Winter Wanderlust: My top 5 destinations to escape the UK’s cold months

It’s that time of year again. I see mostly darkness as the days are so short and I want to live inside a duvet. Usually I try to escape the British winter by heading off somewhere far away and exciting, but this year I’m staying to ride out the cold. That doesn’t stop me reminiscing on years gone by and planning my escape for future years. Travel can be a great cure for the winter blues. 

A couple of weeks ago Slightly Astray shared some travel inspiration with her South East Asian Bucket List. Little did she know that as I sat in my chilly study in the north of England, this post would fill me with the warmth of wanderlust. I’ve started day-dreaming about all the beautiful places I’ve been during previous cold month escapes. And secretly searching for information on those I’d like to go in the future.

This is the first year for a while that I’ve stayed the whole winter in the UK. It’s not going to be easy, but I want to keep exploring the world closer to home for now. So, to take my mind off my icy cold feet, I thought I’d share the best places I’ve been to before during these months. Oh and some of the inspiration I’ve come up with for future years of course – let me know if you have any other suggestions!

All these destinations are perfect for visiting between November and March – the months it is cold and dark in the UK.

My Top 5 UK winter destinations 


Last year, I had an excellent 3 weeks exploring South to North Vietnam. It would be my top recommendation for anyone looking for somewhere to travel to in January.

Coconut on the beach, Vietnam
Drink coconut on the beach is always preferable to shivering back home.
Hiking Con Son Island
Hike the rain forest on Con Son island (It’s actually out of season here in January, but it’s a great time to visit the Con Dao islands)
Traditional Vietnamese fisherman, Hoi An
Watch traditional Vietnamese fisherman on Ang Bang beach, Hoi An
Citadel Hue Vietnam
Explore the Citadel, Hue
Bakers Vietnam Banh Mi
Eat banh mi chay in Hanoi
Cocktails in HCMC or Saigon Vietnam
Drink rooftop cocktails in Saigon!


In 2014, I spent the end of January and beginning of February cruising and snorkelling the Caribbean sea in Belize.

Pelican Belize
Hang out with the pelicans


Placencia Beach Belize
Paradise Beaches and Caribbean Sea
Cinnamon roll Belize
Eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast


I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a big temple fix just before Christmas 2014. It’s a touristy city, so they were getting in the festive mood and it’s always funny to see snowy Christmas scenes when you’re travelling in a hot place!

Christmas in Siem Reap Ankor Wat
Have a very merry Ankor Wat Christmas
Temples Cambodia
Discover the breath-taking temples

Temples cambodia buddha

Temples Cambodia   Carving in a temple, Cambodia

Ankor wat monkeys Cambodia
Even the monkeys can’t stop staring at the wonder of the temples at Ankor Wat


This is a popular destination amongst many travellers, but a favourite place for me was the Corn islands. Think silky-white sand, fresh coconuts and bright blue Caribbean sea… and all at a budget price. A perfect winter escape for February.

Little Corn Corn Islands Nicaragua
Paradise beaches at Little Corn


OK, I admit it’s not as cheap if you don’t have a best friend living there but I was lucky to visit Australia on my way to Singapore from Chile in November 2014. Perth has an incredible climate year round – even their winters are warm (compared to the UK!). It’s a really cool city to hang out in. Urban chic combined with stunning natural beauty.

Rottnest Island
Cycle round Rottnest Island
Quokka Rottnest Island
Meet a quokka
Perth Australia
Perth skyline
Koala cuddle Australia
Koala cuddle
Hanging out on Cottesloe beach

Top 5 winter destinations on my bucket list

My wanderlust list just continues to get longer and longer, but these are top of the list right now for the next few years!

Sri Lanka

Ideally I want to go here in February/ March time for Whale watching. But also for exciting train rides, tea, vegetarian curry (for breakfast), wild elephants and friendly locals.


UK’s winter isn’t Cuba’s hottest time of year, but still pretty warm for us! I want to go here for dancing, culture, old cars, buildings and Spanish speaking!

Borneo, Malaysia

I want to go here for the wildlife – Orangutans, Monkeys and Turtles! (See Slightly Astray’s post for gorgeous proboscis monkeys!)


November time would be perfect for me to escape the start of winter to visit this country of breath-taking landscapes and quirky wildlife. It’s a bit pricier than I usually travel, but I’ll find a way to go on a budget!


Probably because I’m addicted to gazing at the Caribbean sea and for it’s colourful wildlife – Tobago has been on my list for several years. I’d love to experience a carnival here, and get back in the water for some snorkelling! (Will I have the guts to dive this time…?)


Do you like to be at home or away for winter where you are? Where would you add to my list? 


This post is part of the Wanderful Wednesday Link-up!


A blog hop for wanderers from Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and me, Marcella of What a Wonderful World.


  1. Ah these are all wonderful locations I’d love to visit one day, especially during the cold winters Europe has! Makes me miss the warm sunny days around the holidays San Diego had when I grew up there! #WanderfulWednesday

    1. Wow – it must really feel cold compared to San Diego warmth! I’d love to go there one day – hope you get a chance to visit these all one day too! 🙂

  2. I think we were in Siem Reap at the same time just before Christmas in 2014!! I got there mid-December and stayed through Christmas. It was my first year doing Christmas in Southeast Asia, and our airbnb hosts put together a lovely dinner. I love Vietnam too and want to go back someday and explore the whole country. I hope you have a lovely winter and have fun exploring new places closer to home!

    And thanks for the mention! Really appreciate it! xx

    1. Oh wow – we must have been! I was there for 5 days and arrived around mid December. Sounds amazing to have spent Christmas day there and nice of your host to put on a treat. Vietnam is incredible – I’d love to go back and explore more of the north. Thanks so much for all the inspiration from your post – I’m seriously considering KL as a base one day – so very accessible for so many places!! 😀

  3. I had to laugh when you said that you like to escape the British winter when the boyfriend and I are making our way to Ireland next week for Christmas 😀 I actually prefer winter travel in Scandinavia as that’s when there’s fewer tourists around, and like to escape during the summer when the weather is grey and rainy anyway and there’s lots of crowds. Haven’t been to any of the places you mentioned yet but Australia is on my list for sure!

    1. Ha ha – oooo – Ireland will be cold I imagine 😉 That’s a top tip for travelling Scandinavia – I’d love to go there (right now if I could!) funnily enough I like travelling most places out of season, so it’s strange I don’t apply that to here! Maybe I will after this year! Australia is awesome – so much to see there 🙂

  4. Great list of travel destinations during winter and good to see that whale watching is a key reason why Sri Lanka is currently in your wish list. Hope you get to visit soon!

    1. Thank you. The whales are a key reason to go in Feb/ March but I just cannot wait to visit Sri Lanka whenever I get a chance! 🙂

    1. He he – I bet 😉 I would be happy with a Chilean summer or winter though – so beautiful there. Have a happy summer Christmas!

  5. Such a great list of places! Your pictures are breathtaking! That water in Belize and that coconut in Vietnam…. I’m drooling! It’s hot here in Santiago right now, but I’m in a city, not at a beach. So I’m still dreaming of faraway exotic destinations this Christmas season! Thanks for fueling some wanderlust 😀

    1. Thanks so much Lauren 🙂 They were stunning places to be! I now what you mean about the city, but I’d loooove to be in Santiago right now too! 😉 Have a great Christmas!

  6. I loved Anna’s list too! I’m always keen to escape the dreary UK winter, so these are all going on the list. I’m actually seeking inspiration for travel next April (basically still winter) so this is giving me food for thought, thanks!

    1. Thanks Rachel – hope you enjoy planning your trip, it’s sounds exciting!! April still counts as time to escape the UK cold to me – he he 😉

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