If the September sunshine feels like a distant memory and the novelty of grabbing a pumpkin spiced latte every time you dive for cover has already worn off, it could be time to ditch the brolly and head to sunnier climes.
There’s still time to bag an off-season bargain and switch your grubby, damp trainers for a pair of summer sandals.
Here’s where to lap up the sun’s rays, make a splash and get your feet wet without a puddle in sight…
1. Family option: Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are a perfect choice for a family winter holiday with the kids or grandkids. With the same time zone as the UK, even a toddler can tackle the flight time (roughly four and a half hours from London to Tenerife) with a nice snack, nap, and enough energy to make it to the kid’s club without too many tantrums. A pleasant 21 degrees C in December with limitless options for family-orientated, sandy beach breaks, there are seven islands to choose from with Tenerife, Lanzarote, Grand Canaria and Fuerteventura being the most well-known.
2. Couple’s city break: Barcelona
Barcelona makes for a great city break destination in the winter. If the sun is shining, enjoy a stroll along Barceloneta Beach and soak up the laidback vibe without the thronging summer crowds. Then take yourself to La Rambla, the city’s most famous street where you can idle among the street performers prior to heading to La Boqueria food market for a bite to eat at one of the buzzy seafood stalls. With fewer tourists around, visiting Gaudi’s masterpieces including the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, and the modernist Casa Batlló is much easier. And if travelling in December, you can also enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights that illuminate the city.
3. Luxury destination: Dubai
Sun, sea, sand and desert… Dubai has luxurious skyscrapers, shopping and world class resorts in spades. A respectable 26 degrees C in December, a dune buggy ride in the fiery red sand dunes is as accessible and exhilarating as the Dubai Fountain – the world’s largest choreographed fountain show. The Dubai Mall is dripping in gold (literally) with more than 1,200 designer jewellery and fashion boutiques, while the souks are legendary for browsing and bargaining. And a speedboat tour to landmarks such as Burj Al Arab will set you up for some A-list Arabian hospitality.