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Goa, India

With the Christmas holidays, December is a month to go somewhere special. Goa, thanks to its low pollution levels and stretching beaches, is one of India’s most laid back destinations.

Weather

  • Temperature: min. 21°C, max. 32°C
  • Sunny, with only one day of rainfall, and warm sea temperatures.

Season

  • Peak season.

Good for

  • All ages, families wanting to discover India from a place of comfort.

What’s there

  • Quiet fishing villages, sandy beaches, traditional food and a 600-metre high waterfall. As a Portuguese colony for over 400 years, the state is a blend of European and Indian culture

What’s on

  • Turtle nesting season, the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, and New Year celebrations. Christmas festivities feature Midnight Mass, traditional meals and fireworks

Flight time from UK: 9h 20m

See our full India Family Travel Guide

Sydney, Australia

Sydney is the place to be for the New Year. Build sandcastles with the kids on Bondi Beach before watching the fireworks illuminate the iconic opera house.

Weather

  • Temperature: min. 14°C, max. 24°C
  • Mornings can be chillier, but Sydney is sunny and pleasant.

Season

  • Peak season, especially towards the New Year (which is spectacular).

Good for

  • All ages, families who enjoy the hustle and bustle of celebrations.
  • A ‘tick off the bucket list’ and sunshine break all in one.
  • A lovely Christmas half-term family break.

What’s there

  • Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, sandy beaches and top-class restaurants. Explore the city from the river, taking in its striking skyline in style.

What’s on

  • Experience a different kind of Christmas spirit with a beach barbecue. Be one of the first in the world to welcome the New Year with the city’s firework display.

Flight time from UK: 23h 15m with at least one stopover

See our full Australia Family Travel Guide


Events and activities

Sweden

Sweden’s winter brings soft snow to the country’s vast landscapes. Take an icey safari and hike through the forests, while the Northern Lights flicker sporadically in the sky above.

Weather

  • Temperature: min. -3°C, max. 1°C
  • Snow is likely, and days are short, with just 6 hours of daylight.

Season

  • Just before peak season.

Good for

  • All ages, families that don’t mind the freezing temperatures.

What’s there

  • Swedish Lapland, where you can spot moose, wolves and brown bears; dog sledding in the mountains and Sarek National Park; snowshoeing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. The cities of Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm offer a more lively atmosphere with museums and restaurants.

What’s on

  • Christmas celebrations, where bustling markets add a festive charm to Sweden’s cities. Outdoor ice skating rinks open, and the Lane of Light attraction opens in Gothenburg.

Flight time from UK: 2h 15m from London to Stockholm

See our full Sweden Family Holiday Guide

Hawaii

A volcanic archipelago that’s on most people’s dream destination list, Hawaii’s lush terrain and world-renowned beaches are waiting to be explored. Hike, surf and snorkel in this tropical paradise.

Weather

  • Temperature: min. 21°C, max. 26°C
  • One of Hawaii’s wettest months, although the 87mm of rain mostly falls on the highest ground

Season

  • Off peak (until the Christmas weeks)

Good for

  • All ages, families that love hiking and walking, surfers

What’s there

  • Palm-trimmed beaches where you can surf, snorkel, dive and kayak your way across the turquoise sea. Inland, hike along volcanic peaks and seaside cliffs, or relax with a gentle game of golf.

What’s on

  • The Honolulu Marathon, and Christmas celebrations including the Honolulu City Nights festival. Watch the fireworks from Waikiki beach on New Year’s Eve.

Flight time from UK: 17h 25m connecting flights from London

See our full Hawaii Family Holiday Guide


To tick off my bucket list

Lapland, Finland

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with a trip to Father Christmas in his natural home this year.

Weather

  • Temperature: min. -9°C, max. -3°C
  • Expect snow and freezing temperatures – pack accordingly!
  • There’s also a maximum of 3 sunlight hours a day, so most of your holiday will be spent in darkness but it’s all part of the magic.

Season

  • Cold weather creates the perfect ski conditions as well as a beautiful winter wonderland in which to meet Father Christmas. Be prepared for high season.

Good for

  • Younger kids will love the chance to meet Santa, the elves and reindeers and hang out with them at home.

What’s there

What’s on

  • It wouldn’t be a trip to Lapland without meeting the man himself and get wrapped up in your own Christmas fairytale.

Flight time from UK: 3h 30m

See our full Finland Family Holiday Guide

New York

There’s always something going on in this city that never sleeps and December is more magical than ever.

Weather

  • Temperature: min. 4°C, max. 13°C
  • One of the coldest months of the year, December is the time for travellers who are more interested in the indoor sites and experiencing the city in full winter dress.

Season

  • New York has something different to offer through every season but it’s a true year-round tourist destination

Good for

What’s there

What’s on

  • The iconic Rockefeller Christmas Tree is let daily from 5.30 am until 11.30 pm through the month of December. Skate on the ice rink underneath to festive music for a magical Christmas experience. If you’re travelling later in the month, join millions at the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, watch the ball drop and experience live performances, celebrity appearances and an amazing atmosphere of celebration.

Flight time from UK: 7.5 hours

See our full New York Family Holiday Guide


Off-peak season

Scottish Highlands

Lochs, mountains, castles, buzzing cities, beautiful islands, and even its own language – Scotland has got it all for families…

Weather

  • Temperature: min. 1°C, max. 7°C in Edinburgh.

Season

  • Snowsports season varies each year, but generally runs from November to April.

Good for

  • Scotland’s ski centres provide some of the best value snowboarding and skiing in Europe so it’s great for enthusiasts.

What’s there

  • Cairngorms National Park. – 25% of the UK’s rarest bird and wildlife live here. It’s the UK’s largest national park and covers and impressive 4,528km². Five of the six highest mountains in Scotland can be found here, and the landscape includes glaciers, granite tors, rivers and glens – only Canada has more Arctic features.

What’s on

  • Winter may not seem like the obvious time to visit Scotland, but you can make the most of three of Scotland’s family ski resorts in the Cairngorms. Some of the UK’s best walking trails can be found here too, if you’re willing to wrap up and brave the cold. Collapse in a luxury log cabin at the end of the day – you’ll have earnt it by then!

Drive time: You can drive from the south of England to far north-east of Scotland in less than 8 hours, with fantastic road trips to take advantage of when you arrive.

See our full Scotland Family Holiday Guide

Malta

Family holidays in Malta immerse you in historic island culture, invite kids on endless adventures and give you acres of beach and the Mediterranean too – enjoy the friendly country away from the hordes of summer travellers.

Weather

  • Temperature: min. 11°C, max. 17°C
  • On average there are 13 rainfall days in the month.

Season

  • Off-season

Good for

What’s there

  • It’s one of the smallest countries in the world but has three World Heritage sites including the entire historic centre of the capital city, Valletta. November isn’t the best time to visit the beach as the weather is often cold and wet, but if you do get a sunny day there are a handful of beaches or the stunning Blue Lagoon to choose from.

What’s on

  • Take advantage of the historical sites around and visit St John’s Co-Cathedral and the Mdina Old City where you can also see the Mdina Dungeons and the Natural History Museum. For older children and teens the Mdina Experience – an audio-visual show – is also worthy of note for those who want to learn about the history without being bored to tears.

Flight time from UK: 3 hours

See our full Malta Family Holiday guide