Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. Because of our preservation philosophy, all imperfections and changes over time have survived to the present.
Transportation to Drayton Hall is not included.
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
- House Tour: Offered hourly from 10 am – 3 pm and last about 45 minutes.
- African American Cemetery: Drayton Hall’s African American Cemetery is one of the oldest documented African American cemeteries in the nation still in use. The earliest surviving record describes its use as a “burying ground” and dates from about 1790, indicating this sacred ground may be even older. In keeping with the wishes of Richmond Bowens, a descendant of the enslaved at Drayton Hall, the cemetery has been “left natural,” not manicured or planted with grass or decorative shrubs.
- Port to Plantation is 30-minute interpretive program that explores the economic ramification of slavery at Drayton Hall and throughout the Carolina Lowcountry – a history Charleston still grapples with today. Historical interpreters present images of documents, artifacts, and maps that illuminate the multifaceted nature of slavery at Drayton Hall in the 18th and 19th centuries. Join us for an important glimpse into the past, and discover the many ways in which enslaved workers literally and figuratively built the Lowcountry economy.
- Self guided nature walks: See layers of history carefully preserved on the 125 acres that surround the main house: the central axis and clear view to the Ashley River, planned by John Drayton over 265 years ago; the striking, defined allée of azaleas conceived by his 20th-century descendants; Richmond Bowens’ camellia; the reflecting pond; the site of the former garden house or the 18th-century live oaks which continue to provide the structure to the Drayton estate.
- Museum Shop: From high-end art reproductions to pieces inspired by the Drayton Family’s extensive porcelain collection to local food favorites, The Shop at Drayton Hall has something special for each and every one of our visitors.
- Lenhardt Garden: The garden’s plantings are historically inspired, with horticultural specimens related to John Drayton’s botanical lists. The courtyard has a selection of benches to best enjoy the seasonal flora and fauna.
- Caretaker’s House: The exhibit in the caretaker’s house highlights the post-Civil War period and the 20th century at Drayton Hall. Learn about the African American community that formed because of the phosphate mining industry and kept the property alive for 100 years after the Civil War. Constructed in 1870, the caretaker’s house was built for a caretaker to watch over the main house and grounds while phosphate was mined on the property. The house has been rehabilitated to serve as a conditioned exhibit space, creating opportunities to see layers of its construction and decorative materials.