March meanders to its miserable conclusion with our thermometers hovering belligerently around freezing point and yet more snow forecast for the coming week.
Easter is just round the corner, but any travellers who have already booked an early-season family break in Cornwall, the Lake District or the north of France will not be packing light. Spring has still not sprung; suddenly you’re more likely to be huddling around a gas fire (while supplies last) than throwing another sausage on the barbie.
For those able to look further afield, the vile weather provides added incentive. Commuting through slush? No thanks. Ice in your milk bottles? Forget it. You crave the prospect of sunshine on your face, warm water thawing your frost-bitten toes. Passports out, people. It’s time to leave bitter Britain behind.
After a careful survey (undertaken while wearing gloves and heavy-duty ski jackets) we’ve decided that 20C is the bare minimum we can now tolerate. This means T-shirt weather in Andalucia, where highs top out of the teens this week.
Spain-holiday.com is offering a week in the sunshine, north of Nerja for €385. The price is for rental of the two-bedroom townhouse Paradiso (property ref – 10135) in the village of Frigiliana, on the edge of the Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Almara Natural Park, starting 7 April. Flights aren’t included, but are currently available to Malaga for around £150 with Ryanair (ryanair.com), flying from Stansted.
It’s even cheaper to turn up the heat by 3C in Crete, where you could brave the Mediterranean waters at the three-star Resort and Spa Fereniki for just £189 per person. The deal is being offered by Bookable Holidays (bookableholidays.com), and includes two weeks’ B&B in the village of Georgioupolis and return flights departing Luton on 17 April.
For an extra 1C and lashings more luxury, it’ll cost you €216 per person for a two-night B&B stay at the decadent Riad El Fenn (riadelfenn.com) in Marrakech, which is owned by Vanessa Branson. Bask in the sunshine on the hotel’s roof terrace, enjoy the complimentary hammam experience, then duck out to explore the city’s ancient medina. There’s a pool to cool off in if the heat gets too much. The discounted rate is valid for stays starting on Tuesday and Fridays in April. Flights aren’t included but start at £268 from Gatwick with easyJet.com.
Take off to Tenerife for seven nights of beach weather for £714 per person. British Airways Holidays (ba.com/tenerife) is offering the package, with its new direct service from Gatwick, departing 19 April. Also included is a week’s B&B in a two-bedroom apartment at the Barcelo Comfort Varadero, in Playa de la Arena on the island’s west coast.
Long haul isn’t cheap at short-notice, but you can take comfort in the bath-warm waters of the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Mexico. Hayes & Jarvis (hayesandjarvis.co.uk) has a week’s all-inclusive at the Bellevue Beach Paradise in Cancun for under £1,000 per person. The price of £993 will buy you all your food and drink for a week departing Gatwick on 25 April, as well as transfers and that all-important dose of sunshine.
Autumn is the new spring, so head to South Africa where a week in Cape Town will cost you £1,047pp with Kenwood Travel (kenwoodtravel.co.uk). Accommodation is at the four-star Four Rosmead Boutique Guesthouse, on the slopes of Table Mountain, on a B&B basis and flights depart from Gatwick on Emirates via Dubai on 14 April.
It’s hotting up in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, where you can jet off for three nights for £599 per person. Virgin Holidays (virginholidays.co.uk) has the package, which includes B&B at the five-star Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort, complete with goldens sands that fringe the cooling waters of the Arabian Sea. Flights depart from Heathrow to Dubai on 18 April, but transfers between the emirates (a journey time of around an hour) aren’t included.
You may work up a sweat about this one: the Caribbean islands will cost you. Cheap last-minute deals are hard to come by in this part of the world, but The Co-operative Travel (co-operativetravel.co.uk) has a week in Barbados at the three-star Time Out At The Gap hotel, in St Lawrence Gap, for £920 per person on a B&B basis. Departure on 7 April from Manchester Airport, with Thomson flights.
Prices go down as the mercury goes up in Sharm el Sheikh, where Red Sea Holidays (redseaholidays.co.uk) has a week for £489 per person. All-inclusive accommodation at the five-star Grand Hotel is included, as are return flights from Manchester, departing between 13 and 20 April. Add an extra £110 for Gatwick departures.
If you can travel a bit further and dig a little deeper, then the heat turns tropical in Malaysia. Spend £2,195 and you’ll get a week’s full board in a stilted bungalow over the Strait of Malacca at the luxurious resort of Pangkor Laut resort, which lies north east of Kuala Lumpur. Also included in the Turquoise Holidays (turquoiseholidays.co.uk) deal are flights from Heathrow, valid until 30 June, transfers and daily spa treatments at the resort.