Christmas is over, the New Year has arrived and the weather is still bleak; what better time to make the journey - near or far - in search of winter sun?
Whether you prefer the call of the Caribbean or the desirable destinations of Europe, including Cyprus and the Canary Islands, we've compiled some of the world's best winter sun destinations for January.
Temperatures are warm, humidity is low, and rainfall is at a minimum; it's unsurprising many make the trip to the far-flung shores of Cambodia in the new year. Although this may be a busy time for tourism, it doesn't make this culturally rich country any less beautiful. Head to 12th century temples of Angkor Wat before sunrise to beat the crowds, before uncovering the lesser-known highlights of Cambodia with a local guide, cycling through traditional villages and meeting the local people, whose wisdom will leave you mesmerised. If you'd prefer to get away from it all, venture offshore to 'sweetheart' islets of Song Saa Private Island. This sustainable sanctuary - easily reached by speedboat - allows you to hide away amongst unspoilt tropical reefs, rich rainforest and deserted beaches during your winter break, with everything from snorkelling and scuba diving, to magical destination dining to relish throughout your stay.
It's difficult to beat the blue skies, balmy temperatures and beautiful beaches of Barbados in January! With approximately 10 hours of sunshine per day throughout the month, there's no rush when it comes to discovering the island's delights. Spend the day exploring the waters aboard luxury catamaran Seaduced, with the chance to stop and swim with the resident turtles, or if you're travelling with little ones, inspire them with an underground trip to Harrison's Cave or an off-the-beaten-track adventure by 4x4. If it's a slower-paced January sojourn you're looking for, why not stay at Sandy Lane and unwind in the 47,000ft² spa? The menu incorporates Ayurvedic philosophies from the Far East, while the hydrotherapy pool and peaceful spa gardens promise you'll leave with a blissfully Barbadian state of mind.
Beach at Bahia Del Duque
Swimming Pool at The Ritz Carlton, Abama
When it comes to short-haul winter sun, Tenerife regularly makes its way to the top of travellers' lists. From exploring pretty villages and relaxing along the island's 17 Blue Flag-awarded beaches, to spending the evening stargazing inside Teide National Park, keep yourself busy with outdoor adventures abound throughout the winter months. Perfect for wildlife enthusiasts, whale-watching season is also in full swing in January as the gentle giants venture to warmer waters for breeding, making for magnificent sightings while exploring the ocean. For those who'd prefer to laze by the pool, we're sure you'll find a spot by one of the seven at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, while Baroque-style bolthole Bahia del Duque has an open-air Thalassotherapy circuit for grown-ups, along with a magical Mini Club for little VIPs!
While Dubai often steals the limelight, when it comes to swapping grey skies for golden landscapes, Oman is the Middle East's crown jewel. With temperatures floating in the mid-twenties during January, choose between exploring over 500 historic forts, castles and towers, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bahla castle which features over seven miles of walls, or retreating to the jaw-dropping coastline, where beyond the unspoilt beaches, you can enjoy some of the world's best diving in the numerous coral reefs. For the height of luxury, nestle yourself between the rugged mountains at Six Senses Zighy Bay. Exclusive and evocative, you're free to spend your stay sampling the taste of Arabia at the Spice Market, unwinding by the Dead Sea-inspired pool and relishing an abundance of classically Arabian activities and adventures.
Basking in up to 30°c heat during the UK's coldest months, what better time to visit Antigua? Set at the heart of the Caribbean archipelago, whether you prefer sailing and snorkelling, or exploring and touring, this slice of paradise has something for everyone. Stroll around the capital of St John's, where you'll learn more about local life, or venture to 18th century Nelson's Dockyard -the last Georgian dockyard in the world - where you'll find a museum, gun emplacements and historic barracks to explore. Alternatively, seek a spot on one of the 365 beaches and simply watch the crystal-clear waves roll in - cocktail in hand, of course. Perfectly hidden Hermitage Bay is idyllic for romance, with candlelit dinners and couples' massages regularly on the menu, or for the ultimate stress-free sojourn, all-inclusive Curtain Bluff has everything you could imagine for dreamy days by the ocean.