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Western Highlights from London Heathrow

12 days Guided Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

Getting off the beaten track isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. As some head in search of the world’s best-kept secrets, others know there’s a reason some places aren’t secret at all. The highlights of San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas and San Diego* (optional) take you on a well-trodden path; with their iconic sights and nearby national parks drawing in the West’s best dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Stomping ground of the rich and famous, LA is filled with photo opportunities: the finish line of Route 66, those legendary ‘Baywatch’ lifeguard towers, the white letters of the Hollywood sign, your favourite Walk of Fame star, maybe even an Instagram-worthy shot of your dinner on the Queen Mary.
That’s if you’ve any memory left after snapping the landmarks lining the West’s shoreline, from San Francisco, where the piers of Fisherman’s Wharf and boutiques of Union Square vie for attention, and the chance to visit Monterey and Carmel adds photo finds, down to San Diego, California’s second largest city.
Of course, you may need a large lens to capture Yosemite’s towering Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, the scale of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, the mountain backdrop of Palm Springs, and the extravagance of Las Vegas.

Itinerary

Day 1: UK - San Francisco

Fly from the London Heathrow Airport to San Francisco. Arrive at San Francisco International Airport and meet your ATI tour director at the airport who will assist you with pre-arranged seat-in transfer to your hotel. ATI welcome reception in the evening. Accommodation stay – 3 nights in San Francisco.

Day 2: San Francisco

This morning, join a half-day city tour which includes Union Square, the Civic Center and Fisherman’s Wharf. From the top of Twin Peaks, enjoy the spectacular view and see for yourself why many consider San Francisco the most beautiful city in America. In the afternoon enjoy a San Francisco Bay Cruise that will take you around Alcatraz and up-close to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Day 3: San Francisco (optional trip* to Monterey/Carmel)

Join an optional tour to Monterey and Carmel (approximately 250 miles including 17-Mile Drive). Travel along the Pacific Coast to the Monterey Bay Peninsula. Visit Cannery Row, made famous by the John Steinbeck novel. Your optional package includes admission to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, showcasing some 200 exhibits on marine life and one of the most respected aquariums in the world. Continue on the 17-Mile Drive, admiring the natural scenery and gorgeous homes. Enjoy time in the charming community of Carmel, known for its art galleries and shops before returning to San Francisco.

Day 4: San Francisco – Yosemite

Join the group for an included all day adventure to Yosemite National Park (around 300 miles from San Francisco). Known for its magnificent waterfalls, granite peaks and remarkable wildlife, Yosemite is one of America’s favorite National Parks. We will explore the park by motorcoach, but you will also have time on the valley floor to enjoy the spectacular scenery and enjoy an included all American picnic. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Fresno.

Day 5: Yosemite – Mojave Desert – Las Vegas

Today, travel through the Mojave Desert on your way to Las Vegas (approximately 450 miles in total). A late afternoon arrival in the dazzling 'Entertainment Capital of the World' will give you enough time to start enjoying this fantastic city right away. Your ATI Tour Director will assist you in arranging all you want to do whether it is shopping, seeing a show, enjoying the fine dining, or joining an optional evening tour. Accommodation stay – 3 nights in Las Vegas.

Day 6: Las Vegas – Grand Canyon – Las Vegas 

This morning we stop at the iconic Las Vegas Welcome Sign where you may wish to capture a photo memory of Las Vegas before making your way to an included day trip to the Grand Canyon (approximately 330 miles roundtrip). On the way, admire the beauty of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S. formed by the Hoover Dam. At the Grand Canyon, you will have time to explore the views on your own and if you choose, join an optional helicopter trip over the canyon, a rafting trip on the Colorado, or walk on the Skywalk platform.

Day 7: Las Vegas (optional trip* to Zion)

The day is yours to choose how you spend it. Maybe do a little shopping at one of the fine shopping outlets in Las Vegas, lounge by the pool, or join an optional tour. One of the possibilities would be a full day trip to Zion National Park (approximately 360 miles roundtrip). Zion is known for its majestic canyons, waterfalls, and amazing wildlife. Your day visit will include a guided walk as well as an All-American picnic lunch.

Day 8: Las Vegas – Palm Springs – Los Angeles

Today your journey takes you from Las Vegas through Palm Springs, the winter playground for Hollywood royalty, with its lively downtown area and immaculately kept golf courses at the base of the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. This city in the desert was once known as the winter retreat of stars like Frank Sinatra, Jane Russell and Elvis Presley. Today it is a flourishing resort town with great shops, restaurants and year round desert climate. A sea of wind turbines mark the entrance to this desert oasis. Along the way you will pass through Indio, home to the International Date Festival due to the abundance of this crop in the Coachella Valley. In the late afternoon, arrive in Los Angeles. Total distance approximately 400 miles. Accommodation stay – 3 nights in Los Angeles.

Day 9: Los Angeles – Hollywood – Beverly Hills – Los Angeles

This morning, you will enjoy a comprehensive city tour of Los Angeles including the hip Santa Monica, glamorous Hollywood and posh Beverly Hills. You will be able to stop by the 'finish line' of Historic Route 66, see an iconic Californian lifeguard tower made famous by Baywatch, walk on the boulevard of stars and take a great photo of the famous Hollywood sign. The afternoon is yours to explore more on your own or join an optional excursion to Universal Studios where you will learn all about how movies are made.

Day 10: Los Angeles (The O.C./San Diego optional trip*)

Today enjoy an optional full day excursion to San Diego. Travel south through San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente to San Diego, the second largest city in California. San Diego enjoys year round mild weather and a location on the San Diego Bay. Enjoy a city tour including the historic Old Town, the Gas Lamp district, and the bay front picturesque Seaport Village. For a different view of the city, you can join an optional cruise on the bay before returning to Los Angeles in the late afternoon (approximately 260 miles roundtrip).

Days 11-12: Los Angeles – UK

This morning enjoy some free time at leisure, before you check out of your hotel. Supershuttle will transfer you to Los Angeles airport where you will catch your overnight flight home back to London Heathrow. Arrive on day 12.

Meals: This tour is based on a Room Only basis – upgrade to Breakfast Plus package at a supplement.

*Denotes local charge – optional trips and excursions listed on the itinerary are bookable and payable locally.

Please note: This is a set tour itinerary. If you have booked any pre/post or optional tour arrangements please refer to your separate vouchers and final documents..

 

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

GMT -8 hour

Hotel List

Final hotel list confirmed 10 days prior to travel.

Tour inclusions

  • Flights to and from the UK (included when booked online or optional when booked via Virgin Holidays call centre or retail store)
  • Meet and greet at the airport
  • Pre-arranged (seat-in) airport transfers
  • Private air conditioned motorcoach transportation throughout
  • Accommodation and sightseeing as listed above
  • Service of an English-speaking guide

Tour exclusions

  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required ESTA application
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

Room Only or optional Breakfast Included.

Journey times

Please note due to long distances covered on some of the tours, there will be some days when the majority of the day will be spent on the coach, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

Group size

Maximum approximately 56 passengers (full coach).

Visa requirements

It's mandatory for everyone travelling to or transferring through the US, under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) scheme.

Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.

The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply – simply update your details on the same website. Travelers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.

If you need any further information on the ESTA or you have any other visa queries, then try the Visit USA Website atwww.visitusa.org.uk where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found.

The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.

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Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of hand-picked options ready to book. But if you need more help, just let us know.

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist. Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers.

For extra piece of mind, new bookings made before 31 August 2020 for travel up 30 April 2021 also have the flexibility to amend free of charge. If you need to change don’t worry, you can move your holiday as far out as 31 December 2021 subject to availability.

Latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office repatriation travel advice


Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.
 

How would you like to talk to us?

With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 06 October 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates


Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected.  

We are prioritising those customers due to travel before 06 October 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

Let’s talk


If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking, and you are due to travel before 06 October 2020, please log in to Manage my booking to call or message us. 

Payment flexibility


Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans


We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're good to go


If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. Log in to Manage my booking to request a call back to amend your holiday. Please bear in mind we’ll work through requests in departure date order so may take longer than usual for us to get back to you

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

Thank you for your patience and understanding


Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

We'll be in touch soon


To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?


You can contact our team by emailing feedback.backhome@virginholidays.com to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

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