Depart London Heathrow – 12:45
Arrive Philadelphia – 15:35
Journey Time – 7 hours 50 minutes
Arrive into Philadelphia where you will pick up your rental vehicle and drive just 20 minutes to your downtown hotel. Here, you’re just a few blocks from some of America’s most important landmarks.
Philadelphia, the birthplace of American Independence and home of the Liberty Bell, is full of history drawing millions of visitors every year to follow the walking trail through Independence National Historical Park. The city, also a major port, has many fine museums, parks and gardens and a lively cultural scene. You have a busy day ahead of you tomorrow!
Overnight – Philadelphia
You have a full day in Philadelphia for seeing the sights. The City of Brotherly Love is the birthplace of the United States of America. Once you have seen the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, and Independence Hall, you can explore the city’s myriad artistic and cultural offerings. Museums, exhibits, and parks present everything from Rodin to Robert Indiana, and symphonies, dance companies, theatrical groups, and pro sports teams ensure there’s an activity to keep you busy. When it’s time for a bite – why not try a cheese steak, shop at the Italian Market, check out the funky scene along South Street, or visit one of Philadelphia’s many fine restaurants. This really is one of America’s great cities. Enjoy the pace, the diversity, the food, neighbourhoods and the world renown attractions – it’s all here.
Overnight – Philadelphia
Philadelphia to South Sterling (Pocono Mountains)
On your way between Philadelphia and the Poconos, we suggest a trip through historic Bucks County, one of the oldest rural regions of America. Concentrate on the areas between New Hope and Lahaska – an area of farmlands, meandering lanes bordered with stone walls and historic wooden covered bridges. Make sure to stop and sample the regional food and even browse the antique shops.
From the building of the first boarding house hotel in 1829 that created a wildly successful resort industry, the Pocono Mountains have welcomed visitors from all walks of life. Yet, today’s Pocono Mountains are constantly changing… In each season of life, the destination has grown more gracious, incorporating heritage from the past into each succeeding decade, while retaining the outdoor recreation the region is so famous for. You can enjoy the best of 2,400 square miles of playground teeming with activities and attractions. Meandering scenic drives are enhanced with an unending parade of awesome natural environments. Delving into fascinating history can be balanced with doing active things. Natural beauty shines in no less than seven National Park Service affiliated locations. The arts are well represented too.
Shopping may not be top of your list but if you wish to pick up a designer bargain call into The Philadelphia Premium Outlet Mall at Limerick, PA.
Overnight – South Sterling
South Sterling (Pocono Mountains)
For a look back in time at the Pocono Mountains, visit the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, where dressed “family” members reenact the life of the original Pennsylvania German family who lived on the farm from the 1760s to 1913. The Crossings Premium Outlets is a short drive from Stroudsburg. Lunch at Barley Creek Brewing is popular with locals and visitors alike. Evening entertainment at the Sherman Theatre or the Shawnee Playhouse will offer classic plays and live concerts year round.
One of the highlights of the Pocono Mountains, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area winds along 40 miles of the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. This is some of the most pristine water in America. A tour on the Water Gap Trolley is a great way to learn about the area. Or head directly to the park headquarters for visitor information. Make sure to visit the waterfalls at Bushkill Falls – “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.”
Overnight – South Sterling
South Sterling to State College
Also known as Happy Valley, State College is the home of the Pennsylvania State University and its beloved football team, the Nittany Lions. The quaint and quirky main street hosts a collection of shops, bakeries, coffeehouses, galleries, and restaurants. The famous University Creamery produces what some say is the best ice cream in the world and the town’s many inns provide comfort and luxury. In this region, you’ll discover inspired landscapes, historic architecture, traditional transportation and fine wines. Unique caves, scenic roads and mountain landscapes traversed by country byways that refresh the spirit and soothe the soul.
Overnight – State College
State College to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, with its more industrial heritage, enjoys a beautiful location where two rivers meet to form the Ohio, attractions include many museums, the Science Centre, Pittsburgh Zoo, the National Aviary, river cruises and floating nightclubs.
After you arrive and get settled in “Steel City,” plan to take a ride on the Duquesne or Monongahela Incline to get a view of the entire area. This perspective will let you appreciate the city’s unique topography and the confluence of the three rivers in the center of town. From the top, you’ll also see the Monongahela Bridge constructed by Pittsburgher John Roebling, who developed wire cable in 1840. Roebling is best known for his Brooklyn Bridge, spanning the East River in New York. You’ll also be able to see the Westinghouse building in East Pittsburgh from which the first commercial radio signal was transmitted on Nov. 2, 1920. This signified the birth of the first commercial radio station KDKA which continues to today.
Overnight – Pittsburgh
Today, why not visit the ‘Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Centre’ – which brings Pittsburgh’s past to life – here you can also take a memorable visit to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Across the river on the North Shore is The National Aviary, with over 600 exotic birds seen in natural settings. With a view of Point State Park and downtown, Station Square features great restaurants, shopping, and more, including its unique Fountain at Bessemer Court.
Just a short drive east of downtown is the vibrant neighbourhood of Oakland. Experience The Nationality Rooms located in the inspiring Cathedral of Learning on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Each of the 26 rooms reflects the cultural heritage of Pittsburgh. The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History combine two world-class museums into one unforgettable visit. Discover treasures of the ancient world, then marvel at the extensive collection of art, furniture and architecture. Spend the evening in the downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District. Choose from a variety of restaurants, and then sit back and enjoy a performance of drama, music, dance, or opera in one of five theaters in the district.
Overnight – Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh to Uniontown (Laurel Highlands)
Today, you’ll be travelling from one beautiful part of Pennsylvania to another. Uniontown is a good base from which to explore the lush scenery and attractions of the Laurel Highlands – you’ll find dramatic mountains, including the tallest in Pennsylvania, as well as the state’s deepest river gorge. The waters are a something-for-everyone collection of glassy ponds and lakes, clear, easy-flowing streams, majestic rivers… and the most challenging white water in the East.
The Laurel Highlands are home to not one but three houses by the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Be sure to arrive in the Highlands with enough time to tour Fallingwater, the best known of these houses, which is visually stunning, blended into the landscape and literally extended over a waterfall. But all three Wright homes reward your visits with fascinating features and highlights.
Overnight – Laurel Highlands
Days 9 & 10
Laurel Highlands to Bedford
More scenic drives await today as you move from the Laurel Highlands to the Bedford – where you will spend the next two nights.
Thanks to your resort’s unprecedented $120 million facelift, you can enjoy Bedford Springs, where eight mineral springs became a famed Mecca of rejuvenation. Take a guided hike at the resort, have a massage or other spa treatments, or just relax and enjoy the environment. During a leisurely afternoon, plan a visit to the Briar Valley Vineyard and Winery, which styles its wines after classic European varieties. Enjoy a sumptuous Pennsylvania meal in the resort’s 1796 Room.
Overnight – Bedford
Days 11 & 12
Bedford to Gettysburg
Gettysburg is famous as the site of the biggest battle of the Civil War – it was here that Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address and generations of schoolchildren have grown up learning the significance of this small Pennsylvania town.
You can almost hear the drums of war beating within the stilling silence of the land at Gettysburg where the fate of America was changed forever. The landscape has been preserved to tell the story of war, yet honour the soldiers who fought valiantly for their cause. It was at Gettysburg that the leaders of both the Union and Confederate armies who would ultimately play out the Civil War to its end, first met in gigantic and carefully strategised battles. All seemed to understand that the outcome of the war would be determined on these grounds. Whoever prevailed would be likely to conquer. In a bold attempt to invade Washington, DC from the north, the Confederate army amassed thousands of troops ready to take DC. The Union understood that the ground had to be held at whatever cost. The totally new visitors centre tells the story with a dramatic crescendo.
Within all of its important history, Gettysburg is more than just about battles. Founded in 1797, more than 60 years before the Civil War, the town was settled by Scots-Irish settlers on their way to the Shenandoah Valley. Original buildings from this era still stand on Lincoln Square.
Gettysburg today is heaven for history buffs, but shoppers, antique collectors, outdoors enthusiasts, and railway enthusiasts can find plenty to do here as well. Walking tours give the visitor an up-close view of “the most famous small town in America.”
Overnight – Gettysburg
Gettysburg to Lancaster
The Red Rose City of Lancaster, in the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch country, enjoys a long and rich history. In 1777, the city was briefly the capital of the American colonies and also served as Pennsylvania’s capital from 1799 to 1812. Today, Lancaster is known as the home of the Amish, a religious group that eschews the hustle and bustle of modernity in favour of seclusion and simple living. The traditions of the Amish in Lancaster County date back to the 1720s when the Old Order Amish, the “Plain People” fled religious persecution in Europe. Holding dear traditional values, they stress humility, family, community and separation from the world. Not actually stuck in history, the Amish do change – they just examine it carefully before they accept it. Hearty Amish cooking and traditional crafts are popular with tourists, and the surrounding countryside is an antique-lover’s paradise.
Explore the true byways and backroads that illustrate the most authentic and traditional way of life. You’ll enjoy the quiet serenity of these crisp, immaculately kept areas, and an opportunity to leave the region refreshed and renewed in spirit. Plan to enjoy the unique food of the Amish, the culture and quaint villages. There’s also antique shopping, craft displays and heritage centres.
Overnight – Lancaster
Gather some travel tips at the PA Dutch Visitors Center and then depart for a journey to four historic covered bridges, meandering through the charming town of Lititz and the surrounding area. Finish up in the town itself and explore its rich culture, unique shops and boutiques. Stop and savor the sweets of Cafe Chocolate of Lititz, which features a cariety of soups, salads, sandwiches, specialty drinks and – of course – chocolates. That’s just the beginning of sweet-and-salty attractions in this Foodie Town. Visits Wilbur Chocolate Factory Store to learn the history of this favorite local confection, or Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery for a hands-on pretzel twisting history lesson. Lots of samples and goodies to take home at both!for a delicious lunch, gallery strolling and lots of sweet and salty treats!
Overnight – Lancaster
As you return to Philadelphia Airport, drop off your car rental before checking in for your return flight home. Rest assured that you have had the journey of a lifetime through this very unique and historic region.
Depart Philadelphia – 18:15
Arrive London Heathrow – 06:20 (Next Day)
Journey time – 7 hours 5 minutes