IF all you want for Christmas is a little winter sun, then we have got it sorted.
All the major holiday companies have got tempting deals to fly you off to warmer climes from Tenerife to Thailand and Turkey too – and they will have you on a plane as early as New Years Eve.
Here, Trisha Harbord serves up a selection of ten long and short-haul offers to catch the sunshine this winter.
Thailand – 32 degrees
YOU are sure to have fun holidaying in the Land of Smiles, because Thailand really does have it all.
Sugar-white beaches, clear warm waters, mouth-watering food and the friendliest people on the planet are just waiting for your arrival.
Plus there are activities galore, including watersports and boat and snorkelling trips.
Visit temples and palaces, or Phuket’s Big Buddha statue, shop markets for local handicrafts, take a Thai cookery class or try beach yoga.
The 3* Front Village resort in Phuket, with a natural lagoon on one side and tree-lined hills on the other, is close to beautiful two-mile Karon Beach.
It is buzzing with bars and restaurants selling great-value grub, including seafood, burgers and pizza.
GO: Seven nights’ B&B at the 3* Front Village is from £1,094pp, including Gatwick flights, on February 27. See tui.co.uk.
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Tenerife – 20 degrees
Within just a few hours you could be topping up your tan in Tenerife.
Saga is offering £100 off a break on the Canary isle in January if you book by the end of this month.
The Best Hotel Semiramis, on a cliff top in Puerto de la Cruz, is perfect for a touch of relaxation.
It has a gym, spa and wellness centre, while the pool, terraces and all-balcony rooms have sea views.
Enjoy Saga’s Club Lounge – a free bar open 12 hours a day – as well as tango and flamenco shows and guided walking tours.
Visit the Botanical Gardens and Mount Teide which, at over 12,000ft, is the world’s third-largest volcano.
GO: Seven nights all-inclusive at the Best Hotel Semiramis is from £600pp including BA flights from Gatwick in January. Book by December 31. See saga.co.uk.
Dubai – 25 degrees
IF you are looking to be spoiled, then Dubai is the place for you.
As well as top-notch customer service, the UAE hotspot is a favourite with couples and families because there are activities galore – including watersports, boat trips, desert safaris, hot air balloon tours and the longest zipline in the world.
You will get great views from the 820ft Dubai Eye or stay at the First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle and just look out of the window.
The 4* hotel – which has a vibrant South American restaurant, themed nights and barbecues – offers a free shuttle to a beach club on the Palm and the Mall of the Emirates.
GO: Seven nights B&B at the First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle is from £1,013pp including Stansted flights on February 27. See onthebeach.co.uk.
Turkey – 16 degrees
A PERFECT destination if you want to feel the sun on your back but don’t want it hot, hot, hot.
There will be at least six hours of glorious rays a day in Antalya, between the warm Med and sheltering Taurus mountains.
The 5* Aska Lara Resort & Spa has facilities for all the family – kids’ clubs, five pools including one with slides and one indoor, a gym and spa.
Sports range from aerobics to archery, with team games, evening entertainment and live music.
A variety of bars and restaurants serve both Turkish and international food.
The resort town of Lara Beach, which has five miles of golden sands, is close to the city of Antalya, as are bazaars packed with leather goods, carpets and jewellery.
GO: Seven nights all-inclusive at the 5* Aska Lara Resort & Spa is from £292pp including Luton flights on January 30. See loveholidays.com.
Egypt – 22 degrees
DIVE into the Red Sea in Egypt’s Hurghada.
Clear, warm waters showcase the fantastic marine life and colourful coral, so go snorkelling or on a glass-bottom boat.
Visit Makadi Water World, the country’s largest park with 50 rides, from freefall slide to a lazy river.
There’s more water fun at the 5* Desert Rose Resort, which has an aqua park with heated pool.
The nearby beach has parasailing and windsurfing while the hotel has its own scuba diving centre.
Hop on a quad bike and take a desert safari through the dunes to a Bedouin village, ride a camel and go stargazing.
Back at the hotel, relax in the luxury spa.
GO: Seven nights at the 5* Desert Rose Resort is from £483pp, all-inclusive, including Gatwick flights on January 25. See easyjet.com/en/holidays.
Caribbean cruise – 29 degrees
SAIL into 2024 on P&O’s newest cruise ship Arvia.
With a retractable SkyDome, swim-up bars and infinity pools, you’ll be in heaven as you board in Barbados.
The 5,000-passenger liner has 30 places to eat and drink, a spa and health club, shows and entertainment for all the family.
There’s a mini-golf course, sports arena, splash park and quirky VR submarine escape room, where groups of up to 10 tackle live action puzzles.
Take That’s Gary Barlow inspired the live music venue, The 710 Club.
It’s tempting to never get off, but ports of call include the British Virgin Isles and Dominican Republic.
GO: Seven nights full-board, from Barbados on January 20, including flights from Gatwick or Manchester, costs from £1,049 per person. See pocruises.com.
Spain – 18 degrees
Bring on the tapas and sangria in mainland Spain.
The resort town of Nerja, known as the jewel of the Costa del Sol, is just 40 minutes from Malaga airport.
Its seafront, the Balcon de Europa, offers fantastic views of the Mediterranean and the sandy beaches and coves below. The 16th century old town features narrow winding streets which can be explored by horse-drawn carriage.
Don’t miss one of Spain’s main tourist attractions – the Caves of Nerja, three miles of caverns with spectacular five-million-year-old stalagmites and stalactites.
Laid-back Hotel Riu Monica is close to lots of bars, restaurants, clubs, cafes and boat parties.
GO: Seven nights half-board at the Hotel Riu Monica is from £576pp including Luton flights on March 6. See tui.co.uk.
Antigua – 26 degrees
Order a rum punch and stretch out on a sunbed with the sound of the ocean lapping in your ears.
The friendly Caribbean island has 365 beaches, stunning sunsets and UNESCO World heritage site, Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour.
So much to do – nature tours, horse riding, zip-lining through rainforest canopies, and scuba diving.
Evening entertainment includes nightclubs, cocktail bars, casinos, cinemas and steel bands at the Shirley Heights sunset party every Sunday.
The self-catering Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort is a great base and close to shops and restaurants.
GO: Seven nights’ self-catering at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort is from £933pp, including Virgin flights from Heathrow on February 29. See virginholidays.co.uk.
Portugal – 17 degrees
There are ten hours’ sunshine a day on Portugal’s south coast so start the New Year with a boost of vitamin D.
Once a quiet fishing village, Albufeira is a lively resort but the old town is just as quaint with narrow streets and white-washed houses.
It boasts at least 20 beaches, some with calm waters and others perfect for surfing, and one of the most picturesque – Praia dos Arrifes, with three majestic protruding rocks.
Something for everyone here from an archaeological museum to waterparks and nightlife on Albufeira’s answer to Vegas, a neon-lit street called The Strip.
And, of course, it’s paradise if you like golf with world-class courses.
The 3* Ourapraia Hotel apartments has a golf desk for booking, pools and tennis court.
GO: Seven nights self-catering at the Ourapraia Hotel is from £319pp including flights from Leeds Bradford on January 4. See jet2holidays.com.
Miami – 25 degrees
JOIN the beautiful people on South Beach Miami.
Anything goes along the boardwalk – from rollerskates to Segways – on this stretch of sands which is a favourite with celebs.
The Florida city is a great place for shopping, especially during the January sales, with boutiques and outlets for every budget.
Tour the biggest Art Deco district in the world, featuring beautiful 1920s architecture.
With or without kids, the Frost Science Aquarium and Planetarium and Jungle Island, where animals roam a park, are worth visiting.
Save cash by skipping the posh hotels and stay at the 3* Whitelaw Hotel, which is still close to South Beach.
GO: Three nights’ room-only at the 3* Whitelaw Hotel is from £659pp including BA flights from Heathrow on selected dates in January. See britishairways.com.
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