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Don't laugh - but I want an LA trip like Kate Winslett in 'The Holiday'

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Okay, so I know I wont find someone who has a huge mansion to house swap (my teeny tiny London studio apt isnt available anyway...) nor an aging film producer and a cute music writer! BUT I have wanted to go to California for a while and when I saw the film 'The Holiday' wanted to do even more.

I have been to California as a child (my uncle used to live in San Fran, and then in Long Beach) but this is 20 yrs ago now.
Were I to go now, I'd be travelling solo. I'd skip Disneyland this time around too! I like art, the movies and also the outdoors. I've looked into organised art trips (I'd like to visit the Gerry Museum and Villa) but there arent so many. Id like to do some outdoor stuff, eg hiking (where is the nearest national park?) and wouldnt mind if I had to hire a car. If I had weeks to spare Id drive up to SF and also visit Napa Valley but Ive recently been found to have a lot of allergies and wine doesnt agree so well although I still love it and would love to go anyway!

I dont have a particular time frame for when Id like to do this (id go next week if I knew where, when and how!) and I know year round the weather is pleasant. I may sound hesitant as Im not sure how safe it is in LA area driving alone, and also I know from before that its so vast with so many neighbourhoods, its difficult to narrow it down to where id want to stay.

Any ideas on the kinds of holidays available, or what I might think of doing?
Thanks in advance!

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