Charleston is home to churches, buildings, and homes that date as far back as the 16th century. These incredible examples of architecture play a huge roll in both the city’s character and charm. Take a step back in time, and read on to discover five essential Charleston historic house tours. Afterward, if you’d like more recommendations on the city’s most iconic landmarks, download our free Charleston Area Destination Guide. Our carefully crafted guides are full of suggestions for museums, art galleries, gardens, top restaurants, and more.
5 of the Best Charleston Historic House Tours
1. Nathaniel Russell House
Nathaniel Russell House is one of America’s most important neoclassical dwellings. It was once the home of Charleston merchant Nathaniel Russell. The house was built in 1808 and cost over $80,000 to build at the time. Tours of this elite 19th-century home are available daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
2. Aiken-Rhett House
After your visit at the Nathaniel Russell House, you must also visit the Aiken-Rhett House. This antebellum home was once owned by the powerful and wealthy Governor William Aiken. Today, it is one of the best-preserved townhouse complexes in the United States. Tours are available daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you would like to save money on house tours at Nathaniel Russell and Aiken-Rhett, buy a combination ticket.
3. Calhoun Mansion
Calhoun Mansion is one of Charleston’s most unique house tours. As you wander the halls and rooms of this 19th-century home, you will discover historic art collections, antiques, furniture, and more. Not only is the mansion stunning, but the relics inside of it give visitors a glimpse into the lives of the people of Old Charleston. Tours of the Calhoun Mansion are available from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
4. Heyward-Washington House
Heyward-Washington House dates back to 1772. It was the home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., one of the four South Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence. This Georgian-style double house features the only 1740s kitchen building that is open to the public. The home’s garden is also a beautiful place to explore 18th-century gardening and the many plants used in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Tours are available daily.
5. Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
No list of Charleston house tours is complete without Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. Recently, Travel + Leisure named Magnolia one of America’s most beautiful gardens. The plantation was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family and is the oldest public garden in America. Not only can you tour the gardens, but you can also tour the Plantation House where the Drayton family once lived. For more information on tours, visit the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens website.
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If you are looking for another fun way to explore the Charleston peninsula, read our blog on the city’s best walking tours!