Travelling long-haul is not always affordable or desirable, especially with younger kids or if you’re only going away for a week - say in October half term or February half term. We’ve looked at some alternatives for those desperate to escape a succession of grey-sky days and frosty mornings but keen to avoid long flights and jet lag.
Some of the following are served by low-cost carriers, and some of them also have much lower living costs than the UK.
With a flight time from London of three hours, this Mediterranean island just sneaks into the short-haul category. Between November and March expect temperatures of 16°C to 21°C - hardly boiling, but you can be sure of a daily dose of sunshine. Our top tip for those heading here out of high season is to pick a hotel with an indoor pool and/or heated outdoor pool.
See family-friendly hotels and resorts in Malta.
Despite a flight time of just three and a half hours from the UK, this vibrant North African destination guarantees winter warmth of around 14°C in December and February. It’s also great value - you can enjoy a three-course meal in a restaurant for less than a tenner and sleep in a charming riad for about £25 a night. Flights from the UK can be as low as £100 if you book far enough ahead. Neighbouring Tunisia is also medium haul.
See our family adventure holidays in Morocco.
This ultra-child-friendly destination about a four-flight from the UK is at the same latitude as Florida, meaning it’s a possibility for family holidays all year round, especially with very young kids for whom the heat of summer is uncomfortable. From December to February, the average daily temperature is 17°C. As with Malta, choose a hotel or self-catering complex with an indoor pool and/or a heated outdoor pool. See our feature on a February half-term family break at the Tenerife Carnival.
See family-friendly hotels and resorts in the Canaries.
Just over five hours from the UK, these lush Portuguese islands with their volcanic features hover around the 14°C mark in winter, with five or more hours a day of sunshine on average at this time of year. A hotel with a heated outdoor pool is the best option out of high season for those travelling with kids.
See family-friendly hotels and resorts in the Azores.
A haven of peace in a troubled region, this history-rich land is best visited outside summer, when temperatures soar. It’s surprisingly cool in winter (an average of 10°C in December), but you can still count on six to seven hours of sunshine a day as you explore ancient treasures such as Petra or discover the delights of the desert. See our feature on an October half-term family holiday in Jordan.
See family adventure holidays in Jordan.
LONG-HAUL (BUT ONLY JUST!)
At seven hours’ flying time from the UK, this hyper-modern, ever-evolving and safe city has vast amounts to entertain the kids - including a raft of theme parks - in addition to January temperatures reaching up to 24°C. Read our feature on a February half-term family holiday in Dubai.
See family-friendly hotels and resorts in Dubai.
With a similar flight time and temperatures to Dubai, this lesser-known destination is about more than guaranteed good weather - there are also gorgeous beaches, ancient forts, stunning palaces, deserts, souks, wadis and oases, plus some fantastic resort hotels.
See family-friendly hotels and resorts in Oman.
See more of our hand-picked recommendations for winter sun holidays with kids and our latest winter sun holiday offers.