Judges’ Houses: We’re putting the travel spotlight on Malibu

In this weekend’s X Factor, the contestants fly out to the Judges’ Houses.

The Girls will be heading to Simon’s Malibu beach house, where they’ll be joined by former Spice Girls Mel B and Emma Bunton.

So if this weekend, you catch a glimpse of Malibu’s beautiful scenery and think maybe, just maybe, you fancy going there yourself – perhaps you should.

Here’s what you could expect on a little Malibu-shaped break…

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“27 Miles of Scenic Beauty”

The city of Malibu is just 30 miles from Downtown LA. Centred around the Pacific Coast Highway – arguably the USA’s most scenic road – Malibu’s welcome signs include the slogan “27 miles of scenic beauty”, referring to the city’s long stretches of sandy beaches.

There are also parklands and canyons surrounding the city, so if you like some views of the Pacific on a hiking trails, you’re in luck.

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Celebrities and their huge houses

Malibu first became the film-star hangout we know it as today in the early 1930s. These days, Oscar-winning actors like Leonardo Dicaprio, Jack Nicholson, Anthony Hopkins and Charlize Theron, and iconic popstars like Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Cher all have houses here.

Celebrity homes are dotted all over the city, but many are centred around the Malibu Colony Road, which runs alongside the Colony Beach. But a few miles east, you’ll find the even more exclusive Carbon Beach – also known as Billionaires Beach – home to some of the entertainment and tech industries’ most influential people, and some very lavish houses.

However, the city’s most famous historic building is The Adamson House. It belonged to an early 20th century businessman, who made his fortune selling dairy products. It’s nickname is the “Taj Mahal of Tile” and it’s even got an imitation Persian Carpet made entirely out of ceramic tiles. A must-have for every house, to be honest.

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Beautiful beaches (and occasional film crews)

You’ve probably already seen the sparkling Zuma Beach in films – it’s been in anything from Planet of the Apes to Baywatch. It also inspired its own 1978 TV movie (and the name of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale’s second child).

Music videos by Destiny’s Child, Rihanna, Madonna and Britney Spears have also all filmed videos on Malibu’s beaches. Girls Aloud took to the sands for their Call the Shots video, while One Direction did the same for What Makes You Beautiful.

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World-class surfing

Malibu Lagoon State Beach is well known for its surfing – it’s got the best waves in Southern California. It was dedicated as the first ever World Surfing Reserve in 2010, and hosts the prestigious Malibu Invitational contest each year.

Another annual sporting highlight in the city is the Nautica Malibu Triathalon. You’ll catch elite athletes and Hollywood stars – recent competitors including Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey – swim, bike and run along the Pacific Coast Highway to raise money for charity.

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Good food, good drink, and fine dining

Being home to more than its fair share of the rich and beautiful, Malibu is also a fine dining destination. You’ll find a branch of the Japanese restaurant Nobu down on the beachfront, with near-panoramic sea views.

Or if you want a more traditionally Californian food, Geoffrey’s is a Malibu institution when it comes to seafood. Its patio is a popular spot for weekend brunch.

For something a bit more budget-friendly but equally picturesque, the city’s Pier is the place to go. A familiar sight from TV shows and films, it’s also home to a café and restaurant.

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Elsewhere in the city, Paradise Cove Beach is a good place for a picnic. The views are epic, but, well – it’s also the only beach in the area where it’s legal to drink alcohol.

And while we’re on the subject – let’s talk about the Malibu Wines vineyards. They’ve got wine tasting and hiking, exotic animal safaris, live music, movie screenings and yoga classes. That should keep you busy.

Have you been to Malibu? We’d love to hear about your tips for things to see and do (or even any good celebrity spots) on Twitter or Facebook.

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