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  • San Diego

Holidays to San Diego

If you're California dreamin', then there's no better place to head than sun-drenched San Diego, where the endless choice of things to see and do makes each day a new adventure, but the pace of life is distinctly relaxed.

Less than 20 miles from the Mexican border, the Golden State's second largest city is the perfect blend of natural beauty and man-made pleasures - all wrapped up in some of the most reliably warm and sunny weather you can find on the planet. From working up a tan along 70 miles of pristine Pacific beaches, to hiking through mesmerising desert landscapes or getting to know the animals in the city's world-famous zoo, holidays to San Diego will have you spoiled for choice.

San Diego is built around the sweep of a bay and beach culture is entrenched in its very fabric, from the watersports paradise of Mission Bay to the upscale beachside communities of La Jolla and Coronado. But a different type of culture also rides high on the city's list of attractions, with Balboa Park perhaps laying claim to top spot. Located just minutes from Downtown, it is the USA's largest cultural park, boasting 15 major museums, a top-class theatre, beautiful landscaped gardens and numerous other attractions besides. You'll want to visit it again and again.

The city has its buzzy side too, and at night the restaurants, bars and clubs of the historic Gaslamp Quarter come alive against the backdrop of its unique Victorian architecture. There's also plenty of shopping available, whether it be in malls, department stores like Bloomingdales or at individual neighbourhood boutiques, while if you want to get a feel for San Diego's Spanish and Mexican roots, you can head for the Old Town.

A visit to San Diego isn’t complete without tasting some of the local cuisine which is called “Cali-Baja”. Mexican inspired dishes that are filled with local produce, fresh seafood and delicious spices and flavors. San Diego is also known as the “Craft Beer Capital of the US” with over 150 breweries – a beer lover’s nirvana!

One thing's for sure - on holidays to San Diego, you'll never be bored!

(read more...)

La Jolla

San Diego's 'jewel' has spectacular scenery, superb beaches and an upmarket vibe. Known as 'The Village', the heart of La Jolla has swanky shopping, restaurants and galleries. Down at the beach you can catch some rays, explore the marine life and caves of the protected Underwater Park, or watch seals and sea lions at play at the 'Children's Pool' cove.

Balboa Park

There's a feast of culture here, as well as superb gardens and plenty of shady spots to while away a hot afternoon during holidays to San Diego. Fifteen museums offer fascinating insights into all sorts of subjects from natural history to space, plus there's a carousel, miniature railway and trails to enjoy. Don't miss Shakespeare productions at the open-air Old Globe theatre.

A Taste of Mexico

The city's Old Town State Park recreates life in the Mexican and Rancho California periods of 1821 to 1872. There are original adobes, historic buildings, colourful boutiques and specialty shops to wander amongst, plus traditional Mexican food and drink to sample. Margarita time anyone?

Gaslamp Quarter

With over 200 options within a 14-block radius, the Gaslamp Quarter hosts some of the best restaurants, shops & theatres in the city as well as some of the best bars and nightclubs. If you’re looking for a hip, buzzy atmosphere in a safe, easily walkable neighborhood, then this is your place.

Little Italy

San Diego’s current hot neighborhood, Little Italy boasts a collection of fantastic restaurants – including trendy “Top Chef” street featuring restaurants from some of the Food Networks top-rated chefs. The neighborhood also features outstanding plazas, fountains, a Food Hall, one of the city’s favorite weekly Farmer’s Markets and authentic Italian and Sicilian events celebrated throughout the year.


Home to the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado “island” is a quick drive or leisurely ferry ride across the San Diego bay from Downtown. The small-town America feeling of the island allows visitors to slow down their fast-paced lifestyles and enjoy one of the US' top rated beaches, quaint Mom & Pop shops and gorgeous views of Downtown San Diego from Ferry Landing.


Our Top Hotels in San Diego

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina


A great choice for couples, spa-lovers and families, this dynamic hotel offers the perfect blend of upscale amenities and personalised service, boasting an expansive pool deck.

Find out more about this hotel >>

The Dana on Mission Bay

The Dana on Mission Bay


Within minutes of popular attractions including SeaWorld® and the San Diego Zoo, this superior hotel is a great pick for families hoping to explore the sights and sounds of San Diego.

Find out more about this hotel >>

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines


Overlooking the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course with distant views of the Pacific Ocean, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is located just 15 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort


Amidst a private peninsula bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Bay, this elegant resort offers a unique combination of spectacular views, dynamic amenities and an inviting seaside setting.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado


A national historic landmark, this refined California retreat appeals to families, spa enthusiasts and luxury travelers and is considered one of America's most beautiful resorts.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa


Ideal for guests of all ages, this San Diego gem offers superior accommodations amidst hidden gardens of over 100 rare palms, serpentine waterways and exotic birds.

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Wyndham San Diego Bayside

Wyndham San Diego Bayside


This high-rise hotel features modern accommodation (most with furnished balconies), offers quality amenities, and provides breathtaking views of the sparkling bay or spectacular city skyline.

Find out more about this hotel >>

Bahia Resort Hotel

Bahia Resort Hotel


Secluded on its own private peninsula in San Diego's world-famous Mission Bay Park, the Bahia Hotel surrounds you with sun-drenched sandy beaches, tropical gardens, and delightful hidden waterways.

Find out more about this hotel >>


Fly Drive Holiday: Coastal Wonders

San Diego - Laguna Beach - Newport Beach - Anaheim - Huntington Beach - Long Beach

Our suggested fly drive itinerary is perfect for those looking to soak up the sun and shorelines that only California can offer. Start your adventure in San Diego which offers an array of activities with theme parks, water-based activities and chic shopping to enjoy. Next up would be the beaches of Laguna and Newport which are home to awe-inspiring mansions as well as golf and cycling opportunities. Onwards to Anaheim where you can experience the popular theme parks including Disneyland before arriving in Huntington Beach, the perfect place to relax beach-side or even learn to surf. Finish your fly drive tour in Long Beach for a relaxing end to your unforgettable holiday.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Southwest Explorer

Los Angeles – San Diego – Las Vegas – San Francisco

Combine the most popular city destinations in the south-west on this fantastic fly drive holiday. Fly into Los Angeles and experience the celebrity lifestyle before heading down the coast to laid back San Diego. From here, drive across the state line into Nevada for 2 nights in entertainent capital Las Vegas where the hotels are the main attraction! Your last stop is San Francisco, the City by the Bay, where you can explore on foot, on a cruise boat or by historic cable car.
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Fly Drive Holiday: California Beaches and Deserts

Los Angeles – Palm Springs – San Diego – Laguna Beach

Our suggested fly drive itinerary offers the perfect mix of sightseeing, outdoor adventure and beach or poolside relaxation. Los Angeles will be your first port of call where you can enjoy a bit of celebrity spotting before heading on to idyllic Palm Springs, the perfect place to hone your golfing skills or explore California’s natural wilderness. Travel on to San Diego where you can experience great all year round weather and many activities for the whole family to enjoy. End this fly drive tour with a relaxing couple of nights in Laguna Beach where you can unwind on the white sandy beaches.
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Fly Drive Holiday: The Wild,Wild West

Los Angeles – San Diego – Tucson – Las Cruces – Santa Fe – Durango – Kayenta – Williams – Las Vegas – Los Angeles

Our recommended fly drive holiday will delve you deep into the Wild West roots of the USA, starting along the California Coast, before heading inland towards the desert landscapes of Arizona, where the spirit of the West still remains strong today. Visit the locations featured on many a John Wayne film; get a glimpse into the history of the Native American cultures; and be amazed by the staggering natural wonders that define the Western USA landscape. This fly drive holiday truly will take you on a journey of the Wild, Wild West!
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Fly Drive Holiday: California Dreaming

San Francisco, Los Angeles & San Diego

Start an unforgettable holiday with a stay in San Francisco where you can enjoy the sights whilst taking a ride on a cable car and sample the fantastic shopping of Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. Travel onto Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where you can take a trip to Hollywood before relaxing on one of LA’s sun-kissed beaches or discover the magic of Disneyland in Anaheim. Then finish up in California’s finest city, San Diego, where you can enjoy the wonders of SeaWorld or simply watch the surfers in action along the miles upon miles of golden beaches.
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Motorhome Holiday: Southern California Highlights

Los Angeles - Santa Margarita - San Simeon - San Francisco - Yosemite - Lone Pine - Barstow - San Diego - Newport Beach - Los Angeles

Enjoy the freedom of the road and some of America's most stunning sights on this self-drive tour of southern California. There's no need to worry about accommodation, as your transport is your home on this holiday, and we've picked out the very best overnight stops for you. Along the way you'll experience an astonishing array of landscapes from craggy Pacific coastline to mind-blowing National Parks and dry desert - plus you'll stop at some amazing towns and cities. It's an experience you'll never forget.
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Rail Holiday: California Coast by Rail

San Francisco - Santa Barbara - Los Angeles - San Diego

Experience the famous So-Cal scene as you travel by train along the stunning Pacific coast from San Francisco to San Diego, close to the Mexican border. Watch glorious sun-drenched beaches slip past as you speed south, and spend time in three fantastic locations: beachside Santa Barbara with its Mediterranean feel; celebrity-strewn Los Angeles, home of Hollywood; and San Diego with its endless stretches of sand and world-famous zoo. This trip is guaranteed to leave you California dreamin'.
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San Diego Zoo
Recognised as one of the world's best, the city zoo is located in Balboa Park - just minutes from downtown – and has around 4,000 animals. With a strong focus on conservation and protection of endangered species, this Zoo features animal enclosures from across the road – as seen on Animal Planet’s newest reality TV series, The Zoo – San Diego.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Approximately 40 minutes outside of downtown San Diego, the Safari Park is an 1,800-acre refuge for thousands of mostly African and Asian animals. Due to the amount of acreage, this park allows most of its animal residents to roam free in large enclosures – interacting as they would in nature. The Safari Park offers excellent upgraded experiences such as Photo Caravan tours (feed giraffes or rhinos!), a zipline over the animals, ropes courses, behind-the-scenes tours, etc.

SeaWorld San Diego
The original SeaWorld sits on beautiful Mission Bay and features and array of aquariums, roller coasters and animal shows. This family-friendly attraction offers lots of fun activities for kids of all ages.

LEGOLAND & Sea Life Aquarium  
LEGOLAND California offers over 60 rides for kids of all ages and also features an amazing mini-land of various cities built by legos. Various themed lands across the park allow kids to explore their imaginations. Just outside the LEGOLAND entrance is the SEALIFE Aquarium, the ultimate kid-friendly aquarium with lots of fun and education activities. LEGOLAND also features a water park during the summer season.

USS Midway
There's a big naval tradition in San Diego and a visit to the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum is a must. You can clamber all over this floating metal city to explore its sleeping quarters, engine room, post office and jail, as well as visiting the bridge. Around 30 restored vintage aircraft, some of which you can climb into, a 4-D movie, and thrilling flight simulators complete the experience. The ship is explored mostly by audio tour – featuring live narration from actual sailors who served on board the Midway during its deployment. There are also numerous museum docents stationed around the ship who can answer specific questions about what it was life to serve on-board an aircraft carrier.

Old Town Trolley hop-on, hop-off tour
This hop-on, hop-off trolley tour visits many of the most popular neighborhoods of San Diego – including Downtown, the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Coronado and Old Town. Riders can hop-off at any stop to explore the neighborhood and then get back on a trolley later in the day to continue their journey around the city. In all, the trolley’s loop takes about 2 hours and is narrated by the trolley’s driver.

Surf Lessons & Sea Kayaking
Learn to surf or go sea kayaking on one of Southern California's most beautiful beaches - La Jolla Shores. The mile-long white sand beach and mild climate have made La Jolla Shores an ocean lover’s paradise. Paddle out in a single or tandem sea kayaking and (current permitting) explore the inside of a sea cave. Or “hang loose” with your surf instructor as they show you how to catch a gnarly wave, dude!

Go San Diego card
Want to do multiple attractions over multiple days? The Go San Diego card features over 40 different attractions and activities in San Diego and can be purchased in multi-day increments. This card offers visitors who are doing multiple attractions in a day a discount over paying for the tickets individually.

You can add tickets for activities to your booking later.


Time Difference:
GMT- 8hours

Closest Airport:
San Diego International Airport (approx. 11 hours)

Airport transfers:
Roundtrip starts from only £17 per person.

Getting around:
San Diego’s iconic red trolley is a great way of getting around downtown San Diego. The trolley is also useful for day trips to Tijuana, visiting the nearby Old Town San Diego and the large shopping malls in Mission Valley. A car is handy when visiting San Diego’s numerous beaches and theme parks. Car hire is available from £21 per day.

Insider Tip:
Take a day trip to the picturesque beachside town of Coronado. A short drive or pleasant ferry ride from downtown San Diego, Coronado’s white sand beaches, small boutiques and relaxed California lifestyle will not disappoint. While in Coronado make sure you visit the iconic Hotel Del Coronado.

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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