Spring should be just around the corner, but we can expect the weather to be grey, bleak and rainy for a while yet. So why not turn the tables and head off to one of the sunny destinations we've selected? Sunshine and silver sands are just a short plane trip away.
Average temperature: 21.7°C
With the promise of year round sunshine, the Canary Islands are one of the closest options if you fancy a swim this winter. There are seven islands to choose from, but we suggest Lanzarote, which offers beaches for all tastes and interests: from the wild natural beauty of Famara to the beaches of Matagorda and Fariones in Puerto del Carmen, and the turquoise waters of Papagayo. Then there's the stunning volcanic wonderland of Timanfaya Natural Park, with its craters and geysers, and culture, too, if you choose to follow the footsteps of the artist and architect Cesar Manrique, the man largely responsible for the balance between tourist-friendly facilities and traditional conservation on the island.
Average temperature: 23.2°C
The sun is pretty much guaranteed in Miami, so all you need to do is get into the right mood for this city with its own unique lifestyle and set out to enjoy all it offers. Whether you're strolling along South Beach, shopping in the Design District, cycling out to the Florida lighthouse, signing up to learn more about the architecture of the Art Deco District, or enjoying Sunday brunch at the Biltmore Hotel, the only thing there's no time for here is to be bored.
Average temperature: 23.6°C
Of course the Caribbean is the destination par excellence if you want winter warmth. And where better than Havana? Arrive with the idea that you're getting away from it all and you won't be disappointed. It's hard to remember the cold and rain of February under a golden Caribbean sun, and the hospitality and the relaxed attitude of the locals is sure to help you disconnect. Stroll around admiring the rambling architecture or simply stretch out on one of the white sandy beaches, such as Cayo Largo and Cayo Coco, and enjoy a relaxing day just contemplating the thousand sparkling colours of the sea. Music, rum, palm trees and beach bars all add to the indulgent pleasure of this corner of the planet that's quite unlike any other.
Average temperature: 19ºC
Not quite as hot as the Caribbean, perhaps, but the string of Mediterranean islands between Italy and North Africa enjoy warmer winters and more sunshine than the rest of Europe. The largest of the archipelago, Malta, is a good choice for a winter getaway. Most of the larger islands are served by low-cost airlines, and they have just about everything you could wish for: spectacular beaches, deep sea diving, picturesque fishing villages and ancient monuments included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. As well as Malta, Gozo, Comino and Cominotto also offer the chance of a getaway that can be just as active or relaxing as you choose.
Average temperature: 29.6°C
Not every winter getaway has to be about sun sand and sea. Why not take a trip to Dubai, the most popular destination in the Arab peninsula? Stand at the foot of the Burj Dubai tower, the latest of the skyscrapers to stand proud agains the Dubai the skyline, and you're standing at the shade of the world's tallest building, in the heart of the splendour and magnificence of the United Arab Emirates. As well as being at the forefront of design and architecture, the souks, boutiques and shopping malls make this one of the world's most fascinating modern cities.