The Classic American Road Trip in a Classic American Car

An American Road trip is something nearly all of us are familiar with.  Route 66, Las Vegas to LA and the Classic Deep South are just some of the most popular road trips you can sample.  Fly into one state and fly out of another, having driven through nature, the city, bright lights, smokey mountains, spotted whales, admired canyons and sampled cultures and traditions off the beaten track.  This holiday is all yours.  Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Our favourite classic cars for this all round American Road Trip have to be:

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1964 Mustang. Photo by Yasser Alghofily

 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air. Photo by Mr. Leeds

 

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Camero. Photo by fauxto_digit

 

You may want something a little more modern, you may fancy taking the Greyhound Bus or discovering America by train.  Let us help you plan your amazing adventure with as much or as little detail as you wish because after all, this holiday is all yours.

 

 

 

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Not the usual Washington DC

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Washington DC. Photo by Nicolas Raymond

Baked goods heaven!  Please take me to Baked & Wired now.  I think the trip to Washington would be worth it for this array of cakes, slices, breads and fine selection of coffee (or tea!).  I have already added its babka, focaccia, kick me in the nuts and bee sting to my list of must haves (yes, I do want a bee sting!).  This is a fun place to take a break from whatever you have decided to do in DC but make sure it’s not at the end of the day as you’ll need to do a bit of walking later on to burn off the calories you consume here.

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and so you could head to Ford’s Theatre to see its special exhibition (23 March to 25 May) or to catch one of the evening performances.

If you like your museums, the Smithsonian collection is a good place to start.  If you’re looking for something a little different, try the Spy Museum, dedicated to all things spy.  See James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 which first appeared in Goldfinger, take a look at the Enigma Machine but don’t try the lipstick (a pistol used by the KGB in the Cold War)!

Where to rest your head?  Well, if you want a luxury a small boutique hotel which has just won Traveller’s Choice Award 2015, look no further than The Jefferson.  For a terrific view of the White House during your stay, try The Hay-Adams and for absolute opulence, the Four Seasons will be hard to beat.  If you’re after something more quirky, you may want to find out a little more about The Mansion on O Street (it’s a crazy website but just bear with it).  100 rooms and 72 secret doors….how many will you find?  The hotel is like a museum with hidden treasures everywhere and even provides Gibson guitars to those guests wanting to strum a tune or two.

A Taste of Florida

Miami. Photo by joiseyshowaa

Miami.  Photo by joiseyshowaa

3 restaurants to add to your ‘to eat at’ list…..and if that isn’t a mouthful the following will be!

Victoria & Albert’s

This beautifully romantic restaurant is set within the Grand Floridian Hotel right in the middle of Disney World, Orlando.  You may never guess that such a grown up and opulent dining experience could be had at the home of Mickey Mouse but you’ll find just that here.

Whether it’s a 3, 7 or 10 course meal you intend to indulge in, you will be dazzled first by the delicate presentation and then by the waves of flavour; each dish is like a little shock wave for your tastebuds.  This paired with immaculate service, with a smile, and the grand setting will leave you wanting to return to your own slice of history all over again.

Vero Italian

Buona cucina italiana!  This little place in Miami serves up good wholesome Italian food with attitude.  Try the Linguine Nere (Squid­ Ink, Linguine (shrimp, calamari, arugula, chilli) or perhaps the Pizza VeroItalianDownTown (Italian­ fennel ­seed­ sausage, French ­goat ­cheese, Porcini­ mushroom, Black­ truffle ­oil) but finish off with its Must-have-Tiramisu.  From Milan to Miami, the owner has clearly wrapped every corner of this place in one big Italian bubble.  From the food to the warm and friendly service for every member of the family, you will leave feeling happy and still have some dollars to spend at Cubaocho on the way back to your hotel.

Sublime

If you are looking for vegan or vegetarian food, want to support a good cause or simply desire great food, this is your restaurant.  100% of Sublime’s profits support animal welfare and the owner is passionate about and in 1989, Nanci founded the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) and has been volunteering as president since.

For starters try the Frito Misto or the roasted vegetable flatbread before moving on to a red Thai curry or the Sublime Picatta.  Order some Brazilian Passion and don’t forget to finish off with the chocolate nirvana.  Stripped back and fused with flavour, the food and atmosphere here will be a treat for the senses and you will leave with your heart and soul full.  Oh, and you may just spot a celebrity or two!

A few fun things to do in San Francisco

Alcatraz

A visit to Alcatraz is a must if you’re in San Francisco.  It is well known for being the prison island but you will also discover more about its history whilst enjoying terrific views.  You can order your tickets up to 90 days in advance and our advice is to make full use of this 90 day period as tickets sell out FAST!

See the real San Francisco

Head to Richmond District (north of Golden Gate Park) and take a walk on Clement Street between 2nd and 12th Avenue.  If you want to head South of Golden Gate Park try Sunset District and walk around 9th Avenue and Irving Street.  Don’t miss 16th Avenue Staircase – 163 steps of mosaic tiles.

Noe Valley isn’t far away and you can enjoy 24th Street and if you have a car, drive around Noe Valley to see some great Victorian architecture.  Also, here you’re not far away from Twin Peaks where you can get a great view of the city and don’t forget to try the Seward Street Slides!!

You may take a liking to Chestnut Street in the Marina District and then decide to take a walk along the Marina Green at Marina Boulevard; it’s an easy walk with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and hills.

Golden Gate Bridge

The 9th longest suspension bridge in the world opened in May 1937, connecting San Francisco to other Californian counties.  Contrary to belief, Golden Gate Bridge is not painted end to end each year but it is an on-going task to maintain it.  You can drive along the bride (toll payable), walk along it, cycle the bridge or admire it from a distance to try and emulate many a famous photo.  To cross the bridge and come back again it will take roughly 40 minutes at a reasonable pace without stopping often to take snaps.

Try one of the world’s weirdest restaurants

Forbes Island – the world’s only manmade floating island

Supperclub –  a restaurant, cocktail bar, club, gallery and ‘experimental free state’

The Brainwash Caféeat great food, do your laundry and watch a comedy show

Tonga Room – complete with its own indoor hurricane!

Straw – a carnival themed restaurant where you can play games whilst eating candy floss

Pier 39

Pier 39 is a bustling tourist hotspot full of entertainment for families and shops for those who like to take home a few souvenirs.  However, the real draw here is K-Dock: home to hundreds of sea lions.  It’s free to visit and you can catch them sunbathing at most points throughout the day.  The sea lions like to take a holiday too and so if you want to see a house full, visit from late July to early May.

Super UK Spa Breaks

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1. A day: Ragdale Hall

Ragdale Hall is set in the Leicestershire countryside and is constantly highly rated.  Sample its mind gym, hop on a mountain bike or enjoy the thermal spa; you will leave feeling relaxing and eager to return.

What’s on offer?

Ragdale Hall’s ‘Ultimate Day’ runs from 9 am until 6:30pm from £199 including a miracle facial, restorative hand and foot therapy, a choice of massage, stretch or exfoliation, 3 course buffet lunch, use of the facilities, a glass of champagne and canapés and complimentary mules.

2. A night: Chewton Glenn

A luxurious hotel and spa set on the edge of the New Forest and listed as one of the best UK Hotels by Conde Nast in 2014, this is one to book.  The hotel offers a range of accommodation including treehouses and has stunning fining options.

What’s on offer?

A midweek spa break includes overnight accommodation, use of the facilities, continental breakfast, one 60 minute treatment, pool bar lunch and complimentary sessions in the dance and aerobics studio.  Prices start at £275 pp based on double occupancy in a garden room staying Sunday to Thursday.

3. A 3 night, long weekend break: Champneys (Forest Mere)

This award winning lakeside spa is the perfect weekend retreat.  Enjoy one of the many classes on offer, take a dip in the outdoor pool, relax with a massage or take a stroll around the grounds.

What’s on offer?

A three night spa break, perfect for a complete relax, starts at £609 per person and includes use of the facilities, robe and flip flops, 3 treatments, accommodation, a 3 course evening meal each night, breakfast each morning and a 3 course buffet lunch each day.  A relaxing 2pm check in and a no rush 4pm check out (rooms need to be vacated by 11am).

Edinburgh’s Top 5

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1. Scotch Whisky Experience

Tours start from £14 per adult and £12 for children (6 to 17 years) – children are provided with an alcohol free alternative!

Most tours run throughout the day, every day but other tours only run once a day and so you’re advised to plan in advance.

  • A wonderful introduction to the production of Whisky, allowing you to understand about the processes involved in its production, a tasting and access to the world’s largest Scotch Whisky collection (all sealed behind glass partitions!).

2. Edinburgh Castle

£16.50 per adult and £9.90 per child (5 to 15 years)

9:30 am until 5 pm (6 pm April to end of September)

  • Witness the One O’Clock gun, visit the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh (St Margaret’s Chapel) and visit The Great Hall. If you can, do hop on to a free guided tour.

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3. City Tours with Mercat Tours

Most tours are £9 per adult and £11 per child but there are others form £8 (£5 per child) and £14 (£12 per child)

Tours run throughout the day and evening every day.

  • Take an historic tour into the vaults under the city or a nightly ghosts and ghouls tour. Learn about Burke and Hare and bloody plots that lead to treason and torture. There are also options to bolt on experiences.

4. Rosslyn Chapel

£9 per adult and under 18s with family enter for free

Open 9:30 am until 5 pm Monday to Saturday (6 pm April to end of September) and 12pm until 4:45 pm on Sunday.

  • Easy to reach from the town centre. Hop on bus 15 which takes you almost to the top of the drive (door to door in about an hour).
  • One of the most fascinating chapels we at MTG have visited and the setting of the final scenes in the Da Vinci Code.

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5. Arthur’s Seat

Free

All year round but it will be cooler and possibly icy under foot in the winter and you will want to go in daylight to take advantage of the lovely views.

  • This walk is located not far from the Royal Mile. It’s tranquillity and green space is a contrast to the city and offers stunning views at the top.

Bath’s Top 5

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1. Thermae Spa

Weekends: 2 hours from £35 per person (£32 Monday to Friday) various treatments also available at a supplement.

9 am until 9:30 pm (last entry is 7 pm)

  • Only a few hours or do you have an entire day? It doesn’t matter how long you have, there is something for you here.  Enjoy one of the herbal saunas, the lazy river or the rooftop pool which is wonderful in the winter with its naturally warm waters and fabulous views over the city.

2. Roman Baths

£14 per adult (£14.50 in July and August) and £9 for children aged 6-16

Open from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm

  • This great Roman temple is one of the finest religious spas in northern Europe and still flows with natural hot water. You can taste the spa water at The Pump Room for a small sum.  Containing 43 minerals it must be good for you but it may not be a pleasant experience!
  • You can buy a ticket which provides an all round experience of the spas in Bath which includes entrance to the Roman Baths, a 2 hour session at Thermae Spa and a 3 course lunch or afternoon Tea at the Pump Rooms all for just £76 (£79 at weekends).

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3. Bath Escape

Group tickets range from £59 to £85

10:30 am to 7:30 pm

  • An adventure for families, couples and groups.  Use your logic to solve puzzles and riddles to aid your escape from The Haunted House or Six Locked Doors but you must do so within 60 minutes or time is up and you may never be seen again!

4. Sally Lunn’s

Various prices including a large number of sweet and savoury options with take out buns starting from just £1.88 each (and if you buy 3 they will give you another for free)

Open from 10 am until 6 pm (evening opening hours for the restaurant)

  • Located at one of the oldest houses in Bath, this team room is a must. Serving some of the most famous buns in the land, this is the location where the first Bath Bun was created.

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5. The Royal Crescent, The Circus and Bath Abbey

This walking tour is free with optional extras along the route if you choose. 

Open all year round but if you choose to explore further along the route, please do check the web links we have included for visiting hours.

  • The Royal Crescent is an iconic image to be snapped along route. You can simply admire the crescent or take a tour of No.1 to discover what life would have been like in the mid to late 18th Century.
  • Less than 5 minutes from The Royal Crescent you’ll find The Circus. Stand in the middle of these marvellous houses, constructed in 3 curved segments and dating back to the mid 18th
  • A 10 minute walk leads you to Bath Abbey which is home to a series of beautiful stained glass windows, a stunning interior and you can even take a tower tour…….and then maybe one of Sally Lunn’s Buns?

Bristol’s Top 5

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1. Clifton Suspension Bridge

Free

Open all year round at all times of the day with the visitor centre opening from 10 am until 5 pm.

  • Amazing views and a real appreciation for engineering can be had from visiting this site. You can snap some wonderful pictures at any time of the year.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Clifton Rock Slide which is free and fun! This can be found just below the path that leads to the Camera Obscura, another attraction to visit whilst in the area.

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2. Bristol Ferry Boats

A round trip costs £4.80 per adult (concessions £3.80)

Depending upon the tour you want, departures are between 9:50 with the last boat at 17:58 but you will need to check the timetable to plan.

  • Enjoy a 40 minute tour of Bristol’s floating harbour and many of its sites including SS Great Britain. There are 5 boats in the fleet with 3 of these containing heated cabins for those cooler days.

3. Street Art Walking Tour

£9.00 for adults and £4.20 for those aged 8-16 (free for those under 8)

Every Saturday at 11 am with occasional extra days added at certain times throughout the year (e.g. half term).

  • With Bristol being home to Banksy, there are a number of his creations on display all over Bristol. Let this walking tour take you right to them amongst many others during your 2 hour discovery of the city.

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4. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Entrance is free

The dates for 2015: 6-9 August

  • Enjoy ‘Breakfast and Balloons’ at 6am every morning where the hot air balloons rise with the sun….worth getting up for! If that’s too early, head to the evening ascent at 6pm but be there by 3pm to get a good viewing spot (you could take a picnic with you to enjoy the wait).

5. SS Great Britain

£13.75 per adult and £7 per child aged 5-17 and free to those aged 4 and below)

Open 10am until 4:30 pm (until 5:30pm from Spring/Summer which is from March)

  • Marvel at one of Brunel’s finest creations and take in not only the sight and sounds of life on board but even the smells. Head first to below the waterline to see the hull of the ship before then taking a journey on board the world’s first great ocean liner.

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Liverpool’s Top 5

liver1. Museum of Liverpool

£14.95 for adults and children (5-16) £9.00

Open Daily from 10-5pm

  • Dedicated to telling Liverpool’s story from its shipping past to the modern day.
  • Interactive Meccano session in the 2015 February half term (free of charge)

2. The Beetles Story

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Free

Albert Dock site open daily from 10-5pm (from 9am April to October)

Pier Head site open daily from 9-5pm (from 10am April to October)

  • Explore the Beatles Story exhibition and Discovery Zone at the Albert Dock and the British Invasion exhibition, Fab 4D Experience and Hidden Gallery at Pier Head.

3. The Tate

Free

Open daily from 10-5pm (on the first Wednesday of each month, opening at 10:30am) – last admission is 4pm

  • Interactive art gallery which is fun for all ages
  • Andy Worhol’s exhibition is on until 8 February 2015
  • Don’t miss Jackson Pollock’s exhibition running from 30 June to 18 October

4. Crosby Beach

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Free

Open at all times!  It depends on how much you as an individual wants to see!  However, you may not want to go when the tide is in and you can see nothing.  Check out tide times HERE.  If the tide is 7m you can see most statues and at 4m you can see them all.

  • Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ – a series of statues facing out to see that get immersed in the sea as the tide comes in and then re-emerge as the tide is heading out.

5. Ferry ‘cross the Mersey

£4.70 for adults and £3.00 for children (aged 5-15) for the non-stop cruise

Returns (allowing you to hop off at one location and then back on) are £8.50 for adults and £5 for children

Depart every hour from 10-4pm

  • A 50 minute cruise along the Mersey stopping off at different locations – The Spaceport may be a good spot to stop if you have children and if you’re interested in history try the U-Boat Story.
  • You can buy a ferry ticket and entrance to another experience together to save money. For example, twin a return ticket with the Beetles experience for £21 per adult and £12.50 per child