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With evocative Spanish Mission-style architecture brimming with white-washed walls and red-tiled roofs, an innovative farm-to-table culinary scene, countless wine-tasting rooms and micro-breweries all set against the dramatic backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the smart surf town of Santa Barbara offers well-heeled Californians a welcome respite from big city life, and warrants much more than a one night stopover for all visitors driving the infamous Pacific Coast Highway. Just a couple of hours north of LA, Santa Barbara has long been the place where movie moguls, film stars and artists hope to retreat when they’ve “made it”, and the city still has the air of a Mediterranean oasis about it; confident, cultured and charming.
"As you stand atop the clock tower in downtown Santa Barbara, it is hard to believe you are in the same California that is home to Los Angeles and Santa Monica just a few hours away. Delight your eyes with the surrounding sea of terracotta roofs, white wash walls, mosaic tiles and Spanish influenced design that transports you to another world. The ocean views and palm studded streets bring you back to reality and the cool Californian way of life makes a holiday to Santa Barbara truly special. Don’t miss dinner at The Lark in the newly gentrified ‘funk zone’ for a whirlwind of farm to table delicacies - our top tip is to order the famous brussel sprouts!" - Lizzie, California Specialist
1. Wander the high-end fashion and design boutiques of State Street
2. Marvel at blindingly-white Mediterranean-style stucco buildings topped with terracotta tiles
3. Get a salty dose of 19th century coastal Americana on historic Stearns Wharf.
4. Delve into the Funk Zone, Santa Barbara’s most vibrant quarter, where converted warehouses decorated with graffiti murals housing independent art galleries sit next to atmospheric urban wineries like Municipal Winemakers, vintage design emporiums
5. Dine on Smoked Heritage Pork Belly and Cast Iron Roasted Diver Scallops for a sophisticated take on So-Cal cuisine at places such as the three-storey Blue Door and hip high-end eateries like The Lark.
On your holiday you must include Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail which takes in over twenty walkable wineries and tasting rooms, but - this being California - Ubering around the vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley is a breeze, with dedicated Uber wine tour drivers to whisk you off on a bespoke tasting tour through biodynamic wineries and family-run estates.
We believe that art and wine were made for each other, so after tasting a few local pinots, visit the Arts Fund Gallery, which showcases local and up-and-coming talent as well as established artists. Around the corner, pop into the Santa Barbara Surf Museum for a reminder that for all its fancy design stores, world-class wine and culinary verve, Santa Barbara is a beach bum at heart.
El Nido Pangulasian – Philippines
Tucked away in a secluded bay of emerald waters and dramatic limestone karsts, El Nido Pangulasian in the Philippines is simply sublime. Endless stretches of pristine beaches and a marine sanctuary beneath the waves, you will see why it has been voted as the Most Beautiful Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveller. This really is an untouched, picture perfect haven just waiting to be discovered…
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Pop into either our London or Beaconsfield shops for a no obligation holiday consultation and a glass (or two) of bubbles.
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