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The founding of the USA and its history as an English colony have left their imprint not only on the political fabric of the country but also on the architecture and monuments scattered across the East Coast.
Depart London on your scheduled flight to Washington D.C., where your guide will meet and transfer you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, enjoying your hotel's location in the heart of the city.
Explore the iconic historical and political landmarks of Washington D.C. on a morning tour that winds through the National Mall, past the pointed spire of the Washington Monument and the stair-lined heights of the Lincoln Memorial before arriving at the dramatic, white pillars of the White House. Spend the afternoon delving into the art and artefacts of the Smithsonian Museums, a strip of 17 museums and galleries which showcases everything from American space exploration to Asian art, and houses close to 140 million objects, works of art and specimens, from Julia Child's kitchen and Abraham Lincoln's top hat to the Wright brothers' plane. Later tonight, opt to join a night tour and experience the beautifully restored Union Station and several of the city's memorials by moonlight.
Start the day with breakfast at a traditional American Diner before enjoying the rest of the day at your leisure. Why not stroll around the Tidal Basin, the 2-mile-long pond near the Capitol Building, where pathways lined with cherry trees lead past memorials and paddle boats can be rented for a view from the water? Perhaps you might choose to follow the old C&O Canal, fondly called the 'Grand Old Ditch', through charming Georgetown, a neighbourhood brimming with historic homes, boutique shops and cafes. Alternatively, join a full-day optional excursion to Mount Vernon, George Washington's sprawling plantation home and the site of his tomb, mansion, gardens and whiskey distillery.
Leaving Washington D.C., trace your way to the Virginia State Capitol which houses the oldest elected legislative body in North America. Rebuilt eight times due to fires during the colonial period, this National Historic Landmark was designed by Thomas Jefferson and boasts several grand monuments on its 12-acre grounds. Enjoy an afternoon tour of the Jamestown Settlement, a museum with interactive recreations of 17th-century Virginia, from the arrival of English colonists in 1607 to the encounters and events that planted the seeds of a new nation. The day's travels and in the city of Williamsburg, one of three cities which form Virginia's 'Historic Triangle' and that was instrumental in the American Revolution.
Gain a unique perspective on life in the 18th century on a full-day tour of the Colonial Williamsburg living history museum, an immersive experience where historic moments are recreated around you. Watch history come alive as you explore the restored and recreated buildings in this historic area, set over 301 acres. Be transported back in time as you meet tradespeople, women, members of the enslaved community, shopkeepers, and political figures that once called Williamsburg home. Participate in a court session and experience 18th-century justice in action, listen to a proclamation on the courthouse steps as you wander around the Market Square, learn about the medical practices of George Washington's era in the apothecary or explore the cells of the public gaol which once held pirates, as you take part in this fun-filled experience.
Overlooking the James River from its 1,000-acre holding, the stately Berkley Plantation is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the ancestral home of two former American presidents. Explore the grandiose hallways and manicured gardens of this Georgian mansion before continuing to Monticello House, a UNESCO listed site, for a guided tour of this estate, designed and built by former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson. Continue on to Charlottesville for your overnight stay.
The scenic drive towards Gettysburg winds through the lofty mountains of Virginia into the Shenandoah National Park, where a stop at the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center allows you to learn more about the history and management of this beautiful, wooded area. Arrive in Gettysburg, having crossed state lines into Pennsylvania. Gettysburg played an important role in the American Civil War and was the site of Abraham Lincoln's famous address. Enjoy the evening at leisure, giving you time to relax and unwind.
The 1863 Battle of Gettysburg is widely regarded as the bloodiest battle on American soil and the Gettysburg Battlefield preserves the memory of that Civil War skirmish, giving visitors access to the monuments, cannons, and observation towers that commemorate the event. Gain insight into the battle on a guided tour, witnessing the ingenuity of the Gettysburg Cyclorama Painting before continuing on to Lancaster, home to America's oldest Amish settlement. Experience the slower pace of Amish life, where horse and buggy are still the primary forms of transportation and windmills the main source of energy.
Often called the 'Birthplace of America', Philadelphia's colonial legacy and architecture are almost unrivalled, and its wide, spacious avenues, old red-brick buildings and cobbled alleyways unmissable. Your morning tour takes you to the Independence Hall - the building where both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted. Enjoy the rest of your day in Philadelphia at leisure, allowing you to explore the city that served as America's capital until the founding of Washington D.C. Take in the immensity and innovation of the Franklin Institute Science Museum, stroll up the stairways of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, immortalised in the Rocky movie, explore the bustling stalls of Reading Terminal Market or savour Philadelphia's culinary creation, the Philly cheesesteak.
After breakfast, explore the formidable vaulted cells of the Eastern State Penitentiary, an abandoned prison once home to the infamous 'Scarface' Al Capone. At its completion, the building was the world's largest and most expensive public structure and made headlines in 1945 for the daring escape of 12 inmates. Later, have your meal served on a silver platter as you enjoy the evening's farewell dinner at City Tavern, a reconstructed colonial tavern where servers in period dress deliver the old-fashioned American cuisine that the founding fathers dined on.
Enjoy your last breakfast of the tour before continuing on to Baltimore to visit Fort McHenry, the star-shaped site of the 1812 battle between British invaders and American defenders and the inspiration behind the U.S. national anthem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner'. Explore Baltimore's fascinating Old Town on a guided tour then enjoy the afternoon at leisure soaking up the city sights, enjoying regional food specialities or doing some last-minute shopping. Return to your hotel for your transfer to the airport and your scheduled overnight flight to London.
British passport holders are required to obtain an ESTA visa prior to travel. This must be applied for at least 7 days before arrival in the USA. Please advise us if you would like Mercury to arrange this for you. All passport holders must have a bio-metric e-Passport and must be valid for at least 6 months upon your return. Important note: if you do not own a bio-metic e-Passport, you will be
refused entry to the USA.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flight is to Dulles International Airport in Washington with British Airways (BA) departing from London Heathrow Terminal 5. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus one item of hand luggage providing the exterior dimensions (height length width) do not exceed 115cm and 10kg in weight. Weight restrictions will be finalised on your e-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Heathrow Airport advises that check-in should be three hours before your flight departure time. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.
It is your responsibility to check any health & vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in sufficient time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa. org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and able mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing stairs and getting on and off coaches.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 30. In the unlikely event, there are fewer than 30 passengers booked on your tour date, you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, you will be met on arrival in Washington and will be accompanied by a tour director throughout your stay ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in America is the United States Dollar (USD). You will be able to change currency both before you travel and whilst you are away. You will also have access to ATMs during your tour where you can withdraw money in the local currency.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any dinners where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases, such as souvenirs, extra drinks and snacks. We would recommend a minimum of £65 per person, per day for the duration of the tour. Tipping is common practice in America. It is customary to tip your guides and driver, please allow approx. 8-11USD (£5-7) per person per day. All tips will be collected by your tour director on the last day. Tipping at restaurants, hotel staff etc is discretionary.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price||Book Now|
|07 Sep 2018||17 Sep 2018||£2429||Book Now|
|12 Oct 2018||22 Oct 2018||£2299||Book Now|
|08 Mar 2019||18 Mar 2019||£1969||Book Now|
|26 Apr 2019||06 May 2019||£2379||Book Now|
|24 May 2019||03 Jun 2019||£2399||Book Now|
|06 Sep 2019||16 Sep 2019||£2479||Book Now|
|18 Oct 2019||28 Oct 2019||£2329||Book Now|
The order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions or for operational purposes. Your local guide will inform you of any schedule changes as they are informed of them. Some road construction and/or weather conditions may lengthen the driving times. Our intention is to adhere to the day-to-day itinerary as printed; however, the order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions.
All coaches feature reclining seats, air-conditioning, onboard bathrooms and, for all 2018 departures, they provide free Wi-Fi internet access.
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