Holidays Travel

Where to find affordable winter sun – according to the experts

Fancy some winter sun in Sri Lanka?(Alamy/PA)
Fancy some winter sun in Sri Lanka?(Alamy/PA) Fancy some winter sun in Sri Lanka?(Alamy/PA)

It’s been proven by science: a dose of Vitamin D makes us feel healthier and happier.

With shorter days on the horizon, snatching sun rays becomes far trickier in Europe. But head further afield on a long haul trip and fine weather is (almost) guaranteed.

The Caribbean has typically been a go-to for winter holidays, but destinations like Sri Lanka and Senegal are being tipped as good options with some great value deals.

Here’s what the experts are saying…

Be surprised by Sri Lanka

Beach in Mirissa, Sri Lanka (Alamy/PA)
Beach in Mirissa, Sri Lanka (Alamy/PA) Beach in Mirissa, Sri Lanka (Alamy/PA) (Tim McFallon / Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo)

“Since mid-July, we have witnessed a huge increase in enquiries and bookings for Sri Lanka, both for the upcoming winter season and for Summer 2024,” says Neil Dobbs, director of Travel Gallery.

“Availability remains for Christmas and New Year 2023, and although prices are higher during this period, they provide excellent value compared to, for instance, the Caribbean. Several hotels, including the Rosyth Estate House, have introduced offers with discounts of up to 20% on winter season prices. It is gratifying to note that airfares have also decreased in recent weeks for the January to March season, now ranging from 15-20% below their previous levels.”

How: Set within 64 acres of private plantation in the Kandyan foothills of Sri Lanka, The Rosyth Estate House is offering 20% off low-season rates for stays of three nights or more, until November 30. Rooms from £330pp per night (two sharing). Visit or call +44 (0)7767 290 870.

 Jam with Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Alamy/PA)
Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Alamy/PA) Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Alamy/PA) (robertharding / Alamy Stock Phot/Alamy Stock Photo)

“SNO has seen a 300% increase in traffic on the Jamaica section of its website, and an increase in enquiries for last-minute holidays and October half-term travel to the island, since prices dropped in the last week,” says Richard Sinclair, CEO of SNO.

“Jamaica can be so much more than fly-and-flop, especially cruising around the island on a rented motorbike or in the crazy minibus taxis. Rather than an all-inclusive beach resort, book a cheaper central spot and visit top spots, including walking up the Dunn’s River Falls, tasting the famous rum at Appleton distillery, and ‘feeling irie’ at the Bob Marley museum”.

How: A six-night B&B stay at Grand Port Royal Hotel Marina & Spa in Kingston costs from £989pp (two sharing), including flights. Visit or call +44 (0)20 7770 6888.

Marvel at the Middle East

Hilltop Village in Jebel Akhdar, Oman (Alamy/PA)
Hilltop Village in Jebel Akhdar, Oman (Alamy/PA) Hilltop Village in Jebel Akhdar, Oman (Alamy/PA) (Natalia Petre / Alamy Stock Phot/Alamy Stock Photo)

“We have added some great new Middle East tours to our winter programme for 2023/24,” says David Kay, Middle East product manager for Ramblers Walking Holidays.

“For clients wanting to enjoy a step change in cultural experiences – with minimum travelling – the Middle East is the place. Minarets and pyramids of Egypt, a camel ride through the Sahara desert, the biblical sites and stories of Jordan, and ancient Arab villages in the mountains or Oman – these are not experiences to be enjoyed if one chooses to stay in Europe. Add in the warm winter sun away from cold grey skies, and it is hard to see why we would choose anywhere else for our winter breaks.”

How: A nine-night guided walking tour through the villages and wadis of Oman, visiting the Jebel Akhdar plateau and staying at a tented desert camp in the Wahiba Sands, costs from £3,699pp (two sharing), including half-board accommodation, guides, transport and flights. Visit or call +44 (0)1707 331 133. Departure dates: November 8, 2023, January 24, 2024 and November 6, 2024.

Be awed by Africa

Scuba diver in Marsa Alam, Egypt (Alamy/PA)
Scuba diver in Marsa Alam, Egypt (Alamy/PA) Scuba diver in Marsa Alam, Egypt (Alamy/PA) (Helmut Corneli / Alamy Stock Pho/Alamy Stock Photo)

“This winter, we are seeing strong bookings to various mid-haul destinations, particularly to West Africa, including the likes of Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal,” says a spokesperson from TUI.

“With exclusive direct flying to these mid-haul destinations, customers can enjoy jet-lag free holidays on shorter durations. The Canaries continues to be another popular holiday option for our customers, as well as long-haul options in the Caribbean, Mexico and Thailand.”

The travel company will be introducing Marsa Alam on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into their portfolio, with two weekly flights from London Gatwick launching from November 1.

How: A seven-night all-inclusive holiday at the Coral Sea Holiday Resort in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, costs from £722pp (two sharing), including flights from London Stansted and transfers. Departs December 10. Visit or call +44 (0)20 3451 2688.