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Nothing beats soaking up the sunshine when you should be de-icing your car and shivering on your way to work. Leave the cold weather behind to sunbathe on powdery shores and warm up in the sea on one of our winter sun holidays.

Our favourite winter sun destinations? Take your pick. Collect shells on the sugary sands of Florida, dance to the salsa rhythms in Cuba, explore ancient ruins and tropical jungles in Mexico or experience the intoxicating culture of Thailand.

Many of the best winter sun destinations offer fun and unique activities at Christmas for those looking for something slightly different. Couples, families and groups alike can split up the long, cold months with some new, sunny surroundings.

Try our favourite winter sun destinations

While the average winter temperature in the United Kingdom is 6-7°C, in glorious Mauritius it’s in the 30s. Forget the cocoa and wood burning stove, get out the swimwear and chill out on the sand. Here, family comes first, so Christmas is as big a deal for Mauritians – even non-Christians – as it is for you.

Even though Thailand's coincides with the the UK's, the two countries do not share a climate! Even in the cooler months – November to mid-February – temperatures in the Land of Smiles regularly hit 30°C. The south of the country, in particular Phuket, is ideal for topping up that tan over the festive period.

Due to its desert climate, Dubai’s summer temperatures regularly exceed 40°C and rain is rare. If you’ve always wanted to go but would prefer it slightly cooler then visiting in the winter is ideal. Temperatures between December and February remain in the mid-20s, which is just right for families.

Islands near the equator are perfect for year-round holidays, and those slightly to the south of it, such as Zanzibar, have their summer during the UK’s coldest months. Zanzibar averages 27-28°C from December to March, and you can twin it with a safari break too to enjoy a very unique Christmas holiday.

With the laid-back Caribbean attitude – and their glorious weather – you can so easily forget your winter woes. The locals will make sure it’s fun for all the family, too. Just imagine seeing Santa Claus arriving on a golden-sand beach by boat. At Windjammer Landing in St Lucia that’s exactly what you get with your Christmas stay.

Due to the variations in altitude in Mexico, you can come here for a beach stay or cultural break in the winter. The coasts remain warm all year round, while a visit to some of the cities might require you to wrap up at night. Planning a trip around Christmas? Mexicans do it properly, including a procession: La Posada.

The USA’s winter coincides with Britain’s, but with big differences in its northern and southern points the weather is incredibly varied. Florida has the sunniest winter climate in eastern USA and even in January the temperature regularly reaches 25°C. With Christmas events all over the State, it’s a fun, festive place for families to be.

Perhaps the most iconic beach destination in the world, the Maldives is perfect for topping up the tan all year round. November to March in the Maldives is drier and less humid than summer, which makes these islands ideal for luxury winter sun holidays. The temperatures hover around 30°C year-round, so pack the beach wear and escape this winter.