The Brandywine Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania has been one of the country’s most breathtaking and sought-out locations in the United States for centuries. It sits beside the Brandywine River, which winds into Delaware and is surrounded by rolling hills and valleys that inspired some of the country’s most notable artists, including N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle.
Today, this area that partially resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania, remains a top national tourist destination. It’s been nicknamed “America’s Garden Capital” for its abundance of lush garden attractions.
From stunning nature and gardens, to wine tours and farm-to-table feasts, the following are some of the top things to do in Brandywine Valley PA. You can explore the Brandywine Valley in both Pennsylvania and Delaware, with the following attractions just a short drive away from each other.
West Chester’s Brandywine Valley Things to Do
1. Brandywine River Conservancy and Museum of Art
The Brandywine River Conservancy and Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, is the best place to go to see the works of American artists N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth. The museum features galleries dedicated to each of these artists, who drew inspiration from the surrounding area. Other works in the museum focus on Brandywine Valley artists and art inspired by the area, including 19th- and 20th-century landscape paintings, still lifes, portraits and illustrations.
In addition to permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum’s one of the best Brandywine River Valley things to do because it regularly hosts events like concerts and art classes.
2. Chanticleer Garden
Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is the site of the former home of the Rosengarten family. The space includes a Teacup Garden and the Chanticleer Terraces, which feature seasonal plants and changing plant exhibits. There are several other garden areas, which feature perennials, sculptures, a pond and a gravel garden.
Visitors can also see a produce garden and native plants from Japan, China and Korea. There are more than 5,000 plants on display in the 35-acre garden that’s open to the public. Guests are encouraged to linger in this “pleasure garden,” whether that’s relaxing and meditating, or reading barefoot on the grass.
3. Hagley Museum and Library
The sprawling Hagley Museum and Library spans 235 acres in Wilmington, Delaware. It includes the duPont home and gardens, the ancestral home of the duPont family, which also included Alfred I. duPont of the Nemours Estate.
Visitors can also see a historic powder mill, a workers’ community, patent model displays and the 1920s neoclassical Crowninshield Garden on the grounds. The museum and library also host events like bikes and brews tours, yoga classes, science classes and lectures.
4. Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens
The Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens in Devon, Pennsylvania, showcase native plants and preserve natural woodlands for surrounding wildlife. The arboretum and gardens also include a substantial collection of azaleas and rhododendrons, as well as a collection of rare plants and species.
The space hosts events like tai chi classes, plant sales, mindfulness workshops and guided walks through the gardens.
5. Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, is a garden lover’s paradise. The site features several outdoor and conservatory gardens, featuring plants from all over the world and peaceful botanical displays to admire and stroll through. Pools, fountains and lakes surround many of the plants.
Visit the space to take in the horticultural beauty, and check out special exhibits like nighttime light displays. Longwood Gardens also hosts events like garden concerts, art classes and kids activities.
6. Mt. Cuba Center
Mt. Cuba Center is in Hockessin, Delaware. The space’s botanical gardens include several spaces to explore, including a formal garden, a meadow and ponds.
There are also more than 2 miles of scenic trails that pass through the center’s 1,000 acres of natural lands. To preserve the land’s character, the gardens and trails are maintained as naturally as possible.
7. Nemours Estate
Nemours Estate in Wilmington, Delaware, invites visitors to tour the mansion of Alfred I. duPont, which sits on a 3,000-acre plot of land. The mansion was designed in a late-18th-century French style and also features modern touches and technology.
Surrounding the mansion are sculptures and gardens, including a reflecting pool and Japanese native plants. The pool includes a massive fountain that includes 157 jets shooting water 12 feet high.
8. Tyler Arboretum
The Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania, opened in 1681 and sits on 650 acres of meadows and woodlands. It’s a favorite spot for birders, who can find a variety of species enjoying themselves on the grounds. There are also 17 miles of hiking trails and seasonally changing gardens to explore.
The space also has a series of historic buildings that date back to the 18th century. Visit to tour the space or to attend special events like plant sales.
Welkinweir is a 224-acre garden and natural landscape space in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The site also includes a 55-acre arboretum and an estate house that’s open to tours.
The site’s history dates back to the early 18th century, when the property provided timber for iron manufacturing at Reading Furnace. The site evolved into a mill and farm, before it became a nature conservation space for the public. Visitors will find diverse plants and animals and can check out special events hosted on-site.
10. Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
The Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Winterthur, Delaware, houses a collection of 90,000 decorative arts objects and 20,000 rare imprints. There are also 60 acres of gardens, including a children’s garden, to explore in the space.
The museum was once the home of Henry Francis du Pont and today features permanent and rotating gallery exhibitions. Visitors can explore 25 miles of paths and trails that are surrounded by Brandywine Valley views.
More Things To Do in the Brandywine Valley
In addition to the top 10 attractions listed here, Brandywine Valley has an endless array of dining, winery, arts and nature destinations within miles of each other. There are plenty of shops, accommodations and attractions to check out when you’re looking for Brandywine Valley things to do.
Live a Comfortable Life in the Brandywine Valley
The Wellington at Hershey’s Mill is a senior-focused living community in the Brandywine Valley area. This senior lifestyle community offers Independent Living, Personal Care and Memory Care for residents. It’s close to the Brandywine Valley attractions listed here.