Dine like a Californian
From the best breakfast spots to the finest dining, the hottest burgers to the freshest seafood –with great coastal views throughout, Laura Chubb shares the pick of the best places to dine in California
Get ready to explore California
Avg flight time from London
10 hrs 45 mins
Distance from London
California has it all: exciting cities, breath-taking National Parks, serene beaches and monumental mountain ranges. With so much choice, it can be tricky to decide where to visit first. That's why we have direct flights between the UK and five California locations. And when you book flights to California with us, you can be sure you'll be taken care of from the moment you check in to the instant you arrive for your holiday.
Whatever airport you choose to arrive at – we fly direct between London and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, and San Jose – with British Airways you can be sure of great service every time. Once on board, our helpful crew are always on hand to ensure your flight experience is as enjoyable and as stress-free as possible, from takeoff to touchdown, and the moment you set off to explore California.
With up to 10 direct California flights every day from London, you can arrive in the Golden State at a time and location to suit your travel plans. So, whether you’re off on a solo adventure and want to explore the city as soon as you can, or you’re on a family holiday, you’ll find a California flight to suit you.
Read our California travel guides for more inspiration on what to do, see and eat once you arrive.
Secure your holiday with a low deposit and flexible installments – you can decide when you make the payments and how much they are.
Many parts of California have a mild climate all year round, and the state is a popular tourist destination, receiving millions of visitors every year. The summer months are the busiest times for tourism to California, so during June, July and August fares can be higher. To find our cheapest flights to California, use our lowest fare finder.
You can reach Los Angeles and San Diego in just over 11 hours, and San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose in ten and a half hours. British Airways operates up to 10 direct flights to California a day from London Heathrow to five gateway airports, Los Angeles International (LAX), San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland (OAK), San Diego International (SAN) and Mineta San Jose International (SJC).
From Los Angeles International Airport it’s best to hire a car if you intend to explore, you can get a taxi to Hollywood for around $50 (but don’t forget the $4 airport surcharge on taxis). A no-reservation-required bus, the LAX FlyAway runs from the airport to various destinations including Hollywood, Union Station in Downtown and Long Beach. A one-way ticket is just under $10.
San Francisco International is situated just 20-25 minutes from the downtown area by taxi or hire car, or it’s easy to hop on a train that takes just 30 minutes into town and costs $8.65 one way – the city is easily explored on foot and on public transport. Oakland International Airport is equally convenient for San Francisco and is far less busy during peak flight times, a taxi from Oakland to downtown San Francisco is just $40, plus the airport surcharge of $2.
San Diego International is just three kilometres from the city’s downtown area, and you can easily get a taxi into the city which should be less than $20, a shuttle bus is around $15 depending on your final destination in the city or hire a car if you intend to explore the coast.
Mineta San Jose International is just five kilometres northwest of San Jose city centre and a cab will cost you in the region of $14-20 and should take around 15 minutes. There are cab ranks at both terminals. Or take the airport shuttle bus to the Metro Light Rail station – tickets costs just $1.75 and it stops at various locations including the San Jose Convention Centre and Diridon Station. Or if you’re planning to explore the Bay Area, hire a car.
Why not save time and book your airport transfers with us? Simply choose your preferred option when you book your holiday or flights.
For more tips and advice on travelling in and around California, check out our travel guide.
If you’re travelling on a British passport, there’s no need to get a visa in advance – but you do need to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before you travel. There is a $14 fee for registration and, once approved, your ESTA is valid for multiple journeys for two years or until your passport expires.
Which cabins can I book when I fly with British Airways?
Our economy class (World Traveller) cabins are great value for those looking for cheap flights. For an extra fee, you can select your seats in advance – the quieter seats are towards the front of the plane. Sit directly above the wings to reduce the effects of any turbulence. Choose to fly with hand baggage only or pick a price that includes a 23kg checked baggage allowance and free seat selection 24 hours before you fly.
Premium economy class (World Traveller Plus) has more legroom and a smaller cabin with greater privacy. Enjoy the comforts of cosy cushions, blankets, eye masks, toothbrush, toothpaste and more features to ease your long-haul journey.
Our business class (Club World) cabin has fully flat beds for total comfort, dining menus designed by top chefs and fast track priority through the airport, to make your journey even easier from the start.
First class cabins are the epitome of luxury, from fully flat beds in private suites, to exclusive lounge and spa access on the ground – enjoy ultimate exclusivity.
There are plenty of beaches to choose from on California’s coastline. For surfing, try Black’s Beach, San Diego – it’s not for beginners, but it’s fun to watch whatever your skill level. Want to toast marshmallows on a beachside bonfire? Hit Ocean Beach, San Francisco. For a great spot for sunset, head to Shark Fin cove, Davenport – just 50 minutes’ drive from San Jose.Discover California’s best beaches
Rent a car to see California at its best. Perhaps the most classic road trip in California is hitting the Pacific Coast Highway, aka Highway 1, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, passing through Santa Barbara and Big Sur. Or take in the mountains and head to Sierra Nevada, starting off at Lake Tahoe, stop off at Yosemite and the ghost town of Bodie.Check out our road trip itineraries
Drive a few miles out of California for some tranquillity. If you’re in San Francisco visit Point Reyes. A 90-minute drive, this coastal town is home to a 145-year-old lighthouse, elephant seals and more than 70,000 acres of nature. From San Diego, take a whale-watching cruise out into the Pacific Ocean: they can be seen from June-September. Or stay on land, and visit the Birch Aquarium and the Torrey Pines State Reserve.When to visit California