CHARLESTON, one of the finest-looking towns in the USA, is a compelling place, its historic district lined with tall, narrow houses of peeling, multicoloured stucco, adorned with wooden shutters and wide piazzas (porches). The palm trees and tropical climate give the place a Caribbean air, while the hidden gardens, leafy patios and ironwork balconies evoke the romance of New Orleans.

Charleston’s historic district is a predominantly residential area of leaning lines, weathered colours and exquisite courtyards bounded by Calhoun Street to the north and East Bay Street by the river. The further south of Broad you head, the posher and more residential the streets become. The district is best taken in by strolling at your own pace – though that pace can get pretty slow in high summer, when the heat is intense. Attractive spots to pause in the shade include the elegantly landscaped Waterfront Park, a greenway with fountains and boardwalks leading out over the river and White Point Garden, by the Battery on the tip of the peninsula, where the breezy, flower-filled lawns have good views across the water.

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