Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is a direct link to America’s past. The centerpiece of the estate is the main house, an architectural masterpiece believed to have been designed by founder John Drayton. Influenced by classical design principles put forth by 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, Drayton created the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture. The ancestral home of the Drayton family for seven generations, Drayton Hall was acquired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1974. It is preserved, not restored, offering an authentic experience of centuries past.
Drayton Hall brings history to life, offering daily guided house tours, customizable private tours, and educational programs about the history of the site and stories of its people. Also on the estate is an 18th-century African American cemetery, one of the oldest in the nation, documented and still in use; a place for quiet reflection, it honors the enslaved and their descendants who once lived and labored here.
An exciting addition to the visitor experience, opening Spring 2018, is the Sally Reahard Visitor Center. Guests will journey through a welcome center and orientation hall, an exhibit gallery with rare 18th- and 19th-century artifacts—many never before seen by the public—education center, museum shop, interpretive gardens and more.