The summer holiday: that most glorious and precious of holidays. All the more so for us Brits given that summer in dear old Blighty can be, how to put this, a bit of a damp squib (cue flashbacks of windy beach escapades, sandy sandwiches and rain, lots and lots of rain). And this year we thought we'd get on the holiday bandwagon early because between storm what's-his-chops (there seems to be a new one every week) and the fact that winter just won't go away, summer can't come quickly enough. So here are a few of our very favourite destinations for getaways this May and June - you can take the summer out of Britain but not the Brit out of their summer holiday.
When we say "Portugal", you say… "golf", right? Wrong! Abandon your misconceptions and take an early summer jaunt to this European wonder-country. Porto and the Douro Valley are perfect romantic break territory with excellent boutique hotels (with fantastic spas) and taste bud-tingling food and wine (and port, obvs) while Martinhal Beach Resort on the Algarve may just be the finest family hotel in Europe. City breakers should take a peek at this month's Conde Nast Traveller, which features an article on one of our trips to Lisbon.
With BA now flying direct to Lima, Peru has never been more accessible for us Brits and if you want a flavour of the real Peru, the end of June is the time to be there. The 24th, just after the winter solstice, sees the Festival of the Sun celebrated, a re-enactment of the most elaborate of the Incan celebrations. The festival was designed to appeal to the sun god, Inti, to return and ward off the threat of famine. There are few better ways to get beneath the skin of this fascinating country's culture.
Monkeys, and orangutans in particular, are a well-publicised draw to Borneo but there is other flora and fauna here that is equally worthy. From pygmy elephants to clouded leopards and over 5,000 endemic plant species. Combine this with some lovely sandy beaches and great hotels and you're onto a winner, for families and couples alike.
If R&R is the order of the day, it doesn't get much better than the Indian Ocean gem of Mauritius; endless beaches, clear waters and luxury hotels that will knock your flip flops off. Chill on the beach or by the pool, indulge in a spoiling spa treatment or, for those who get itchy feet, there are endless activities on offer, not least an impressive array of watersports.
USA, USA, USA... not sure if you've cottoned on yet but we're major fans of this continent-sized country (with the exception of Trump and Kanye West for obvious reasons) and it doesn't get much better than a road trip combining the hedonism of Miami with the beaches of Florida Keys. Start by partying with the body beautifuls and soaking up the Cuban vibes of Miami before hopping in your convertible and driving down through the tropical Florida Keys, ending at the hyper luxurious Little Palm Island.
Botswana's Okavango Delta is Africa's biggest oasis and you'd be hard-pushed to find a more beautiful wildlife stronghold on the planet. Elephant, lion, leopard, hippo - they're all there. Combine this with the fascinating lunar landscape of the Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans, home to the Zu'hoasi bushmen, some of the only people on earth who can survive in a land without permanent water. An adventure in Botswana will be, without doubt, one of the most compelling trips you'll ever take.
The Ultimate Foodie Escape
Rosa Alpina in the Dolomites has long been an Original Travel fave and this year it is celebrating 20 years of its Michelin-star restaurant, St Hubertus, with an amazing special offer - stay four nights for the price of three from 1-5 June 2016 and enjoy a foodie getaway to end all foodie getaways. Take cooking lessons with Norbert Niederkofler, head into the mountains for a picnic in the impossibly pretty surroundings of the hotel's cabin and, of course, have dinner at the wonderful St Hubertus. From £1,235 per person including flights and car hire.