One of the largest living history museums in the world, Williamsburg served as the capital of England’s biggest New World colony. Historic buildings are found throughout Colonial Williamsburg, with an excellent selection of art museums in the surrounding modern city.
Things to do in Williamsburg
Take a step back in time as you wander the beautifully preserved streets and buildings of Colonial Williamsburg, which served as the capital from 1699 to 1780. Costumed townsfolk in period dress play the roles of blacksmiths, patriots and soldiers, while Thomas Jefferson makes regular appearances delivering speeches for freedom.
On the edge of Colonial Williamsburg lies the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the world’s oldest museum dedicated to American folk art. Admire the 19th-century folk instruments and an 18th-century watercolour by South Carolina slave owner John Rose, as well as antique quilts, pottery and period furnishings.
Stop in at the Muscarelle Museum of Art that’s located on the College of William & Mary campus. It’s home to more than 5,000 works, including Colonial American and 17th-century English portraits, together with works by German Expressionist, Hans Grohs.
Visit the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, which boasts the largest collection of Southern furniture in the United States. Admire the 17th and 18th-century textiles and the outstanding collection of British ceramics, as well as meticulously designed vintage dollhouses.
Getting around Williamsburg
Williamsburg International Airport is 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre and there are trains that travel across Virginia from the Williamsburg Transportation Center. Colonial Williamsburg can only be explored on foot and is within walking distance of many of the city’s other sights.