STAYING AT BELMOND Charleston Place, you couldn’t be better located to soak up all that this remarkable city has to offer. Whether you choose to walk or take a horse-drawn carriage through the cobbled streets, there’s so much to see just a stone’s throw away.
Marvel at the playful pastel colors of Rainbow Row—America’s longest stretch of Georgian houses—or head to historic Charleston City Market. It has been a fixture since 1788, when Charles Cotesworth Pinckney gifted the land to the city. Selling everything from South Carolina spices to hand-blown decorative glass, it’s a wonder to behold. It’s the home of sweetgrass basketry too, with more than 50 resident artists practicing the ancient African art—you'll spot some on show at the Smithsonian.
Footsteps from the hotel’s door are a charming cluster of cobblestone streets, shaded by palmetto and magnolia trees. The French Quarter is leafy and nostalgic; the sweet scent of jasmine pervades the air. Historic mansions are set back from the street, behind ornate wrought-iron gates. Step inside the Heyward-Washington House—you’ll find beautifully restored interiors, colonial-era Charleston furniture and a genuine 1740’s kitchen. There are gorgeous churches to visit, too: their rising spires led to Charleston being known as the Holy City.
There’s plenty to discover beyond downtown Charleston, too. Sullivan's Island is a great spot to soak up the sun, and we can prepare a bespoke picnic for your trip. Take a boat tour to Fort Sumter to see where the first shots of the Civil War were fired or, for a true insight into life in the antebellum south, venture to the plantations in the surrounding Lowcountry. Drayton Hall is one of America’s most thoroughly preserved plantation houses, while Middleton Place boasts the nation’s oldest gardens.
Of course, every visit to Charleston should feature a rich dose of Lowcountry cooking. Let your nose lead you and try as many versions of she-crab soup as you can get your hands on. For those looking for something more upmarket, Circa 1886 and McCrady's offer fine dining in spectacular settings. There’s plenty of post-dinner entertainment to keep you out all night, too. Catch a play at the Dock Street Theatre—the first building in America to be used exclusively as a theatre—or take in some of the South’s best jazz at the Charleston Music Hall.
THE PICTURESQUE ONE: Starting from the Historic Charleston Foundation, walk north up East Bay Street, through gorgeous Rainbow Row and all the way to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.
THE COASTAL ONE: Set off from the north-east corner of White Point Gardens. Head south down East Battery, round Oyster Point and west along Murray Boulevard, taking in grand historic residences on one side and aquamarine waters the other.
THE HISTORIC ONE: From the City Market, head west along Chalmers Street, past the charming Pink House (stop in and see some of the traditional local art on show inside). Turn right onto Meeting Street and immediately left onto Queen Street. Walk all the way along until you reach Logan Street, then turn onto Magazine Street and your final destination: The Old Jail.
THE RURAL ONE: Drayton Hall, so rich in history, offers you a chance to reconnect with nature. Start at the pond and head towards the Ashley River, or follow the trail to the African American cemetery.
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