Kay Burley discovers the pleasure of Charleston thanks to Heathrow's direct BA Dreamliner flights

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Four thousand miles is a long way to go for a Shag – the dance that is – but Charleston is definitely worth the trip.

The happy South Carolina, named after Charles II, is the home base of & # 39; the six count, eight step moves & it is easy to take in line with the pace & the way of some of & # 39; the friendliest people you won't meet. Once the richest city in the United States, there is so much more to do than just Shag in this well-preserved tourist destination.

The award-winning food, the energetic nightlife, the vibrant beaches with reliable hours of vitamin D and the amazing history – the first shots of the American Civil War were unveiled here – all fought for your attention during a three-day flute- stop traveling.

Kay says that four miles is a long way to go for a Shag – the dance that is – but that Charleston is definitely worth the trip. Pictured is the historic downtown area

Discover a three-mile drive across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from the peninsula to Mount Pleasant and beyond. There are plenty of beaches to enjoy, not least on Sullivan's Island, says Kay (pictured on the bridge)

Kay pictured at the tiny Pink House, the oldest stone building still standing in a fire and earthquake-ravaged city

Discover a three-mile drive across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from the peninsula to Mount Pleasant and beyond. There are plenty of beaches to enjoy, not least on Sullivan's Island, says Kay (pictured on the bridge, left). The image on the right shows Kay at the spicy Pink House, the oldest stone building still standing in a devastated city's fire and earthquake

British Airways has just started a direct route from London Heathrow that arrives late on Thursday and even leaves later on Sunday, so be ready to get up early and stay up late to shrink everything inside .

The area is best explored with a well-informed local guide who can offer a fascinating insight into the oldest and largest city in South Carolina. Think Ernest Hemingway's muscularity meets Margaret Mitchell's romance and honestly, my dear, you will stay away.

The historic downtown is made up of soft, clingy farm features and elegant lanes, and cobbled streets lead down to the rugged harbor, once the lifeblood of the city and another bustling haven.

Charleston was once the wealthiest city in the United States. Now it is a well-kept tourist destination

Charleston was once the wealthiest city in the United States. Now it is a well-kept tourist destination

Striking: Pictured is the aptly named Rainbow Row in the historic district of Charleston

Striking: Pictured is the aptly named Rainbow Row in the historic district of Charleston

One of & # 39; s most photographed bridges in America. A centerpiece for weddings as nervous brides to walk with their supportive fathers to a new life. Beware of brides, trying to get married without a license will result in a $ 300 fine on the spot

One of & # 39; s most photographed bridges in America. A centerpiece for weddings as nervous brides to walk with their supportive fathers to a new life. Beware of brides, trying to get married without a license will result in a $ 300 fine on the spot

Worth a visit are the aptly named Rainbow Row and the spicy Pink House, the oldest stone building still standing in the fire and earthquake-ravaged city. It was rather frequented by noisy 18th century sailors who wanted to refresh and do more than just dance!

A few short steps away is a museum where others who have arrived by sea were destined for a much more desperate life.

Although the dishonest underbelly of & # 39; slave trade no longer defines Charleston, the city unfortunately recognizes that up to 40 percent of & # 39; e slaughtered African Americans through their port.

I was delayed to tears at the former slave market, a series of modestly sized rooms where broken people against their will were traded and violently restricted before being transported further north to backbreaking work at rice plantations, including Middleton and Magnolia – former family sites of British plantation owners.

Charming: The downtown area of ​​downtown Charleston is made up of soft, sticky farm features, elegant spiers and cobbled streets

Charming: The downtown area of ​​downtown Charleston is made up of soft, sticky farm features, elegant spiers and cobbled streets

Both are now historic landmarks. Elegant, vibrant museums chronicling slavery-to-freedom.

Manicured and romantic gardens have been restored to create happier memories for visitors, not least because they are used as occasional weddings for weddings. More opportunistic brides were known to change in public loos and try to get married without permission. If caught, they have a $ 300 fine!

The plantations provided decent food for thought, when we went to downtown in the afternoon. There are plenty of great bars and restaurants to choose from offering hospitality in the Deep South, including Leon's, a former mechanics workshop converted into an edgy eatery that & # 39; t offers freshly baked chicken and / or oysters.

Kay stayed on & # 39; Belmond Charleston Place, which & # 39; t & # 39; effortless charm of 17th century combined with 21st century elegance & # 39;

Kay stayed on & # 39; Belmond Charleston Place, which & # 39; t & # 39; effortless charm of 17th century combined with 21st century elegance & # 39;

The pool at Belmond Charleston Place is practically a work of art

The pool at Belmond Charleston Place is practically a work of art

Clams at S.N.O.B were a stand out reminder of Kay & # 39; s journey. A true taste of the deep south, she says, especially with grasses on the side

Cocktails in the Thoroughbred Club bar at Kay's hotel, Belmond Charleston Place, are a perfect start to any evening of dining and dancing in Charleston

Clams at S.N.O.B were a stand out reminder of Kay & # 39; s journey (left). A true taste of the deep south, she says, especially with grasses on the side. And cocktails (right) at the Thoroughbred Club bar at Kay's hotel, the Belmond Charleston Place, are a perfect start to any evening of dinner and dancing in Charleston

If you haven't tried any grits, you really should, and there's no better place for them than S.N.O.B, an acronym for something north of Broad Street, a joke the staff would gladly explain. Try the sleeves too – they are one of the best in & # 39; e city.

Bars are also plentiful and we sip elegant cocktails at Josephine & # 39; s, dances to live music at & # 39; Commodore Club and finish with a satisfying nightstand at & # 39; a Thoroughbred Club bar on & # 39; Belmond Charleston Place, our hotel, which seemed to effortlessly combine 17th-century charm with 21st-century elegance.

There is a hotel pool, but we really had a dip in the sea, so we decided on a Sunday morning three miles over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge before we hop on an Uber and drive to Sullivan & # 39; s Island. Other beaches are closer, but Sullivan's is less crowded, family-friendly and has some fantastic restaurants on the Strip, including the Obstinate Daughter. The name drew us in, the food and atmosphere kept us there – rather like the Charleston Shag. Try it, you'll like it.

TRAVEL FACTS

Only flying

British Airways flies twice in a week from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Charleston with return prices starting at £ 600 in World Traveler (economy) per person. Please visit ba.com/Charleston or call 0844 493 0787. The service is served by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

BA holidays package

British Airways Holidays offers four nights at & # 39; Belmond Charleston Place from £ 979 per person, traveling from June 1 to June 30. Includes Heathrow World Traveler return flights and accommodation. For reservations visit ba.com or call 0344 493 0122.

Hotel only

Rates for a Deluxe Room at Belmond Charleston Place start from $ 345 (£ 270) per night (excluding taxes and fees) and club-level rooms, including mid-day complimentary food and beverage service, start from $ 475 (£ 370) per night ( exclusive taxes and destination fees), based on two people who don't share. Visit www.belmond.com/charlestonplace. Please visit www.belmond.com or call 888 635 2350.

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