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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Mary Novakovich

The best holidays to book for January, from Cuban winter sun to ski breaks in the French Alps

Getty Images/iStockphoto

January is the classic time to think about booking your summer holiday, but what if you need a break long before then? A post-Christmas holiday in January could be just the thing to take your mind off winter – or, if you prefer, celebrate the cold weather wholeheartedly in the majesty of snow-covered mountains.

Skiers have been enjoying fabulous conditions in the Alps, so get your snow fix in Les 3 Vallées after the Christmas and New Year crowds have gone. On the hunt for some tropical heat and long hours of sunshine? Head east to Sri Lanka or Vietnam, or go west to the Caribbean for some Cuban warmth. If you want to stay closer to home, you can explore the quintessentially English countryside of the Cotswolds or the dramatic North Devon coast. Wherever you want to go on holiday in January, let these ideas inspire you.


Visit Ho Chi Minh City on this Vietnam escape
— (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you’ve always hankered after Vietnam but didn’t know where to start, this Highlights of Vietnam Group Tour by Regent Holidays offers an excellent introduction. You’ll visit Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, cruise in Halong Bay and take a boat along the Huong River. Departing 17 January, this 10-day holiday costs from £1,985pp and includes all flights and transfers, breakfast, two lunches, one dinner, tours and entrance fees.


Snowfall is looking good in the Les 3 Vallées
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With lots of early-season snow falling on Val Thorens, it’s a good bet that the highest resort in Les 3 Vallées will have decent snow in January. You’ll have wonderful views of the resort when you stay in one of the apartments in Les Balcons de Val Thorens, which include an indoor pool and spa – and it’s right on the slopes. Peak Retreats has a week’s self-catering starting 6 January from £768pp, including Le Shuttle crossing and a free FlexiPlus upgrade.

Sri Lanka

Find affordable adventure in Sri Lanka
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A blast of sun and stupendous sunsets over the Indian Ocean make an appealing combination in the depths of a British winter. The golden sands of Kalutara Beach are just a few seconds from the Royal Palms Beach Hotel and its tropical gardens and outdoor pool. In between chilling out on the beach and around the pool, hop on the train to visit the beautiful Kalutara Buddhist temple just to the south. Away Holidays has a six-night holiday at the Royal Palms Beach Hotel from £1,127pp, departing 20 January, including flights and breakfast.


The Cotswolds are charming at all times of year
— (Getty Images)

Work off the excesses of Christmas by talking a walking holiday through the bucolic countryside of the Cotswolds. HF Holidays is offering £100pp off a seven-night self-guided holiday based in the stately surroundings of Harrington House, a Grade II-listed country-house hotel near Bourton-on-the-Water. You’ll have a choice of walks through some of England’s loveliest countryside as you wander past Stow-on-the-Wold and Lower Slaughter. Prices start at £679pp and include breakfast, packed lunches, afternoon tea and three-course dinners, departing 12 January.


Pair a visit to Havana with a break spent on Varadero beach in Cuba
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Escape winter by sunning yourself in Cuba, where January temperatures are in the mid- to high 20s. In this 10-night holiday offered by Love Cuba, you get to explore Havana for three days before heading to the beach. Soak up 1930s glamour in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in the capital, and then unwind for the next seven nights at the adults-only Melia Las Antillas overlooking the white sands of Varadero beach. Prices start at £1,399pp and include flights, transfers (with a classic car on arrival in Havana), B&B accommodation in Havana and all-inclusive in Varadero.


Brisk walks on Woolacombe beach is a short journey in the car from Rockham Bay View
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Long walks by the sea along the South West Coast Path are a revitalising way to kick off the year, and a stay at Rockham Bay View gives you just that. This three-bedroom cottage in the North Devon village of Mortehoe sleeps six and features a wood-burning stove to keep things cosy. You’ll also be a short drive north of Woolacombe and its long stretch of sandy beach. Sykes Cottages has four-night breaks in January from £598, down from £675, and up to two dogs are welcome.

Mary Novakovich is editor at large at

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