Drayton Hall, An American Icon

When a city is as old and historic as Charleston, preservation tends to be more highly valued than modernization. Dating back to 1738, Drayton Hall is an icon of this philosophy. The site has survived seven generations of ownership, wars, hurricanes, and earthquakes. In 1974, the National Trust of Historic Preservation chose to stabilize the estate’s architecture rather than restore it in effort to maintain its true colonial identity. Southern landscape historian Suzanne Turner once described it as, “the most significant, undisturbed historic landscape in America.”

Located just 12 miles from Belmond Charleston Place, Drayton Hall offers a unique opportunity for discovery and education. Here are four reasons why you should visit this historic home.

  • The plantation is one of America’s oldest that still welcome visitors, and offers experiences such as walking tours of the house, an exhibit gallery, gardens and a river view.
  • Some visitors will appreciate the historic architecture and details of the structure while others will be enthralled with the native and exotic plants that embellish its stunning landscape.
  • The oldest display of Palladian architecture in the country, the stabilization of this structure provides a glimpse at each period of life and design that it has encountered in it’s almost 400 year old history. From its iconic portico to African American tenant houses, the site has a million stories to tell about culture, ethnicity, art, and war.
  • One of the main reasons the plantation has survived for as long as it has is credited to the community of laborers that continued to live on the property and maintain its structure and gardens until 1960. The Drayton family remained in possession of the property from 1738 to 1969. Now under ownership of the National Trust with the support of donors, such as the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, historians and Charlestonians can be confident that the preservation of Drayton Hall will be maintained for years to come.

Admission to Drayton Hall is available from 9am to 3pm Monday through Saturday and 10am to 3:30pm on Sundays. Tickets are available for online purchase or through our Concierge. The plantation also offers the Distinguished Speakers Series, where invited professionals host a lecture and conversation about history, art, and culture.

Make sure to check out Drayton Hall’s upcoming featured events:

February 23, 2019 Historic Entertaining: A Seminar and Wine Tasting at Drayton Hall

  • This event invites you to take part in a historic and entertaining tour followed by a wine tasting led by Rudi Barberi of Rudi’s Cafe and Wine Bar at Drayton Hall. This tour will uncover stories that are not included on house tours and immerse you in the history of the Drayton family and property.

March 13, 2019 Distinguished Speaker Series: Mitchell Owens of Architectural Digest on Connoisseur with a Crown: George IV — Collector, Tastemaker, Spendthrift

  • This lecture will kick off the week of Winter Antiques in Charleston with Architectural Digest’s Editor of Decorative Arts, Mitchell Owens. He will delve through the styles and collections of George IV, including his homes, furniture, china, and art selections.

April 18-19, 2019 Two-Day Landscape Painting Class with Drayton Hall Artist in Residence Laura Lloyd Fontaine

  • Join Drayton Hall’s Artist in Residence for a two-day landscape painting class on the grand lawn. Known for her contemporary impressionism with a traditional flair, local artist Laura Lloyd Fontaine’s work can even be seen in our lobby.