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There is no point denying it: winter in the UK is dire, not least for sun-starved antipodeans. While keeping calm and carrying on would be the standard English advice, a cheeky break can really brighten your spirits now the clocks have gone back.

Here, we recommend five destinations to escape to during the dark and gloomy winter months.

1. Bask in winter sun in the Canaries

The Canary Islands are a classic summer destination for Brits – but why not treat yourself to their golden beaches and volcanic valleys in winter time?

A mere four hours’ flight away, this gem of a destination proves that you don’t have to go all the way back to the southern hemisphere to experience a little bit of sunlight during the winter. Top up your vitamin D levels with a day at the beach, enjoy a bit of shopping in the islands’ boutiques (which, by the way, are all duty-free) and indulge yourself in some of the affordable top-notch restaurants. We recommend the Michelin-starred Restaurante Los Roques in Tenerife (Calle La Marina, 1638618 Los Abrigos in Santa Cruz) especially for alfresco dining.

For added adventure, rent a car (which costs around £40 a day) and explore the national park and Mount Teide. Staying at the NH Hotel (Candelaria Esquina Doctor Allart, – doubles from £70) places you at the heart of the city in Santa Cruz and is perfect for enjoying the Spanish colonial architecture of the Old Town. 

2.  Relax with Après Ski in France

Rope in a group of friends and go for the most wintery of winter-getaways, a skiing holiday in the French Alps. Enjoy the clean, crisp air and stunning Alpine landscapes as you race down the black run or attempt the cross-country. And even if you’re not the sporty type, there is always the Après-ski, which is a great way to relax after all that exercise. So, why not rent a traditional chalet? Renting as a group is a great way to make the most of your holiday, and can be quite affordable, too.

Whether you opt for one of the resorts in Les Portes du Soleil, many of which have good facilities for beginners, or place yourself right at the foot of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, you are guaranteed to have a good time. The Zara at Chamonix is a classic wooden chalet in a peaceful hamlet only five minutes from the Brévent ski area by foot and can be rented without catering ( you really want to save money, arrange to book directly with the chalet owner and pay in advance, using an online foreign exchange service such as – you’ll get better exchange rates and low fees compared to going through your bank.  In most cases, online brokers are 3 to 4 percent cheaper than bank transfers and you can usually complete a transfer within a day.


Top five winter getaways
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