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 her 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
It’s a massive state, but don’t worry, we’ve got it covered. British Airways flies to four different cities in California – providing the perfect choice of launch pads for your next great adventure. Flying with British Airways to California is a dream. It’s time to head west.
You’ll be itching to get your holiday started, so choose our direct flights to California. We operate services from London to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose. With our great service on board, a choice of exciting destinations and convenient flight times, travel with us for a fuss-free flight, and get in the California holiday mindset before you’ve even stowed your tray table for take-off.
We operate around nine flights a day from London to California, so you can arrive in the Golden State at a time and location to suit your travel plans.
Flights to California range in length, but are, on average, just under 11 hours. With California on Pacific Standard Time, eight hours behind GMT, you can generally depart from London and find yourself on Californian soil that very same day. Arrived raring to go? 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.
California gets hundreds of millions of tourists annually and is popular year-round. The busiest time to visit is in the summer months, and airfares on flights to California from London can rise accordingly in June, July and August. If you’re looking for cheap flights to California, use our lowest fare finder to find our best prices.
You can reach Los Angeles and San Diego in just over 11 hours, and San Francisco and San Jose in ten and a half hours.
We serve four gateway airports in California: Los Angeles International (LAX), San Francisco International (SFO), San Diego International (SAN) and Mineta San Jose International (SJC). All our flights depart from London Heathrow (LHR) and we operate up to nine flights a day.
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.
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 (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 (World Traveller Plus) has more legroom and a smaller cabin with greater privacy. Enjoy the comforts of cosy cushions, blankets, eye masks, toothbrush and toothpaste. Noise-reducing headphones are also provided to ease your long haul journey.
Our business (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 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.
Planning to hit the beach?
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
An epic road trip in mind?
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. From San Fran you can always head inland, too – to the high-altitude shores of Lake Tahoe and on to the extraordinary Yosemite National Park, to see Half Dome silhouetted against the sky.Check out our road trip itineraries
Deciding when to go?
If you’ve got your cursor poised over your calendar and you can’t decide when to visit, then let nature help. If you like whale-watching, then June to September is a great time to visit San Diego – when visiting pods can be seen offshore. But if you like elephant seals, December through March is the time to visit. Point Reyes, out of San Francisco, is a coastal town with a 145-year-old lighthouse and a colony of elephant seals – whose pups begin to arrive in January.When to visit California