Washington DC is a sophisticated capital city, complete with manicured lawns, white neo-classical monuments and imposing public buildings. Everywhere you go you feel the city’s political importance to world affairs, from its emotive war memorials to the iconic images of The White House and Capitol Hill seen many times over on our TV screens. As well as some stunning architecture and picturesque buildings, holidays to Washington DC in the USA also afford the chance to visit a world-class selection of museums and cultural attractions, and to experience its buzzing, vibrant nightlife.
No holiday to Washington DC would be complete without seeing The White House in the flesh. One of the most famous residences in the world, no matter how many times you have seen this iconic building in the news or in films, it’s still pretty exciting to see it up close and in person. It’s difficult, but not impossible, for foreign tourists to get a look inside the building, but it’s still worth a walk round the outside during your stay. You can take the obligatory photo through the railings of the building’s south lawn and then visit The White House Visitors Centre, which has some great interactive information on the building’s history, architecture, and first families.
This is a fabulous collection of fifteen art galleries and museums, which are located all over the city, and most of which have free entry. Families and kids will love the National Air and Space Museum, where you’ll get to see objects from the first successful lunar landing including the Apollo 11 command module and the space suits of the astronauts. The Museum of American History is another great place to visit with a good deal of hands-on exhibits about everyday American life through the years. Don’t miss the National Zoo, one of the only places outside China where you can see giant pandas, and learn more about their important wildlife conservation and protection projects.
The Dupont Circle area is a lively, upscale neighbourhood in the heart of the city, with the attractive National Gardens at its centre. It’s home to some of the city’s prettiest, ivy-clad historic buildings and it’s also the location of many of the foreign embassies. This area is an excellent base for a USA, as it’s close to the historic monuments of the National Mall, but also boasts a thriving bar and restaurant scene. For the ultimate luxury in comfort and style, opt for the Omni Shoreham Hotel, located in eleven acres of parkland northwest of the city centre. It’s a grand and imposing building both inside and out, and has played host to some of the city’s most famous guests, from hosting the Presidential inaugural balls to accommodating The Beatles, who occupied the entire 7th floor during their first American tour. Pretty Georgetown is another great neighbourhood to opt for, where you can be close to the shops, sights and sounds of this historic university area.
With some of the world’s best museums, art galleries, restaurants and nightlife, there’s plenty to do in the US capital whatever the weather, and whatever the season. Springtime is a great for your Washington DC holiday, when the weather is perfect for sightseeing, the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the city’s parks take on a photogenic pink hue. Washington summers can be hot, but they are also a great time to visit because the city is less crowded. There’s also a pick of excellent outdoor concerts, parades and festivals on throughout the summer months.
Time difference: 5 hours behind GMT.
Currency: American Dollar.
Flight time from London: Approximately 8 hours.
Arrival Airport: Washington Dulles International Airport.
Entry details for British passport holders: The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows visits to the US for up to 90 days. All travellers must provide details online at least 72 hours prior to travel. This is known as an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). While under the VWP, you may visit Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and reenter the U.S. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
If you have prebooked a private or shared transfer or hired a car, all details will be in your travel documentation. Your documents will also contain the local representatives contact numbers and UK support information.
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