During the summer holidays we visited Blackpool. Unfortunately the day we arrived it was pouring with rain so it did not show Blackpool in the best light. Determined to make the most of things we set about exploring Blackpool.
Without a doubt Blackpool’s most famous landmark is a must visit and despite the weather we decided to venture up the tower!
When we arrived we collected our tickets (we were fortunate that many of the Blackpool attractions are part of the Merlin Group so we were able to use our Merlin Passes)
It was explained to us that due to the high winds and heavy rain the outside part of the tower was closed. After a short wait we went through to a 4D film showing a family holidaying in Blackpool.The special effects really made you feel like you were flying around the tower. My favourite part was when we were sprayed with foam ,it was like it was snowing!
Finally we were ready to go up the tower. To get up to the viewing deck, we went in a glass lift which felt like we were in the lift from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! At the top of the tower we couldn’t really see much as unfortunately for us the weather was miserable. However there was a glass panel walkway like at Tower Bridge in London, it’s very fun to sit on the glass and the way the Blackpool tower is curved is felt like we were falling. we did mange to see the Big One (a roller coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach) it seemed pretty high !
Should you visit?
Blackpool Tower is a must if your’e in Blackpool, however if the weather is bad be warned you can’t see much in the rain but the 4D film that is really good.
While in London we visited ZSL London Zoo. Knowing that London Zoo was a huge zoo we were very excited about seeing all the different animals. The zoo is in Regents Park which meant we had a beautiful walk to get to the entrance.It was also one of the hottest days of the year which would make spotting animals hiding in the shade very difficult.
When we arrived there was a massive queue to buy tickets but luckily we had booked our tickets online so we didn’t have to queue. First we went to the penguins which are my absolute favourite animal. Went we got there we saw a zookeeper feeding the penguins and giving a talk about them ,this meant it was very busy. We did mange to see the penguins swimming about, playing and fighting over the fish.
Next were the tigers, they had a massive enclosure. We walked the whole way round the enclosure, up the ramps and onto the viewing platform but we still couldn’t see them. It wasn’t until another zookeeper came to do a talk and they were fed that we finally saw them, they were tucked away in the corner. The female tiger was hidden away it was really hard to see her but we did she a little baby tiger she was protecting.
We then went to the gorillas and the reptile house, I was very brave going into the reptile house as I have a massive fear of snakes!
The gorillas also have a massive enclosure with a massive outdoors part. There were also lots of other monkey enclosures but we could see no monkeys ; we found them all hiding inside and the gorillas too. Gorillas are really funny to watch ,one was sleeping in a hammock, one was eating banana and the others were all playing around.
The lions were a disappointment as the zoo advertise male lions but we didn’t see any and could just see females lying in the shade. It is very hard to spot the animals as they have fantastic enclosures that are great for then but it make its very difficult for the public to see any animals.
We saw giraffes, zebras, sloths and more but there were lots of animals that we didn’t see as the enclosures were so vast and full of enrichment that it was difficult to spot them.
Should you visit?
London Zoo has some amazing animals but the fact that we went on a boiling hot day and because of the fantastic enclosures means spotting the animals is very difficult. If I was an animal in a zoo its the zoo I would want to be in, but as a a visitor you struggle to see much. It is also very expensive a family of four costs around £75 but there are offers and discounts available if you book in advance.
During the Summer we visited London , One of the places we visited was Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge is an iconic British landmark and the appearance is very royal, it is possibly one of my favourite buildings in London. I never knew that you could actually go up into the towers.
There was a short queue but the views across the Thames were spectacular so we didn’t mind. Once we had paid we had to decide whether to walk up a lot of steps or take the lift, we decided that the lift was probably best!
Once out of the lift we entered the first tower, there was a short film to watch which showed how Tower Bridge was built, it was really interesting to see how they built it and what London was like back then.
We then went on to the first horizontal walk way .From the small windows we had excellent views across London. We were lucky that we had chosen a clear day and we could see for miles.Half way along the first walkway is a glass floor.The glass floor measures 11 metres long and 1.8 metres wide and is 42 metres high it is said to be able to hold the weight of 2 elephants and a London taxi!
As we first we stood on the glass ,it felt like we were walking through the air. Then we laid on the glass and it was like we were flying over London! I found it quite relaxing sitting on the glass but my Mum is scared of heights so sitting on the glass made her feel a bit dizzy!
Then we reached the second tower and here was another another video showing an animated version of Tower Bridge being built in stages. We went on to the next walkway and this walkway featured an exhibition of the great bridges in the world there were many different iconic bridges.We then reached the second glass walkway, this one had a mirrored ceiling which as you looked up made you feel very strange – it also was good for taking selfies!
We then took the steps to get down, as we went down the steps there were different London landmark models and they looked really pretty. Once we were down we had a short walk across the bridge and we then went into the engine room, the machines looked really cool but it was hard to tell what they were for but they looked important!
Should you visit?
Tower Bridge is a great experience and the glass walkways are fantastic. A family of four cost was around £20 so it is definitely worth a visit.
Using vouchers we got for Christmas we were able to go indoor skydiving at Airkix in Milton Keynes.
Before we could start we had to watch a safety video and learn lots of hand signals, our instructor would use them to make sure we were in a good flight position and could understand what we needed to do. We had to make sure we paid attention to everything our instructor was telling us as we wouldn’t be able to hear him in the wind tunnel.
We then put on our equipment we each got suits , googles , earplugs, and helmets. Maisy and I choose helmets with teddies just so we could really top off our look! Finally we were ready to fly!
Before my first go I was quite nervous as I didn’t really know what to expect. The instructor called me forward , I took a deep breath and jumped… In less than a second I was swept off my feet with the air blasting me in the face, the instructor was signaling for me to straighten my legs but it was very hard to concentrate when screaming and laughing at the same time! It sounds silly but I wasn’t expecting the wind to be so strong.When I finally got the hang of it my go was over and I left the wind tunnel with a massive adrenaline rush.
On our next go our instructor asked us if we wanted to do that high fly, this is where the instructor takes you up to the top of the wind tunnel and spins you around until you glide down. However the high fly cost an extra £6 each which was a bit annoying but we asked our parents and they said we could do it. It was amazing spinning around the wind tunnel and gradually floating up. I wasn’t able to look down as it would ruin my flight position but afterwards I looked up and it seemed pretty high!
After everyone had had two turns the instructor said we had some time left over for anyone who wanted an extra turn but this would cost another £12 each, Masiy and I really wanted to do this and our parents said we could as we should make the most of the experience. This extra go turned out to be the best one of the three as we got to learn some tricks such as controlling how to go up and down and how to spin in circles. We also got to do a mini high fly and we did a lot of flying with out the help of the instructor.
At the end of our flight we were given certificates that said what we had achieved and how well, this was so if we came back the instructor would know what level we were so we could learn new tricks. We left Milton Keynes believing we could fly!
Should you visit ?
Indoor skydiving is a great experience and you should definitely go if you have the chance. The extra turn and high fly are amazing , flying is not cheap but, it is well worth it, so I thank Father Christmas for this opportunity!
We did so many amazing things in New York that it would be impossible to blog about all of them! So below are some of the highlights.
The Beast is a speed boat that takes you along the Hudson river and around the Statue of Liberty. In my opinion the Beast gives you the best views of the Statue and the staff on board will take photos for you. Beware you get really wet as you speed up the river going at 45mph , luckily for us it was such a hot day that we dried off very quickly. On the journey back the driver did lots of spins and tricks it was excellent!
Ellen’s Stardust diner is a classic 1950’s american restaurant in Times Square. What makes Ellen’s so different is that it’s so much more than a restaurant, the waiters and staff are all budding Broadway stars many have been productions and some are waiting for their big break. The atmosphere is really great and the staff sing show tunes as you eat. It makes you want to dance and sing with them and you almost forget to eat which is a shame as the food is lovely!
The Ride is a bus tour that goes around Time Square and the surrounding area. The Ride is unlike any other bus tour. First you sit facing outwards looking at the pavement and your tour guides get the whole bus involved in singing dancing etc. The guides also get people on the pavement involved although most don’t realise whats going on! Our guide was really funny we were there during Fleet week (when the navy is in town) and every time we passed some sailors in their uniform she went crazy! The other amazing thing about the ride is that the guide will point out someone on the street ; first it was a Ups delivery man and then suddenly they burst in to song and a hip hop dance routine or a ballet or a comedy routine and you realise they are part of the performance!
Madame Tussauds in New York was not so different from London although some of the people we didn’t know who they were as they were American stars and it wasn’t as busy as London. There were some models that we hadn’t seen before so we manged to get some good photos, but some of them really didn’t look like who they were meant to be!
There were many other amazing places that we went whilst in New York such as Grand Central Station, The Water Taxi, Open Top Bus tour, The 9/11 museum any many many more. We wouldn’t have been able to do many of the things with out our New York Passes these we bought before we went and it gave us free entry to all the places we visited.
When in New York visiting Central Park is a must, at first our plan was to hire bikes and cycle around but on the way we were stopped by men selling rickshaw tours. They said that because Central Park is very hilly and so big we would only last about 10 minutes before giving up! We were able to haggle a good price so decided to give it a go and set off on our rickshaw tour.
The rickshaw tour was great, we got to see many famous buildings and spots such as the bridge from Enchanted, the friends fountain, Mr Popper’s Penguins cafe and Smurf rock.Many of these things we wouldn’t have noticed or got to without a guide,He also stopped at the best places to take pictures.
Our guide pointed out to us where all the celebrities live and how much their apartments cost it was unbelievable how much they were. Whist in central park its easy to forget that you are in the centre of one of the busiest cities in the world!
Parts of the park are open to traffic and our guide loved making us scream by weaving in and out of the cars! Our guide told us many interesting things and was very funny! One of the best things about having a guide was that he showed us things we would never have found or realised they were there. We saw fascinating architecture and statues we even saw a couple having wedding photos taken.
Should you visit?
You can visit central park either on foot, bike ride horse & carriage etc. By hiring a rickshaw we got to see so much more than we ever would on our own we were lucky to have such a funny and friendly guide who really made our trip.
New York is well known for it’s skyscrapers and many of these you can go to the top of, to see spectacular views of the city. None are more famous than the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Tower. We were lucky enough to go to the top of both, we had done some research and we decided it was best to do the Empire State building at night and Rockefeller during the day. So which is best …
Empire State Building
The Empire State building has 103 floors and is 381m tall (443.2m tall including the antenna). We arrived at around 8pm and then we queued and we queued and we queued forever it was packed ! Every time we turned a corner and we thought we were almost at the top we joined yet another queue. As we finally got near the top (by this time it was almost 10pm) there was one last queue or you could decide to do the last 6 floors via the stairs, foolishly we decided the stairs would be a good idea it nearly finished us off!
When we got to the top and onto the observation deck it was a little disappointing because it was so crowded it was difficult to get near the edge to see the views. As we fought our way to the edge the views were spectacular but you had very little time to take it all in before you were jostled out of the way.
Part of the Rockefeller centre (well known for its Christmas tree and skating rink) It was built in 1931 and is 260m tall (much smaller than the Empire state building) and has 70 floors. We had decided to visit the Rockefeller centre during the day and given how busy the Empire State building was we were prepared for the worst.However as soon as we got there it felt much calmer and less crowded we went straight up in the first lift it was amazing as it has a glass roof with lights and images of the tower being shown and it was really fast 43 seconds to go 67 floors – it really makes your tummy flip!
When we got on to the observation deck we couldn’t have been more surprised – there was hardly anyone there it made all the difference as you could take your time and look from every side of the tower. Although not as high as the Empire the views are certainly no less breathtaking you can all the way across Central Park and you can see how huge it is, you can see the whole of New York from every direction.
So which tower is the best?
Because of the crowds at the Empire State building it’s hard to compare the two fairly. I did however prefer the views from Rockefeller as I enjoyed looking out over Central Park and the lift was fun too!
Should you visit?
We used our New York passes so they were included in the price of our pass. I would recommend doing both towers. But if you only have the chance of doing one I would suggest the Rockefeller and I would say it is best to do it during the day.
While we were in New York we took a helicopter trip along the Hudson river. Having never been in a helicopter before I didn’t know what to expect, mum was worried because she is scared of heights! When we arrived at the heliport we had to tell them how much we weigh I became rather concerned as I was sure the weight my mum said she was was more like the weight she would like to be rather than the weight she really is!
We walked along the pier to our helicopter and there were lots of helicopters waiting and taking off it was very noisy and windy I thought we might be blown over the edge into the water! We were told where we had to sit I was lucky and got to sit in the front. We had to wear headphones because of the noise and the pilot could talk to us through the headphones.
As we took off the helicopter tips forward this felt really weird, Our pilot introduced himself and started to tell us about the things we could see. I was surprised by how noisy it was but it was also really smooth and although we were flying high it wasn’t scary even mum enjoyed it!
We headed towards the Statue of Liberty first and as we flew around it we had fantastic views .
As we flew up the river we could see in detail the Manhattan skyline we could see many of the places we had visited. They looked so different form the sky you could see how the skyscrapers dwarfed the other buildings.
My favourite part of the trip was the way it felt when the helicopter twisted and turned in the sky. It was amazing to see all the landmarks from new heights!
As we came back to the pier we saw a NYPD helicopter land. We seemed to glide and land really softly which I wasn’t expecting.
Should you visit?
If you are visiting New York and get the chance then a helicopter ride is a must, it’s a great way to see all the sights and is an incredible experience.
If you read my last post you will have noticed I recently visited New York (lots of posts to write but haven’t had any time!)
We flew to New York with Delta airlines although the flight was 7 hours it didn’t seem that long we had lots of films to watch and we were constantly being given food and drinks so the time seemed to go quite quickly. When we arrived at JFK we were picked up by a limo which was a lovely surprise and we were driven to the house we were staying in on Staten Island.
New York is a huge city full of amazing landmarks and busy with crowds of people. We had a lot to cram into 5 days but we manged to see most of the city by using one of the City Open Top Bus Tours. As well as seeing all the sights we were told lots of information about the buildings like where celebrities live and famous sights from films.
Statue of Liberty
Because we stayed on Staten Island we past the Statue of Liberty every day., however we got a much better view when we went on the beast, the water taxi and the helicopter (in fact we probably saw the Statue of Liberty from every possible angle !)
Grand Central Station
“It’s grand and it’s central”- quoted from Madagascar. I love Madagascar so it was great to see the clock that Melmen got stuck on his head !
Times Square is probably one of the busiest places in New York but it is probably one of my favourite places as I loved all the big billboards and massive shops, also when we were in Times Square I had a caricature portrait sketched.
Stereotypes of New York
Everything in New York is just as you would expect like big graffiti , yellow taxis, hot dog stands, dunkin donuts ( we ate a lot of dunkin donuts! And every dunkin donuts we went in they were policemen eating donuts !)
Should You Visit?
If you are ever in New York sight seeing is a must! Be prepared to walk miles as in 5 days we walked 53 miles!