Along with Colonial Williamsburg‘s authentic taverns, artisan trade shops, and 17th-century architecture, Williamsburg carriage rides allow you to travel back in time. The sound of clattering hooves sets the scene as an interpretive guide leads your horse-drawn wooden carriage down Duke of Gloucester Street, surrounded by colonial history every step of the way. It’s one of the more unique experiences in Williamsburg and equally enchanting on a warm and lively summer day as on a snowy and serene winter afternoon.
When you stay at our historic Williamsburg Inn, conveniently located blocks away from the historic area, you’ll be just a 10-minute stroll away from your Williamsburg carriage ride – hop on board and enjoy the casual ride through history.
With their motto “see our city differently,” Colonial Williamsburg’s 15-30 minute carriage rides – which they’ve been doing daily for over 75 years now – offer a way to see the historic area from the same vantage point as you would have hundreds of years ago. Your ride will have an interpreter lead the horses and guide you through the historical sites along Duke of Gloucester Street and around the Palace Green as you approach the historic Governor’s Palace, a symbol of British dominance that spurred the Revolution.
Carriage ride prices are not listed online and are priced on-site per carriage rather than for each person. Tickets are first-come, first serve and must be purchased in person, so it’s best to show up as early as possible at the Lumber House Ticket Office as they sell out quickly. The ticket office opens daily at 8:45 am, so get an early start with our continental breakfast at 8 am and then make your way over to the Lumber House to reserve your carriage ride time slot. A $15 discount is available on the carriage ride if you also purchase a Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket, which provides access to all the trade shops, art museums, and various tours and performances. Helpful hint: an adult annual pass is only $25 more than a daily adult pass, and a child annual pass is just $13 more than a daily child pass, so if you plan to visit Colonial Williamsburg more than one day, it’s a great deal.
Their historically accurate carriages are wood-carved, beautiful to look at and smooth to ride, and can accommodate whatever size group you have. The yellow-hued Romantic Wythe seats two and is perfect for a romantic ride with your special someone. If you have a bigger group, the Madison, Red, and Spraggins sociable carriages have two sets of seats facing each other and can fit four adults (or up to 6 people if you have kids in your group). Lastly, the stage wagon is a carriage with a covering overhead, providing shade during the heat of summer, and with forward-facing row seats.
The Benjamin Lewis Spraggins, Sr. sociable carriage tells a unique story as it honors the African-American carriage couriers who were both incredible horsemen and expert tour guides throughout the many chapters of Williamsburg’s past. If you ride that carriage, check out the “BLS” monogram on the wagon’s side, an intricate and artistic homage to these men who played an essential role in Williamsburg’s daily rhythm of life.
Although Colonial Williamsburg aims to offer carriage rides every day of the year, sometimes the weather can get in the way, especially on the hottest days of midsummer or the coldest days of winter. With the summer days ahead, their team of animal caretakers pays close attention to the heat index, which considers both temperature and humidity. When the combined heat index gets near 100 degrees, the horses take a break between every other ride, and when it gets above 105 degrees, carriage rides shut down for the day. When you visit the Lumber House, their helpful staff will update you on whether the heat will affect that day’s carriage schedule.
After your carriage ride, plan to do the stables behind-the-scenes tour (offered daily at 1 pm with an extra $8 charge for the one-hour tour), where you’ll get a fascinating look at all that goes into caring for the stable of horses and oxen and the daily upkeep of the wooden carriages. This tour is $8 in addition to the daily historic area ticket. The Coach and Livestock team at Colonial Williamsburg is esteemed for preserving “rare breeds” of horses and cattle, Leicester longwool sheep, and three types of chickens. On your carriage ride, you’ll be up close with one of several majestic animals: the Cleveland Bay horse, England’s oldest breed and prized for its gorgeous reddish tint and easy temperament; the American Cream Draft horse, which has a distinctive white coloring, weighs up to 1,800 pounds and is one of the rarest horse breeds in the country; Red Devon Cows, impressive for their quality of milk and oxen, known for their strength in wagon-pulling.
If you plan to visit over the upcoming July 4th holiday, take advantage of Colonial Williamsburg’s free admission tickets on July 4th. Take a carriage ride, listen to the live reading of the Declaration of Independence (appropriate on our country’s birthday), and stick around for the spectacular fireworks show over the Palace Green at 9:30 pm.