A once in a lifetime Christmas tour to New York City, Washington DC & Philadelphia. Americans take Christmas very seriously and on this 13 day tour, you’ll experience the magic of a northern Christmas. Visit dazzling glass conservatories, see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, watch ice skating in Central Park, shop festive Christmas markets.
Meet Kirsty Noble, you tour guide at Sydney International Airport. Kirsty lived in the US for 10 years and has designed this itinerary using her insider know-how to give you an unforgettable Christmas experience. Evening arrival into Washington, DC. Enjoy the lights of DC on your drive into the city. Check into hotel for the next three nights.
Start your journey with a tour of America’s capital. Our local guide will share historical and local insights into this vibrant city. Washington, D.C. is a city of monuments and memorials and today you’ll see some of the most iconic, including the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the moving War Memorials. Visit the United States Botanic Garden to see their Conservatory decorated for Christmas. Celebrate together at our Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Walk in the footsteps of America’s first President today at Mt Vernon. Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, Mt Vernon was the plantation of George and Martha Washington and is now preserved as a National Historic Landmark. At Christmas, Washington’s mansion is beautifully decorated for the season and you’ll get a taste of old-time traditions as you tour his home. At lunch, savour the flavours of early America in the historic Mt Vernon Inn. This afternoon, experience old world charm in Alexandria where cobblestone streets, decorated 18th-century row houses and Christmas cheer will delight you! Voted one of Oprah’s top Christmas towns in the world, Alexandria’s Old Town is picture-perfect. Free time here to explore and soak up the atmosphere. Rejoin the bus for our Night Christmas Lights Tour. See the National Christmas Tree and Monuments illuminated. See Georgetown’s hip new light show before dinner at a favourite restaurant in Washington’s oldest and most loved neighbourhood.
Today we visit two estates of one of America’s greatest dynasties – the DuPont family. Hagley, with its original home and powder yards on the banks of the Brandywine River, is where the DuPont story started and our destination this morning. Touring the historic estate, you’ll gain a fascinating picture of industry and life in early America. The original family home is delightfully decorated in French Christmas traditions faithful to the way the DuPonts celebrated in the 1700s. After lunch at Hagley, we head to Nemours, considered the finest formal French-style estate in the country. The sumptuous interiors are breathtaking where rooms filled with rare French antiques sparkle with exquisite decorations and towering Christmas trees. Inspired by Versailles’ Petit Trianon, Nemours is a little piece of French royalty in the rolling hills of the Brandywine! Check into your Philadelphia hotel for the next three nights. Dinner together tonight at the hotel.
A local treat is in store for you today, Christmas in the charming seaside town of Cape May. Many of our Christmas traditions were established in the Victorian times so it seems only fitting that Cape May, a Victorian town on the Jersey shore, would embrace the Christmas season. During our visit, the entire town is festooned with lights and decorations, and the results are dazzling! Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then step back in time on a tour at the Emlen Physick Estate, a gorgeous example of Victorian Stick Style architecture, where you’ll see how Victorians celebrated Christmas. As night falls, there’s time to stroll, shop the decorated stores and soak up the festive ambience. Later, hop onto an old-fashioned trolley for a night Christmas lights tour. On board, singalong to Christmas Carols and see Cape May’s historic homes, inns, hotels and churches all elaborately decorated for Christmas.
Today head to the Brandywine Valley and ‘Chateau Country’ to visit two of the nations’ most treasured gardens. First is Winterthur, known for it’s outstanding naturalistic garden and unrivalled collection of American antiquities and decorative arts. Here you take a tour of H.F. DuPont’s former home, seeing some of the 175 rooms where he entertained in grand style. During Yuletide at Winterthur, every room glitters: each differently decorated and all eye-poppingly gorgeous! Next is Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s great gardens and with a Christmas display considered to be the country’s best. Indoors, every room in the four-acre heated Conservatory has it’s own theme and is exquisitely designed and decorated. The plant displays are unparralleled. Elevating the art of horticulture, Longwood showcases unusual but also ordinary plants, all grown to extraordinary effect. This is a warm holiday wonderland filled with thousands of poinsettias, towering live Christmas trees and fragrant blooms. Venture outdoors where half a million lights illuminate the gardens, fountains dance to holiday classics, and crackling firepits beckon you to warm up under the stars. Gloves and hats are a must for this outdoor night to remember!
This morning say goodbye to Pennsylvania and head to New York City! But first, stop at a local garden centre to visit good friends and get an insiders peek into how locals decorate for Christmas. Warm up with morning tea as you meet the owners, mingle with locals and go behind the scenes at their Christmas Shop. Here you’ll meet the floral designers and see fresh wreaths being hand-decorated. Continue into New York City. Then take a walk along the celebrated High Line, the public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Check into our hotel for four nights. After dinner together, join your tour leader for an evening walk to see the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and skating rink.
The Cloisters is a hidden treasure of New York. Located in northern Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River, the Cloisters is the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The building itself is a stunning amalgamation of 5 French cloisters. The gardens accurately reflect monastic design, while inside the museum is an extensive collection of medieval art. There’s much to marvel at here and don’t miss the famed “Unicorn Tapestries”. A guided tour of the gallery gives you an overview of the Collection with time to explore. Next is the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). Established in 1888, today the NYBG spans 250-acres in the Bronx. The gardens are home to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a stunning example of Victorian-style glasshouse artistry, and a New York City Landmark, and the award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, considered among the world’s most sustainable rose gardens. The heated Conservatory is today’s destination. The Holiday Train Show in the Conservatory began 28 years ago and has become one of New York City’s most celebrated winter traditions. This display is all festive fun and you’ll be intrigued at the exhibit’s artistry and ingenuity. Later we’ll see more of the Conservatory’s plant collections.
A day exploring New York City! Start with a guided tour with our local guide. Visit Central Park, designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted and NY’s most important green space. See world-class museums including the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan on Museum Mile. See the amazing Flatiron building, stop in the Financial District and have time at the 911 memorial. Then it’s free time for you to enjoy NYC in your own way. There is so much to do in NYC at Christmas, perhaps go to Brooklyn, have dinner at the Plaza Hotel, explore a museum, see the 5th Avenue Christmas windows or shop one of the Christmas markets. It really is the most magical time of year!
This morning we get an extraordinary look into the rich history and breathtaking artistry of New York’s most famous landmark on our tour of the Rockefeller Center. Built in the 1930s as an ‘act of good citizenship’, Rockefeller Center was to be NY’s grandest plaza and today is a cultural hub for public art, media and entertainment. Breathtaking city views await you on the 70th floor of the Rock Center Observation Deck. Lunch together at a New York restaurant. Then its time to hit the markets and the Christmas Market at Bryant Park is the city’s best. In winter, this elegant Parisian style park becomes a winter wonderland and it’s here you can watch ice skating, warm up in a cosy igloo, and indulge in some serious Christmas shopping! Celebrate our last night with a live Christmas show. The Rockettes are the world’s most famous precision dance team and nothing says ‘Christmas in New York’ like their Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall.
The morning is free to explore before we transfer to JFK Airport for our homeward flights.
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