Once the fun bits of winter are over - like Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas - there isn’t a whole lot to look forward to. There’s nothing but endless cycles of rainy commutes, dark school runs and gloomy weekends stuck indoors, while the wind and rain hammers on the window. So why not go on holiday?
If you’re looking for winter sun without a long journey, your best bet is to choose one of the Canary Islands. You’ll find the Canaries off the North Western coast of Africa (which is why the temperatures stay so pleasantly warm in the winter), less than 4.5 hours travel time if you fly directly.
You have a number of islands to choose from, but the most popular for sunbathing and outdoor activities tend to be Tenerife and Lanzarote, with the likes of La Palma being ideal if you like old architecture and history. Sprawl out on golden sands with temperatures hovering at a comfortable 20°C, eat fresh sea food in the restaurants, and explore the markets and the great outdoors.
For guaranteed sunshine at this time of year, you might want to consider flying further afield – as far as Thailand, in fact. Temperatures average around 30°C over winter (just be sure to skip Monsoon season, which ends in November), so if you like nothing more than feeling the sun warming your skin or getting some more use from your summer wardrobe, you’ll be happy here.
Of course, there’s so much more to Thailand than its warm weather: Kaho Yai national park is home to wild elephants, macaques and gibbons and is something you’ll remember forever if you decide to go trekking. You could go snorkelling in the Krabi province (off the west coast of southern Thailand) to see turtles and dolphins, and there are also the legendary beach parties in Koh Pha Ngan to enjoy too.
But if you just want to unwind after the chaos of Christmas, visit Thailand’s temples and do a spot of yoga to find that peace and quiet you’re looking for.
For a totally different experience altogether, Florida (Orlando) is a gorgeous place to soak up some winter sun. Have an outdoorsy holiday exploring Florida’s rich Everglades, or you could enjoy a more cosmopolitan break by staying in the city for some for some truly excellent shopping destinations.
If you’re travelling with children, they’re sure to enjoy Walt Disney World (though remember that there’s plenty geared up for adults too, so don’t feel you need to bring little ones to justify going), and the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral is bound to light everyone’s imagination on fire. Whatever kind of holiday you fancy, consider booking your trip after Christmas when prices are a little cheaper.
Once a favourite haunt of pirates, Mauritius is absolutely idyllic. It’s the kind of destination you should head to if you’re serious about soaking up some winter sun in complete luxury, with silky smooth white sandy beaches, rustling palm trees and some of the most indulgent hotels and spas in the world.
Of course a holiday like this doesn’t come cheap, but with the chance to do a Paradise Cruise to Ile Aux Cerf Island, a visit to the sacred Hindu site of Ganga Talao and a quad biking trip around the Frederica Nature Reserve, it’s worth every penny.
So, will you be booking a holiday to any of these destinations this winter?