January is a wonderful time to travel, especially with toddlers and babies. The Christmas rush is over, the tourist crowds are nowhere to be seen, and the world is yours for the taking. Whether you decide to go abroad or stay in the UK, there’s the added benefit of discounted travel, so you can save a few pennies by booking at this time of year.
Plus, with being out of season, you won’t struggle to book a table that award-winning family restaurant you read about, or there won’t be long queues to get into top attractions.
A winter break in January is full of scenic beauty, unique atmosphere and magic. And here are 19 of the best places to visit in UK, Europe and worldwide.
1. Marrakech, Morocco
January is the wettest month of the year in Marrakech but even so, you won’t get much rain. So if you travel to Morocco around this time, you’ll have wonderful sunny and warm weather. For kids, this is an ideal month because the festive crowds have dispersed so getting around will be safe and easy, and the average temperatures are mild so over-heating won’t be a problem.
Where to stay: Stay at the elegant Fawakay Villas, located just a short drive to the centre of the bustling city. The accommodation is run by a British couple so communication is easy, and there are animals such as donkeys, cats and chickens on site, which the kids will just love!
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai’s cool season starts in December and ends in February, so this is a great time to go without worrying too much about heat stroke for small children. Your little ones will love the elephant sanctuaries and nature parks. The Chiang Mai Zoo is also home to Thailand’s only panda family.
Where to stay: Book at the striking colonial style villa, Lanna Hill House. It offers very affordable services for families, including private chefs, nannies and childcare, English speaking guides and drivers.
3. Avoriaz, French Alps
This French mountain resort is one of the best ski resorts for families, fully pedestrianised for safety and plenty of activities for kids (plus a great ski school). The nursery slopes are ideal for learners and non-skiers can enjoy sledding or attractions like the Aquariaz Indoor Water Park.
Where to stay: Chalet Chambertin is ideally located close to the Nyon ski lift as well as the Avoriaz, Les Gets and Morzine. The owners run a handy shuttle service and offer private nannies through two reputable agencies.
4. Bavaria, Germany
Bavaria is beautiful in winter time and its beautiful towns and cities are filled with tradition and culture. From Passau’s snow-topped roofs and the fairy tale architecture of Füssen to skiing in Oberstdorf and hikes in the Bavarian forest, there’s so much to see and do.
Where to stay: Book your stay at the Haus Sterr apartments in the traditional village of Bayerische Eisenstein. Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of busy Munich and the perfect place for families who want a bit of peace and quiet.
5. Ambleside, Lake District
The Lake District is beautiful at this time of year. With chances of snowfall and blissfully quiet countryside. The Stockghyll Force waterfall walk is easy enough for kids and there are plenty of family-friendly pubs and restaurants nearby.
Where to stay: Stay at Pudding Cottage in Ecclerigg, not far from Ambleside. It’s a multi-award winning property with plenty of facilities for families with children.
6. St. Andrews, Scotland
Scotland is such a fab place for foodies and in the cold month of January, their regional dishes (such as haggis and tatties, Cullen skink or Scotch pie washed down with the finest whiskey) are the perfect remedies to warm up with. Your little ones will enjoy the proximity to the coast and there are plenty of fun attractions, including the local aquarium, Scotland’s Secret Bunker, Kellie Castle and the nearby Scottish Deer Centre.
Where to stay: A stylish family apartment set in a Georgian townhouse, North Star makes a great place to stay in the heart of this seaside town.
7. Corbridge, Northumberland
Its ancient stone houses, old marketplace, pub, and tearooms make Corbridge the ultimate destination for those who prefer a slow pace of life. There are some great walks along the banks of the Tyne, and the remains of the Roman Town near Hadrian’s Wall is worth visiting if your children enjoy a bit of history. Other things to see in Northumberland are Bamburgh Castle, Wallington Hall & Gardens, and a day out in Beadnell for beach strolls, kitesurfing and fish and chips.
Where to stay: Book a break at 2 Church Row in the quiet hamlet of Newham, perfect for checking out the Northumberland coastline.
8. Lisbon, Portugal
Winters are fairly mild in Portugal, making Lisbon an ideal city break for families who don’t want the stress of cold climate travel. It’s fairly quiet at this time of year so you can enjoy the sights of the city without the crowds. The old-fashioned tram will have children in awe and the views from the top of the castle are superb too. Whilst it’s no weather for swimming trunks and sandcastles, the Lisbon coastline is still worth exploring and there’s a convenient train that runs along some of the coast’s main stops.
Where to stay: The Martinhal Chiado apartments offer comfort, luxury and style whilst placing families right in the heart of all the action. A crèche, kids club and babysitting service are all available.
9. Verbier, Swiss Alps
Another superb ski resort for families, this time located in the Swiss Alps. Verbier has reduced prices for kids, a ski school, nursery slopes and children’s play areas, as well as husky dog rides, sledging, indoor climbing, swimming and much more.
Where to stay: Stay at Chalet Chambord for total luxury and relaxation. With breath-taking views, a crèche, a babysitting service and private hot tubs in each accommodation.
10. Malaga, Spain
Malaga, like other southern towns in Spain’s Andalucia region offer mild / warm temperatures all year round. And even though January is the coolest month, temperature highs are still a lovely 19°C or 20°C. Whilst most people tend to stay out of the sea in winter, many still frequent the beach for walks and sandcastles.
Where to stay: Stay at Padres Aviles, a short 10 minute drive from the nearest beach and 20 minutes from Malaga centre.
11. Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire
This lovely Wiltshire town was featured in The Guardian as one of the best UK destinations to visit in winter. It’s easy to see why with its quaint Georgian houses and beautiful 18th Century aqueduct. Many come here to see the Christmas Floating Market, but January is just as fun for families in search of some peace and quiet.
Where to stay: Stay at Woolley Grange, complete with crèche but still boasting all the 5-star luxury you would expect of a UK getaway.
12. Orlando, Florida
There are a million reasons to visit Florida in the winter. Not just the mild and pleasant weather at around 20-24°C, making it extremely safe for younger kids, babies and tots. Without the intense heat causing dehydration and discomfort, and much smaller crowds outside of the summer holiday season, you can freely explore all of Orlando’s theme parks and amusement parks. Some of the attractions not to miss include the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Legoland’s Heartlake City, the Star Wars Launch Bay and the Crayola Experience. And of course for Disney fans, there will be a lot more room to run around and explore at Disneyland after the Christmas crowd has dispersed.
Where to stay: Stay at Villa 4 Sun, located in Davenport near Orlando. Less than 20 minutes’ drive away from the Walt Disney parks, with heated pool, Jacuzzi plus a games room with pool table, air hockey, toys, books and more.
13. Totnes, Devon
Totnes in Devon is one of the most idyllic winter towns on the British coastline. Festive markets are a favourite in December but in January, it’s a peaceful sanctuary for those who wish to get away from city life. For child friendly culinary delights, don’t miss the Totnes Good Food Sunday Market (held the third Sunday of each month throughout the year) or one of the many cafes / lunch spots.
Where to stay: Check into the beautiful Meavy Barn in South Hams. With excellent facilities, including a wooden playground, all weather tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pool, soft play and more.
14. Krabi, Thailand
Krabi’s average temperature stays similar all year round and the sea water is warm all year round too. So January is a great time to visit, with plenty of chances to hit the beach. There’s 8 hours of sunshine every day and it’s outside of the rainy season, so young kids won’t suffer with humidity or be at high risk from insect bites. There are many islands to explore, including Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, Ko Yao Yai, Ko Lanta and Ko Mai Phai.
Where to stay: Relax at Eden Villas, a fabulous place for families with a secluded garden and pool (as well as babysitting service). The airport is less than an hour away and the sandy beach of Ao Tha is just 10 minutes away.
15. Cote d’Azur, France
One of the most glamorous coastlines in the world and a wonderful hidden gem between the months of December and January. The beautiful Cote d’Azur is not just a summer holiday destination for topping up your tan. Temperatures can be around 13°C in the day and it’s mostly sunny in winter time. And with fewer tourists around, it will be so much easier to explore with your whole family. Booking a table at a top restaurant shouldn’t be a problem either and there are plenty of kids’ attractions (such as La Barben Zoo and the Meze Dinosaur Museum).
Where to stay: Stay in this lavish wide open space villa in the town of Montauroux near Nice, boasting the most incredible views.
16. Co. Meath, Ireland
From Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman castle in Trim and the Neolithic stones and tombs of Newgrange in Bruna Boinne to the adrenaline filled games for over 9s at ‘The Zone’ Extreme Activity, County Meath has so much to offer. The weather can be very chilly at this time of year, often anywhere between 2-8°C on an average day in January and rainfall will be at its highest. So waterproofs and warm clothing are essential. It’s also just a short drive to Dublin and the coast.
Where to stay: Book a week at Decoy Cottages, surrounded by the stunning countryside of Meath Boyne Valley and complete with a kids’ playground, gated outdoor areas and a gym on site. Resident chickens are also a highlight for the little ones, with opportunities to help with egg collecting.
17. Holt, Norfolk
A rural Georgian town in Norfolk and a great winter destination for both shoppers and walkers. Holt is home to a number of unusual and quirky shops and also has easy access to plenty of wooded parkland. You can also take the kids for a winter walk along the seafront or for some birdwatching at the saltmarshes – just remember to wrap up warm!
Where to stay: For eco-friendly luxury, stay over at Home Farm Cranmer cottages. These stylishly converted barns are located close to the town of Holt and feature a great indoor pool.
Wherever you’d like to go for your January escape, get in touch & let us find the perfect accommodation for you. What better way to start the new year!