December means different things to different families: you may be off to ski, in search of hygge or Father Christmas, hankering after the perfect Christmas market, or trying to avoid the holidays altogether by heading to a long-haul sunny spot, these are your best options with children in tow.
1. Lapland to see Father Christmas
Tis the season to visit the Man in Red, to see how he’s getting on with toy production – but which Lapland trip is the right one for your child? Use our guide to explore the sportier and more narrative-based options, all of which include spectacular husky rides, sleek reindeer sleighs, and abundant festive cheer. For older children keener on action than elves, try this trip to northern Finland.
2. Germany and the best of Europe’s Christmas markets
Get the whole family into the spirit of the season with a trip to one of Britain’s best Christmas markets – or book an overnight stay near one of Europe’s best Christmas markets and finish your shopping in one festive foray.
3. Nevis: the ultimate winter sun for families
December is an alluring time to travel in search of sun. Sure, it’s a bit odd to be abroad for Christmas, trading turkey for tinsel on the beach, and paying a premium to do so, but what a joy, after the year’s longest term, to spend some time together in the warmth.
With the Caribbean slowly coming out of a devastating hurricane season, this is a good year to consider flying westwards for the sun. Our pick for families is Nevis, which was relatively unscathed by the destruction. The Four Seasons has a full programme of activities for children – and a lovely spa for grown-ups, and Scott Dunn offers packages with flights that include stays at the Four Seasons.
4. Fuerteventura: short-haul sun
The second largest of the Canary Islands (after Tenerife) only dangles a leg below the 20C mark in the coldest weeks of January, but is otherwise a haven for sunshine at any time of year.
Corralejo, at Fuerteventura’s northern tip, is one of the accommodation hubs, home to a splendid beach which gazes at the neighbouring islet of Lobos. But there is rugged scenery too – not least the protected expanse of the Parque Rural de Betancuria.
5. Cape Town: long-haul culture
South Africa may seem a far-flung choice on any quest for accessible winter sun, but Cape Town earns convenience points for the lack of time difference (GMT+2) to the UK, and its refusal to dip below 20C during the European winter. Throw in its beauty, Table Mountain rising – along with the prettiness of the Cape Peninsula (the beaches of Camps Bay, oceanside towns like Muizenberg and Fish Hoek) andf the prospect of a safari – and you have a winning family option.