Sherwood Forest is the home of President John Tyler, the first Vice President to ascend to the presidency.

Following the "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" campaign of 1840, William Henry Harrison died just 30 days after his inaugural address. Tyler succeeded him and his 1841-1845 presidential term was the pinnacle of an active political and legal career.

Tyler was twice Governor of Virginia, a U.S. Senator, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a Virginia state senator and member of the Virginia House of Delegates. A graduate of The College of William and Mary, he later became Chancellor of that institution. As a supporter of state's rights, he re-entered public service in 1861 as an elected member of the Confederate Congress.

Sherwood Forest, contained in a 1616 land grant, was known originally as Smith's Hundred. Sherwood Forest has the distinction of being owned by two US. Presidents; William Henry Harrison, 9th President, inherited the plantation in the late 18th century. The plantation had several other owners until President John Tyler purchased it and its 1600 acres in 1842. Since then, it has been continuously owned by his direct descendants. In the mid-1970s, the residence was restored by President Tyler's grandson and his wife, the current owners.

The House, circa l730, is Virginia Tidewater in architectural design, and is the longest frame dwelling in America. It was expanded to its present length, 300 feet, by President Tyler in 1845, when he added the 68-foot ballroom designed for dancing the Virginia Reel.

Sherwood Forest survived the Civil War in 1864 when Union soldiers damaged the house and its furnishings, as testified by marks on woodwork and doors, and scars on a French Empire table used by President Tyler in the White House. Also unique to the house is the legend of a ghost, known as the Gray Lady, who has been heard rocking in the Gray Room for more than 200 years.

The home contains furnishings, heirlooms, silver and paintings which belonged to President Tyler and his family. Greek Revival features, added by the President and his young bride, Julia Gardiner, are evidenced by lattice, columns, and pilasters on the porches while cornices, mantles and carved medallions grace the formal rooms of the house.

The Grounds comprise twenty-five acres of terraced gardens, serene woodlands, and lawn by the designs of mid-19th century landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing. The formal garden was partially destroyed by Civil War troops and still contains the bird bath placed in the garden by Julia Gardiner Tyler. There are over eighty varieties of centuries old trees, including a gingko tree given to Tyler by Captain Matthew Perry when he returned from the Orient in the 1850s. The original 17th century tobacco barn, garden house, milk house, smoke house, law office and kitchen/laundry comprise one of the few complete plantation yards in America.


Sherwood Forest is located 18 miles west of Williamsburg and 35 miles east of Richmond on Virginia Route 5, The John Tyler Memorial Highway. The Plantation is three miles east of the Charles City County Courthouse.

  • From Richmond and I-64, take the Providence Forge Exit (Rt. 155), continue 12 miles toward Charles City and Rt. 5. At Rt. 5, turn left - proceed 3 miles- Sherwood Forest is on the right.
  • From I-95, follow signs to I-295 South and take Exit #22 (Rt. 5) Follow signs to Sherwood Forest along Rt. 5. Three miles east of the Charles City Co. Courthouse.
  • From Williamsburg and Hwy. 199, follow signs to Rt. 5. Proceed 18 miles, approximately 30 minutes.
Open to the public seven days a week, 9 a m. to 5 p.m.
(except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day)
Special rates for senior citizens and students
(Kindergarten - College, with college ID)
Discounts for military, AAA members and groups of 10 or more
(reservations necessary for groups)
Box lunches available upon request.

Also of note...

Persons requiring special assistance are encouraged to call the property before visiting for specific information.

Please inquire about use of Sherwood Forest property for weddings, corporate functions and special events. See the weddings section in the Sherwood Forest Website

Sherwood Forest is privately owned and maintained by President Tyler's grandson and his family, who still reside at the estate. Admissions and visitor support provide assistance in the maintenance and preservation of this historic site.

For more information, please call or write:

You can email Kay Tyler, the Managing Director at

    Sherwood Forest Plantation
    P.O. Box 8
    14501 John Tyler Memorial Highway
    Charles City, VA 23030
    (804) 829-5377
    Fax (804) 829-2947

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