Seaside Sandy Beach Hotel in Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria
The temperatures are plummeting and the ice scrapers are out for those frosty
early morning battles with the car.
But less than four hours away lie the answers to those dark starts to the day and impending sniffles that we all have to look forward to in the months ahead.
And the good news is you don’t have to break the bank to get away and enjoy some winter sun.
The Canary Islands offer the kind of temperatures at this time of year that provide a refreshing alternative to the English chill .
Gran Canaria, the second most populous of the group of islands, is a perfect place to base yourself.
It has everything you need to feel rejuvenated on a budget.
With temperatures in the mid 20s at this time of year and long days of sunshine on offer, the rain and cold of Blighty is soon a thing of the past.
We stayed at the exc- ellent four-star Seaside Sandy Beach Resort in Playa del Ingles for our break, where a first-class yet unobtrusive welcome is on offer from the attentive staff.
The resort makes the ideal base for a visit. It is centrally located to all of the amenities and the excellent beach and promenade in Playa del Ingles, with its variety of restaurants, is a very lazy five-minute walk away.
Long drinks and longer days by the resort’s vast pool are perfect for recharging the batteries and the evening cuisine is varied and plentiful. This is all expertly delivered by a catering team that is polite and knowledgable.
If you are feeling slightly more energetic and in search of the wow factor, the outstanding natural beauty of the sand dunes in nearby Maspolamas are a further five-minute walk along the promenade.
The madding crowd are soon left far behind as you step into the vast isolated expanses of the dunes, reminiscent of a scene from Star Wars.
Camels rather than Wookies are the animals of choice for travel around these parts, however. They’re available for those who want to take in the steep inclines without putting in the graft.
The dunes form one of six nature reserves and 32 protected spaces on an island regarded as a miniature continent due to its diverse climate, which lends itself to a variety of differing natural spaces.
The south of the island also provides a perfect haven for diving, surfing and snorkelling with the area regarded as the ‘Hawaii of the Atlantic’ when it comes to water sports.
Of course, there is the more traditional ‘Brits abroad’ fayre of Irish bars, discos and nightclubs for those looking for a more lively way to spend their time.
The Yumbo Centre is certainly flamboyant, with its decadent approach to celebrating the gay scene which is part of the resort’s make-up.
The Kasbah provides a nearby alternative with nightclubs like Pacha accommodating those who want to dance until dawn.
However you want to do it, Gran Canaria provides the perfect platform to leave those frozen windscreens and winter ailments long behind.
Direct flights to Las Palmas , Gran Canaria are available from London Gatwick with Easyjet from £103 per person.
A superior double room at the four- star Seaside Sandy Beach Hotel in Playa del Ingles from November 17 for seven nights costs £698.50 per person (based on two people sharing) for half board accommodation.
Taxi transfers from Las Palmas to Playa del Ingles are available for around 40 Euros.