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Boston tours and excursions

Boston tours

Walking tours

The Freedom Trail is a self-guided, 4km (2.5 miles) walking tour that starts at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center and follows a red-brick line on the pavement. Its historic sites are associated with the movement to free the colonies from British control and information is provided at every point. Many of its highlights, including the Park Street Church and Old South Meeting House, have their own admission conditions and opening hours. A two-hour Freedom Trail audio guide of the trail is available at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center.

The Black Heritage Trail is a 2.5km (1.6 miles) trail that celebrates 19th-century African-American history and contributions, and includes 14 historic sites, most in the Beacon Hill district. Attractions include the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial, a commemoration to the first black regiment of the Civil War, the Phillips School, one of the first mixed-race schools, and the home of the black abolitionist, John J Smith House. Tours can be arranged by contacting the Boston African National Historic Site.

The Freedom Trail
Telephone: +1 617 357 8300
Website: www.thefreedomtrail.org

The Black Heritage Trail
Telephone: +1 617 742 5415.
Website: www.nps.gov/boaf

Boat tours

Massachusetts Bay Lines runs a variety of boat tours including historic, whale-watching and music cruises. The Charles Riverboat Company (www.charlesriverboat.com) operates sunset cruises and architecture-themed tours on the river and the harbour, while Boston Harbor Cruises operates cruises to the offshore Harbor Islands - the Inner Harbor Cruise and the Outer Harbor Cruise as well as whale watching cruises.

Massachusetts Bay Lines
Telephone: +1 617 542 8000
Website: www.massbaylines.com

The Charles Riverboat Company
Telephone: +1 617 621 3001
Website: www.charlesriverboat.com

Boston Harbor Cruises
Telephone: +1 617 227 4321
Website: www.bostonharborcruises.com

 

 

Boston excursions

Cape Cod

Although Cape Cod feels like an island, it is actually a 105km-long (65 miles) peninsula with 15 small towns, numerous villages and around 960km (600 miles) of distinctive, beautiful sandy coastline. The gateway town, Sandwich, is also the Cape's oldest, founded in 1637. Route 6A, better known as the Old King's Highway, forms the spine of the peninsula taking in many historic settlements on its way up to New Beach.

Just before New Beach is Provincetown, long renowned as an artistic colony and known also as the gay centre of New England. Falmouth in the southeast has a classic village green, white church and 19th-century houses. On the south side is Hyannis, famous for being a home of the Kennedy family, and where you will find the JFK Memorial & Museum. Wellfleet, halfway up the western coastline, is popular for its oysters. Nearby Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are also worth exploring.

Tel: +1 508 362 3225.
Website: http://www.capecodchamber.org

Concord

Concord, only 35km (22 miles) northwest of Boston, is the poster child for New England's historic small towns. This is the place where the advancing colonial British troops (the 'Redcoats') first encountered the speedy defence capabilities of the 'Minutemen', so-called because they were ready for battle in only 60 seconds. The first American victory, of what was to become the American War of Independence, was here at North Bridge. An idea of what they were firing at each other is to be found at Bullet Hole House, pierced by a Redcoat musket ball.

Literary culture also abounds in Concord. Ralph Waldo Emerson's house is now a public museum, not far from the town's central Monument Square. Nearby are the Orchard House and the Wayside of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Just south of the square is Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond. All three are buried in Author's Ridge at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Concord can be combined with a stop at Lexington to make a full day's excursion.
 

Tel: +1 978 369 3120.
Website: http://www.concordchamberofcommerce.org

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Bursting with American history and overflowing with city pride, Boston’s grit and old-school charm are sure to rub off on its visitors

Featured Hotels

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The Liberty Hotel

Prison chic is made a reality in the Liberty Hotel. For 120 years, the Charles Street Jail held some of Boston's most infamous criminals but in 2001, Liberty designers converted the building into a classy, unique hotel. Much of the décor mirrors the building's 20th-century charms, including The Clink restaurant which features authentic cell bars and the main lobby that reveals the inner atrium of the original prison. Far from being prison-like, this upscale hotel boasts all the necessary 21st-century amenities along with stunning views of the Charles River and the Boston skyline.

Mandarin Oriental

Located in the cosy Back Bay the Mandarin Oriental combines comfort and style to produce one of Boston's most luxurious and trendy hotels. Rooms resonate with classic oriental styles with a modern flare and boast beautiful views of the Back Bay cityscape. After a long day of touring and shopping enjoy a soak in the oversized Jacuzzi baths or indulge in a massage at the Mandarin Oriental's five-star spa. Perfect for a business retreat or a relaxing holiday the Mandarin Oriental will not disappoint.

Harding House

This classic, baby blue Victorian guesthouse has fourteen handsome rooms decked out in all-American style with quilts, patterned rugs and dark hardwood furniture. The period character of the house gives the place a warm, homely atmosphere which is reinforced by the freely available cakes and coffee, Thursday evening wine tastings and the generous home-cooked breakfast, which is included in the price.

Liberty Clipper

Between June and September only, board one of Boston's elegant tall ships for an alternative, budget accommodation option. Moored in the historic waterfront district of Boston, a block from the North End and Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, you will be offered a choice of one of six cabins all featuring a skylight, hot/cold water, three shared bathrooms and three shared showers. This is definitely an experience.

Oasis Guest House

This modest 30-room guesthouse is located in one of Boston’s best neighbourhoods and offers simple but comfortable accommodation in a series of attractive brick-fronted buildings. Rooms are simply furnished with queen beds, armchairs, TVs and generic prints. The price includes free internet access, use of the kitchen facilities and a complimentary breakfast.

HI Boston

This cheap and cheerful hostel offers 481 beds in total, and is niftily located in the Theater District/Chinatown area. There is a games room, cafe bar, internet access and laundry facilities. If you're not a member of Hostelling International, you have to pay a daily $3 charge, but this is still one of the cheapest, centrally located accommodation options around.