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Best for watersports: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Get wet and wild in Gran Canaria, where the steadily warm temperatures and light breezes make it a perfect destination for watersports.

The coast is lined with sailors, surfers, scuba divers, bodyboarders and waterskiers, but it’s windsurfing that most suits the climate of this sporty isle.

You can practice all along the east and south coasts of this Spanish-ruled island off the coast of Morocco. Excellent conditions can be found at Las Palmas’ Playa de las Canteras beach in the northeast and around Gáldar in the northwest.

ION Club offer reasonable rates for beginners in the Bahia Feliz bay, starting from €40 for a one-hour lesson.

Getting there: Flights from London to Gran Canaria from £54 return. 

credit: MaFelipe

Best for partying: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brits say, “Just my cup of tea.” Brazilians say, “È minha praia” (“That’s my beach”).

What more do you need to know about their approach to relaxing? Possibly the only activity that Cariocas are as good at as parading their scantily clad bodies along the seaside is partying hard.

And when a pint of Rio’s favourite Brahma beer rarely costs more than £1.50, it would be rude not to join in the fun.

Of course we don’t doubt that you’re more than capable of finding your own sensational bar, but if watching the sun set with a cold bevvy in your hand is your thing, we heartily recommend Azul Marinho (Avenida Francisco Bhering, tel. +55 21 2513 5014) on Arpoador beach, which extends from the famous Ipanema. Go. Drink. Enjoy.

Getting there: British Airways flies from London to Rio from £797 return.

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Travelling in the heat? Top tips for cooling down

When you spend all day soaking up the sun, it’s easy to do yourself damage without realising it. Follow these top tips to take care of yourself in the sunshine.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you keep drinking water during a day out in the sun, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Don’t quench your thirst with beer, even if it seems like the greatest idea in the world.

The alcohol dehydrates you and plays a key role in giving you the hangover from hell the next day.

Keep your neck cool

This is a clever little trick – if you wear a cap backwards or raise your collar, this keeps the back of your neck in shade.

The sensor for our body temperature control is in this area, so if you keep it shaded you can make the rest of your body feel cooler than it really is. Magic.

Freeze your pillow

If the heat’s keeping you up at night, wrap a small pillow in a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer for an hour or two before you go to bed. Take it out and use it to keep you cool, as you would use a hot water bottle to keep you warm.

Britain’s hot spots

If time or funding factors mean you really can’t get abroad this winter, then at least try to get away for few days in one of the UK’s warmer corners.

Isles of Scilly

A walk on the beach in November might seem like finger-numbing madness, but Britain’s coastline, where the ocean moderates air temperature, is the warmest area in winter.

The Isles of Scilly only get frosty a couple of days each a year, and the waters stay at 11-12°C throughout the winter. Not exactly perfect conditions for jumping in without a wetsuit, but still...


A while back, Jersey went to war with the Isles of Scilly, with an advertising campaign claiming that the Channel Island was “the warmest place in the British Isles”.

The Isles of Scilly were miffed, convinced this was their title (their tourism authority even went so far as to claim Jersey wasn’t part of the UK proper anyway).

Jersey stood their ground.

Nobody came out of this scrap looking dignified, but all you need to know is that Jersey’s winter temperature averages a top of 8°C, which, of course, is considerably warmer than London.


Here’s a bit of trivia for you: over the last century in the UK, temperatures have risen above 17°C only eight times in January – and every one of those times was on the coast of north Wales.

The cosy town of Portmeiron catches warm dry winds that blow down the sheltered side of the mountains, making it a very pleasant place to escape the chills of the capital.


Escape the cold months: Summery Destinations
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