Aiken-Rhett House
Aiken-Rhett House
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The Aiken-Rhett House (c. 1820) is one of the best-preserved townhouse complexes in the nation. Vastly expanded by Governor and Mrs. William Aiken, Jr. in the 1830s and again in the 1850s, the house and its outbuildings include a kitchen, the original quarters of the enslaved, carriage block and back lot. When Historic Charleston Foundation assumed ownership in 1995, we adopted a preserved-as-found preservation approach, meaning the structure and contents are left in an “as-found” state, including furniture, architecture and finishes that have not been altered since the mid 19th century. While many dependency buildings in Charleston have been demolished or adapted, the Aiken-Rhett slave quarters – with their original paint, floors and fixtures – survive virtually untouched since the 1850s, allowing visitors the chance to better comprehend the every-day realities of the enslaved Africans who lived and labored here. A 45-minute audio tour is available, last tour at 4pm.
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience Aiken-Rhett House and nearby attractions

See what travelers are saying
  • historylover3
    Somerville, Massachusetts150 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique house museum
    Visiting the Aiken-Rhett House was a definite highlight of our trip to Charleston. The historic mansion and slave quarters were "preserved as found", i.e., kept in the neglected-looking state from when it was donated. (Of course, it is carefully conserved despite its appearance.) So walking through these abandoned rooms and listening to the fantastic free audio tour describing what life used to be like there was just an amazing experience. I learned a lot about the lives of both the house owners and the enslaved people who lived there, and was just fascinated by the whole thing. Totally different than the usual visit to a fully restored house museum. And really enjoyed being able to tour at my own pace. Highly recommend!
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 6, 2023
  • spephf
    Wappingers Falls, New York3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    History of Charleston
    This is an excellent chance to see untouched Charleston and then also compare it to a restored version of a similar house - the Nathaniel Russell House. We thought the combined ticket was very much worth the price of $24. ($15 for doing one house). Both offer very informative audio tours. We enjoyed it very much. And pictures are allowed throughout the property. A very educational experience.
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 6, 2023
  • Julie S
    Baltimore, Maryland8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Incredibly preserved (but not restored) early 19th century buildings Governors’ home and quarters for enslaved people
    Incredibly preserved actual buildings where enslaved individuals lived and toiled. If you want to see pretty things, then this place is not for you. If you want to see the home of an early 19th century Governor that miraculously exists fairly intact, then this is for you.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 16, 2023
  • 2TropicsTravelers
    Orlando, Florida40 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful Historic House
    This is such a cool house! The tour is very comprehensive. They offer the tour through an app - Historic Charleston - and you can listen to it through your phone (bring headphones!). They do offer the audio tour through their devices if you don’t have a phone, which is a nice accommodation. We toured several houses and plantations while we were here, and I would definitely put this one on the top of the list. It tells a lot about the history of Charleston and how people lived. Wonderful staff and restoration of the house. Highly recommend.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 20, 2023
  • donmarNorthHaven
    85 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Charleston must visit!
    I had heard that the Aiken/Rhett House was a truly worthwhile and moving experience and they were absolutely correct. The tour was audio and it not only explained the history of the Aiken Family it also give you a sobering glimpse into the awful hardships the slaves that ran the house faced on a daily basis. People working they were excellent and knowledgeable. Highly recommend stopping at this gem.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 14, 2023
  • mollyandme
    Norton, Massachusetts155 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting
    I really enjoyed this self guided tour. The house has been preserved not restored so there are a lot of original aspects to the house from wallpaper, paint, lighting to furniture. I found it very interesting and sad how things were back pre and even post Civil War. Glad we stumbled upon and went in.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 15, 2023
  • Getaway725709
    40 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Charleston must-see
    This is an amazing house all the better for its raw presentation with multiple layers of history visible. The rear workyard where the enslaved worked and lived are a moving survival. One of the best historic houses I have ever visited.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 3, 2023
  • Kirby H
    Kansas City, Missouri95 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must do visit when doing home tours.
    Second time to visit this home and it is still neat to see as it is not restored like most of the other homes in the area. You can see the bones of the home and get more of a feel of what it was like to live here 200 years ago. The did restore the owners picture since our last visit and did an awsome job. If limited on time or you just want to do a couple of tours do the combo tickets with this home and the Nathaniel Russell home. We'll worth the money and you will see both extremes and get a feel for how the enslaved lived.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 26, 2023
  • junekid
    Riverview, Florida32 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    History Comes Alive
    A lot of history can still be seen in this house. I bet a second trip would allow us to see things we may have missed the first time. Allow plenty of time. The self-guided tour earphones gave a lot of details, and named names.
    Visited May 2023
    Written June 5, 2023
  • Stephanie M
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing History
    This was an amazing piece of history! Unlike the other historic houses, this house has not been restored and allows you to experience what it would be like to find an abandoned house. The best part was the self guided audio tour that shared many stories and historical information. We arrived at 4:00, which only gave us one hour which was NOT enough time if you enjoy history.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 13, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,718 reviews
Excellent
1,090
Very good
450
Average
127
Poor
38
Terrible
13

Lisa M
22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Very interesting to see the difference between preserving a historical site and restoring one. The audio narration was engaging and well done. I appreciate all the extra information that is available for those who want to do a deeper dive. The history of the enslaved workers and their families was respectfully represented and connected to the history of the Aiken-Rhett families.
Written February 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ashley R
Chester, CT4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
The Aiken-Rhett House is an incredible piece of antebellum history that was a highlight of our first visit to Charleston. The self-guided audio tour allowed us to explore this preserved property at our own pace, and really absorb the gravity of what it must have been like for the enslaved people that lived and worked here. The staff was friendly and helpful, and the home and grounds are full of interesting exhibits and things to look at - it really transports you back in time. Plan to give yourself at least an hour to take in everything this unique piece of Charleston history has to offer.
Written February 3, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ana M
5 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
Definitely either bring your own headphones or borrow theirs; the guided audio tour is very informative and well written. Plan to stay for about one and a half hours. My 11 year old son, my mom, and I all enjoyed it. So worth it!
Written January 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bethany M
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
My husband and I loved touring this house! The staff were nice and helpful with our questions. I love that the place has been left unrestored and gives that authentic vibe. It’s easy to get lost in the history especially with the audible guide provided. I could have stayed for hours! Highly recommend if you love history and antiques!
Written January 6, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LindsZ
Plymouth, MN72 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Couples
This was a cool experience to see a home that was preserved vs restored. They had audio guided tour which I always appreciate with “extras” if you wanted to dive deepen certain subjects. I appreciated that they told the whole story of the home including the oppressed enslaved on the property.

My only complaint is that the tour was a bit out of order and have some things closed or roped off or you had to walk through rooms to get to the right place. It didn’t follow the audio.
Written December 31, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Amy B
9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Friends
Unique preserve "as-is" property with beautiful woodwork, artwork, and many original pieces/fixtures I've never seen before! The staff was very knowledgeable, and the giftshop has affordable options like silver-plated antique replica spoon for $28. I also liked the combo ticket price with Nathaniel Russell house. Historical society ownership is doing a great job.
Written November 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Laurel H
Freeland, MD36 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Friends
It was interesting. Staff weren't overly helpful. Place was amazing. Had issues with the iPhone but would recommend doing this. I would recommend seeing this property
Written November 12, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

fabdog
Williamsburg, VA407 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
We visited both here and the Russell house. The Aiken Rhett house is preserved, not restored, so in some places really showing its age, but well done. the Audio tour on the Ipod was excellent, lets you go at your own pace
Written November 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ZiggyPG
Pittsburgh, PA173 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
This is a most interesting house. As the tour says, it is preserved, not restored so you will not see the beautiful home as it once was. But also as the tour says, how should they restore it - as it was originally in 1820 or after owners remodeled it decades later? It provides a good look at how Charleston’s aristocracy lived and what it took to provide that lifestyle, including untouched slave quarters for stark comparison. My only wish was that they provided docent-led tours rather than the self-guided tours using your phone - I like to ask questions.
Written November 2, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RayPharm
New York41 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
I'm having a hard time with this review. This was my second visit; I first visited this house in the late '80s (before Hurricane Hugo). The condition of the interior is not due simply to age, but damage from the Hurricane. It was depressing to see the change. But as a history buff, I still have to recommend a visit.
Written October 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 1,695
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Aiken-Rhett House - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Aiken-Rhett House

According to Tripadvisor travelers, these are the best ways to experience Aiken-Rhett House:



Aiken-Rhett House Information

Excellent Reviews

1,090

Very Good Reviews

450

Aiken-Rhett House Photos

512