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Holidays to Illinois​

Illinois is the heart of America's Midwest, the starting point for famous Route 66, home of the Windy City (Chicago), the Great Lakes and is rich with American history and cultural experiences. Open vistas and immense stretches of dazzling waving grassland, lakes and forests offer the perfect escape, whereas the bustling cities offer everything you need for a more vibrant trip with plenty of bars, restaurants, museums and attractions, there is plenty to keep the entire family happy on an Illinois Holiday.

Of course you wouldn't want to miss Chicago. The city that gave the world the skyscraper is a powerhouse of art, culture and superb architecture, and time spent getting under its skin pays back double. There's first-class museums, great performing arts (check out the Loop Theatre District), superlative shopping along 'Magnificent Mile' and delicious deep-pan pizzas whenever you need to refuel. Plus don't forget the beaches of Lake Michigan.

But there's the countryside to discover too, including over 50 State parks. Waterfalls, soaring bluffs, rugged canyons and bald eagle-spotting are the order of the day at Starved Rock State Park, where you can hike, kayak or cruise by paddleboat amid stunning scenery. Plus there's the surreal rock formations and steep cliffs of the Garden of the Gods to explore, deep in the Shawnee National Forest - as well as over 100 wineries, with a chance to sample the local produce.

History is another thing that's big on the agenda on an Illinois holiday - especially the state's talent for shaping presidents. Ronald Regan was born here; Ulysses S Grant called Galena home; Obama lived and worked in Chicago; but the state's biggest ties are to Abraham Lincoln, whose home was in Springfield, and where he is now buried. There's a scattering of fascinating sites to explore connected to these great men, and the Lincoln Museum is a must-see.

With many options for a trip to Illinois here are some of our suggested stops:

Alton, Illinois
Follow the Great River Road along the Mississippi and you will find Alton, one of America’s infamous river towns. With plenty of historical ties, the Pere Marquette State Park and a riverbank amphitheatre there is plenty to see and do here on a short break in Illinois. Alton is also known as the most haunted small town in America and we would suggest taking part in one of the walking or trolley guided Haunted History Tours.

Galena, Illinois
A gem in the northwest of Illinois, Galena is perfect for those that want to blend experiencing a traditional American town with a range of holiday activities. This is traditional America as you imagine it with a friendly and welcoming feel and home to a number for top tier golf courses, opportunities to try your hand on a paddleboard and is known for an incredible hot air balloon ride. 

Springfield, Illinois
Route 66 passes directly through the home of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois. It is a great choice on a trip to Illinois and will give you the chance to take a step back in time. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and an array of well-known architectural musts. Fast forward into the mid 1900s where you’ll be able to take in a movie in a traditional drive in style cinema at the Route 66 Drive In Theatre and be sure not to miss the Cozy Dog Drive In diner where they have been serving their renowned Cozy Dog hot dog for nearly 70 years. 

If any of these have peaked your interest then be sure to get in touch with our tailor-made travel experts by calling 0208 290 9751



Route 66

Drivers have been getting their kicks along this iconic highway that travels all the way from Illinois to Los Angeles for decades. Plunging west for over 2,000 miles, it's America's longest road and has come to symbolise all the freedom and possibilities of the great American dream. Along the way you'll discover classic diners, drive-in movie theatres and quirky roadside attractions.

Old Abe

To give it its full name, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield tells the gripping story of one of America's greatest presidents, and has the biggest collection of Lincoln-related objects anywhere. Nearby you can tour the period-furnished home Abe shared with his wife Mary Todd, before visiting his tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Sports Scene

Chicago is the place to head for sports fans. The locals are sports mad and Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs since 1916, is well worth a tour even if you don't catch a ball game. Other teams well worth watching if you can bag a ticket are the Chicago Bulls (basketball), the Blackhawks (ice hockey) and the White Sox (baseball).


Nestled in the Mississippi River Valley, Galena is a small town that oozes historic charm. Many of its preserved 19th-century buildings now house shops, restaurants and cosy inns, although you can tour others - including the home of Civil War hero and subsequent President Ulysses S Grant. There's also kayaking on the river, good golf, and skiing in the winter. We suggest taking part in 'Trolley Tours' for an historically & architecturally narrated experiance of Galena.

Singin' The Blues

The blues may have started out in Chicago, but its intoxicating sound has since spread all over the state. You'll find clubs with live blues pretty much everywhere you go on your Illinois holiday, as well as full-on festivals. Alton Illinois is known for being the birthplace of cool as legendary jazz musician Miles Davis was born there in 1926.


Our Top Hotels in Illinois

Hilton Chicago

Hilton Chicago


This lavish downtown retreat has achieved an unprecedented fusion of historic luxury and contemporary amenities. Located in the heart of Chicago's cultural core.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Sheraton Grand Chicago

Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers


Offering views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan or the city skyline, this grand hotel is one of Chicago's superior riverfront destinations. Located within walking distance of Navy Pier.

Find out more about this hotel >>

The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago

The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago


The Westin Michagan Avenue Chicago located on Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile, is steps from Lake Michigan, Michigan Avenue restaurants and premier Michigan Avenue shopping.

Find out more about this hotel >>

President Abraham Lincoln Springfield

President Abraham Lincoln Springfield


Enjoy homelike comforts and a fantastic location when you stay at this hotel. Savour a warm chocolate chip cookie upon arrival and enjoy impeccable service from friendly staff.

Find out more about this hotel >>


Twin Centre Holiday

Chicago & New York

Combine the relaxed city pace of Chicago with the vibrant skyline of New York. Explore the sights, museums, galleries, fascinating architecture and lakefront beaches that only Chicago can offer. Afterwards, fly on to the Big Apple and take in Manhattan. Shop along Fifth Avenue, see the panoramic views atop the Empire State Building, the list goes on…!
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Multi Centre Holiday

Chicago, Memphis & New Orleans

This action packed multi-centre combines the towering skyscrapers and shopping opportunities of Chicago, with the Blues and Rock ’n’ Roll atmosphere of Memphis, and rounded off with the sounds of Jazz and the tastes of Cajun cuisines in New Orleans. This music infused multi-centre of the USA will no doubt leave you tapping a beat to the sound of the blues.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Great Cities of the Great Lakes

Chicago – Green Bay – Marquette – Traverse City – Detroit – Toronto – Niagara Falls (Ontario) - Erie – Cleveland – Nappanee - Chicago

Starting out from Blues capital Chicago, enjoy a fly drive tour through the Great Lakes region, stopping in famous US cities and dipping briefly into Canada to visit Toronto and Niagara Falls.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Illinois Discovery

Chicago - Springfield - Alton - Peoria - Galena - Rockford

Located in the heart of the US, the Land of Lincoln promises a true American discovery, where mile after magnificent mile showcases the best that Illinois has to offer, jam packed with Presidential history, quaint towns, quirky Route 66 attractions, spectacular scenic byways and some of America’s popular sports. See the best of what Illinois offers on this classic fly drive, taking you through the state capital Springfield, to the river towns of Alton and Peoria, followed by the historic towns of Galena and Rockford.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Historic Route 66

Chicago - St Louis - Springfield - Oklahoma City - Amarillo - Alburquerque - Holbrook - Grand Canyon - Santa Monica / Los Angeles

Take the iconic Route 66 drive from its starting point of Chicago, following the journey across the USA, stretching over 2,400 miles to its final point in Santa Monica, This legendary road needs to be driven at least once, whilst taking in a variety of pure Americana landscapes through some of the country’s biggest, oldest, iconic and most peculiar sites along the way.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Great River Road

Chicago - Galena - Quincy - Alton

Discover the majestic wilderness of the Mississippi River on this fly drive through the heartland of the American Midwest. Once home to the Native American tribes, French explorers and river pirates, explore a land of charming river towns, historical landmarks, scenic vineyards set against the sweeping beauty of the Mississippi River.
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Motorbike Tour: Route 66

Chicago – Springfield – St Louis – Joplin – Oklahoma City – Amarillo – Santa Fe – Gallup – Grand Canyon – Kingman – Las Vegas – Victorville – Los Angeles

What better way to experience Route 66, one of the most famous highways in the world, than by motorbike? This exciting motorbike tour allows you to feel the wind in your hair as you ride 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, crossing eight states and three time zones. Many of Route 66's classic restaurants, gas stations and quirky landmarks are preserved just as they were in the 1950s when thousands of cars rode bumper to bumper, all eager to experience the Western frontier. So, don your custom made Eagle Rider jacket, rev up your engine and travel this iconic road in style aboard a stylish Harley-Davidson, Triumph or BMW.
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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum  
The museum’s more than 40,000 square feet of galleries, theatres, and historic displays combine scholarship with showmanship, culminating in this most state-of-the-art facility of Lincoln lore and legend. The holographic and special effects theatres entertain, educate and mesmerize with ghostly images, live actors and high action. Witness the 1860 Presidential Election as though it were happening today, complete with television news coverage and campaign commercials.

Cozy Dog Drive In 
This classic Route 66 “drive in” diner is named for the famous hot dog on a stick that calls it home. The Cozy Dog, a delectable treat made fresh with a special recipe batter, is often found at many country and state fairs – but this is one place you can order it year-round. Inside the diner, which was established in 1949, visitors will find an amusing selection of Route 66 memorabilia and souvenirs to gaze upon as they crunch their way through a classic Cozy Dog or any number of other delicious diner fare.

Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum
Located in Pontiac, the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum is the repository for thousands of pieces of historic m​emorabilia from the glory days of the Mother Road. Come learn the history of Route 66 in Illinois, see images of the road's wonderful history, and hear a few great stories about life in America when Route 66 was the most important highway in the nation.

Rockford Anderson Japanese Gardens
The peaceful Anderson Japanese Gardens are ranked the number one Japanese garden in North America. Take time to explore the 12 acres of this 12th Century-style “pond-strolling” garden as well as the “Garden of Reflection" which is a contemporary Japanese-inspired garden with original bronze angel sculptures by Sweden’s Carl Milles.

Grafton Sky Tour
Located where the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers converge, the region around Grafton is already a scenic destination. Now, visitors can get a whole new perspective of the river valley thanks to the upcoming Grafton Sky Tour, a unique aerial lift that will serve as the second fixed-system "chandola" (chair and gondola) design in the United States.


Time Difference:
GMT- 6hours

Gateway Airport:
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (approx. 9 hours)

Getting around:
Getting in and around Chicago couldn’t be simpler with an easy to use public transport network connecting the entire city. In addition, you can also find many car rental companies available at O’Hare International Airport, including our preferred partner, Alamo.

Chicago is true to its affectionate name as the ‘Windy City’, which also includes the rest of Illinois. The autumn and winter months can definitely be breezy and snowy, however when the sun comes out during the summer, so does everyone else.

You’re going to need an ESTA:
For anyone travelling to the USA, the US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority. Just fill in the online application form which you can find at You will need to apply for entry via ESTA at least a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel.

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