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The nights are already getting shorter and the clocks haven’t even gone back yet, so it is no wonder that many of us are already dreading the start of winter knowing that we won’t see the sun for another six months. The UK has the highest occurrence of self-reported Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the world and due to our lack of sunshine, even in the summer, it is no wonder that we crave it in the way we do. So why not stave off that sinking feeling and start planning your winter holidays with Thomson or First Choice.

Even if you don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depression stemming from when the days get shorter, our bodies crave vitamin D and being in the sunshine does make us feel better. In fact a recent survey by Thomson found that 92% of people either strongly agreed or agreed with the sun being the best way to beat stress.

We’ve put together some fabulous holidays, sure to blast away those winter blues!

Beach Break with a baby

The Canary Islands are just a four hour flight away but enjoy a warm temperate climate all year round. November is a great time to go as the water is still really warm from being heated up during the summer months. For beach lovers, holidays in Gran Canaria are ideal, as the island enjoys wide stretches of sand, while the sand dunes in Maspalomas provide a stunning background to the beach, and are an area of outstanding natural beauty.

If you are looking for somewhere chic to stay then the Lopesan Baobab Resortis the place to go. New for 2009 the resort is built in an African style with a huge 21ft high hut housing the reception area and bars and restaurants. With its own beach, huge pool and three restaurants, there’s no real reason to leave the resort however if you do head out you’ll be in the upmarket resort of Meloneras with its boutiques and pretty beach.

First Choice offers family holidays in Gran Canaria for seven nights staying full-board at the 5 Sun Lopesan Baobab Resort from £845 per adult and £425 per child, based on two adults and one child sharing, departing from London Gatwick on the 25th November 2009. To find out more about this holiday, or to make a reservation, please call First Choice on 0871 200 4455, or book online at

Luxury Longhaul escape

If you are looking for serious luxury in a romantic Caribbean hideaway then the Sensatori Mexico is a good bet. The Sensatori concept aims to give guests a full sensory work out from the ‘gourmet inclusive’ dining, where there is a choice of six chic restaurants serving international and local cuisine all included in the price, to the luxurious suites that come as standard complete with hot tubs, king-sized beds, large balconies, plasma TV’s and DVD players. Whether you are seeking complete relaxation in the spa with bodywraps and a massage or fancy something a bit more active like going kayaking or snorkelling in the stunning reefs, this resort is the perfect place to do exactly as you please, and enjoy some serious sunshine.

Thomson offers holidays in Mexico staying seven nights, full board at the 5T Sensatori Mexico from £779 per person based on two sharing, departing from London Gatwick on the 1st December 2009. For more information or to book visit or call 0871 230 3234.

Best for a short break – Marrakech, Morocco

If you fancy going on a cultural break but squeezing in time for the pool too, holidays to Marrakech can’t be beaten. With just a three hour flight time and temperatures averaging 25˚C, it’s perfect if you have a few days holiday to use up at the end of the year.

If shopping is your thing then Marrakech will be your Mecca, as it is dripping with funky boho jewellery, belts and ethnic home wares. Art lovers can head straight to the Jardin Majorelle, owned by the late Yves Saint Laurent and incorporating the National Art Gallery in its grounds. However it is the infamous square the Djemaa el Fna that will really get the juices flowing, at night it comes alive with food stalls piled high with Moroccan delicacies and tagines, story tellers, snake charmers and henna tattoo artists all jostling to get your attention.

The brand new Club Hotel Riu Tikida Palmeraie, is an ideal spot to stay if you fancy being a bit out of the city and enjoying time in the pool and spa as well as the museums and souks. Thomson offers holidays in Marrakech staying three nights at the 4T plus Riu Tikida Palmeraie from £289 per person, based on two sharing departing from London Gatwick on the 4th December 2009. For more information or to book visit or call 0871 230 3234.

Best for adventure lovers – Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt

If you love nothing more then being in the great outdoors, but fancy something a bit different this winter then holidays in Egypt are perfect. The Sinai Peninsular has plenty going on top keep you busy, and is most famous for its incredible coral reefs. Many of the beach front properties in Sharm el Sheikh have their own dive centres where you can go on dives if you are an experienced diver, do an open water course if you are a beginner or even just take snorkels out.

Back on dry land there’s plenty to keep you busy from exploring the desert on the back of a camel, to tearing over the dunes on a quad bike excursion. If you are up for a big challenge then why not climb Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the ten commandments, at sunrise? Getting up in the middle of the night, you climb up the mountain to then enjoy the incredible views at sunrise.

The Coral Sea Resort in Nabq Bay offers great value accommodation, and is perfect for adventurous couples and families alike. With its own dive centre on sight and some of the world’s best dive sites just a boat ride away it is ideal for those that want to make the most of their time by the Red Sea.

First Choice offer seven night holidays in Egyptstaying all-inclusive at the 4 Sun Coral Sea Resort from £579 per person, based on two sharing, departing from London Gatwick on the 24th November 2009. To find out more about this holiday, or to make a reservation, please call First Choice on 0871 200 4455, or book online at


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