Middleton Place | Charleston, South Carolina

middleton place, what to do in charleston,
In case you missed it, or are just happening along this post, I shared a recap of our trip to Charleston, but wanted to do a separate post on Middleton Place because it was such an incredible experience. Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark-- it originated in 1741 and was expanded in the 19th & 20th centuries.



I first became familiar with Middleton Place through a special exhibit at Hillwood in DC a few months ago, so I knew visiting the estate was at the top of my to-see list while we were in Charleston. It was about a 25 minute drive from downtown, a little bit past Drayton House and Magnolia Plantation. I had worried we'd drive all the way there and the only spend an hour or something, but we were there for four hours and really only left because we needed to get to the airport.

We had purchased a combination ticket through the Edmonston-Alston House the day before which included the Middleton House tour. At the ticket counter we were able to pick the time slot for our house tour, and received information on the other complimentary tours that are offered throughout the day. I'll be honest, we were kind of overwhelmed with all of the options!

We started off with the Beyond the Fields walking tour, to learn about the slaves that worked at Middleton Place. This was probably the best tour of our entire time in Charleston. Our guide was extremely engaging and had endless knowledge.

After that we popped into the restaurant to grab some waters before heading over to our scheduled house tour. We didn't realize/remember this until we were leaving and in the gift shop, but the Enda Lewis episode of Top Chef was filmed at Middleton Place-- where she used to be the executive chef of the restaurant!

The house tour was a great way to learn more about the family members, and it's always interesting to see some of the preserved pieces of history from all 4 generations of Middletons. Originally there were three houses on the estate, a main house and two side houses, but they were burned by the Union before the end of the Civil War. When the Middletons returned, the south flanker was the least damaged, so that is the one they decided to rebuild, and the one that exists today. You can still see some of the remains of the original main house in the picture below on the right.

The other complimentary tours included a garden tour, a nature tour, and one that had to do with the animals, but we opted to just spend the rest of our time doing a self guided tour through the stables and gardens.

The gardens are said to be the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States, and I imagine they're stunning in spring when everything is in full bloom. One point of interest is the huge live oak, that is believed to be almost 1000 years old! Interestingly, by formal garden standards in the 1700s, the tree should have been removed from the property, but Henry Middleton chose to keep it. It's pretty amazing to think about all of the history this tree has seen over the years!

My biggest recommendation would be to bring water! We didn't know what to expect, so we ended up having to buy four or five water bottles because it was so hot and we did so much walking. I'd also say to plan on plenty of time to take advantage of the tours, but also take time to just explore on your own.

Have you ever visited Middleton Place or any other plantations?

14 comments

  1. What a cool place to visit!!! I love hearing the history of places like that. The gardens looks beautiful and the oak tree has to be the coolest thing ever!!! Charleston is super hot, I can only imagine it being worse in the summer months! We have been in the 90s here the last week and I'm sure that's where we will stay until like October haha.

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  2. What a gorgeous place to visit, such lovely pictures.

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  3. Charleston NC is definitely on my places to visit list; I've heard so many great things about that place.

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  4. This place is gorgeous! I did a house tour years ago when I was there, but can't remember which one!! Have a great weekend.

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  5. oh do i love a good plantation! and this spot looks beyond amazing. good tip on the water! i swear you never know how long you'll be walking around but i love a good walking tour. great photos girl!

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  6. Middleton Place looks absolutely beautiful! We visited Boone Hall when we were in Charleston last year and one of the things that I absolutely loved was getting to explore a tiny piece of history. Plus they're always so beautiful! That's so cool that there was an episode of Top Chef filmed there too!

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  7. This is so cool! If I ever make it to Charleston I will for sure go the Middleton House!

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  8. Look at that big ol' tree trunk. I love seeing that. This looks like a perfect day trip.

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  9. Never heard of Middleton Place but looks like a gorgeous place to explore!

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  10. The grounds and the garden look beautiful! I've never been to Charleston but after seeing all of the gorgeous photos I really want to go there. It really reminds me to Savannah, and since I loved it there I know I would like Charleston too.

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  11. This place looks AMAZING! And we're planning a trip to Charleston in February, so I'll definitely add this to the agenda!

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  12. What a beautiful place!! I love visiting places like that, so much history which I love. Gorgeous photos.

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  13. I would love to add this when I finally make it to Charleston. Love the history of it and it looks amazing!

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