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Escorted Rail Tours to San Diego

See this stunning Californian bay

Set around a graceful, curving bay, San Diego is now the second most-populous city in California. The city's history - like that of many Californian places - can be traced back to when Spanish missionaries first came to the area. In San Diego, the missionaries pre-dated those in the rest of the state by a considerable time; the first known Christian service took place in November 1602. The first regular, consistent mission was established in 1769, and soon it boasted the largest population in all of Spain's American territories.

After passing into Mexican possession in 1821, San Diego became part of the United States in 1848. The settlement was granted city status two years later in recognition of its growing size and importance. With the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad in the 1880s, San Diego really took off as an important transport hub, and began to develop rapidly. Its importance became such that during the Second World War, the US Navy made San Diego its Pacific Command Centre.

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Balboa Park

A vast, sprawling complex, this 1200-acre (486-hectare) park is not only a beautiful green space but also contains quite a collection of museums and attractions, making it an essential part of any visit to San Diego. There is plenty to see here, and a visit could take an entire day in itself.

Mission Beach

One of the city's many beaches, this is among the most popular for simply relaxing on the sand. It also boasts a number of inviting bars, restaurants and shops, making Mission Beach a popular day option.

William Heath Davis House

For a great insight into the history of San Diego and its development, the William Heath Davis House should not be missed. The oldest house in the city, each room commemorates a different period in the city's past, and has a feature on some of the house's more notable residents.

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