Iceland can be a budget-breaker, but we’ve found an incredible deal for a family of four departing this month so you can explore the land of fire and ice — without feeling the chill when you get home. We’ve also found extra sweet discounts for chocolate-filled Bruges and there’s a chance to heat things up in the Caribbean with a saving of 50 per cent on the original price.
The stylish Xara Palace occupies a 17th-century palazzo up on the old bastions of Mdina, a minute baroque-style city in central Malta. Available from February 9-28, when the Mediterranean island averages 14C, the hotel’s Touch of Romance package involves lovebirds being greeted with fizz and roses before enjoying a horse-drawn carriage ride and a six-course tasting menu at the hotel’s Michelin-starred rooftop restaurant, de Mondion. Antique furniture and Parisian fabrics then await in your king-sized bedroom. Three nights’ B&B from £468pp (xarapalace.com.mt). Fly to Valletta
The Bradley Hare
2. Posh pub in rural Wiltshire
On the Duke of Somerset’s undulating estate in, er, Wiltshire, the Bradley Hare is a classic village inn within half an hour’s drive of Bath and Stonehenge. Five of its bright, beautiful bedrooms fill an old coach house; the rest populate the main, garden-hugged Georgian building, where seasonal posh-pub fare is served beside crackling log fires. February stays are discounted by 30 per cent. B&B doubles from £105 (thebradleyhare.co.uk).
Canal houses in Bruges
AUBREY STOLL/GETTY IMAGES
3. Sweet nothings in Bruges
There’s only one way to improve a Valentine’s Day package at Martin’s Relais in cobbled Bruges: add a box of Belgian pralines from the nearby Chocolaterie Jan De Clerck. The hotel is spread across five canal houses, and the package includes sparkling wine, a bed scattered with rose petals and a waterside room. B&B doubles from £132 are available all month with the extras, except Saturdays (martins hotels.com). Take the train to Bruges
4. A foodie stay in North Cornwall
Cornwall’s north coast is great in February thanks to a strong surf scene, snuggly spas — try St Enodoc Hotel — and you might actually get reservations at the restaurants in and around Padstow. The rental firm Latitude 50 has good availability across its self-catering homes, including the new Turnstones, an angular, contemporary confection that looks seawards over Polzeath Beach and is accessible and dog-friendly. Three nights’ self-catering for eight costs from £1,047 (latitude50.co.uk).
The city of Reykjavik
5. Icebergs and aurora borealis in Iceland
Families have a good chance of seeing the northern lights during a half-term road trip exploring Iceland. Wholly tailor-made to your tastes, the trip might feature hikes to frozen waterfalls, snow-framed soaks in geothermal baths, whale watching, ice caves and the iceberg-lined Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. The spectacular island will be mighty chilly, but also blissfully uncrowded compared with summer. Departing on February 11 or 12, seven nights’ B&B costs from £1,700pp for a family of four, including flights, transport and activities (stubbornmuletravel.com).
● Best things to do in Iceland
● 34 of the top hotels in Cornwall
Relax at Malting Farm
6. Cosy glamping on an Essex farm
In the village of Little Bentley, near Colchester, Malting Farm has bell tents, treehouses and three oak-framed luxury cabins around its 300-acre estate. Set in a glade, two of the latter trio — which have underfloor heating, covered terraces and private hot tubs — still have half-term availability, and using the code FEBHALFTERM saves you 10 per cent. After the kids have helped to feed pigs and horses, you can borrow bikes or go seal-spotting on the coast. Four nights’ self-catering for four now starts at £594 (malting farm.co.uk).
The Barcelo Lanzarote Active Resort
7. Sunshine and activities galore in the Canaries
A climbing wall, paddleboarding possibilities and local running trails help the Barcelo Lanzarote Active Resort live up to its name, as do bikes for hire, aqua trampoline classes and three swimming pools — one of them a ten-lane Olympic-sized colossus. Completed last year, the resort has 659 comfortable rooms and is close to golf courses and beaches. For a family of four departing from Stansted on February 11, seven nights’ B&B costs from £1,119pp, including flights, baggage and transfers (jet2holidays.com).
Hôtel Le Flaine
8. Funky ski hotel in Flaine, France
Not only are there big savings to relish on trips to Hôtel Le Flaine, this iconic property also provides free wine and weekly fondues. An eye-catching, white-concrete brutalist block, the hotel and spa is ten minutes’ walk from Flaine’s two gondolas. This part of the Grand Massif suits all levels, but is particularly good for beginners and intermediates. Departing on February 25, seven nights’ half-board costs from £884pp, including flights from Manchester and transfers (crystalski.co.uk).
Skiing in Bansko
9. Half-term skiing in Bulgaria
Having recently received heavy snowfall, Bansko, Bulgaria’s most famous ski resort, is a good half-term bet for intermediates and beginners looking for a bargain. Its modern MPM Hotel Guinness, less than 300m from the main gondola, has spacious apartment rooms alongside a spa and buffet restaurant. Eating and drinking out is super-cheap too. Departing from Luton on February 11, seven nights’ half-board for a family of four costs from £1,107pp, including flights and transfers (heidi.com).
Enjoy snowshoeing in the Salzkammergut region
10. Try snowshoeing in Austria
Walks Worldwide is offering £100 off all of its guided group tours if you book before February 23 using the code WINTER23. One imminent option is a snowshoeing trip to Austria’s picturesque Salzkammergut region. Having received a lesson in how to use the large footwear, you will hike along trails through alpine forests and meadows to lofty, lake-facing viewpoints fuelled by hot chocolates in mountain huts. Departing on March 5, five nights’ half-board costs from £1,159pp, including flights (walksworldwide.com).
Beausite Park Hotel
11. Ski like 007 in Switzerland
Switzerland’s Lauterbrunnen Valley has attracted skiers from World Cup downhillers to James Bond (fleeing Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). In the village of Wengen, next to nursery slopes and very near a cable car, the Alpine-style Beausite Park Hotel provides an indoor spa and pool to soothe any post-piste kinks. Reduced by £520, seven nights’ half-board costs from £1,569pp departing on February 25, including flights from Birmingham and transfers (sno.co.uk).
12. Bargain Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ten miles southwest of Sarajevo, Bjelasnica hosted part of the 1984 Winter Olympics. Today the Bosnian peak offers a decent array of red and blue runs, and although it’s low and suffered earlier in the season, there’s snow at present. One kilometre — covered by free shuttles — from its resort centre, Hotel Bjelasnica incorporates a sauna and spa, a fire-heated lounge, a pub and local-inspired food each evening. Seven nights’ half-board costs from £381pp departing on February 26, including flights from Gatwick and transfers (igluski.com).
Angkor in Cambodia
13. A tour of Cambodia
February usually delivers pleasantly hot, dry days in Cambodia: ideal for touring the southeast Asian kingdom’s giant, jungle-snagged temples. Before Angkor, enjoy a Khmer homestay and pay respects at the Killing Fields during a small-group Cambodia Discovery tour. Starting in Vietnam and finishing in Thailand, its February 18 departure has been discounted by 15 per cent, so 11 nights’ room only costs from £901pp, including bus transfers (intrepidtravel.com). Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
Skate at the Rockefeller Center’s ice rink
14. Hit Hopper show in NYC
You’ve got until March 5 to catch Edward Hopper’s New York at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Travel there this month and you can also enjoy discounted Broadway shows and skate at the Rockefeller Center’s ice rink. Based at the modern and luxurious Fifty Hotel & Suites in Midtown, three nights’ B&B costs from £1,258pp, including flights, private transfers, exhibition tickets and concierge services (kirkerholidays.com).
Azura Benguerra lodge has 20 thatched beach villas
15. Mozambique paradise
At the community-minded Azura Benguerra lodge on Mozambique’s dreamy Bazaruto Archipelago, just 20 thatched beach villas complement an array of activities from crocodile safaris to dives round pristine reefs. Hefty 45 per cent discounts are available on stays until March 31 to anyone booking this month. Seven nights’ full board from £2,563pp, including helicopter transfers (aardvark safaris.com). Fly to Maputo
Elissa, which is more adult-orientated than its sister property
Deals to book now, travel later
16. Early-booking discount for a Greek escape in Rhodes
Book your Greek island summer holiday this month to score a 20 per cent saving. That’s the proposal from Ella Resorts, whose two large properties on Rhodes — the family-friendly Helea, complete with a waterpark, and the adult-orientated Elissa, a more laid-back blend of rangy restaurants, pool bars and a beach club — are designed in svelte, straight-lined style. Four nights’ B&B at Elissa now costs from £220pp (ellaresorts.com). There’s no minimum-stay requirement, and travel must be between April 20 and October 31. Fly
Reduit Beach in St Lucia
JOHN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES
17. Cut-price Caribbean
In northwestern St Lucia, Reduit Beach is a mile-long stretch of pearly sand in the horseshoe-shaped Rodney Bay. While most resorts nearby are bland all-inclusives, the adults-only SoCo House hotel is a slick, sugar-white cube. Between sampling the central pool, free beach shuttle and Caribbean food, set off to ride rainforest zip lines or try bubbling mud baths. Now halved in price, seven nights’ all-inclusive costs from £1,199pp, including flights, transfers and spa discounts. You must book in February and travel on selected dates in May, June, September, October or November (bluebaytravel.co.uk).
Veranda Grand Baie
18. Stay in style in Mauritius
One of Mauritius’s first hotels, the beachside Veranda Grand Baie is to reopen on July 1 after an extensive refurbishment. Guests will find an infinity pool facing the neighbouring green-blue lagoon, delicious Mauritian cuisine, and 95 open-plan, indoor-outdoor rooms or apartments spilling into tropical gardens. Local-led tours of Grand Baie’s lively village are on offer, taking in the Banana Café and the bazaar for souvenir shopping. Book by February 25 for better-than-half-price stays before October, including four-person family apartments now costing from £155 per night B&B (veranda-resorts.com). Fly to Mauritius
19. Costa Rican wildlife tour
Always wanted to go to Costa Rica? With space on regular departures until April 8, a two-week, wildlife-focused group tour packs in plenty of this sustainability-focused Central American country. Deep canyons, coffee plantations, perfectly pointy volcanoes and stunning shores all feature; along the way you’ll whitewater raft, wobble along forest canopy walkways and go sloth-spotting in jungly, cacophonous national parks. Fourteen nights’ B&B costs from £3,710pp, including flights, transport, activities and seven other meals, staying in mid-range or premium accommodation throughout (responsibletravel.com).
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