GMT: don’t let it get you down. There’s a time for mulled wine and scarves but maybe you need a large dose of sun, sea and sand? So don’t just daydream, plot your escape now with these five winter sun getaways.
1. Cape Verde from £269
You don’t need to go long-haul to get gorgeously hot, sunny weather in winter. The increasingly popular Cape Verde is a collection of islands off the coast of Senegal, only a six-hour flight from the UK. Its exceedingly clement climate is ideal for producing an envy-inducing tan. It may be hard to tear yourself away from your sun lounger, but you might be tempted by activities such as scuba diving, deep sea fishing and windsurfing – for which the island of Sal is world-renowned.
2. The Gambia from £177
The Gambia is a solid mid-haul choice for indulging in simple winter holiday pleasures like sunbathing and drinking tropically-titled cocktails. A six-hour flight from the UK, a big plus is that there’s no time difference, so you’ll be jetlag-free and fighting fit on your return to work on a sleety Monday morning. You could spend your whole holiday simply stretched out on a sun lounger by the pool or on a palm-lined stretches of yellow sand such as at Cape Point, Bijilo and Kololi.
3. Goa from £272
Goa’s ‘cool’ season stretches from November to February, when the weather is just right - dry, sunny and hot - perfect for doing little but lounging on the beach with a cold Kingfisher in hand. Indulge your fantasies for exotic palm-decorated beaches backed by lagoons and tropical jungle – slake your thirst at Cola Beach, near Palolem, and Polem Beach in the far south.
4. Mauritius from £595
Mauritius has a reputation as a honeymoon hotspot, but you don’t need to get married to go to this holiday brochure Indian Ocean island. Spend supremely lazy days lying on a white sand beach, finished off with a sunset stroll as waves gently lap the shore and the sun sinks slowly to the horizon. If all that kind of stuff is verging a little too far into romantic cliché for you, go scuba diving with the local whale sharks? Or maybe that’s too much effort?
5. Zanzibar from £532
Tick every beautiful box on the winter sun holiday checklist on Zanzibar. The beaches aren’t bad, like Bwejuu, with its classic coconut palms, turquoise waters and wide white sands, while the snorkelling is awesome, especially the reef around Mnemba Island. You can even realise that cherished dream of swimming with dolphins – although getting acquainted with magnificent manta rays may be even more amazing. And if that doesn’t cure your winter blues, it’s only six months ‘til summertime.