Los Angeles: Walking on Sunshine

Offering golden-age glamour next to golden sands, vibrant culture and cuisine, all overlooked by dramatic canyons, Los Angeles has no shortage of oft-filmed assets to recommend it. But there’s one in particular that always gives it an edge over anywhere. Los Angeles offers a rich melting pot of cultures bubbling up with surprises, the cosy climate also makes the region’s golden beaches, breathtaking hills and sumptuous surf seriously tempting. Can you take it all in during one short break? You better believe it...

City Meets Coast
It shouldn’t take too long to cross off those must-see entries on your itinerary: Chinese Theatre? Tick. Museum Row? Tick. A selfie with the Hollywood sign in the background? Rude not to. But whether you’re a fan of culture, cuisine or sun loungers, there’s a lot more to LA than the usual tourist destinations.

In recent years hiking has become Angelenos’ favourite way of keeping fit and getting great views of their city into the bargain, so check out Runyon Canyon or the trail through Griffith Park to Mount Hollywood to get a bird’s eye view of this extraordinarily city.

If you prefer to stay closer to  the urban buzz, the hip place to be right now is the regenerated Downtown area, where Broadway’s historic theatrical buildings such as the Bradbury (as seen in Blade Runner) have been restored to their former glory alongside dazzling new arrivals such as the Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Foodies will have a field day here: Grand Central Market on South Broadway offers mouth-watering ethnic street food, while the Arts District has thriving craft brewery scene and is home to Otium, Tim Hollingsworth’s internationally renowned eaterie. Then when the bustle of the city gets a little too much, you can catch the subway to the sea. A subway? In LA? Yes ma’am, and it’s just been extended. The new Metro Expo Line can whisk you from Downtown to Santa Monica in just 45 minutes.

Life’s a Beach 
LA’s coastal suburbs offer the kind of sun-soaked California coastline you remember from the movies. No prizes for guessing what activity is most popular at Malibu’s Surfrider beach, but if you fancy a more traditional summer holiday stretch of sand, head to Santa Monica State Beach. And after you’ve had your fill of swimming and sandcastles, Santa Monica Pier is a veritable party on stilts, full of funky food stalls and fairground rides.