Best Places to Escape the UK winter

The best places around the world to escape the UK winter

What are the best places to escape the UK winter? I have been asked this question a good amount over the past few months so I decided it might be worth creating this article.

Firstly, to answer this question you need a little understanding on how the planet works. As you may know, the United Kingdom sees its official winter months in December, January and February. With November and March also known to be cold/grey and wet. That is because the United Kingdom is situated in the Northern Hemisphere of the Planet. As such, all countries in this part of the world will be seeing their winter months, from Canada, UK, Russia and most of Europe. As always, there is always the rule breakers like certain areas of the US and Southern Europe who do manage to escape most of the worst the winter has to offer.

Snowing in London, UK – Winter in the city

This means, that the Southern Hemisphere move into their peak summer months, as they are the opposite. Ultimately, you would need to be looking to head south for the warmer, brighter weather during the UK winter.

Most people would love to escape the winter months and head for sun, warmth and beaches. So, in this article below I have listed some of my top picks of places to visit to escape the worst of the winter in the UK.

As the United Kingdom plunges into winter, the cold, wet and shorter days. Here are my top picks of places to escape the UK winter?

South Africa

A personal favourite of mine. Africa itself has hundreds of parks and game reserves from Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia all offering incredible safari options but for me, as I have been there a few times now it’s South Africa that I urge people to visit.

One of the reasons I say this is because South Africa has so much more to offer then just the African Safari. I was able to cross off 2 items on my bucket list when visiting. South Africa sits at the very bottom of the African continent and is surrounded by two oceans, the Indian and Atlantic. This means the seas around the country are some of the most densely populated in the world with fish and predators, meaning you can get other incredible experiences as well as a Safari.

Cape Town however offers much more, with Robben Island, Table Mountain and the worlds capital for Great White Shark diving you can see why South Africa becomes a top choice. Its climate is similar to the UK but in reverse, so our summer is their winter and although it’s a 12 hour flight from London which you can now fly direct, they are only 2 hours ahead in time so NO jet lag an added bonus for sure. Cape Town is a brilliant city, I spent 10 days in the city in 2022 and you can read my full itinerary for tips, advice and inspiration to maximise your time in Cape Town.

Every time I visit South Africa I never want to leave and I know you will feel the same. Check out my trips here.

Australia

The 6th largest country in the world. Australia has much to see and do. Due to the country being in the Southern Hemisphere Australia will be basking in summer sunshine. Sydney and Melbourne are extremely popular in January and February but that also means prices can be higher. It’s also worth noting that crowds will also be more as Australians are still on their summer holidays.

With all that in mind, the beaches are still as welcoming as ever. With endless sandy beaches, warm tropical waters and up to 12 hours of sunshine a day. Most certainly a UK winter escape. Australia is also home to several stunning national parks to enjoy, from Kakadu National Park (Australia’s largest), Blue Mountains National Park to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (or Ayers Rock as it was formally known). All of which can be enjoyed to the full. Then their are some of the countries most famous destinations from diving and snorkelling in the Great barrier Reef, Visiting Sydney Harbour with the world famous Opera House.

There is also a huge array of cities to explore, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and of course Sydney. Maybe one of the only things that puts people off a little is the distance needed to travel to Australia from the UK. I would highly recommend splitting up your flight with a stop over, so you can leave the airport and get away from flying for a day or so. Why not add a 2 night stop over in Dubai or Bangkok?

In any event, Australia is one of the best places to escape the UK winter. 

Mexico

A very popular destination thanks to social media, with TikTok and Instagram giving this tropical paradise the spotlight it rightfully deserves.

Mexico is situated in Central America and is largely a tropical country. During the harsh UK winter, Mexico is a sun magnet and welcomes holiday makers from all over the world. The average yearly daily temperature for Mexico is 28C, a welcome relief from the cold of the UK. Mexico is a large country, it’s the 13th largest country in the world so the weather and climate will change depending on where you visit but the most popular regions are on the Caribbean coast. It’s palm tree lined beaches, white sand and clear blue waters offer a taste of paradise. With plenty of beach activities including Scuba Diving, Snorkelling and surfing there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.

Aerial view of resort area in Cancun

The two most popular resort towns in Mexico for tourists is Cancun and Playa de Carman. November, December, January and February all offer temperatures in the mid to high 20C with peak temperatures reaching 28/29C on the best days. August and September see the highest rainfall of the year.

Mexico is not all about beaches and weather. The country has a huge amount of cultural delights, including ancient temples, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and global festivals attracting thousands of tourists each year. The country is a Spanish speaking country, in fact it is the largest speaking Spanish country in the world. There is NO doubt, that a trip to Mexico this winter will shake off those winter blues.  

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is situated in central America and is the most stable, safest country in the region compared to many of it’s neighbours. The country also boasts the highest biodiversity in the world with over a quarter of the country protected for nature. The country is one of only two in the world to be carbon neutral. Costa Rica sits between two oceans the Caribbean and Pacific coast and is home to the endangered Jaguar (not to be mistaken for the car).  

A vertical shot of a La Fortuna Waterfall Alajuela Costa Rica

Many tourists visit the Pacific coast side of the country after flying into the capital San Jose. The country isn’t very big and you can drive from one side to the other in a few hours. From the airport it takes about 1hr 30mins to drive to the popular town of Jaco on the Pacific Coast where surfing, paddle boarding and wake boarding are part of daily life. As I mentioned before more then a quarter of the country is covered by protected forests meaning spotting wildlife is a must, there are Hummingbirds, Sloths and if your lucky enough there are Jaguars to be found. The country has lush rainforests to explore with tree top bridges and zip wires for that adrenaline rush.

The national language is Spanish and the local currency is “Colon” and another great thing about Costa Rica, UK citizens do not require any visa for entering the country as long as it’s less then 90 days and you are not working or earning any money, so no paperwork to complete either. For those reasons mentioned above and for so many more Costa Rica is on my hit list for 2023.

Thailand

I fell in love with this place when we visited in early 2020. It still remains a place I long to go back to.

Thailand is a country that again offers so much for so many. From it’s busy cities with amazing food and culture. To the most stunning coastlines with beaches and that laid back life approach. Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. Thailand is the most visited country on earth for tourists, in 2019 alone over 20 million people came to Thailand and I am sure many of them will be back. Thailand has a rich culture and history waiting to be uncovered. As you spend more time in the country you see all of the magic this place has to offer.

It’s climate is ideal, it’s the same as Costa Rica. It’s warm all year around and certain times of the year if rains a lot but what’s great is in January and February when the UK is in the depth of winter, Thailand is hot and provides a great getaway for some winter sun with average temperatures at 34C most days. The country has an array of activities and things to see from Royal Palaces, temples and shrines to coral reefs and tropical forests it really is a destination worth checking out.

Thailand is also famous for it’s food and for me, it didn’t disappoint here either. The food I had on our trip was some of the best food I have ever eaten. Almost all of it was from the street venders. The street food in Thailand really is restaurant quality and in most cases, better then restaurants. Coming from the UK, the pound goes a lot further. You can actually do a lot as the transfer rate is really good and the country is really cheap.

Argentina

The 8th Largest country in the world is next on my list, I bet you were not expecting that!

Argentina is packed with itineraries you can only dream about. Buenos Aires alone is a capital city bursting with history, culture and incredible food. January is the hottest month of the year for Argentina. Temperatures often getting to 30C and above, with February a close second. This makes it the perfect place to enjoy while the UK is deep in their winter.

The country is large, so the weather may change as you move around the country. However most of the time the country is basking in hot, warm weather in December/Janaury/Febuary. There are a number of places to visit, learn how to tango in Buenos Aires, visit one of the largest waterfalls in the world ‘Iguazu Falls’ or visit one of the most stunning national parks in the world, Tierra del Fuego National Park. If that is not enough, spend some time on the beach. Popular spots include Playa Mar de Ajo, Playa Perdices or Mar de las Pampas.

The food in Argentina will leave it’s mark for sure. Argentina is world famous for it’s food, from delights such as Choripan and Carbonada. The country is also famous for it’s global wine production, making some of the worlds finest wines. Argentina really will be a memorable holiday and a fantastic escape from the UK winter. Flights from London to Buenos Aires take anywhere from 12-17hrs.

Now you see why Argentina makes my list?

Maldives

For most, The Maldives is a bucket list destination. This small island nation sits in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it’s a warm, laidback vibe.

The Maldives is one of the worlds premier locations for honeymoons and weddings. It is also one of the most expensive island resorts in the world. If you are looking for luxury, stunning beaches, clear waters and endless sunshine then this is the place for you. Due to it’s location, The Maldives is situated directly on the Equator meaning the yearly weather doesn’t change. Being on the Equator means the sun is at it’s strongest and closest to the earth at noon each day. The Maldives like most countries in this region sees a wet and dry season. The wet season runs from May until December, meaning perfect time for UK travellers. January and February are the busiest times to visit The Maldives.

The Maldives is a country that provides the luxury of life. Over water bungalows, villas on the beach, private island escapes and even under water dining experience. There is nothing like taking a trip to the Maldives, but be prepared. It will cost you!

Puerto Rico

For a much more affordable winter getaway, have you ever thought about the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico?

An Island nation where daily life is built around the beach. Puerto Rico is a great place to escape the UK winter. It will also ensure you have a trip filled with sunshine, white sandy beaches and clear blue waters. The most popular place in Puerto Rico is the Island’s capital, San Juan. It’s a city built around the sea. With it’s old town, multicoloured houses, boutique restaurants and cafes and numerous cocktail bars. The Island of Puerto Rico is also the only place in the Caribbean to have a rainforest. El Yungue National Forest is packed with hiking trials, waterfalls, wildlife and stunning scenery. It makes for a great day out exploring.

Puerto Rico also sees its warmest weather in December, January and February. Making it the perfect location to escape the UK winter. During December, January and February the average daily temperature is 29C, with 10 to 12 hours of sunshine everyday. One of the great things about Puerto Rico is it’s one of the safest Caribbean islands to visit. With an average flight time of 9hrs it also is not that bad to fly.

The main spoken language is Spanish. Mofongo is the a staple of Puerto Rican dishes, along with Coffee, Tripleta and Quesitos.

Flamenco Beach is regarded as one of the best beaches in the entire Caribbean. Bioluminescent bay night kayaking tour being one of the top attractions on the island. If you are looking for a place to escape the UK winter, Puerto Rico should be on your list.

Check out the latest available flights to all the destinations listed above here and make sure you have the time of your life.

  Until next time…

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