December is a magical time of the year when the holiday spirit is in full swing, and many people in the UK are eager to escape the winter chill. If you’re looking to embark on a long-haul adventure, numerous destinations offer the perfect blend of warm weather, cultural experiences, and festive celebrations.
In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people opting for long-haul destinations for their December vacations, seeking diverse experiences and climates.
According to a study by ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), December is one of the busiest months for travel, with a significant number of UK residents planning holidays during this time.
The Canary Islands, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia are popular regions for UK residents seeking sunnier climates in December.
Meteorological data from the UK Met Office supports the preference for warmer destinations during December. The colder weather in the UK often motivates travelers to seek destinations with milder or tropical climates.
In this article, we will explore some of the best long-haul destinations to visit in December from the UK, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable winter getaway.
Why Vacations Are Required In December In The UK?
Vacations in December are often sought after in the UK for several reasons, and the decision to take a holiday during this time is influenced by a combination of cultural, climatic, and personal factors. Here are some reasons why vacations are often desired in December in the UK:
December is synonymous with the festive season, including Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Many people in the UK choose to take vacations during this time to spend quality moments with family and friends, participate in festive activities, and create lasting memories.
December falls during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, and taking a break during this time allows individuals to escape the colder weather and enjoy milder climates in other parts of the world. Whether it’s seeking sun in tropical destinations or experiencing a winter wonderland in a snowy locale, December vacations offer a break from routine.
December aligns with the Christmas and New Year school holidays, making it an opportune time for families to travel together. With children on a break from school, families can plan vacations without disrupting the academic calendar, enabling shared experiences and bonding time.
Many businesses and offices in the UK have shutdowns or reduced workloads during the Christmas and New Year period. This creates a natural opportunity for individuals to take time off without the stress of work-related responsibilities, contributing to a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday experience.
Reflection and Renewal:
The end of the year provides a natural point for reflection and renewal. People often use this time to recharge, relax, and set intentions for the coming year. A vacation in December can be a rejuvenating way to conclude the year on a positive note and enter the new year with a fresh perspective.
Traditions and Customs:
Some individuals may have personal or cultural traditions that involve traveling during December. This could include visiting family in other locations, participating in specific holiday celebrations, or observing customs that involve travel.
Beyond Christmas, many destinations around the world host unique and captivating festivities in December. Travelers may seek to experience different cultural celebrations, festivals, and events that add an extra layer of excitement to their holiday.
Global Travel Opportunities:
December is a time when various destinations experience their high tourist season due to favorable weather conditions. This makes it an ideal time for those in the UK to explore long-haul destinations that may be less accessible or enjoyable during other times of the year.
11 Best Long-Haul Destinations to Visit in December from the UK
Cape Town, South Africa:
Cape Town is a captivating city nestled between the iconic Table Mountain and the stunning coastline. December marks the beginning of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, offering pleasant temperatures and a plethora of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the vibrant V&A Waterfront, hike up Table Mountain for panoramic views, and indulge in the region’s renowned wines. Additionally, December is the prime season for witnessing the blooming of the Cape’s diverse flora.
- Pleasant Summer Weather: December marks the beginning of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, offering pleasant temperatures for outdoor activities.
- Diverse Experiences: Explore the vibrant V&A Waterfront, hike Table Mountain, and indulge in the region’s renowned wines.
- Floral Blooms: Experience the blooming of the Cape’s diverse flora, adding a touch of natural beauty to your visit.
For those seeking a sun-soaked Christmas, Sydney is an excellent choice. December is summertime in Australia, and Sydney comes alive with festive events and outdoor festivities. Enjoy the iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks at Sydney Harbour, relax on the famous Bondi Beach, and explore the city’s cultural landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden.
- Festive Summertime: Enjoy the festive season in the Southern Hemisphere with summertime temperatures in Sydney.
- Iconic Landmarks: Witness the New Year’s Eve fireworks at Sydney Harbour, relax on Bondi Beach, and explore landmarks like the Sydney Opera House.
- Cultural Extravaganza: Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural events, art exhibitions, and lively street performances.
Bali, with its picturesque landscapes and rich cultural heritage, is an idyllic destination for a December escape. The weather is warm and dry during this time, making it perfect for exploring the island’s lush rice terraces, ancient temples, and vibrant markets. Relax on the beautiful beaches of Kuta or Seminyak, and experience the unique Balinese traditions and ceremonies that take place throughout the month.
- Tropical Paradise: Bali offers a tropical escape with lush landscapes, beautiful beaches, and a rich cultural heritage.
- Cultural Exploration: Visit ancient temples, explore vibrant markets, and witness unique Balinese traditions and ceremonies.
- Relaxation and Adventure: Whether you seek relaxation on the beaches of Kuta or Seminyak or adventure in the island’s interior, Bali has it all.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
Celebrate the festive season with a samba-infused rhythm in Rio de Janeiro. December is summertime in Brazil, offering warm temperatures and an electric atmosphere. Visit the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, soak up the sun on Copacabana Beach, and immerse yourself in the lively street parties known as “samba circles.” The city is alive with music, dance, and cultural events, providing a unique and vibrant experience for visitors.
- Electric Summertime Vibes: December brings summertime to Brazil, filling Rio de Janeiro with lively music, dance, and cultural events.
- Iconic Landmarks: Visit the Christ the Redeemer statue, relax on Copacabana Beach, and participate in the energetic street parties known as “samba circles.”
- New Year’s Eve Extravaganza: Experience the world-famous New Year’s Eve celebrations on Copacabana Beach with dazzling fireworks.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates:
For a blend of luxury and winter sun, Dubai is an excellent choice. December offers pleasant temperatures, making it an ideal time to explore the city’s futuristic architecture, indulge in shopping at world-class malls, and experience the thrill of desert adventures. Don’t miss the dazzling New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, for a truly unforgettable celebration.
- Luxury and Warmth: Dubai offers a luxurious winter escape with pleasant temperatures, allowing for the exploration of futuristic architecture and desert adventures.
- Shopping Paradise: Indulge in world-class shopping malls, vibrant markets, and unique experiences like skiing in the Mall of the Emirates.
- New Year’s Spectacle: Witness the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Experience a blend of tradition and modernity in Tokyo during December. While temperatures are cool, the city comes alive with festive decorations, light displays, and winter illuminations. Explore the historic Asakusa district, witness the iconic Shibuya Crossing, and enjoy the hot springs in nearby Hakone. December is also the season for enjoying warm bowls of ramen and celebrating the New Year with traditional Japanese customs.
- Tradition and Modernity: Tokyo seamlessly blends ancient traditions with modern technology, offering a unique cultural experience.
- Festive Decorations: December brings festive decorations, light displays, and winter illuminations, creating a magical atmosphere.
- Cultural Exploration: Explore historic districts like Asakusa, witness the iconic Shibuya Crossing, and enjoy traditional Japanese customs.
Escape the winter blues and head to the sunny beaches of Cancun in December. This Mexican paradise offers warm temperatures and crystal-clear waters, perfect for snorkeling, diving, and relaxing on pristine beaches. Explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine, and experience the lively nightlife along the Hotel Zone. December is an ideal time to enjoy the vibrant culture without the peak tourist crowds.
- Sunny Beach Retreat: Enjoy the warmth of Cancun’s sunny beaches with crystal-clear waters, perfect for water activities and relaxation.
- Mayan Heritage: Explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region.
- Vibrant Nightlife: Experience lively nightlife along the Hotel Zone, featuring beachfront clubs, bars, and authentic Mexican cuisine.
Discover the wonders of ancient civilization in Cairo during December. With comfortable temperatures, explore the iconic pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum. Take a cruise along the Nile River and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of this fascinating destination. December offers a pleasant climate for sightseeing, and the city is adorned with festive lights, creating a magical atmosphere.
- Ancient Wonders: Discover iconic ancient wonders such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum.
- Mild December Climate: Enjoy comfortable temperatures for exploring historical sites and experiencing the vibrant local culture.
- Festive Lights: The city is adorned with festive lights, creating a magical atmosphere during the holiday season.
Queenstown, New Zealand:
For an adventurous December getaway, Queenstown in New Zealand is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. While it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, Queenstown offers a refreshing escape with its stunning alpine scenery. Enjoy thrilling activities like bungee jumping, skiing, and hiking. Take a scenic cruise on Milford Sound, explore the charming town center, and experience the welcoming Kiwi hospitality.
- Outdoor Adventure Hub: Queenstown is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with activities like bungee jumping, skiing, and hiking.
- Alpine Scenery: Enjoy stunning alpine landscapes, pristine lakes, and breathtaking views of the Southern Alps.
- Kiwi Hospitality: Experience the warmth of Kiwi hospitality in this charming town surrounded by natural beauty.
Marrakech provides a unique blend of history, culture, and vibrant markets, making it an ideal destination for a December escape. The weather is mild, allowing for comfortable exploration of the bustling souks, the historic Medina, and the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. Indulge in traditional Moroccan cuisine, experience a hammam spa, and be captivated by the lively atmosphere of Djemaa el Fna square.
- Rich History and Culture: Marrakech offers a unique blend of history, culture, and vibrant markets in the historic Medina.
- Comfortable December Climate: Mild temperatures make it ideal for exploring the bustling souks and the beautiful Jardin Majorelle.
- Lively Atmosphere: Djemaa el Fna square comes alive with street performers, musicians, and the aroma of delicious Moroccan cuisine.
Auckland, New Zealand:
Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, is a fantastic December destination offering a mix of urban sophistication and natural beauty. Enjoy the vibrant waterfront, explore volcanic landscapes at Rangitoto Island, and experience the Maori culture at the Auckland Museum. The city’s diverse culinary scene and lively arts and entertainment make it an ideal destination for a memorable December vacation.
- Urban Sophistication: Auckland combines urban sophistication with natural beauty, offering a vibrant waterfront and diverse cultural experiences.
- Volcanic Landscapes: Explore volcanic landscapes at Rangitoto Island and enjoy panoramic views of the city and harbor.
- Maori Culture: Experience the rich Maori culture at the Auckland Museum and immerse yourself in the city’s arts and entertainment scene.
Choosing a long-haul destination from the UK in December opens up a world of possibilities, from the stunning landscapes of Cape Town to the vibrant culture of Bali. Consider your preferences, whether it’s a beach retreat, a cultural exploration, or a festive celebration, and embark on a memorable winter getaway to one of these fantastic destinations. Regardless of your choice, these destinations promise a combination of warmth, adventure, and cultural richness for a truly magical December escape.