Ever wondered where Blair Waldorf buys her never ending supply of macarons? Or dreamed of visiting the same jewellers where Chuck handpicks Blair’s engagement ring? If, like me, most of your student days were spent under your duvet in an attempt to avoid heating costs, drooling over Chuck Bass and gazing longingly at Manhattan’s elite through the screen of your laptop then you too will have pictured yourself strolling through the streets in Gossip Girl. You can therefore picture my excitement upon discovering that this dream could become a reality thanks to On Location Tours, who provide the opportunity to spend three whole hours experiencing the Gossip Girl lifestyle in New York.
Needless to say I was far too excited to sleep the night before the tour – something which resulted in my looking more bedraggled Brooklyn than the chic Upper East sider I’d imagined – and I turned up just on time for the tour to begin. The group met outside the famous Palace Hotel, home to the Van Der Woodsen clan and the perfect spot for a photo to make your friends – or should I say minions – back home envious of your new Upper East Side identity. On arrival we were met by our tour guide for the day who, in our case, could have been Blake Lively’s long lost twin (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants anyone?). Dressed as Serena, Stephanie exuded warmth and instantly bonded the group by lightheartedly quizzing us on our Gossip Girl knowledge and favourite Gossip Girl heartthrobs. “We have a Chuck bus… this is going to be fun” she giggled, before showing us to the coach and briefing us on the day ahead.
We piled onto the coach, which was ready to whisk us around the bustling streets of Manhattan. It was so comfortable that if you shut your eyes you could almost pretend that you were in the back of Chuck’s limo. But you don’t want to shut your eyes! In fact, it’s best to try not to blink. There is so much to see on each street that you could easily embark on the tour multiple times and discover something new each time. And for those who might have a rusty memory (or just a life outside of Gossip Girl) the coach is equipped with TV screens playing scenes from the show which were filmed in the locations that you pass. The coach travelled at a steady pace and stopped whenever we reached particularly well known locations in which people might want a closer look. Stephanie kept us entertained throughout the journey by dishing out filming secrets along with mentioning that the actress who plays Dorota had taken the tour herself just a few months ago!
In between driving around the most luxurious streets of Manhattan and sightseeing from our windows, the coach stopped in various locations to allow everyone the time to take photos and shop. It might have been an icy day in October but that didn’t stop us from spending the best part of twenty minutes posing on the famous MET steps and exploring the grounds of Chuck’s legendary Empire Hotel. There was also a stop beside designer shops and boutiques such as Henri Bendel which Serena and Blair frequent in the show; allowing us all the chance to at least pretend we could afford the $20,000 ring in the window before shuffling out empty handed.
The tour finished at Grand Central Station which was ideal for those who wanted to visit the place where the magic all started in season one. Not only that, but the station is beautifully designed and has an abundance of cute restaurants and cafes for those of us who had worked up an appetite during the three hours – or who still had room after visiting the famous sweet shop that Dan takes Vanessa! The only downside of the experience is that after the three hours is up you are forced to face the reality that no, you don’t have Blair on speed dial and yes, you will be travelling home by Subway. And now there’s only one way to sign off…
XOXO Gossip Girl
On Location Tours run Gossip Girl tours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10am and daily in July and August. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: http://onlocationtours.com/tour/gossip-girl/