The Best Walking Tours in Williamsburg

Start at William and Mary – The Heart of Williamsburg’s History and Culture

Begin your stroll through Williamsburg at the College of William and Mary, whose sprawling and scenic campus is just a block away from the Fife and Drum Inn. Take either a self-guided walking tour or tours led by current students, which take place at 10 am, 2:30 pm, and sometimes at 6 pm. During the three-plus centuries since its founding, the university’s 8,000-strong student body has played a pivotal role in our city’s culture, bridging town and campus.

A stroll through W & M’s campus is a trip through Williamsburg’s many chapters, as the centuries-old architecture of its “ancient” campus exists alongside newer buildings like its Integrated Science Centers, which are less than a decade old. The Great Hall, Wren Chapel, and Wren Building – the country’s oldest academic building still in use and once a dorm, dining hall, and classroom all in one – showcase the historical importance of the school, which educated no less than three US presidents and houses the nation’s first law school, the Marshall Wythe School of Law

In addition to the stories told by its buildings, be sure to check out iconic campus landmarks like the bronze sundial, which dates back to 1815 and anchors a stately quad. The nearby statue of Thomas Jefferson pays homage to one of W & M’s most influential alums who enrolled in 1760, while the beautiful Crim Dell bridge is said to proffer good luck. Every year, the graduating student body crosses the bridge together on their way to commencement, one of many traditions you’ll learn about on your tour through William and Mary’s past and present.

Colonial Williamsburg at sunset

Colonial Williamsburg - Centuries of Tales and Walking Through History

William and Mary’s Wren Building faces Duke of Gloucester St, one of the main thoroughfares through the center of Colonial Williamsburg, where you can step back into time at the world’s largest living history museum. Several walking tours are available, each with a different focus, but all great options for diving into the area's past.

During the holiday season, the Christmas Decorations Walking Tour showcases the traditionally-made decorations that outfit the Governor’s Palace and other colonial-era buildings with a festive look.

For a more spooky twist while still family-friendly (recommended for age eight and over), embark on the nightly Haunted Williamsburg walking tour. You’ll stroll through Colonial Williamsburg’s hallowed grounds with costumed actors who hold lanterns and guide you through an hour of storytelling focusing on the city’s haunted side, with ghostly tales dating back to before our country’s founding.

walking tour group with tour guide

Ahoy – Pirates Along Williamsburg’s Shores

Explore a fascinating period of early Williamsburg on the Ultimate Pirate Walking Tour. Tour guides in pirate garb will walk your group from the Capitol Building to taverns, the city jail, and other locales where pirates once held sway in the colonial district during the early-1700s. You’ll learn about the exploits of famous pirates like Blackbeard, who once looted ships along Virginia’s coastline – the York River and James River provided easy access from the Atlantic Ocean – and was a menace to colonial-era residents up and down the peninsula.

From campus history to Christmas decorations and tales of ghosts and pirates, walk your way through Williamsburg’s storied past when you book your stay with us!

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