Big Short Breaks

The End of the Year is Near: Use it or Lose it

The End of the Year is Near: Use it or Lose it

It's that time of year again: nights are drawing in, red wine season has returned, Christmas lights are going up (already?!) and people across the land suddenly realise they haven't actually managed to take all of their annual holiday allowance. Something must be done (hint: that's where we come in).

A third of us Brits remain stubbornly resistant to taking our full holiday allowance, losing an average of four days each every year. The double whammy is that we get fewer days than most of our Euro-chums. And with a combination of this year's extended-heatwave, a slightly ominous departure from the EU, and staycations galore, this year we really have outdone ourselves. So we're giving you an ultimatum: use it or lose it. And luckily for you, we've very handily come up with some destination inspiration...


One day left

For an alternative Christmas shopping experience, head to Stockholm's Gamla stan (Old Town) for mulled wine, pastries and stocking up on the chicest Christmas gifts around. With plenty of Thursday evening flights, this short haul journey is perfect for a long weekend of shopping 'til you drop.

If you prefer shopping in warmers climes, enjoy a long weekend exploring the exotic souqs of Marrakech with a local shopping aficionado before learning how to make authentic tagine in a Moroccan cooking class - perfect winter comfort food to impress your friends back home.


Two days left

Why not eat (and drink) your way from San Sebastian to Rioja? In San Sebastian tour the best pintxos (Basque tapas) spots with an expert guide, gorge on Michelin-starred food and learn the ways of Spanish cuisine with a private chef as a tutor. Then head inland and sample the best wines in Spain to finish off your long gastronomic weekend away. Don't worry, you'll be back in time to hit the gym on Monday.

Or, embark on a Greek getaway; Santorini plays host to the best sunsets in the region during autumn and the island, which during summer can feel much like Piccadilly Circus, suddenly becomes a lot quieter at this time of year. But fret not, it is still gloriously sunny and let's be honest, feta is wonderful at any time of year.


Three days left

Don't be fooled into thinking that Lapland is just for the little ones; there's plenty of grown-up fun to be had as well. Spend five days husky-mushing, snow-show trekking, ice fishing and snowmobiling around a winter wonderland on a romantic getaway.

If it's warmth and vitamin-D you're in need of, spend five days soaking up the sun on Oman's Musandam Peninsula, just a few hours' drive from Dubai. Start your holiday in style by arriving at Oman's Six Senses Zighy Bay by paraglider, then put your feet up and indulge in some fabulously understated luxury in the warm winter sun.


Four days left

Explore the Moorish architecture and history around still-sunny Andalucia. A six-day trip, starting in Grenada and making your way through Cordoba and Seville, as well as the Andalusian countryside, is a wonderful way to top up on a tan before the winter months kick in and use up any lingering annual leave.

If you're up for heading further afield, enjoy four full days in Thailand (with a day of travelling either side), cramming in a lively food crawl around Bangkok's best local street food stands followed by a few days soaking up some sun on one of Thailand's idyllic island beaches.


Five days left

Escape Old Blighty and hit the road by driving the iconic, and very newly re-opened, Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Head from San Fran to the City of Angels via Carmel - former Mayors include Clint Eastwood, King of Cool - and Santa Barbara, before a couple of days soaking up the sun in LA.

Take advantage of Tanzania's mini peak season this winter and hop between two luxury camps in the Tarangire National Park. Wake up to the majesty of Kilimanjaro before experiencing two different types of safari - spotting big and plains game at one camp, and taking it slow by the lakeside and meeting the local Maasai tribesmen at the next.