One Per Person
At Your Own Pace
Welcome to the Colonial Williamsburg Tour
Don’t just learn about American history… live it! On the Colonial Williamsburg tour, America’s Colonial past comes to life through beautifully restored architecture and authentic reenactors. Stroll down these historic streets while this tour tells you everything you need to know about Williamsburg, early America, colonial life, and more.
Williamsburg has a long and complex history that predates the creation of the United States by almost 150 years! Dig into the town’s origins, the dramatic struggles which unfolded here during the revolution, and the people who put Williamsburg on the map.
Plus, get insights into the painstaking restoration of Williamsburg, and find out how John Rockefeller was involved in all of it. If you’re looking for a comprehensive exploration of this fascinating town, this tour has you covered.
About the Tour
The first major landmark you’ll arrive at will be the Peyton Randolph House, a gorgeous home dating back to 1715. Its former owner was actually a key revolutionary figure, though you might not have heard about him in school!
Next on the Colonial Williamsburg Tour you’ll 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 onwards, you’ll hear about the origins of the Colonial Williamsburg museum project, including how America’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, bankrolled the whole thing! He was apparently a bit of a history buff.
After that, 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 on the Colonial Williamsburg Tour 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… four days before the Declaration of Independence was signed!
Speaking of independence, you’ll find the Raleigh Tavern next. During the 1700s, this tavern’s unassuming facade hid secret revolutionary meetings within.
Next, you’ll come to the Williamsburg Magazine, an old munitions storehouse. Here, you’ll 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 theatres, you’ll hear a few spooky stories about ghost sightings that have taken place throughout Williamsburg–not especially surprising considering how much history lives here!
After that, you’ll reach the Governor’s Palace, where Virginia’s Royal Governor ruled over the people of this state… until he was forced to flee in the dead of night.
Then you’ll see two of the town’s most historic structures: the George Wythe House and the Bruton Parish Episcopal Church. The former was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was also a staunch abolitionist. The latter actually predates the town itself, and is the whole reason for the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg!
Finally, you’ll make your way to the historic campus of the William & Mary School, the nation’s second-oldest university. Here, you’ll find one of Williamsburg’s oldest and most impressive buildings, and learn a little about the college’s controversial history. The Colonial Williamsburg tour concludes here.
What You'll See
Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center
Peyton Randolph House
Colonial Williamsburg Fife And Drum Building
Colonial Williamsburg Magazine
Play House Stage
George Wythe House
Bruton Parish Episcopal Church
William & Mary
The Wren Building
Preview the Tour
Stop 13 - Origins of Colonial Williamsburg
Sub Stop 16.1 - Pirate Myths
Stop 21 - Capitol Building
Stop 23 - Raleigh Tavern
Stop 28 - PlayHouse Stage
Typically it will take about 2 days to fully experience Colonial Williamsburg. However, you can still walk through the city in only a day if you’re okay with skipping a few attractions. But if you plan on taking Colonial Williamsburg tours, make sure that you factor in how long they take. Action Tour Guide’s self-guided tour takes about 1 to 2 hours.
You can walk around Colonial Williamsburg for free! However, we recommend buying either a ticket or a pass in order to see trade sites, museums, and important historical buildings like the Governor’s Palace, and purchasing Action Tour Guide’s Self-Guided Colonial Williamsburg Tour to be led straight to the city’s top destinations.
Colonial Williamsburg is open every day of the year! Most of the historical sites and trades are only open from 9 to 5, but the historic city also hosts evening programs like concerts and trial recreations that go on into the night.
Colonial Williamsburg offers an engaging glimpse into Colonial America’s past all year long. But if we had to choose a time to visit, we’d pick mid to late October. The average highs this time of year are in the low-70s. It’s the perfect temperature for walking around the city! At night, the average temperature is in the 50s, which is cool but not too cold. But what really makes this time of the year special is the foliage. In order to see leaves with peak color, check foliage predictions in advance as peak often varies from year to year.
The United States’ first president never permanently lived in Williamsburg, but he did visit! Washington started to frequently visit the city after becoming a member of the House of Burgesses.
Washington stayed in various rooms in Williamsburg. One of his most important visits was when he stayed at George Wythe’s House near the end of the Revolutionary War.
The Wren Building is the oldest structure in Williamsburg. When you take Colonial Williamsburg tours like this one, you’ll quickly learn that most of this historic place is from the 1700s. But the Wren Building traces its history back to 1695.
What do we do?
Simply put, Action Tour Guide is an audio guide, map, and tour book – all in one app! We are a GPS-enabled app-based tour that narrates information based on your location right on your phone. You can experience our driving and walking tours at your own pace and literally at any time of the day!
Changing travel date? No worries! All individual tours come with lifetime validity.
No Network Needed
The tour works offline which means you do not need your phone network to enjoy the tour. However, we do suggest you download the tour at your home, hotel, visitor center, etc before you head out for a completely immersive experience.