Home Departure Service® transports you from your front door to London Heathrow Airport in time for a direct, scheduled British Airways or Virgin Atlantic flight to Los Angeles. On arrival, we transport you by coach south to San Diego with time to relax at our first hotel Sheraton Hotel and Marina.
A morning tour introduces the attractive harbour city of San Diego, with stops at the National Historic District of the Gas Lamp Quarter, the picturesquely reconstructed Mexican-style old town and Balboa Park - 1,400 acres of landscaped grounds home to several fascinating museums. The afternoon and evening are at leisure to make your own explorations and sample one of San Diego’s superb restaurants.
We travel from California to Arizona by way of cactus-studded landscapes reminiscent of countless westerns and a lunch stop at Palm Springs, the fashionable desert resort town whose former residents include Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe. We continue to Phoenix in the afternoon. At our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, a selection of complimentary drinks await.
A journey through Navajo Indian country takes us to the charming artist colony of Sedona,breathtaking Oak Crefi Canyon and the Grand Canyon, one of the most awe-inspiring natural sights the world has to offer. This geological wonder is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and one mile deep; a huge expanse of richly coloured rock enclosing the silvery Colorado River far below. Optional helicopter or fi xed wing fl ights, presenting stunning views of the Grand Canyon, may be pre-booked or arranged by our tour manager. Later in the afternoon, we make our way to Flagstaff, and the Radisson Woodlands hotel.
Following a brief visit to the historic train depot at Williams, we proceed to Las Vegas, America’s entertainment capital. By turns chic, glamorous and awe-inspiring, brash, excessive and outrageous, Las Vegas is certainly never boring. You don’t need to be a high roller or slots wizard to enjoy this shimmering neon mirage in the heart of the forbidding Mojave Desert - there are shows that dazzle, from the famous Cirque du Soleil and the Beatles-inspired Love to the regular open-air spectacles as each iconic hotel along the famous Strip tries to outdo the next in the extravagance of their performances. Some of the world’s best restaurants may be found here, along with a vibrant nightlife, relaxing spa centres, immaculate golf courses and quirky museums dedicated to subjects as diverse as Liberace and atomic testing.
Our hotel, The Flamingo, is located in the centre of Las Vegas Strip - perfect for discovering an extraordinary, unique city which somehow manages to live up and down to its various reputations simultaneously and in enthralling style.
Included for those who wish, a short morning excursion to the Hoover Dam, a spectacular engineering achievement built in the 1930s this huge dam is an awesome sight and has created Lake Mead which is 100 miles long and 500 feet deep.
We cross the Mojave Desert en route to Calico, a once-thriving centre of silver mining, now an enjoyable reminder of the days when cowboys roamed its streets. Tulare is our afternoon destination, and the Best Western Plus Town and Country Lodge.
One of the world’s great natural sanctuaries is Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra Nevada. With its craggy mountains, postcard-perfect lakes and verdant forests of dogwood, sugar pine, white fir and the awesome giant redwoods, Yosemite is endlessly photogenic - the reason why it so appealed to the great photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams. Adams visited Yosemite for more than 50 consecutive years, recording luminously beautiful photographs of the park’s dramatic landscapes, many of which have become instantly recognisable icons of the American wilderness. After a memorable day, we continue north to the Best Western Palm Court Modesto.
Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco as many others have before and since. A sightseeing tour presents an orientation of this most cosmopolitan, liberal and attractive American city, including the Golden Gate Bridge, fashionable Nob Hill and vibrant Chinatown, concluding at the ideally situated Holiday Inn Golden Gateway.
The following day at leisure offers opportunities for relaxation or further exploration – perhaps a boat trip to notorious Alcatraz Island, where visitors may explore the remnants of the federal prison and learn about its famous inmates, and also discover the story b› ind the Native American occupation of 1969-71; or a walk around the quaint district of Haight-Ashbury, so beloved of ‘hippies’, artists, writers and musicians, which became the crucible of ‘counterculture’ in the 1960s.
We travel south to Monterey, the old Spanish and Mexican capital of upper California, to appreciate its fine old town architecture, then proceed along the famous 17 Mile Drive, one of the loveliest coastal routes in the world. After lunch in the delightful town of Carmel, we continue south to Cambria by way of the curving Big Sur coastline, inspiration for Jack Kerouac’s autobiographical novel, where the dramatic Pacifi c breakers crash against the rocky shoreline. Our hotel for the night is the Cambria Pines Lodge.
Santa Barbara, a town favoured by artists, with an appealing harbour promenade and palm-fringed streets, makes a memorable lunch stop en route from Cambria to Anaheim and our hotel, the Holiday Inn and Suites.
Anaheim is our laid-back base for the attractions of Los Angeles. On day 13 we visit Universal Studios Hollywood, the world’s largest movie studio and theme park, with behind-the-scenes access on the famous Backlot Tour, elaborate rides and stunning live shows.
Day 14 is at leisure to relax, or perhaps visit nearby Disneyland®. Every visiting generation has its own cherished Disney memories, relived amongst this magical theme park’s myriad attractions and exhibits, which have grown steadily in scale and spectacle since it fi rst opened in 1955.
On Day 15, there is just enough time to enjoy a brief tour of three icons of popular culture - Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where the handprints of the stars are famously immortalised - before we travel on to Los Angeles Airport in time for a direct, scheduled, overnight British Airways or Virgin Atlantic flight to London Heathrow.
On arrival at London Heathrow, members of our airport team greet you and show you to your VIP Home Departure vehicle, waiting to take you home.
Please note hotels may differ from the itinerary, please call for details.
Mariposa Grove can be closed at any time of the year due to adverse weather conditions and is generally closed November to April in the winter. If a visit to Mariposa Grove cannot be made, we will make an alternative visit to Pfeiffer State Park on day 11 where many huge coastal Redwood trees can also be viewed .
Special Christmas Departure Inclusions:
Breakfast option - Add 12 Breakfasts from £165
Please call for up to date prices and availabilty
Please quote ref tt17
Other similar escorted tours available