Well, hello October! I was just saying over on Instagram that I’ve got a very mixed (and very lovely) month coming up, with some exciting travel plans, plus some time at home set aside for baking, drinking red wine and planning future trips, of course. Talking of wine and trips, I attended a really lovely lunch last week in London, especially to hear about Virgin Holidays’ exciting plans for some really special new Californian tours. I think California can be a bit daunting as a holiday destination. We Brits head off to Florida without a second thought, but with California, I think maybe we’re a bit more hesitant when it comes to planning a holiday there: it seems huge, potentially expensive and terribly far away, somehow. Happily all that’s going to change (the hesitant bit, not how far away it is – even Richard Branson’s not that good), with the introduction of a really lovely new trio of one-off, personalised California adventures from Virgin Holidays that will really help you to get under the skin of this beautiful, diverse area.
My first trip to California was actually around this time last year, when I did a fabulous tour of LA and San Diego with Virgin Holidays. One of the things that Virgin Holidays do really well is to showcase destinations, and for me, California represents hazy lazy sunny days with friends; endless, beautiful beaches; laid back, diverse dining; cool cities and of course fantastic wine. Which brings me neatly to the first tour on this list and the one that really caught my attention:
You know me, I love a Californian wine (ooh, follow me on Vivino!), and the chance to explore the glorious vineyards of the Napa Valley sounds too good to be true. This nine day, highly personalised tour will give you the chance to explore San Francisco before heading to Sonoma and Napa with an individually curated itinerary created in partnership with Virgin Wines. Imagine the chance to experience California’s Wine Country, escorted by local experts and including private wine tastings, cooking classes, sunny vineyard bike rides, and plenty of time to relax and discover this beautiful area – the dream! And you don’t have to be a wine buff either – as you’d expect from the guys at Virgin, this is the zero snobbery way to learn more about Californian wine.
Price: from £2686 pp excluding flights
This tour is the perfect way to discover the Pacific coastline of California – from the Golden Gate to the City of Angels. This exclusive ten day tour starting from San Francisco and travelling the West Coast via Napa and Sonoma, Carmel and Santa Monica to Los Angeles brings you the very best of California, and of course you’ll be staying in luxurious accommodation all along the route. Peppered with loads of one-off, chance of a lifetime experiences like high end wine tasting and a San Fran city tour in a World Fire Engine plus a few more surprises along the way, this tour will really appeal to people who want to discover the stunning scenery, incredible dining, glamour and history of this diverse state. Instagram heaven!
Price: from £5049 pp excluding flights
Californian Family Adventure
Want to bring the family on a once in a lifetime adventure? This tour could be for you. Jump the queues, get treated like VIPs and make unforgettable memories with your family on this brilliantly curated 14 day trip that encompasses Anaheim, Palm Springs, LA and Huntington Beach. Along the way you’ll share unforgettable meals, incredible sights like Joshua Tree National Park, and have wonderful, money-can’t-buy adventures like beach bonfires (with s’mores, obviously), a private (and gossip filled) tour of Beverly Hills and a night-time visit to the San Andreas fault for a spot of star gazing. This one is what family memories are made of.
Price: from £4769 pp excluding flights
I think the concept of more personalised travel is one that will really appeal to a lot of people. We’re all busy busy busy, and our holidays are so precious. I can totally see why doing something like one of these California adventures from Virgin Holidays would work for travellers who are looking to spend their hard earned money on something that’s not a run of the mill package tour, but a proper, personalised travel adventure. And don’t be thinking that you’ll be booking on to some kind of glorified coach trip – with all three tours hosting between just 20 and 40 people, each guest is going to be guaranteed an incredible travel experience. California has so much to discover
For more information and to book these brilliant Showcase Collection California adventures from Virgin Holidays, click here, but don’t delay, these tours will be taking place in June, August and September next year and they’re bound to book up fast.