January just got better. The beginning of the year has become one of the perfect times to travel, not only for the inevitable prospect of sunshine or adventure, but to render the month that little bit more exciting. Avoiding holiday pricing was never as appealing, since you can bag a bargain before half term while continuing the celebrations well into the new year.
From skiing to sunbathing, sight-seeing to spa seeking, here at HELLO! Online we have picked the best of where to go and what to see. Whether it's a rural retreat, or the Caribbean climate, thrifty shopping in New York or the snowy slopes of The Alps that take your fancy, escape to the best places around the world at their best time of year.
Breathe in the British country air on a rural retreat
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If travelling far and wide is not an option in the year's early months, why not take a couple of days to unwind in a cosy quintessential castle in the more accessible Gloucestershire countryside. The 16th century Thornbury Castle is the only Tudor Castle in England still being run as a hotel, and was built during the reign of Henry VIII who is said to have visited with Anne Boleyn.
With roaring log fires, winding vineyards, 27 sumptuous bed chambers and an award-winning dinner menu, it's hard not to be tempted by a little weekend getaway to de-stress and feel rejuvenated and refreshed in an authentic yet luxurious atmosphere.
Hit the slopes for a snow-filled skiing adventure
With the most substantial snowfall in the month of January and much cheaper rates than February half-term, skiing in The Alps, whether Zermatt or Chamonix, Verbier or Les Arcs, is the perfect European getaway. The peaks are bigger than most other destinations, meaning long runs, dramatic scenery and plenty of diverse terrain ready for high-speed soarers and first-time beginners.
Rejuvenate with a spa break in the Maldives
For a relaxing refuge, look no further than Six Senses spa overlooking the Indian Ocean in the Maldives. The legendary Six Senses Laamu hotel, the only resort in Laamu Atoll, sets itself aside from ordinary hotels with its insistence on providing clients with the most relaxing experience they could ever imagine.
Dolphins swim around the palm-fringed paradise which features the Surf Yin Yang, one of the Maldives’ most famous waves, that breaks just offshore. Profit from the fantastic weather and the luxurious spa possibilities, while sampling some of the finest authentic cuisine.
Get the best shopping deals in New York
What better place to steal a style or two than in the Big Apple. From high-street to high-fashion, wandering the streets of Manhatten or Times Square, it would be impossible not to marvel at the bustling atmosphere and bargain buys.
Cruise the Caribbean for the hottest weather
The bewitching beauty of the Caribbean is no secret. And at the beginning of the year, away from high-season prices and tourist package deals, the islands' treasures guarantee rays of sunshine, with temperatures hovering around 30°C. In Barbados, Tobago, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, you can expect an average of nine hours of sunshine a day.
Discover the beautiful Bahamas, Jamaican voodoo and Barbados beaches.
January sees many islands' Carnival celebrations in full swing, too, such as the Barbados Jazz Festival and Aruba Carnival celebration – the perfect way to kick-start the year.