Winter is here. The woolly hats are on, layering to Michelin-man proportions is back in fashion and we've all begun to ponder when it's legitimate to start scoffing mince pies. It's a magical time, we can all agree. So naturally we've decided to by-pass all that and look ahead to spring - it's officially time to start planning your 2018 Spring Break. Not the wild American college kid kind (although Vegas is always fun) but a rejuvenating escape to shake off the shackles of a long winter, be that soaking up some early summer sun, turning the adrenaline-ometer up to 11 on an action-packed adventure or getting beneath the skin of a country on a cultural city break. Throw Easter and two May Bank Holidays into the mix and it's enough to put a spring (sorry) in anyone's step, no?
Adventure in Oman
If adventure is the name of your holiday game then Oman fits the bill perfectly for both couples and families (Easter Holidays alert). Start your trip in the elegant comfort of The Chedi in Muscat before decamping to the Wahiba Sands desert for a combination of isolation and adventure. Take glamping to a whole new level in Bedouin-style luxury tents, enjoy delectable feasts by candlelight and spend your days doing everything from dune-bashing (hurtling across towering dunes in a 4x4) to sand boarding and quad biking. Finish up in the mountains and explore local villages, forts and castles with a guide who can bring to life the history and culture of the places you visit.
R&R in the Maldives
Sometimes the biggest luxury in life is the luxury of doing precisely nothing; putting down your mobile phone, ignoring your inbox and indulging in some good old fashioned R&R. And nowhere does R&R quite like the Maldives with its powder-soft sands, clear azure waters and mind-bogglingly luxurious hotels. Stay at Six Senses Laamu this spring and unwind with some serious spa-therapy, watch the sun go down from the hotel's overwater Chill Bar and spend evenings stargazing on the beach.
Tracking Tigers in India
Spring is an excellent time to see tigers in India (and add another tick to your bucket list) because it's right at the end of the dry season so the forest is much thinner, greatly enhancing your chances of spotting these majestic beasties. Head to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan and stay at the charming Sher Bagh, from where you can head out into the jungle with your guide. But tigers aren't the only attraction in Rajasthan, the vibrant cities of Jodhpur, Jaipur and Udaipur are well worth a visit, while the Taj Mahal in the neighbouring region of Uttar Pradesh is just a short hop away (yet another bucket list item ticked).
A Long Weekend in Bordeaux
Bordeaux has long been a place of oenophilic pilgrimage but there is much more to this elegant French city than just the grapey stuff (marvellous though it is). Once a vibrant Roman trading centre, Bordeaux is now a triumph of old and new, brilliantly blending Gothic and Neoclassical splendour with modern innovation and design. For history buffs, modern-day Bordeaux is ripe for wandering with its warren of streets lined with historic architecture, as well as a collection of excellent museums. Beyond the city limits are countless castles and medieval villages to explore, as well as, of course, a plethora of vineyards and accompanying chateaux to visit.
Colour and Culture in Peru
Peru is one of the all-time classic destinations for antiquity adventurers and the Inca Trail is one of the most iconic walking trails in the world, which means that inevitably it draws large crowds and permits get booked up months in advance. However, a far more civilised way of reaching Machu Picchu is to do the Salkantay or Lares routes, staying in beautiful luxury lodges along the way. But there is so much more to Peru than just Machu Picchu, from the vertiginous peaks of the Andes to fascinating colonial heritage in the form of cities and towns like Lima, Cusco and Arequipa, colourful indigenous culture and the rich biodiversity of the Amazon jungle. It's the perfect combination of luxury and adventure, and late spring is the perfect time to be there.
Caribbean Charm in Grenada
The Caribbean is synonymous with beautiful beaches, lush rainforest, laidback vibes and diverse cultural influences, and Grenada is a picture-perfect slice of the authentic Caribbean. Having not experienced the tourism boom of many of its neighbours, you won't find high-rise hotel blocks or hordes of travellers here, just unspoilt beaches swathed by verdant rainforest ripe for exploration, a small selection of charming boutique hotels and the fragrant whiff of nutmeg in the air (it's not called the Isle of Spice for nothing). Grenada's capital, St George, is also one of the loveliest in the Caribbean with its horseshoe-shaped harbour and colourfully painted waterfront warehouses - well worth a visit.
Ski the Secret Dolomites
Italy's Dolomite mountain range combines UNESCO World Heritage protected beauty with over 800 miles of ski slopes, connected by 450 lifts, in its Superski area. Throw some signature Italian food and wine, and some seriously fabulous hotels into the mix and it's a match made in ski holiday heaven. Skiing later in the season often runs the risk of a lack of snow but with over 4,500 snow-making machines spread across the region there is little worry of that in the Dolomites - perfect for fair-weather skiers or younger children (no complaints about icicles for toes here).