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Bank Holiday Family Escapes: Hampton Inn Manhattan Times Square Central: New York, New York 🇺🇸

As we turned the corner onto Times Square, it was the incredible gasp from my little man that said it all. ‘Wow,’ he yelped as he gazed up at the myriad of illuminated billboards and the life-size Disney characters walking the street. Wow, indeed. There’s no place like New York, and no sooner time to introduce your kids to it if you get the chance – and you’re looking for inspiration for a long Bank holiday weekend away.
Just six hours from London, the flight to JFK or La Guardia are your best bets to get to Manhattan, then it’s a short transfer to the Hampton Inn Manhattan Times Square Central. When I say central, this was slap bang in the middle of the action, so if you wanted to step out in the night to catch a Broadway show, or to head to China town for a late night bite it was right on your doorstep. Iconic attractions such as Madison Square Garden, Central Park, Rockefeller Center were also just a stone’s throw away. As a mum with a jet-lagged little one, it’s the little things you appreciate when you arrive at your destination. The staff were the friendliest and most conscientious I’ve met, taking care our luggage and making helpful suggestions for car hire that saved us hours of going back and fourth. From one look at our faces, it was clear that we were lagging from our travels, so they pointed us straight to the stunning lobby where a kaleidoscope of chandeliers hung over us – and where around the corner we could help ourselves to copious amounts of free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate for our entire stay. Up on the 20th floor, the view from our room was insane as we bedded down for the night in our comfy, clean and compact room – which was stylish and modern with a fabulous Broadway theme to it. We checked our emails and got Pokoyo up on the IPad thanks to the free wifi and wound down with a steaming shower in the en suite bathroom. Waking up to the Manhattan skyline peeking through our windows, we hadn’t a minute to spare, as we had under 48 hours in the city that never sleeps. The breakfast buffet was bustling at this incredibly child friendly hotel – the secret is to wake up extra early so you won’t have to queue for the waffle makers, because the kids were in heaven with marshmallows and chocolate toppings. Meanwhile there was fruit, cereal and delicious Mexican style eggs for the adults to get fuelled up for the day. Luckily, and so convenient for us then that a diligent team of tour guides were ready and waiting to book holidaymakers on whatever attraction they wanted, from a fancy show, to the Empire State Building, or The Statue of Liberty. I wanted to see it all, and give my family a snap shot of why NY is the most popular city on Earth. My idea of perfection would be spending the day on 5th Avenue, but that would go down like a led balloon with a toddler in tow. So we opted for the downtown Manhattan bus ride ($60 for adults, kids under 3 free) and it did not disappoint. ‘The wheels on the bus’ was given a whole New York makeover as we hopped on board and the charismatic guide took us on a historical journey through 5th Avenue, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge and down to the docks, where he suggested we get the free Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. It was truly awesome – as was the classic pizza we chowed down on by the docks.
It was breezy so we grabbed a couple of NY wooly hats from the stall holders and huddled together on the tour bus on the way back to our hotel to bed down ready for the last day. As mums, we make sacrifices all our lives – but one thing I just couldn’t do without – was a quick dash to Macy’s 5th Avenue in the morning for a little splurge. With the tot safely with his papa down at the sumptuous breakfast buffet, I flew like the wind, just a 10 minute walk down from the Hampton Inn, to the Mecca of all department stores: Macy’s. Breathing a sigh of relief, I felt right at home, back to the mothership. Normality had been restored as I enjoyed my super speedy Sex and the City Carey-style experience. Before we went to the airport home, we took a stroll alongTimes Square to soak up the ambiance once more. The little man was at first over the moon when he looked to the left and saw Spider-Man. Then to the right Mickey and Mini…then Goofy, but something wasn’t right. They were taller than his mum and dad, and were gradually edging in closer and towering over him. Alas, it was game over and he legged it in the other direction until the ‘Giants’ had gone away. It’s good to see New York has lost none of its magic, and humour!

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