Sample Itinerary: Grand Illumination Weekend

*Dining suggestions are provided at the end of this itinerary.


9:00am “A Colonial Christmas” at American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

200 Water Street, Yorktown, VA 23690
(757) 253-4838; (888) 593-4682

The American Revolution, from colonial unrest to the emergence of the new nation, is chronicled at the Yorktown Victory Center through gallery exhibits and living history. During “A Colonial Christmas” throughout December, hear accounts of Christmas and winter in Revolutionary War encampments and glimpse holiday preparations on a 1780s farm. (Hours: 9am-5pm)

11:30pm Yorktown Christmas Market on Main Street

Historic Yorktown, Main Street, Yorktown, VA 23690
(757) 890-3500;

Check out the Market on Main for unique holiday gifts for family and friends. The market features arts and crafts, demonstrations, roasted chestnuts and hot cider, entertainment, and much more. Available December 1, 2012. (Hours: 10am -3pm)

2:00pm Yankee Candle Village

2200 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(877) 616-6510;

At Yankee Candle, it’s always snowing, the ice pond is always frozen, Santa Workshop is always bustling and the holiday shops are full of surprises for you to uncover. Located in the heart of Virginia’s historic triangle, you’ll find a store unlike any other. With over 400,000 candles in more than 200 different famous Yankee scents, you’ll discover an entertaining, interactive family adventure at every turn. (Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 9pm, Sunday 10am – 6pm)

3:30pm Williamsburg Premium Outlets

5715 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 565-0702;

Finish up your holiday shopping at the recently expanded, PremiumOutlets – Williamsburg, which showcases spectacular outlet shopping within close reach of Colonial Williamsburg. The beautiful boutique-like center offers incredible savings on brand-name stores from Polo Ralph Lauren and Coach to Michael Kors and Burberry. (Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 9pm, Sunday 10am – 7pm)


9:00am Colonial Williamsburg Visitor’s Center

101 Visitor Center Drive Williamsburg,VA 23185
(757) 229-1000;

Colonial Williamsburg multi-day tickets grant access to the Historic Area (including 35 exhibition sites, 16 trade shops, and more than 100 gardens) and museums, use of Historic Area shuttle buses (seasonal), and regular programming. Use these passes to explore the Colonial Williamsburg Historic area throughout your stay. (Hours: 8:45am-5pm)
10:00am Explore Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area

Experience the rich history Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area, while utilizing your Multi-day passes. Visit two of the largest buildings in Williamsburg which reflect the major influences on the lives of colonial Virginians as they fought for independence. The Governor’s Palace, completed in 1722, was home to seven royal governors, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. At the end of Duke of Gloucester Street lies the Capitol, which housed America’s oldest legislative assembly, and established in 1619.

12:00pm Christmas Decorations Walking Tour

Lumber House Ticket Office, Duke of Gloucester Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(800) 447-8679;

Join a guided tour of the exquisite all-natural holiday displays gracing the Historic Area exteriors. Learn about the materials, construction techniques, and holiday traditions behind these celebrated decorations.

3:00pm Holiday Tea at the Williamsburg Inn Williamsburg Inn

Terrace Room 300 East Francis Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(866) 987-6322;

Enjoy holiday tea and cookies in the elegance of the Williamsburg Inn complete with seasonal pastries, chocolate fancies, and live entertainment. Cost is $25 and reservations are required. (Hours: 3:00–4:30pm)

4:30pm Claim Your Seat for Grand Illumination

Note: Recommendation is to arrive at least an hour early on the Palace Green to reserve a spot for spectacular viewing.

6:00pm Grand Illumination

Palace Green Street, Williamsburg, VA

Grand Illumination is the official commencement to the holiday season in Colonial Williamsburg. On this magical night, candles twinkle in the windows of Historic Area homes and buildings, fatwood crackles in street-side cressets, and the heavens explode with pyrotechnics in the Historic Area at the Palace, the Courthouse, and the Capitol. (Special Event: Occurs on December 2, 2012


9:00am Historic Jamestowne

1368 ColonialParkway,Jamestown,VA 23081
(757) 229-9776;

Start your day at the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center, the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Visitors can explore the original site dating to 1607, including the church tower of 1639, as well as the foundations of private homes and public buildings and the re-created Glasshouse of 1608. Archaeologists continue to excavate the original James Fort, from which artifacts are displayed and interpreted in the Archaearium. (Hours: 8:30am -4:30pm)

11:00am “A Colonial Christmas” at Jamestown Settlement

2110 Jamestown Road, Route 31 S., Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 253-4838; (888) 593-4682

Explore America’s 17th-century colonial beginnings at Jamestown Settlement’s exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village, the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607, and a 1610-14 fort. During “A Colonial Christmas” throughout December, a film and guided tours compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of the Jamestown colony. (Hours: 9am-5pm)

3:00pm Christmas Town™: A Busch Gardens® Celebration

One Busch Gardens Boulevard, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(800) 343-7946;

Spend the rest of your afternoon and evening at this international celebration that transforms Busch Gardens Williamsburg into a winter wonderland. Stroll under a canopy featuring millions of twinkling lights while feasting on culinary treats and enjoying the spectacle of Christmas Town’s signature shows throughout the park. (Hours: 10am-10pm; November 22 – December 31, 2013)

Deck the Halls
Country: Germany
Enjoy a live musical tribute to Christmas traditions while creating new ones with your family inside Das Festhaus, At Deck the Halls, guests are invited to sing and dance along to holiday favorites.

Ice Palace: A Penguin Paradise
Country: France
Get an up-close encounter with live penguins in an enhanced-themed world of dazelling lights and snow.

Mistletoe Marketplace
Country: Germany
Amid the hustle and bustle of local artisans and crafts you will find merryment and cheer in this traditional outdoor German market. Mistletoe Marketplace provides an opportunity to find unique hand-made gifts from local artisans for your friends and loved ones.

Santa’s Fireside Feast
Country: Ireland
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus in the grand dining room of Caste O’Sullivan as they host the most intimate and exclusive event of the season. There is a scrumptious buffet prepared by expert elves for your enjoyment and Mrs. Clause will be dazzling the dining room, passing the cookie tray and spreading holiday cheer. Join Santa for the 1:30 p.m. lunch time and enjoy early entry into Christmas Town.


10:30am An Old English Holiday Brunch

Williamsburg Lodge, 310 South England Street, Williamsburg, VA
(757) 253-2277;

Enjoy longtime favorites, regional specialties, all-American cuisine, and delicious chocolate desserts in a comfortable setting at the Williamsburg Lodge. $28.95 adults: $14.95 childrens 6-12 (children 5 and under ar free) plus tax and gratuiry. Reservations are recommended. (Hours: 10:30 am-2pm: December 4, 11 and 18, 2012).

Dining Suggestions

Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill
199 South Boundary Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 253-1847;

Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill, located in Merchants Square, one block from Historic Colonial Williamsburg, occupies a building that, beginning in the late 1930′s, was home to Person’s Williamsburg Ford Dealership and Esso station. Chosen by locals as “Best Seafood Restaurant” in Williamsburg for over ten years, Berret’s offers two dining choices in one convenient location. The Restaurant specializes in regional seafoods prepared with both traditional and contemporary recipes, an extensive wine list and locally-brewed beers.

Blue Talon Bistro
420 Prince George Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 476-2583;

Blue Talon Bistro offers a rare combination of casual comfort and quality that makes both newcomers and regulars feel completely at ease. Chef David Everett’s focus on Serious Comfort Food gives him and his staff the chance to offer both traditional favorites and original creations that demonstrate both his renowned culinary talent and insight into modern dining. An innovative wine list, outstanding service and a warm and inviting atmosphere complete the picture, leaving guests eager to return for another visit.

The Cheese Shop
410 W Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 220-0298;

Grab a quick sandwich or salad while enjoying the character of Colonial Williamsburg at this family run shop, where you’ll find local family and friends cooking, reconnecting and often with a glass of wine in hand. (Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-6pm)

Giuseppe’s Italian Grille
5601-1 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 565-0197;

Giuseppe’s Italian Grille is continually voted “the best” by Williamsburg locals. Entrée specials are prepared in the true Northern and Southern Italian style. Contemporary pasta dishes with flair to excite your dining experience. Reservations are accepted. (Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30am-2pm and 5pm-9pm; Friday-Saturday 11:30am-2pm and 5pm-9:30pm; Sunday Closed)

Visitor Center Promenade
Located along the Visitor Center Promenade and adjacent to the Woodlands Hotel & Suites, this casual, family-focused eatery offers savory everyday favorites such as house-made soups, oversized burgers, specialty wraps, pasta, and fresh, hand-tossed pizza baked in an Italian-made oven.* Save a little room for one of Huzzah’s mouth-watering signature desserts.

Jamestown Settlement Café
2110 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 253-2571;

The Jamestown Settlement Café provides a great lunch option after viewing the Living History Museum. In addition to burgers & sandwiches, they provide fresh salads, homemade Brunswick stew, pulled pork BBQ and great vegetarian options. (Hours: 9am-5pm)

Riverwalk Restaurant
323 Water Street, Suite A-1, Yorktown, VA 23690
(757) 875-1522;

The Riverwalk Restaurant offers waterfront dining on the shores of the York River in historic Yorktown, Virginia. The menus offered in our three dining rooms take full advantage of the wide variety of seafood available in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Lamb, poultry, and beef are also well-represented and are prepared with both traditional and contemporary recipes. (Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm and 5pm – 9pm)

Williamsburg Cupcake
4917-A Courthouse Street, Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 603-6633;

Celebrating the cupcake phenomenon, Williamsburg Cupcake serves custom made gourmet delicacies. The quaint bakery is dedicated to quality, bakes in small batches and uses only the finest and freshest ingredients. Treats worth your while!