If your next vacation includes passing though Colonial Williamsburg or you are a local Hampton Roads resident, seeing Colonial Williamsburg is a must. It is rich in history and education. While you’ll enjoy the beauty of the Colony any time of year, the guided tours are a real treat. As a Williamsburg local, our weekends are spent at the Farmer’s Market downtown and walking the streets of Colonial Williamsburg with the kids to run off their energy. We eat lunch on the lawn, play frisbee and then head over to the bookstore to grab Starbucks.
Summer hit and the kids were bored. I knew we had an awesome resource at our hands, but had never ventured out for a tour. I called to book a Children’s Tour of the Governor’s Palace and here’s what I learned.
The Children’s Tour of the Governor’s Palace (it’s FREE, but you must reserve your spots) is unforgettable! The guided tour is geared towards elementary aged kids, but as an adult I was fascinated. You’ll start out in the maid’s quarters and work your way through the Palace discussing what it was like to live in the palace before the Revolution, how the palace events honored the King and Queen of England, and what the rooms were typically used for. The educational value is woven throughout the tour in a way that makes it interesting and fun, but doesn’t bore little ones. We walked, we learned how to dance in the ballroom, and we wandered the hedge maze in the gardens.
Our tour guide was fantastic at engaging the kids and adults, and answered period questions as well as teaching our group customary etiquette of the 1770’s.
To best prepare for your Colonial Williamsburg visit, I’ll leave you with these tips so that you don’t miss out on the Governor’s Palace fun.
Things to know:
- You must have an admission ticket for Colonial Williamsburg or a Williamsburg Good Neighbor pass to register for the tour.
- Book early. The tours are small groups and fill up quickly.
- Collect your tickets from the Visitor’s Center or the Ticket booth in Merchant’s Square.
- Arrive AT LEAST 15 minutes early to find parking and walk to the West Entrance of the Palace (the left side). That was cutting it close for me to grab tickets and book it to the palace while dragging the kids.
- The tour is approx 25 minutes. We spent 30 minutes outside in the gardens after the tour.
- Bring water! The summers are hot and humid here and your kids will need water while wandering the garden maze behind the palace.
- Bathrooms are right outside the Palace.
- Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic on the tree lined Palace Green while you watch the horse drawn carriages pass by.
- Or grab lunch at the famous Cheese Shop in Merchant’s Square.
- Infants in arms. I can’t say for certain that strollers aren’t permitted, but there are stairs in the tour and it wouldn’t be manageable. I carried my 11 month old throughout the tour. A wrap or infant carrier would have worked well too. The tour was short enough that carrying her wasn’t unbearable, but it would have been easier with two hands free.
- The craftsmanship is stunning. And the colors are vivid, which surprised me since it is 18th century accurate.