Ditch the history books and set out to explore these sites instead…
American Independence Day is upon us and 4th July celebrations are kicking off across the USA!
The poignant holiday marks the birth of their nation, after they won independence from the British empire, following the American Revolution.
While there will be plenty of parties and events across London to celebrate, if you’re a bit more interested in the history, then there are iconic sights and monuments you may want to add to your travel bucket list.
From the harbour where it all kicked off to the hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed, we take a look at the best places to visit if you want to find out what it’s all about…
1. Boston Harbour
Why visit? It was here that the Boston Tea Party took place, the catalyst in sparking the Revolutionary War.
A political protest, it saw locals defying the Tea Act in 1773 and destroying an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.
Although the actual site in the harbour itself remains unknown, a visit to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum provides a fascinating insight – and you can even see one of the two remaining tea chests from the milestone moment.
Ticket prices: Prices for admission to the museum start from £21.86 on TripAdvisor.
How to get there: Norwegian Air offers direct flights from the UK to Boston, with prices from just £179.90 each way. You can also find direct flights with British Airways with prices from £428 for return flights or Virgin Atlantic where you can find returns from £338 during sales.
Where to stay: The five-star Boston Harbor Hotel sits on the waterfront and offers incredible views of the harbour itself.
2. Independence Hall, Philadelphia
Why visit? This landmark is where the Declaration of Independence was signed after being drafted by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Thomas Jefferson.
It was also key to another important document in the states’ history: the US Constitution was first debated and adopted here.
If you do visit, make sure to head across the road to the Liberty Bell Museum and get a glimpse of the Liberty Bell itself, an iconic symbol of American independence which was hidden and protected from the British during the war.
Ticket prices: No tickets are required if you’re visiting in January/February, but from March to December you’ll need a ticket – the good news is that they’re free if you turn up on the day! (If you do want to reserve one, it’ll set you back just $1.50).
How to get there: British Airways has return flights from £423, or you can also find flights from London on Skyscanner with prices from £304.
Where to stay: The 4-star Franklin Hotel at Independence Park – a Marriott Hotel is a two-minute walk from Independence Hall. Prices start from £116 a night on Hotels.com.
3. The City Tavern, Philadelphia
If you are heading to Philadelphia, then you won’t want to miss City Tavern (citytavern.com). Run by Walter Staib – friend of the Clintons and award-winning US TV star – the restaurant serves up traditional 18th dishes and ales, using the original recipes of the time.
Founded in 1773, it was a watering hole for Washington and John Adams and threw the country’s first ever Fourth of July celebration in 1777.
4. Mount Rushmore
Why visit? This National Memorial in South Dakota depicts iconic US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson (two of the Founding Fathers) as well as Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
The 60-foot high sculpture was completed in 1941, and continues to be a must-visit for anyone exploring the states.
Ticket prices: There is no entrance fee, but if you want to park at the memorial it’ll be around $15.
How to get there: There are no direct flights to South Dakota from the UK, but there are plenty of airlines that offer flights with one stopover. Check out Expedia’s offerings here with departures from London Gatwick, Manchester, Edinburgh.
Where to stay: Travelodge Mt. Rushmore/Keystone sits less than 3 miles from Mount Rushmore – but when you step outside you can already catch a glimpse of the impressive rock facade. Book your stay here on Booking.com.
5. The Washington Monument
Why visit? This iconic monument pays tribute to George Washington, one of the Founding Fathers and the first President of the US.
Plus while you’re visiting Washington D.C you can also stop by other world-famous sights including The Lincoln Memorial which is a short walk away, and of course, The White House.
Ticket prices: It’s free to walk around. You currently can’t go inside, as the building is closed until Spring 2019 while its lift service undergoes renovations.
How to get there: British Airways has return direct flights from £539, and Virgin Atlantic also runs direct routes from London.
6. Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia
Why visit? It’s here that the Battle of Yorktown took place, where the British surrendered to the American troops at the end of the Revolutionary War.
There are plenty of events on throughout the year including re-enactments and the Fifes and Drums of Yorktown parades – check out the full programme here.
The National Park is also home to Historic Jamestowne as well as boasting some spectacular landscapes, so it’s well worth the visit.
Ticket prices: $14 per adult (age 16 and above). The pass is valid for 7 Days and includes Yorktown Battlefield.
Where to stay: There are some brilliant hotels in the park itself, or there are nearby camping grounds – but you won’t be able to camp on any of the historical sites.