Stuck in the northern hemisphere winter, again, and looking for that perfect sunny escape?
Our city experts have put their heads together to help you find the best city destinations to head to December through February to beat those winter blues and enjoy (almost) guaranteed sunshine on a city break.
Please check international travel rules before you plan your family trip. Your destination city and country of origin may have quarantine rules and PCR testing requirements at present.
Visit Singapore in Winter
A city of year-round tropical weather, heading to Singapore from December to February you should expect day time temperatures of around 31°Cc/88°F. The later you travel in winter, the less likelihood or rain but being tropical, you never quite know!
You can check out more about the best time to visit Singapore here.
What to do in Singapore
Once you are in Singapore, get set to enjoy all the amazing parks, wildlife experiences and family attractions of Sentosa – including Universal Studios Singapore, SEA Aquarium and Adventure Cove Water Park.
Some of the top must see attractions include: Gardens by the Bay, a trip to the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and set aside a special night to enjoy the Night Safari.
You may find our 3-day itinerary for Singapore helpful to plan out the perfect city break, but if you have longer, check out our Singapore attractions guide.
Where to stay in Singapore
We recommend staying either on Sentosa or near to Clarke Quay to be close to the action.
Our favourites on Sentosa for families include Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, Festive Hotel Singapore and Hard Rock Hotel Singapore.
In town, we love the Holiday Inn Express Singapore as a great budget-friendly option, or for one of our all-time favourite family city hotels, the Shangri-La Singapore is just sensational!
You can see all our Singapore accommodation recommendations here.
Visit Dubai in Winter
Winter is the perfect time to visit the bustling city of Dubai. You may just catch weather warm enough still to jump in the water (psst, always double-check your accommodation has a temperature-controlled pool, just in case!)
Day time temperatures should bring you 25°C/77°F in December, but still clear blue skies are *almost* guaranteed. You can learn more about Dubai’s seasons here.
What to do in Dubai in Winter
There is so much to do, this is one of the ultimate family vacation playgrounds where you’re spoilt for choice on indoor and outdoor activities.
Most visitors start with the obvious such as the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai, exploring the Dubai Mall area. In winter you can expand your travels beyond the city to spend more time in the desert, or take on one of these amazing day trips to see more of the UAE.
The weather may be on the cooler side for enjoying the city’s plentiful water and splash parks, but perfect for heading to the outdoor theme parks at Dubai Parks and Resorts, enjoying the world’s largest flower garden Dubai Miracle Garden and the stunning seasonal display at Dubai Garden Glow.
Evenings are great for strolling outside in the winter. We love the new Al Seef waterfront, connecting you to the historic Al Fahidi Neighbourhood as well as the beautiful beach fronts of La Mer, Kite Beach, The Walk, JBR, Dubai Marina and Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
You can see all our top recommended family attractions in Dubai here.
Where to stay in Dubai
Dubai has almost endless family accommodation choices. We recommend staying in an are such as JBR and the Dubai Marina to enjoy the glorious winter sunshine. Why not try Jumeirah Al Naseem, part of the Madinat Jumeirah complex or the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi is an absolute family winner with it’s new water park.
For more budget-priced accommodation you need to look at areas around “Old Dubai”- Bur Dubai and Deira, over the Dubai Creek such as Savoy Park Hotel Apartments.
You can see all our Dubai accommodation recommendations here.
Visit Cape Town in Winter
Ah glorious Cape Town, we would argue there is almost no city as beautiful as Cape Town on a sunny summers day. From the V&A Waterfront looking back to the stunning Table Mountain backdrop.
Heading beneath the equator will bring with it glorious summer days to enjoy away from the bleak northern winters – and you can’t get much further south from Europe than heading in a direct line to Cape Town!
Daytime temperatures are around 27 to 29°C/ 80-85°F, and expect water temperatures around 22°C/70°F. The Atlantic Ocean has a serious nip to it no matter what time of year but January is the best time to enjoy the beautiful beach suburbs such as Clifton and Camps Bay.
You can read more about the best time to visit Cape Town here.
What to do in Cape Town
An outdoor playground, this city is one of the best for your nature lovers wanting some fresh air. Hike around Table Mountain and Signal Hill, or (slightly!) less strenuous visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Take a boat out to historic Robben Island or simply enjoy a day sailing from the harbour.
Cape Town is a great place to grab a car for the day and take in the sights of the Cape Peninsular. The penguins at Boulders Beach are probably your biggest drawcard, but also take your self all the way to the Cape of Good Hope. Kids will love the Cape Point Funicular, you will truly feel like you are at the end of the world!
You can see our Cape Town family attractions guide here.
Where to stay in Cape Town
Do note that as it’s the most popular time of year, prices can jump up on accommodation and especially between Christmas to New Year expect to pay top dollar and options will be limited – book early!
You can’t beat the convenience of staying at the V&A Waterfront, The Table Bay Hotel for a luxurious touch or Radisson Red for a more mid-range option.
For a totally luxurious retreat, we love the Belmond Mount Nelson.
You can see all our Cape Town accommodation recommendations here.
Visiting Melbourne in Winter
Melbourne is another city that likes to display its full glory from about January through to March – summer Downunder.
Although it is the city of four seasons in one day! You can expect day time tops of around 26°/79°F – BUT don’t be surprised if there are some scorchers thrown in there too, upwards of 40°C/104°F. Followed by a rainstorm!!
We love our Melbourne though (and ssshhh don’t tell Sydney, but we think it’s nicer Aussie city to visit in the peak of summer, less crowded!!)
You can read about the best times to visit Melbourne here.
What to do in Melbourne
A hot sunny day will bring locals to the beaches around Port Phillip Bay in absolute droves, but there are plenty of other ways to keep your cool and places worthy of exploring in this city built for both indoor and outdoor fun.
We love exploring the city’s vast Royal Botanical Gardens, as well as the adjacent National Gallery of Victoria which always runs incredible family programs. The Melbourne Zoo is always a winner, and you will never be short of an amazing adventure playground around the city.
Build in some day trips to the Yarra Valley, Healesville Sanctuary, Puffing Billy and the picture-perfect Mornington Peninsular. If time permits, head west and drive the famous Great Ocean Road for a true touch of Australiana.
It is imperative to be sun smart in Melbourne at this time of year. The sun’s UV rays (at any time of year) are far stronger in southern Australia than elsewhere in the world. You can see a packing list here for suggested sun protection items.
If you are sticking around until the end of January you will get to catch the action and excitement around town of the Australian Tennis Open.
You can see our full guide to things to do in Melbourne here.
Where to stay in Melbourne
If you’re only spending a short time in Melbourne before heading on further around the country, we recommend basing yourself as close as possible to the CBD. Here you will be close to the major sites and benefit from the free inner-city tram.
With kids, we recommend a serviced apartment such as Melbourne Short Stay Apartments on Lonsdale works really well. A hidden gem for families is the Ovolo Laneways, or for a great family package deal check out Holiday Inn on Flinders.
A budget choice especially over the summer months when Universities are out is to stay at Mel Uni Village, superb little apartments walking distance to the city.
For longer stays in Melbourne, an AirBnB in a beachside suburb would make sense in Summer. Look at areas such as Brighton or Elwood.
You can see all our Melbourne accommodation recommendations here.
Visiting Bangkok in Winter
Another city that benefits from being close to the equator, so January brings with it warmer climates.
November through until about April is considered dry season in Bangkok so you should find less humidity and rain showers, making it perfect city exploration weather. January temperatures expect an average of around 32°C/90°F.
You can read more about the best time to visit Bangkok here.
What to do in Bangkok
This is a great city for those who love bustle and adventure in their city break, ideal for foodies, culture-lovers and shoppers.
Getting into one of the markets is a must, and don’t miss the most important cultural sites. Most will start at the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple, and we’d also add to this a day trip to Ayutthaya.
A wonderful way to get the kids involved in a Bangkok adventure is to take a Thai Cooking Class, followed by a boat through the floating markets, a truly unique family experience!
You can read more fun family things to do with kids in Bangkok here.
Where to stay in Bangkok
There is a real range of accommodation choices in Bangkok from luxurious through to backpackers. There’s no one city centre, so it depends if you prefer the modern side of Bangkok such as Sukhumvit for it’s convenience to transport, malls and restaurants or perhaps one of the luxurious resorts that line the river.
For a luxury inner-city resort, the Peninsula Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River is one of a kind. Perhaps more budget=friendly and central the Courtyard by Marriott Bangkok, or a great budget choice Ibis Styles Khaosan Viengtai close to the action of Bangkok’s famous Khaosan Road.
You can see all our Bangkok accommodation recommendations here.
Do you have a great city break destination for beating those winter blues? Pop over to our City Travel with Kids Facebook and join the conversation.
And don’t worry if you think you will miss out on important seasonal celebrations travelling in the winter – we have got you covered on the City Travel With Kids Christmas special episode with wintery markets through to Middle East brunches and tropical escapes that all make perfect winter destinations.
We also have a great guide here to cities that like to shine at their best through the winter months.
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