22 October 2016
Starting out in Washington DC, this seven-day tour gives you plenty of time to explore the city's museums, monuments and historic sites, before moving on to Philadelphia, the Amish farms of Bucks County, historic Gettysburg, Baltimore and Annapolis. Along the way you'll gain fascinating insights into American history and political culture, as well as enjoying excellent photo opportunities at some of the USA's most iconic sights.
Your trip to the US capital begins as you arrive at Washington-Dulles International Airport (DCA) and proceed to your hotel, where you'll have the rest of the day at leisure before you begin exploring in earnest tomorrow.
Today you'll explore the city's most famous sites, mostly concentrated along the National Mall, known as "The Nation's Front Yard". Here you'll find most of the 18 museums that comprise the Smithsonian Institution, as well as the War Memorials and the Washington Monument, where you can take a ride to the top of the obelisk. Other points of interest are the Arlington National Cemetery, the Library of Congress, the National Cathedral and the National Zoo, and you may be pleasantly surprised that admission to many of the attractions is free. You may also like to take an optional trip to the Crime & Punishment Museum. This evening, you may like to explore Washington's vibrant nightlife: the city offers a wealth of world-class restaurants, as well as theatres and live music.
You'll leave Washington this morning for Philadelphia, a key city in the American Revolution. Head to the National Historical Park to see the city's most famous attraction: the Liberty Bell Pavilion, which houses the huge bell. Just across the street, Independence Hall is named for Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, constructed and adopted here on 4 July 1776. You may also like to visit the Betsy Ross House, where Betsy sewed the first United States flag, presented to George Washington. Once you've had your fill of history, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to over 1,300 animals, while the Please Touch Museum is filled with hand-on exhibits that will delight younger visitors.
This morning you'll make the hour's drive to Bucks County, where you'll visit the Washington Crossing Historical Park at the edge of the Delaware River and have a chance to try your hand at tubing, kayaking, canoeing or rafting. Afterwards, you'll continue travelling to Lancaster County, where you'll have the chance to take a guided tour of an authentically furnished 1840s Old Order Amish farmhouse or to ride on a traditional Amish buggy. This afternoon you'll visit Kitchen Kettle Village, where you can shop for pottery, hand-made tiles and other arts and crafts. You'll also have the chance to take an optional two-hour Amish Country Farmland Tour, to learn more about how the Amish people farm this area without modern equipment. Along the way you will visit roadside stands, bake shops and a quilt shop.
Over breakfast this morning you'll be able to watch a traditional Amish spectacle as the children run across the fields towards their one-room schoolhouse. Afterwards, you'll leave Lancaster and drive towards Gettysburg, near the Maryland border. Here you'll visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, which commemorates the Civil War's bloodiest battle, with 51,000 casualties over three days in 1863, and the setting for President Lincoln's Gettysburg address. For a different perspective on the Battle of Gettysburg, you may like to join the optional trip to Shriver House Museum, where you'll learn about the experiences of civilians during the battle. Guides wearing period dress will talk you through the story of one family, the Shrivers, during this time. After a day of sight-seeing, you'll dine tonight in Gettysburg's oldest house, Dobbin House Tavern, built in 1776.
Today's first stop is Baltimore, where you can explore the inside of the World War II submarine Torsk, or take an elevator ride to The Top of the World Observation Level for an unforgettable panoramic view of the city's skyline and harbour. You may also like to tour the USS Constellation, the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy. Afterwards, you'll continue to Annapolis, state capital of Maryland, a beautiful historic seaport. Here you can visit The Maryland State House, the oldest state house still in legislative use, stroll along the City Dock or take a tour of the US Naval Academy.
Time permitting, you may have the chance to explore Chesapeake Bay this morning before returning to Washington for your onward flight.
Standard fr £471pp
Superior fr £662pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated