Over February half term (10th-17th February), I had the opportunity to spend a week in the USA with my sixth form. We spent three days in New York, a travel/shopping day in Philadelphia, and then three days in Washington DC.

This trip was incredible and I am definitely glad I decided to go. I spent the week with some different people and made new friends, which made the trip even better and is something I will never forget. Although I had already done this trip with my family and other trips to the USA, I got to witness so many new and exciting things with my friends. I took LOTS of photos on my phone to document everything and sorting through them to pick my favourites was difficult, but I got there in the end.

Our flight was early and involved being at school at 4:30am, which was definitely not something we wanted to do. We ended up landing in New York at around midday, which meant we got to explore Times Square, which was only a few blocks from out hotel, before going to the top of the Empire State Building. It was quite foggy and rainy, which was definitely not ideal for the view, but it was incredible to see so little at the top. Times Square was amazing every time we walked around it – everyday there was something new to see and explore. The next day, we got up and did a walking tour of the midtown area of Manhattan, seeing Central Park, Grand Central Station, the Rockefeller Center, among others. We had free time in Times Square in the afternoon, before going to see the Broadway production fo School of Rock. This was definitely a highlight. On the next day, we did another walking tour of downtown Manhattan, seeing Wall Street, Ground Zero and Battery Park. We were able to go to the top of One World Observatory. This was on a nicer day, so we got a much better view of Manhattan and its surroundings. After this tour, we had free time around Manhattan, before going to dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. The performers were so talented and the overall atmosphere was fun and exciting. This was our final night in New York. Whilst we were in New York, it rained A LOT. This was weird considering we had all prepared for snow, but it did make the trip interesting.

On the fourth day of the trip, we all had to get out of the hotel early and onto a coach, ready for the trip to Washington DC. We had a three hour journey to Philadelphia, where we stopped for a shopping trip at the King of Prussia Mall, and then another three hour journey to our hotel in Washington.

We got to Washington in the evening, just before heading out to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Washington was a lot more relaxed than New York, which is something I enjoyed. On our first day in Washington, we did a walking tour of the government buildings, mainly touring the Capitol building and seeing the House of Representatives. The afternoon was spent wandering through the Air and Space Museum – something that I really loved. In the evening, we went to see a college basketball game. The game was exciting, especially since it was a sport I actually understand. On the second day in Washington, we focused on the history of the capital. We did a walking tour of all the major memorials and monuments before spending time in Arlington Cemetery, watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The memorials were so interesting to hear about and the stories behind their creation. The changing of the guard was absolutely mesmerising – the timing, the discipline, everything about it basically. We then walked to Georgetown and spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and looking around (and eating amazing cupcakes!). I loved Georgetown because it was such a small and easy-going town in comparison to New York. The weather on this day was also so much nicer – it was actually warm enough to just wear a t-shirt, which was crazy considering we all thought it would snow whilst we were there. When we got back to the hotel in the evening, we pretty much just had free time to wander around. On our final day in the USA, we had free time until around 2pm. We spent the morning going back to see the White House, and just wandering around near our hotel, before heading to the airport in the afternoon. We had an evening flight home, which meant we landed at around 7am and had a very long, tiring day ahead of us.

This trip was incredible. I loved every second of it and hope to do another trip like this with my friends at some point in the future.


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