Charleston has been named the U.S.’s number one favourite city for the sixth year in a row. It’s known for its Southern charm and now has direct British Airways flights from Heathrow (the only direct flight between Europe and the city!). So it’s only fitting that Charleston this week will enjoy a British invasion from the premier organisation for journalists, photographers and influencers, to explore all it has to offer. Yes, the Guild is going to Charleston!
Each year the BGTW combines its Annual General Meeting with its members’ passion for travel by visiting an amazing destination and exploring its delights. From drinking Champagne in the caves of Veuve Clicquot in France to watching the sunset over a volcanic landscape in Tenerife to meeting the ponies in New Forest, the BGTW has explored the wider world at destinations that have fantastic stories to tell and amazing appeal to travelers.
As the UK’s leading organisation of travel media professionals, we don’t just meet in these wonderful locales, we explore them and bring to them life for readers, listeners and followers around the world. We’ll be staying in the gorgeous recently opened Hotel Bennett, meeting at the Gibbes Museum and further touring the city and surrounding area.
Check out our inspired itinerary, highlighting the best to do, see, taste and experience in Charleston!
What top travel writers & photographers do in Charleston
Here are just a few of the things BGTW members will be getting up to while visiting (and what you should consider doing too!).
- Stay at the Hotel Bennett – This newly opened luxury hotel in the former Charleston County Library — overlooking the city’s historic Marion Square — is named for the city’s Bennett family and combines European flair with Southern hospitality. The architecture evokes a grand Italian palazzo-style building and features a rooftop pool and the gorgeous Camellias Champagne bar, inspired by a Fabergé egg and featuring marble reclaimed from the former library on the bar and tabletops (dancing atop them optional). Don’t miss out on the two-storey restaurant Gabrielle Charleston, with its terrace overlooking the square. Rover is welcome too – it’s a luxury dog-friendly hotel. (Learn more about its history in this Architectural Digest piece).
- Tour the historic houses – The architecture of Charleston makes it a delight to stroll the streets on your own. But to really get to know the story behind the buildings, take a tour. The annual Festival of Houses and Gardens, which takes place every spring, showcases the city’s gorgeous homes and green spaces. Some tours even let you peek inside. We’re looking forward to the walk by Bulldog Tours, voted the city’s best. We’ll explore Charleston’s rich history, antebellum homes, gardens and culture.
- Learn the military history – The city in rich in military sites, including Fort Sumter National Monument, the sea fort where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired and the naval and maritime museum Patriot’s Point featuring the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. Permission to come abroad granted.
- Take in some museums – Friends who live south of the Mason-Dixon line tell us that the Gibbes Museum is a must-see, featuring American art that incorporates the city of Charleston. Also, on our list: the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, which features innovative visual art from around the world, and Charleston Museum, where you head to learn about the cultural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.
- Learn about plantations and slavery – The American Deep South is known for its plantations, with their antebellum history and troubled foundation in slavery. The McLeod Plantation is an important 37-acre site where visitors explore the complex relationships and life on the plantation and the struggle for freedom. We’ll be having dinner at the gorgeous Lowndes Grove Plantation, amid 14 acres of live oaks and river views.
We’ll also be exploring the South Carolina Low Country, coasting in South Carolina, day tripping to Myrtle Beach, trekking across the Palmetto State and more!
Former BGTW chairwoman Mary Moore Mason – herself a born-and-bred Southerner – has written recently about the appeal of Charleston in Essentially America