We know that the Colonial Williamsburg experience looks a little different this summer. For example, when you walk down Duke of Gloucester Street, you may not see as many Grand Union flags (that indicate sites are open) in front of as many trade shops as usual. But did you know you can find different tradespeople working in our galleries each day? Or that the blacksmiths at the public armoury have welcomed additional tradespeople to practice and share their trades in their spacious yard?
We had to get creative to protect our employees and guests, but there’s still so many things to do in Williamsburg. In fact, we planned a sample itinerary for you below and we couldn’t fit everything into one day! Here’s an example of what your day could look like. There are a few opportunities to choose between two activities, and you never know what you’ll stumble upon or where you’ll want to linger for more questions, so remember to let your curiosity guide you!
Here’s what the below itinerary will look like on the map. You can download and print our map and daily guide, or use our mobile app to navigate our 301 acres. The best part? Every site, performance, and exhibition in your 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule below is included in your admission ticket or pass.
8:30 a.m. Get Started
Park at the Visitors Center and take the foot path to the Historic Area or take a short ride on our regularly sanitized shuttle busses (beginning at 9 a.m.) to the Palace Bus Stop.
Travel time: The 1-mile walk from the Visitors Center to the Historic Area takes about 12-15 minutes.
Costumed interpreters will be available at the Gateway building to answer any questions and guide you as your start your day. (P.S. Starting your day from a different location? Additional orientation zones can be found at Francis and Nassau Streets, the Capitol Bus Stop, the Colonial Garden, and Market House as well.)
9:00 a.m. The Governor’s Palace
From the footpath, you’re just steps away from the seat of Royal power in 18th-century Virginia. Take a tour of the Palace first. Tours begin at 9 a.m. Small groups are admitted every 15 minutes to maintain safe physical distance.
Travel time: 5 minutes walking
9:30 a.m. Colonial Garden
Explore this garden filled with vegetables and perfumed by heirloom roses and herbs. Speak to gardeners about the surprising specimens you find.
Travel time: 2-5 minutes walking
10:00 a.m. Weaver or Magazine Yard
Watch the weavers at work and find out what they use to dye flax, cotton, and wool into beautiful colors, or head over to the Magazine Yard to discover the Crown’s commitment to the common defense at this military storehouse.
Travel time: 3 minutes walking
10:30 a.m. Check out the Wythe Yard
Discuss Enlightenment thinking and the ideas that shaped the Revolution and the ways that free and enslaved people on the property engaged with those ideas.
Travel time: 1 minute
11 a.m. See a Play
Every day at 11a.m., Jug Broke Theatre presents stories of the 18th century dramatized on the Play House Stage. Check the marquee by the stage for daily performances.
Travel time: 8 minutes walking to Custis Square or 4 minutes to the Courthouse
Head over to the Custis Square Archaeology Project (open Monday through Friday), where a 5-year excavation project is underway. Learn about what they’re uncovering and how archaeological evidence informs your experience in the colonial capital. Plus, you’re just across the street from lunch!
Visiting on the weekend? Or perhaps you have an interest in law? Discover how the 18th-century courthouse connected Virginians to their community.
Travel time: 1 minute walking from Custis Square or 4 minutes from the Courthouse
12:45 p.m. Lunch at the Art Museums Café
Refuel your crew in the newly expanded Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg Café! Natural light streams into the spacious eating area. Then, use your admission ticket to enter the museums for a show and some exploration.
1:30 p.m. See a show in the Hennage Auditorium at the Art Museums
Beginning July 27, there will be a 45-minute performance on the Hennage Auditorium stage every day at 1:30 p.m. Examine the meaning of representation with Hannah Corbin, meet teacher Ann Wager, compare revolutions with the Marquis de Lafayette, hear the story of love and faith that transcended Succordia’s status as an enslaved woman, and more. Check the events calendar to find out what’s showing during your visit.
2:15 p.m. Explore the Exhibitions
Discover more of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg collection on view than ever, from colorful and whimsical folk art made by amateur artisans in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum to objects that are useful as well as beautiful in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Plus, find tradespeople in their temporary workshops in the galleries!
Travel time: Shuttle from the Museum stop to the Capitol stop, or take about 13 minutes walking
3:30 p.m. Tour the Capitol
Hop off the shuttle and into the founding principles of our government. Take a guided tour of the Capitol and learn about your rights and responsibilities as citizens of a new republic. Small groups are admitted every 15 minutes to maintain safe physical distance.
Travel time: 1-3 minutes walking
4:00 p.m. Visit the Public Armoury or Hear from More Voices
Time for another choice! Head over to the Public Armoury to visit the Blacksmiths daily, accompanied by rotating Foodways, Shoemakers and Tinsmiths, or check out the 4 p.m. show on the Charlton stage, ranging from our American Indian Life Series or Created Equal to My Story; My Voice. Check the events calendar to find out what’s showing during your visit.
Travel time: 5 minutes walking
4:30 p.m. Visit the Carpenter’s Yard or Brickyard
Once again, you choose your adventure. Unless you’re running ahead of schedule, you probably have time for one last trade visit. Visit the Carpenters to discover how timber is transformed into buildings with hand tools, or head over to the Brickyard to see how clay becomes the building blocks of the colonial capital.
5 p.m. Grab Dinner
Eat al fresca on the Sweet Tea & Barley terrace or in Chowning’s Tavern’s Garden Grill. Or enjoy a meal in nearby Merchants Square. Check out current dining options here.
7 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Brave Haunted Williamsburg
The fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Take a Haunted Williamsburg ghost tour, the only tour with exclusive access to historic outdoor spaces, featuring costumed storytellers who share their unnerving tales. From authentic 18th-century colonial ghost stories to creepy modern-day encounters, this one-hour candlelit walking ghost tour takes you strolling through town, into gardens, and beyond the barriers to our most haunted sites. This is the only program listed in this itinerary that requires a separate ticket. Be sure to book your tour ahead of time here.
You see? There’s plenty to fill your day with, and we can’t wait to see you!
Note: This itinerary reflects the Fall 2020 offering. If you’re planning your trip for later in the year, the daily offering may be different. You can start looking at our website to learn about various experiences, and given the fluid nature of operations during the current health crisis, we recommend checking the events calendar within 30 days of your visit for an updated schedule.
Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the world. Witness history brought to life on the charming streets of the colonial capital, plus, explore our newly expanded and updated Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg featuring the nation’s premier folk art collection, plus the best in British and American fine and decorative arts from 1670–1840. Check out sales and special offers to plan your visit.