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Founded in 1670 by a group of English gentlemen, Charles Towne boomed as a strategically-placed port serving the region's rice and cotton plantations. It became the commercial and cultural heart of South Carolina and attracted immigrants from Europe as well as free and enslaved Africans. Slaves were sold at the riverfront market, bringing with them farming, iron working and building skills.

In 1861 the Civil War started here at Fort Sumter when the city was taken by Union forces and was practically destroyed. A catastrophic earthquake followed in 1886 and the city's decline was not halted until the Second World War when it became an important naval base.

U.S. Custom House, CharlestonToday the city has been carefully restored and is one of the finest towns in the USA. Its historic district is confined to the tip of a peninsula and here you will find tall, narrow houses adorned with shutters and wide porches, wrought-iron balconies, leafy courtyards and pretty gardens.

Charleston is a delightful place to stroll, perhaps pausing to admire White Point Gardens, the swinging benches of Waterfront Park, the Calhoun Mansion or the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. There are many historic homes to visit such as the Edmonston-Alston House which overlooks the harbor, and the neo-classical Manigault House. In addition, the Confederate Museum, the Charleston Museum and the Aquarium are all well worth visiting.

Charleston also offers a great choice of music venues, bars, and excellent restaurants specializing in southern cuisine, while around the city there are some magnificent plantations to visit including the beautiful Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and the Audubon Swamp Garden.

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Map of Charleston

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Charleston

    Accommodation choices for Charleston

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Charleston. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • Swimming pool at Belmond Charleston Place

      Belmond Charleston Place

      First Class

      The Belmond Charleston Place is located in the centre of historic, downtown Charleston. This is an impressive property. The lobby is beautiful, the rooms are spacious, and there is a rooftop pool with a retractable glass roof.

    • Andrew Pinckney Inn, Charleston

      Andrew Pinckney Inn

      Medium

      This distinctive boutique hotel overlooks Charleston's historic market area and is surrounded by over 300 years of history, with museums, art galleries, antique shops and restaurants right on its doorstep.

    • The Planters Inn, Charleston

      The Planter's Inn

      First Class

      Planters Inn is a downtown Charleston hotel with 64 unique rooms in an exquisitely restored historic building. Each room is a thoughtfully considered sanctuary, offering an atmosphere of elegance and refinement.