Escape the British winter - 5 sunny destinations to visit

Winter is coming, and with it, the usual wet, cold and miserable British weather. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Now’s the perfect time to book a sun break to escape the British winter!


Wondering where to go? We’ve shared five sunny destinations to inspire your next winter getaway...


  1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Dubai is arguably the Middle East’s most glamorous city, but it’s surprisingly family-friendly too! With beautiful beaches and a bustling metropolis to explore, it ticks all of the boxes for a winter sun holiday.


Things to do in Dubai:


  • Visit the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world)
  • Enjoy the vibrant nightlife at Palm Jumeirah
  • Explore the Jumeirah Mosque and gain an insight into the cultural and religious beliefs of the people of Dubai
  • Take a boat ride along the Dubai creek, travelling from one part of the city to the other
  • Spend a day at Dubai Parks & Resorts (the largest integrated theme park in the Middle East featuring three theme parks and a water park!)


Dubai is known for its scorching temperatures surpassing 40 degrees in the height of summer. By winter, the temperatures drop to the mid-twenties, which, let’s face it, are a lot more comfortable! So if you are a sun-seeker hoping to escape the British weather, the winter months are a fantastic time to visit Dubai.


  1. Mauritius


Nestled in the Indian Ocean is the East African country of Mauritius, renowned for being one of the world’s most beautiful island destinations. It’s certainly an idyllic spot for couples seeking a romantic winter getaway.


Mauritius is the epitome of relaxation, with glistening white beaches for sunbathing and warm turquoise oceans to swim in. Enjoy temperatures of around 29 degrees in the daytime and 20 degrees in the evening.


But Mauritius isn’t just a lazy holiday spot. There’s plenty for the active traveller to do, including rainforest hikes, mountain climbing, wildlife spotting, and nearly every water sport you can think of! And once you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the island’s fusion cuisine, serving up the best dishes from both Indian and Chinese cultures.


Things to do in Mauritius:


  • Visit the Flic-en-Flac beach and La Cuvette beach for complete relaxation
  • Try deep-sea diving, sailing, fishing and surfing at Mont Choisy beach and Grand Bay Public Beach
  • Discover the giant water lilies at Pamplemousses Botanical Garden (December is the best time to see them!)
  • See the Seven Coloured Earths at Chamarel
  • Join a guided hike at Black River Gorges National Park


  1. South Africa


Swap winter for summer with a visit to South Africa and enjoy temperatures up to 27 degrees between December and February. Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Kruger National Park are some of the very best places to visit in South Africa at this time of year.


From climbing Table Mountain to spotting penguins at Boulders Beach, vineyard tours at Cape Winelands and world-class safaris at Kruger National Park, there’s plenty of things to see and do in South Africa.


Book for as long as you can and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime!


Things to do in South Africa:


  • Explore the Garden Route - a 200 km stretch of coast connecting Mossel Bay to the Storms River Mouth encompassing sandy beaches, stunning lakes, lagoons and enchanting evergreen forests
  • Meet the gentle giants at Addo Elephant National Park
  • Kayak with crocodiles in St Lucia
  • Join the Cango Caves adventure tour 
  • Take part in turtle-tracking on the beaches of iSimangaliso (December is peak nesting season for loggerhead and leatherback turtles)


  1. Malta


Don’t fancy a long haul flight? No problem! The good news is that you can escape the British winter without having to fly across the globe. A 3-hour flight will take you to the beautiful tiny island of Malta, which enjoys more than 230 sunny days every year, and has average outdoor temperatures of 17 - 21 degrees in the winter.


Malta is one of those destinations with something to offer all kinds of travellers, with stunning natural scenery, sandy beaches and fascinating history and culture. Winter is a great time to visit, as not only is it less busy than in the summer but you can also take part in the country’s Christmas celebrations.


Things to do in Malta:


  • Explore one of the world’s smallest capital cities, Valletta (the capital has been a key filming location for numerous productions, including Game of Thrones and Jurassic World!)
  • Visit the historic walled city of Mdina
  • Enjoy peaceful strolls across Malta’s beautiful beaches
  • Visit the country’s historic sites, including Fort St Angelo and Domvs Romana
  • Hop on the ferry to explore Gozo (the second largest Maltese island)


While it might not be as warm and sunny as some of the destinations on our list, it’s one of the best choices for those looking for a winter break in Europe.


  1. Madeira


Although culturally European, Madeira is geographically African. Because of this, you can be walking around in a t-shirt and shorts in December, when the rest of Europe is wrapped in coats! During the day, you can expect temperatures of around 20 degrees, and at night it’s still usually above 14 degrees.


But the sub-tropical weather isn’t the only reason to visit Madeira in winter. Nicknamed the ‘island of eternal spring,’ Madeira is also an excellent place for hiking, dolphin-watching, shopping, sports activities, relaxation and world-class seafood.


Things to do in Madeira:


  • Take a ride in the iconic basket cars
  • Go hiking in the ​​Ponta de São Lourenço nature reserve
  • Visit Praia do Porto do Seixal beach (volcanic sands and a great beach for nature-lovers / Instagrammers!)
  • Go swimming in the natural swimming pools at Porto Moniz
  • Take a boat trip and go whale and dolphin watching



Stay in the city of Funchal and have museums, gardens and traditional Madeira wine cellars right on your doorstep. Try out the local cuisine in the many restaurants across the city (you’ll be spoilt for choice) and don’t forget to visit the Old Town ‘Zona Velha’ for its fascinating historic scenery.


Book a sunny winter break with PlansChange


Which sunny destination will you choose? Pop your go-to winter sun destination in our search to find the best hotels at the best prices. We work with hotels all over the world to bring you the very best deals. Check in to something different this winter with PlansChange!