With so much to see and do, we can see why they call it the city that never sleeps!
New York is situated on America’s east coast, making it just under an eight-hour flight from the UK. It’s one of the most famous cities in the world, and we think everyone should visit at least once in their lives. Why? We’re glad you asked...
See the sights
You will be surprised by how many free things there are to do in this lively city, but make sure you have comfortable walking shoes with you!
One of the highlights of our trip was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. We were fortunate to make the journey on a lovely clear day with blue skies and amazing views over Manhattan. This beautiful bridge was built back in the 19th century and takes around an hour to traverse.
Central Park is one of the most famous parks in the world and we suggest downloading one of the free walking maps because the park is vast. If you fancy taking in the sights on wheels you can hire a bike, or jump in one of the rickshaw-style guided tours. You can pick one of these up around the entrance, but just make sure you agree on a price before you set off.
The famous walkway, the High Line, is a disused old metro train line. Thirty feet above the ground, this 1.45-mile-long path has been landscaped and includes beautiful plants, trees and shrubs, and there are also benches along the way to rest. We started on the walkway in the Meat Packing District, and it led us to Hudson Yard, which is home to lots of shops and restaurants.
What to do
The Empire State Building is probably the most well-known observation platform in the city, but we really do rate The Edge. It’s one of the newer observation decks and it does have the highest outdoor sky deck. The glass floor section gives the most incredible feeling as you walk across it! If you’re feeling brave you could take part in the City Climb and scale one of the tallest skyscrapers in NYC, before leaning over the edge (safely harnessed!) for an experience you’ll never forget.
Seeing a show on Broadway is a special experience. We booked the fabulous Moulin Rouge! The Musical via Attraction Tickets (Attractiontickets.com). They guarantee the best seats available at time of booking and the tickets get sent straight to your phone so there is no waiting time collecting them at the box office.
You can also take a wander around the Rockefeller Centre, which sits in the heart of Manhattan and is home to the sunken ice-skating rink, shops, and Top of the Rock – at 70 floors up, you will love the spectacular views across the city. And, of course, the Statue of Liberty is a must do. We suggest taking a ferry to get the best views.
Where to eat
If you love musicals and great food, then make sure Ellen’s Stardust is on your list of places to eat. This diner-style restaurant serves up all the American classics whilst the waiting staff sing and preform as you tuck in. It’s open all day but we recommend breakfast when the queues are shorter.
Serendipity 3 is another great place to book. This Instagram-able restaurant serves up huge portions and they are well-known for their Frozen Hot Chocolate. We can confirm it’s to die for!
Our top on-the-go snacks would be Liberty Bagels for their famous rainbow bagels. Joe’s Pizza is another tasty snack option, and often visited by the rich and famous for a late-night snack.
Where to stay
We stayed at Thompson Central Park in Midtown, and we were very impressed. It underwent a huge refurbishment just over a year ago, so everything feels very new and clean. New York hotel rooms are generally small, but the Thompson rooms feel very spacious. They’re stylishly decorated with the comfiest beds and lovely bathrooms with big walk-in showers.
The hotel is positioned in a great location, just two blocks from Central Park with some rooms overlooking it, and it is just a 15-minute walk to Times Square, with plenty of subway stations and Fifth Avenue shops just a stroll away.
The hotel also has two great restaurants. One is the secret Burger Joint, which you will find in the hidden hotel lobby behind the thick curtains. The other lobby restaurant Parkers has a much sleeker feel to it and offers live jazz from Tuesday through to Thursday evenings.
The Upper Stories section of the hotel is worth the splurge. It’s very similar to club level, offering little extras in your room like thick fluffy robes and an exclusive lounge serving great coffee, soft drinks and snacks throughout the day.
Need to know
Rooms at the Thompson Central Park start from around £400. To book visit Hyatt.com.
We booked most of our attractions through City Pass. Tickets cost $129/adult, $109/child (6-17) and are valid for nine consecutive days beginning with and including the first day of use. They include prepaid admission to the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, Top of the Rock® Observation Desk or Guggenheim Museum, Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, 9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Tickets can be purchased online at CityPASS.com.
Tickets to the Edge cost from around £33 per adult, and £29 per child (age 6-12 years). An additional £8 is added to the ticket price for sunset visits. Ticket prices include access to The Glass Floor, Angled Glass Walls, The Skyline Steps, The Eastern Point, and a free digital photo souvenir. Ticket prices for the City Climb cost £157 per person (age 13 years and above). City Climb tickets also include access to Edge observation deck, a complementary video of the experience and a medal to commemorate the achievement with the option to buy souvenir images as well. To book both experiences visit Edgenyc.com.
Virgin Atlantic flies direct between London Heathrow and New York JFK with return fares from £401 per person and fly the route six times daily. For further information, visit Virginatlantic.com. For more information on what to do in New York, visit @nyctourism on Instagram.
Words: Carly Honeyfield