Los Angeles is a must visit destination for anyone doing a road trip through California and for our teens it was a much anticipated highlight of our holiday.

Leaving the opulence of Hearst Castle behind we left Highway 1 and took the well known and faster Route 101 towards LA, stopping off first for a couple of days in Santa Barbara.

Widely referred to as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is a Southern Californian rarity in that it is a city with a single architectural style.  Following a devastating earthquake in 1952, the centre was rebuilt according to strict rules that dictated a Mediterranean style. The result is a city filled with white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, which to a Brit abroad seem an incongruous feature on the sunny Californian coast.

The perfect stop off, Santa Barbara is an eclectic mix of just about everything.  With the Santa Ynez Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop as well as housing many wineries, Santa Barbara is perfect for aficionadas and novices alike to learn about and taste wines. There is history and culture at the Museum of Fine Arts and the gallery of El Paseo and the Mission Santa Barbara perched on a hilltop, houses Franciscan friars and a museum should it take your fancy.  For the green-fingered, the botanic garden is not to be sniffed at either, housing 40 acres of California’s native flora.

For us though Santa Barbara also provided the perfect opportunity to ease off on the sight-seeing and indulge in a bit of shopping.  State Street is the hub of Santa Barbara‘s shopping district and it is and certainly was for us at least, easy to spend a whole day getting lost in the plethora of shops on offer.

After the almost suburban perfection of Santa Barbara, LA was the perfect antithesis, loud, brash and glitzy.

LA is best described as a series of interconnected villages, each with its own distinctive character from the affluence of Bel Air to the urban chic of Downtown LA.  The first thing that struck us on arriving was the traffic, the

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