bring you between the city’s finest churches, before turning out to the surrounding plantations. Here, weeping willows bend over long gravel drives, delicate gardens make for delightful strolls and grand houses whisk you back to yesteryear.
You’ll even be able to stand where the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, a 19th century pentagon island in the city’s harbour. But Charleston’s more shameful past is memorialised too, in the superb Charleston Museum and the unnerving Old Slave Mart. There’s even the Provost Dungeon, a real life pirate prison. And the best way to see it all? A horse and carriage tour, of course, as you play the role of the landed gentry.
You’ll also want to linger longer for the city’s unique geography, formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers running into the Atlantic. This dynamism has formed a collection of idyllic beaches – ideal for everything from sandcastles to surfing. Perhaps take to the water in an 84-foot tall ship schooner to explore Charleston’s coastal islands, divided by arterial waterways.
Top itineraries in Charleston
This tailor-made itinerary will see you discover the Southern gem of the Carolinas, Charleston, where antebellum mansions, historic plantations and neoclassical architecture truly take you back to a time gone by.
They say The Carolinas is a land of contrasts and it's true – atmospheric mountainscapes vie with pristine beaches for your attention in a region of incredible natural beauty. This seldom-travelled part of the USA provides nature, relaxation, adventure and history in abundance.
Showcase everything historic cities to island retreats on this coastal road trip, complete with luxury stays and private touring. Enjoy Southern lunches, spot nesting turtles and tour Miami's Art-Deco delights. It's the perfect introduction to South Carolina, Georgia and Florid
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Top places to stay in Charleston
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British Airways has announced direct, non-stop flights between South Carolina and London, commencing spring 2019.
There is something special, something alluring about Charleston, South Carolina. Perhaps it’s the 18th-century grandeur, the garden-lined charm of its antebellum houses or its spectacular surrounds of white-sand beaches and pristine barrier islands. It really is three destinations in one.
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