Take the family to New York City for a few days of city adventure
A family holiday in New York City
We're leaving on a jet plane, don't know when we'll be back again... well, actually, we do know - seven days from now.
And so begins our latest adventure as a family; 7 nights in New York City.
Having never been to the US of A, we thought it was about time we made the effort and took our two children across the Atlantic
to visit this great country - after all we've seen plenty of it on TV, now let's see what Now York is all about.
Leaving for New York City
Flying with Virgin Atlantic, our first view of New York City was from Newark Airport, standing at security,
looking out towards Manhattan Island where we would be staying.
No problems getting through security, or picking our bags up. This is where I made my first mistake - getting a taxi
without asking the price. All the guide books I scanned through said about £40 would cover the taxi cost: this one cost £80 and, being America,
I felt obliged to tip. I'm not sure whether we'd been fleeced or not, but I would highly recommend you ask the
price of the taxi journey into Manhattan before you take the plunge.
The Belvedere Hotel, our home for 7 days in New York City
Having been dropped off at our hotel - The Belvedere, chosen because it's close to Times Square and becuase it look alright. Oh, what seasoned travellers
we are. Turns out we'd picked a fantastic hotel, a 2 minute walk to Times Square; 10 minutes' walk to the Hudson and the water taxis; and 5 minutes from
"Hell's Kitchen Playground" - which sounds a little scary, but was one of Jessica's highlights.
William and Jessica eat some traditional New York food
A lot of sightseeing was planned for the week - and I mean a lot! So we'd pre-booked a New York City pass. This cost a small fortune for the four
of us, but gives access to hundreds of attractions - including Top of The Rock, the Empire State Building, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and
the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The plan was once we'd paid the up-front cost of the New York Pass there wouldn't
be any more large entry costs. So, for example, we all went to the MoMA - I wasn't that interested in the MoMA (and neither were the kids). So
if we had to pay 50 bucks to get in we just wouldn't have bothered - but as we the New York pass, we spent an hour looking round.
Did we save any money with the New York City pass? Erm, no, we just about broke even - it would have been slightly cheaper to pay
cash at each attraction. It just doesn't seem quite so painful with the pass though. It feels like you're getting in for free - so when
the kids are bored after 10 minutes you don't have to say "it cost 50 quid to get in here - we're staying at least
The views from the Top of the Rock
At the Top of the Rock - with special guest, Central Park
All the popular attractions were explored: from the views at the Top of the Rock, to the 9/11 memorial, it
was certainly an experience.
Learning how to use the Subway - unlike the London Underground, the colour coding on the Subway map doesn't mean
anything. My first venture into the Subway left us all standing on the platform looking forlornly at the signs, without a
clue which way to head. But, get this, a native New Yorker came up to us and
pointed us all in the right direction!
Don't like crowds? Visit Times Square early in the day...
It's certainly not a cheap holiday: flights, hotel, trips, attraction costs, and eating all meals out (£40
every day for breakfast was wearing a little thin by the end of the week). However, it's such a good experience, it was
worth every penny.
If the thought of a villa holiday sounds good - but you've got children in tow, have a look at villa resorts which combine the advantages of having your own villa with the advantages of a resort's facilities.
Find a selection of holiday cottage in Beccles, Suffolk. The cottages of Riverside House, Butterfield House, Northgate Bakery, Honeysuckle Cottage and Burnt Hill House all have a video showing their location in Beccles.
Try a villa holiday in Europe and the Mediterranean during March, April and May. James Villas Spring Holidays is the place to look - and if you get in early enough you could get a bargain in the James Villa Holidays Half Price Sale.
Located next to the beach and surrounded by the Lagoa dos Salgados Lagoon and nature reserve, Vidamar Algarve Resort is a villa resort with holiday villas sleeping between 4 and 8 people. All villas at Vidamar Algarve Resort have their own pool.
A fabulous day out, the Falkirk Wheel links the Union Canal with the Forth and Clyde Canal. You have a variety of attractions at the Falkirk Wheel, including an Archimedes Screw, hire a cycle, paddle boats, or just a nice walk.
See the sights from the top of the Nevis Range in Scotland. Take a gondola up the mountain, and get some views from the Sgurr Finnisg-aig view point. You can always cycle down too - or take the cable car back down again.
How about a family holiday in the sun? The Balearic Islands make a lovely location for a holiday. We were recently fortunate enough to spend a few days at the all-inclusive resort of Marina Parc on Menorca. Close to the beach at Arenal d'en Castell, Marina Parc also comes with its own water park.
Great Yarmouth has an abundance of seaside attractions to keep both young and old occupied. For something a little calmer, how about a walk round The Venetian Waterways at Great Yarmouth. This peaceful waterway makes a glorious location to wander around.