I thought Las Vegas was a place where only those who are interested in gambling or partying could have a good time but I was proved wrong and in the best way.

While casinos seem to be everywhere, there is an array of alternative activities to take part in, including everything from a zip line near the Strip to a short journey to see the Red Rock Canyon.

I visited Las Vegas for four nights, flying from Manchester Airport with Virgin Atlantic, and packed in a lot of sightseeing and activities with little down time but I’m so glad I got to explore lots of very interesting and quirky things whilst there.

When I hear something about a place with lots of tourism, visiting myself is the only real way I can decide if I like it so when the opportunity came to fly from to go to Las Vegas with Virgin Atlantic, I knew I had to take it.

This trip marked my first time in the States and my first time doing a long-haul flightThis trip marked my first time in the States and my first time doing a long-haul flight (Image: Newsquest)

Vegas wasn’t high on my to-travel list because of the misconception I previously had but since I love travelling and exploring new places, I was more than up for it and now I’d go back in a heartbeat.

I celebrated Virgin Atlantic’s new direct flights from Manchester Airport to Las Vegas which launched in June but it was a double celebration as the airline is marking its 40th year in the aviation industry.

Hills Balfour helped organise an extremely fun itinerary for the trip - I got to explore so much of Las Vegas.

Here’s what I got up to in Vegas and why I’d recommend it.

@uktoday_ 7 things you have to see in Las Vegas🇺🇸 I went to Las Vegas with Virgin Atlantic to celebrate their 40th birthday and their new flights from Manchester Airport✈️ #lasvegas #manchesterairport #virginatlantic #virginhotelslavegas #travel ♬ Downtown - Balynt

My Las Vegas highlights and why you have to visit

Going to the US

This trip marked my first time in the States and my first time doing a long-haul flight so to say I was excited was an understatement.

Spending both flights to and from Las Vegas in Premium seats was also something I’d never experienced and further added to my excitement.

Entering America for the first time felt quite surreal to me and the journey there couldn’t have gone better.

I was served delicious food throughout the flight and was constantly offered snacks and drinks which for a real foodie like me is the absolute dream.

It baffles me how food can be prepared 38,000ft in the air and taste as good as it did.

The Premium seats had plenty of leg room and the food and views for very enjoyableThe Premium seats had plenty of leg room and the food and views for very enjoyable (Image: Newsquest)

We were given headphones to use the entertainment screen, a blanket and a pillow which all came in very handy and helped me stay comfortable.

The cabin crew were amazing – they were kind, chatty and smiling throughout the whole flight and like I said, they offered me lots of food so that’s always a bonus!

I thought the flight would take 10 hours and 35 minutes but instead both flights (to and from Vegas) were around 9 hours and 30 minutes.

Obviously, that sounds like a lifetime but even though it was my first set of long-haul flights, both went really quickly, not dragging at all and were actually really enjoyable.

The leg room in the Premium seats was amazing considering I’m 5ft 10” and often feel a bit cramped on a plane in Economy.

My room offered an impressive view of the Las Vegas skylineMy room offered an impressive view of the Las Vegas skyline (Image: Newsquest)

I thank my past self for packing all the essentials and watching countless TikTok videos and reading lots of tips for longer flights before I went because I really wasn’t sure where to start before diving into all that.

Fly direct to Las Vegas with Virgin Atlantic from Manchester Airport

If you’d like to fly direct from Manchester Airport to Las Vegas, it’s worth noting that the new flight is the only US West Coast flight available from the north west.

The Virgin Atlantic Las Vegas hotel is where I stayed and it had everything I needed plus a casino, lots of restaurants, shops and great bedroom views. 

You can find out more information via the Virgin Atlantic and Manchester Airport websites.

Anyway, here are my highlights of the trip…

Exploring the Strip

The Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the Eiffel Tower statue are all sights to look out for along the StripThe Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the Eiffel Tower statue are all sights to look out for along the Strip (Image: Newsquest)

The Strip, like in most places that have one, is a fairly long street where lots of the key attractions can be found, including the Bellagio Hotel, Caesars Palace and more.

I’d recommend taking a stroll down the Strip and going into the Bellagio Hotel and Caesars Palace as there’s lots to see and do.

Before going into the Bellagio though, I stopped to watch the water fountains outside as they danced to music.

The display runs regularly all day and into the night to the beat of different music so you can see the fountains light up as it gets darker.

I saw them both in the day and night and while it’s quite a simple (and free) activity, it’s something I think you have to go and see if you’re in Vegas.

The Bellagio itself is home to a casino (of course), shops and a pretty indoor Botanical Gardens which I was told changes theme during the different seasons.

The Bellagio's Botanical Gardens are worth a visitThe Bellagio's Botanical Gardens are worth a visit (Image: Newsquest)

I visited earlier this month (June) and there was so many bright colours, hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling and it felt like I’d stepped into a fairytale.

One thing I learnt is that hotels in Las Vegas are like a maze until you get your bearings after visiting a few times.

Caesars Palace is another huge place I’d recommend walking around with shops, a casino and lots of restaurants.

I ate at the Brasserie B by Bobby Flay at Caesars Palace and Pier 17 Yacht Club which is just outside but there are so many options.

I didn’t over indulge in food while I was out at restaurants which isn’t like me but I think this probably had something to do with the 40C+ heat while I was there.

The food I did have was lovely though!

I'd recommend seeing the Bellagio Fountains in the day and at night if you canI'd recommend seeing the Bellagio Fountains in the day and at night if you can (Image: Newsquest)

Zip Line and High Roller at The LINQ

On my first full day in Vegas, I went on the High Roller which is a big wheel, similar to the London Eye.

According to the Caesars website, the pods reach 550 ft and it’s the “largest observation wheel in North America.”

The views were amazing with tall hotel buildings and the Strip on one side and the Sphere and desert on the other – it really helped put Vegas and all the areas into perspective as you looked down on it from a height.

The High Roller provides impressive views of Las VegasThe High Roller provides impressive views of Las Vegas (Image: Newsquest)

As a child I had no fear but as an adult I was slightly nervous to try out the Zip Line, having not really done my research on what it was like.

However, there really wasn’t anything to worry about and I felt more relaxed when I had my hardness on and was ready to go than I did waiting in the queue.

It was quite a quick ride along the Zip Line and although it was a little underwhelming, I still thought it was a really cool activity to do while in Vegas. I think it’s definitely one you should do at least once if you visit.

The Venetian

Another place I enjoyed visiting was The Venetian with its likeness to Venice, Italy.

I walked through the hotel, passing shops and watching people try out the Gondolas which travel on the water through it.

You can go on a Gondola ride at The VenetianYou can go on a Gondola ride at The Venetian (Image: Newsquest)

The Gondolas pass through a mock Venice, making you believe for a split second that you’ve transported to Italy.

I didn’t go on a Gondola but it’s something I’d try to do if I went back.

Vegas also has its own Eiffel Tower statue and the Statue of Liberty so it feels like you’re seeing lots more than just one place for a few seconds.

Red Rock Canyon

This part of the trip was something I was really excited for because I’ve never seen anything like it in real life.

I went on a Pink Jeep tour along with the lovely people I met on the trip and couldn’t believe the stunning views of the red rocks.

Red Rock Canyon was a top highlight for meRed Rock Canyon was a top highlight for me (Image: Newsquest)

It was another hot day so I was glad to see the cool box full of ice and bottled water in the back as we were driven to the next part.

Seeing the Red Rock Canyon made me feel like I was a world away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas when in reality, I was only about a 30-minute drive away.

I’d go as far to say this was my favourite thing I did on the trip.


Coming in at a close second though (or maybe even joint favourite) is the Absinthe show I saw near Caesars Palace. 

It’s an adult show with dancers, acrobats, people on rollerblades and more. It was fast-paced and the performers were incredible.

General admission tickets start from £127.

Las Vegas sign

The Las Vegas sign is a must-seeThe Las Vegas sign is a must-see (Image: Newsquest)

If you’re heading to Las Vegas, you have to see the sign which was much smaller than what I was expecting but still a decent size.

While lots of people queue to get a good picture of it, you can actually move slightly to the side to get your pictures, skipping the whole queue.

It’s free to see and take pictures of which is a bonus since it’s a popular attraction for tourists, including those visiting for the first time like me.

Area 15

Area 15 is an immersive entertainment hub with several buildings full of unique activities and experiences.

It’s so big I only managed to eat lunch and explore the Omega Mart which is a supermarket which sells quirky items and has lots of secret doors and passages.

Area 15 is so big you could spend several days exploring all the attractionsArea 15 is so big you could spend several days exploring all the attractions (Image: Newsquest)

The food was very nice but make sure you’re hungry before you visit as some of the portions are very generous.

I recommend this if you visit Vegas but I think you need to spend a few days there to really get the full experience.

There are several passes available with different benefits which you can see here.

Why I’d go back to Las Vegas in a heartbeat

If I were to go again, I’d like to explore even more things including some of the museums and go on a Gondola at The Venetian. It would also be great to see more of Area 15.

I’d also love to fully indulge in the food scene and see more of Downtown Las Vegas as I only got to visit Freemont Street in the day. I was told it’s really good to visit at night but didn’t have the time to go back.

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This Las Vegas trip had constant ‘pinch me’ moments

Getting to experience everything I did is something I’m very grateful for and I was constantly having real ‘pinch me’ moments. From the flights to all the activities, I was made to feel like a royal.

Las Vegas has countless things to see and do and despite doing a lot of very fun things, I know there’s so much more it has to offer.

I’d love to go back!