Williamsburg, Virginia
Museums & Exhibitions

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Our most recommended Williamsburg, Virginia Museums & Exhibitions

Colonial Williamsburg: Self-Guided Walking Tour

1. Colonial Williamsburg: Self-Guided Walking Tour

On this self-guided walking tour where an app is your guide, narrator, and map all in one, explore Colonial Williamsburg, a beautifully restored colonial town full of actors living out the lives of 18th century Americans. Your tour begins at Colonial Williamsburg’s visitor center just north of the town center. As you walk south, you’ll learn about the earliest residents of Williamsburg and the Native Americans who called this place home when the first European settlers arrived. The first major landmark you’ll arrive at is the Peyton Randolph House, a gorgeous home dating back to 1715. Its former owner was a key revolutionary figure, though you might not have heard about him in school. Next, arrive at the Fife and Drum Building, where you’ll learn about the importance these simple instruments had during battles. If you’re lucky, you may also catch a performance of Colonial Williamsburg’s very own fife and drum band as they march through town. Continuing onward, hear about the origins of the Colonial Williamsburg museum project, including how America’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, bankrolled the whole thing. Afterward, you’ll see the Public Gaol, a grim prison that once held all manner of unsavory sorts. But would you believe it also held Blackbeard’s pirate crew while they waited to be executed? Up next is Bassett Hall, the lavish estate where Rockefeller lived while overseeing the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. Then, it’s on to the old Capitol Building, where Virginia once declared independence from Britain, just four days before the Declaration of Independence was signed. You’ll find the Raleigh Tavern next. During the 1700s, this tavern’s unassuming facade hid secret revolutionary meetings within. Next, come to the Williamsburg Magazine, an old munitions storehouse. Learn the dramatic tale of a standoff between British troops and Williamsburg residents on the eve of the revolution. As you make your way to the Play House Stage, a recreation of one of the country’s oldest theaters, you’ll hear a few spooky stories about ghost sightings that have taken place throughout Williamsburg. After that, you’ll reach the Governor’s Palace, where Virginia’s Royal Governor ruled over the people of this state, that is until he was forced to flee in the dead of night. Then, see two of the town’s most historic structures: the George Wythe House and the Bruton Parish Episcopal Church. The George Wythe House was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was also a staunch abolitionist. Bruton Parish Episcopal Church predates the town itself and is the whole reason for the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. Finally, make your way to the historic campus of the College of William & Mary, the nation’s second-oldest university. Finish your tour by seeing one of Williamsburg’s oldest and most impressive buildings and learning a little about the college’s controversial history.

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From DC: Colonial Williamsburg and Historical Triangle Tour

2. From DC: Colonial Williamsburg and Historical Triangle Tour

The adventure begins with pickup from your accommodation in Washington, DC and heads to Jamestown, Virginia. Learn how Jamestown was the first English settlement in North America, as well as the original capital of the state. Explore historic Jamestown with your guide, and admire the remnants of Fort James. Next, visit the reconstructed Glasshouse of 1608 and walk in the footsteps of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. Continue onto Colonial Williamsburg, and enjoy a guided walk through the world’s largest living history museum. Travel back in time as you stroll through this historic site, complete with costumed actors who bring this revolutionary town to life. Before heading back to DC, visit Yorktown and check out the battlefield where General George Washington fought in the Revolutionary War. At the end of a fascinating experience, soak up views of the Colonial Parkway on the return journey.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Williamsburg, Virginia

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What people are saying about Williamsburg, Virginia

We really enjoyed the Jamestown Settlement. It was all interesting to us.