Summer of 2021starts here! Find a holiday to look forward to with our blockbuster guide


You could be forgiven for singing along to Cliff Richard’s 1963 hit this week with its famous lyrics: ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday.’

The future of travel is still uncertain and there are bound to be complications as the vaccine is rolled out, but confidence abounds when it comes to booking holidays for next summer.

Tour operators and travel agents have had a torrid year but all agree that this week has been a turning point. Here is our guide to where to go in 2021, with enticing offers to escape to the sun.

SHORT-HAUL: SPAIN

Fly and flop: There are bargains to be had on seven-night holidays to Majorca (pictured) and Lanzarote in July 2021

Britain’s most popular holiday destination by far, with 18.1 million British visits in 2019, is raring to go next year.

Make it Majorca

Right by the sands of Son Matias and Palmanova beaches in South West Majorca the four-star Globales Santa Lucia hotel is perfect for a bucket and spade break.

Details: Seven nights’ half board from £741 pp in July with flights from Gatwick (tui.co.uk).

Lovely Lanzarote

For a bargain between July 28 and August 23, the three-star Oceano hotel in Costa Teguise on the east coast is close to the beach with watersports and hiking nearby.

Details: Seven nights from £499pp self-catering with London flights, book by December 16 (ba.com).

FRANCE

Go hiking and biking in the mountains for a healthy holiday while staying at Club Med La Rosiere in the shadow of Mont Blanc

Go hiking and biking in the mountains for a healthy holiday while staying at Club Med La Rosiere in the shadow of Mont Blanc

Number two on our list of favourite places to go, France attracts more than ten million British visitors annually — just a short hop across the Channel for self-drive breaks, or book a package.

Alpine adventure

Go hiking and biking in the mountains for a healthy holiday while staying at Club Med La Rosiere in the shadow of Mont Blanc.

Details: Seven nights for a family of four in July with Luton-Geneva flights from £3,876 (clubmed.co.uk).

Disney dream

Indulge in theme park rides galore and stay in a world of magic and illusions when staying at the Magic Circus Paris, which is just a ten-minute free shuttle ride from Disneyland Paris.

Details: Seven nights from £461 pp in June with Manchester flights (easyjet.com).

ITALY

Stay in a smart, two-bedroom apartment at La Scibina in the seaside resort of Marina di Ragusa in southern Sicily for a family holiday with pools, kids’ play areas and a nearby beach

Stay in a smart, two-bedroom apartment at La Scibina in the seaside resort of Marina di Ragusa in southern Sicily for a family holiday with pools, kids’ play areas and a nearby beach

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID TESTS

  • You cannot go through the NHS to get a ‘fit to fly’ Covid certificate.
  • Tests must be bought and cost from around £100 to more than £200.
  • In almost all countries you need a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test. These are more expensive than antigen or LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) tests.
  • Check the requirements of the country you are visiting. Some request tests up to four days before but most are 72 hours: see ‘entry requirements’ at gov.uk and cross-check with the country’s official tourist website.
  • Boots (boots.com/covid-19-testing) and Superdrug in conjunction with Melio Health (meliohealth.co.uk/products) offer tests, which can be booked online.
  • Boots tests cost £120, with results promised within 48 hours. Superdrug tests cost £149, with results in two to three working days. 
  • Private clinics must be accredited by the UK Accreditation Service.
  • Tests take about 15 minutes. Make sure that a ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate is included in the price.
  • A few destinations such as Hong Kong accept a LAMP test, and some areas such as Italy will accept an antigen test.
  • The consumers’ group Which? (which.co.uk) has a useful ‘Where can I get a COVID-19 PCR or antigen private test to go on holiday?’ page.

 

Some hotels have cut rates to lure back tourists next summer so this could be an extra-hot summer destination.

Sunny Sardinia

Enjoy a family getaway in style at the five-star Forte Village Sardinia with its spa and cocktail bars, plus great children’s facilities including Barbie packages and an aqua park.

Details: Seven nights’ half board from £2,739 for two adults and one child including flights; £895 off (inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk).

Sizzling Sicily

Stay in a smart, two-bedroom apartment at La Scibina in the seaside resort of Marina di Ragusa in southern Sicily for a family holiday with pools, kids’ play areas and a nearby beach.

Details: Seven nights from £5,002 for a family of four with flights and car hire (sunvil.co.uk).

GREECE

The current requirement to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of arrival and when you get there is unlikely to dampen too much enthusiasm for Greece, which now attracts three million Britons in a (normal) year.

Kefalonia calls

The splendid curve of sand at Emplisi Beach and charming harbour of Fiscardo are close by when staying at the Fiscardo Panorama apartments, which come with a pool in a lush garden.

Details: Seven nights’ self-catering from £918 pp, including Gatwick flights and transfers in August (sunvil.co.uk).

A bargain in Zante

Soak up the sun by your pool tucked away on a peaceful hillside, 1,600ft above the beach at the basic but comfortable three-star Zante Star Apartments in Tsilivi on the Ionian island.

Details: Seven nights’ self catering from £475 including Gatwick flights in July (olympicholidays.com).

PORTUGAL

With great value — anyone for a 72p glass of wine? — it’s little surprise Portugal has grown in popularity with 2.1 million annual UK visitors in 2019 up from 1.1 million in 2010.

All-go Algarve

Stay at the five-star Grand Muthu Forte Da Oura hotel in Albufeira — close to the beach — and enjoy walks along the coastline and the lively centre of the resort with all its bars and restaurants.

Details: Seven nights’ self-catering for a family of four with Bristol-Faro flights from £1,596 in August (travelrepublic.co.uk).

Rural retreat

Enjoy the remote hillside setting above the River Mira in the region of Alentejo while staying in style at the Herdade do Freixial apartments, with infinity pools and beautiful gardens.

Details: From £1,152 pp B&B based on four sharing in August with Gatwick flights and car hire (sunvil.co.uk).

CROATIA

Hole up in the five-star Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, which lives up to its name with plush rooms, infinity pools, spa and a splendid view of the old town of Rovinj (above)

Hole up in the five-star Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, which lives up to its name with plush rooms, infinity pools, spa and a splendid view of the old town of Rovinj (above)

HERE’S YOUR CHECKLIST 

  • It is best to book a package holiday with a company which has an ATOL licence (Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing) and which is a member of ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents).
  • If your trip is a package holiday, you will be covered in the event that the tour operator cancels your holiday — and will be legally due a refund within 14 days.
  • If the company goes bust, the government-backed ATOL fund operated by the Civil Aviation Authority will offer protection.
  • Buy insurance as you book your holiday: this will cover you if you fall ill or are called to jury service. Most policies do not cover Covid-related cancellations.
  • Book with your credit card. If there is a problem and the holiday is not provided you may get help from your card issuer under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
  • Before booking, check what your tour operator’s policy is in the event of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office putting your destination on a no-travel list: the more flexible, the better.
  • For further information, go to which.co.uk

 

Tests currently must be taken 48 hours before travel. However, like most places, Croatia is keen to get tourism running normally as soon as possible.

Island getaway

The peaceful island of Kalamota makes a perfect escape, staying at the only hotel the four-star Tui Blue Kalamota Island. It’s a 25-minute boat ride to the ancient city of Dubrovnik.

Details: Seven nights from £1,333 pp all-inclusive from Gatwick in August (tui.co.uk).

Istrian luxe

Hole up in the five-star Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, which lives up to its name with plush rooms, infinity pools, spa and a splendid view of the old town of Rovinj.

Details: Seven nights B&B from £1,459 pp with flights and transfers, saving £303 pp (prestigeholidays.co.uk).

MID-HAUL

TURKEY

The pound was 6.5 lira in 2019, now it’s above ten lira, making Turkey a top choice for a good-value break.

Villa thriller

Get away from it all at Orka Platinum Villa which has its own pool, is near Fethiye and the beaches of Olu Deniz in South West Turkey — one of a selection from Tui.

Details: Seven nights from £588 pp based on four sharing, flying from Manchester in June (tui.co.uk). For villas in Europe and beyond see cvvillas.com, jamesvillas.co.uk, oliverstravels.com and thevillaagency.co.uk.

Go check Gocek

Laze by the infinity pool, indulge in a spa treatment and try one of the many marina-side seafood restaurants while staying at the chic D-Resort Göcek.

Details: Seven nights’ B&B from £1,461 pp in June with Gatwick-Dalaman flights (kuoni.co.uk).

CYPRUS

Quick to open the borders to British tourists with negative test results — and Cyprus has some excellent deals

Sports galore

Surrounded by palm and olive trees and overlooking the placid waters of Pissouri Bay, Columbia Bay Beach Resort suits active families with its amenities including golf, tennis, watersports, children’s clubs and several pools.

Details: Seven nights’ B&B from £925 pp with flights and transfers (elegantresorts.co.uk).

Villa with views

Book Villa Stella Maris on the near the Paphos Mountains and you’ll enjoy great sea views plus your own pool and beach access. Other properties available.

Details: Seven nights from £955 pp, four sharing, with flights and hire car (sunvil.co.uk).

MOROCCO

Sizzling: Get two free nights when staying for a week at the chic Riad Kniza with its arabesque decorations and courtyard pool in the heart of the medina

Sizzling: Get two free nights when staying for a week at the chic Riad Kniza with its arabesque decorations and courtyard pool in the heart of the medina

British visitors with a Covid test were first welcomed in Morocco in July. Great value to be had.

Marrakech express

Get two free nights when staying for a week at the chic Riad Kniza with its arabesque decorations and courtyard pool in the heart of the medina.

Details: Seven nights’ B&B from £629 with July flights and transfers; £175 pp off (trailfinders.com).

Water wonderland

Splash about to your heart’s content at the Aqua Mirage club hotel on the edge of Marrakesh, complete with waterpark and pools, tennis courts and spa.

Details: Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £675 pp in June from Manchester (firstchoice.co.uk).

DUBAI

The plush, five-star Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort is offering almost half-price bookings if made before December 16

The plush, five-star Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort is offering almost half-price bookings if made before December 16

If you need heat . . . the average daily high here is 40c+ from June to August, and a minimum 29c.

Desert dream

The One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai is on a private beach overlooking Palm Island Bay. Its style pays homage to Arabian architecture with arches, domes and towers. There’s a first-rate spa.

Details: Five nights’ half board from £1,039 pp in June with BA flights and tickets to Aquaventure Waterpark (bestattravel.co.uk, oneandonlyresorts.com/royal-mirage).

Big savings in June

The plush, five-star Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort is offering almost half-price bookings if made before December 16. Comes with a spa and a private beach.

Details: Seven nights’ from £959 pp half board with Heathrow flights in June (ba.com).

LONG-HAUL

AFRICA

Hit the road on a self-drive tour from Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, for a fortnight’s adventure into the Namib Desert and on to Etosha National Park (above) for elephants, lions and rhinos

Hit the road on a self-drive tour from Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, for a fortnight’s adventure into the Namib Desert and on to Etosha National Park (above) for elephants, lions and rhinos

The continent was shut to tourists for most of 2020 but South Africa’s re-opening last month, announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa, signals a big change.

Sunny South Africa

Take a ‘Classic South Africa’ tour of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Port Elizabeth among other stop-offs and see vineyards, beaches and mountains along the way.

Details: 11 nights from £2,969 pp with flights, accommodation, guided tours and some meals (kuoni.co.uk).

Namibian dunes

Hit the road on a self-drive tour from Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, for a fortnight’s adventure into the Namib Desert and on to Etosha National Park for elephants, lions and rhinos.

Details: From £2,895 per adult and £2,195 per child for 13 nights, car hire, flights, some meals and all breakfasts (familiesworldwide.co.uk).

NORTH AMERICA

Enjoy a classic U.S. road trip around the Sunshine State for three weeks — it’s a fantastic family adventure, dropping by in Miami, the Florida Keys and Orlando — for the theme parks, of course

Enjoy a classic U.S. road trip around the Sunshine State for three weeks — it’s a fantastic family adventure, dropping by in Miami, the Florida Keys and Orlando — for the theme parks, of course

Who knows quite when the U.S. and Canada will reopen their borders, but with vaccines and a new U.S. president hopes are high.

Family Florida

Enjoy a classic U.S. road trip around the Sunshine State for three weeks — it’s a fantastic family adventure, dropping by in Miami, the Florida Keys and Orlando — for the theme parks, of course. 

Details: From £1,294 pp including Heathrow-Orlando flights, accommodation and car hire for two adults and two children in July/August (americaasyoulikeit.com).

Golden days in Canada

Take to the highways of the Yukon, Canada’s least-populated, splendidly remote province, tucked away in the far North West, on a 14-night fly-drive through some of the old gold rush towns.

Details: From £2,499 pp, including Heathrow flights, accommodation and car hire (completenorthamerica.com).

THAILAND

Live in the lap of luxury at the Six Senses Samui with its infinity pools, slick restaurants, spa and views across the Bay of Thailand — and you can enjoy more than a third off the usual price

Live in the lap of luxury at the Six Senses Samui with its infinity pools, slick restaurants, spa and views across the Bay of Thailand — and you can enjoy more than a third off the usual price

At the moment tourists are banned but the green light should be given by the summer.

Khao Lak Merlin magic

Surrounded by rainforest overlooking the Andaman Sea, the four-star Khao Lak Merlin Beach Resort is set in peaceful tropical gardens yet is close to visit bustling local markets.

Details: Seven nights all-inclusive from £1,144 from Gatwick in July (tui.co.uk).

Go Koh Samui

Live in the lap of luxury at the Six Senses Samui with its infinity pools, slick restaurants, spa and views across the Bay of Thailand — and you can enjoy more than a third off the usual price.

Details: Seven nights’ half board from £5,945 per family with two adults and one child with flights and transfers (inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk).

BALI

Relax at the four-star Alila Ubud spa hotel deep in the jungle of the interior for three nights before enjoying the watersports and beach at the five-star Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa — for a pampered summer getaway

Relax at the four-star Alila Ubud spa hotel deep in the jungle of the interior for three nights before enjoying the watersports and beach at the five-star Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa — for a pampered summer getaway

Like Thailand, Indonesia has a tourist ban now but prices are falling ready for when we get back to normal.

Beach and jungle

Relax at the four-star Alila Ubud spa hotel deep in the jungle of the interior for three nights before enjoying the watersports and beach at the five-star Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa — for a pampered summer getaway.

Details: Ten nights from £1,149 pp B&B with flights and transfers; 35 per cent off (trailfinders.com).

Two countries

Combine ten nights in Bali at the beachside, four-star Melia Bali with three nights at the four-star Furama Riverfront in Singapore for a double taste of South-East Asia.

Details: 13 nights’ B&B from £1,329 pp with Heathrow flights; saving £250 pp (travelbag.co.uk).

INDIAN OCEAN

Expect daily highs of 30c while staying at the four-star Paradise Island Resort and Spa in the North Male Atoll, set by a beautiful turquoise lagoon

Expect daily highs of 30c while staying at the four-star Paradise Island Resort and Spa in the North Male Atoll, set by a beautiful turquoise lagoon

If your honeymoon or big anniversary getaway has been put on hold, there are some tempting prices to lure you back to the Maldives (already open to tourists) and Mauritius (likely to be soon).

Maldives heat

Expect daily highs of 30c while staying at the four-star Paradise Island Resort and Spa in the North Male Atoll, set by a beautiful turquoise lagoon.

Details: Seven nights’ half board from £1,315 pp with flights in July (tui.co.uk).

Magnificent Mauritius

Facing a turquoise lagoon with the cliffs of Lion Mountain rising inland, the fun, four-star Preskil Island Resort has a lively bar and restaurant serving spicy local food.

Details: Seven nights from £1,149 half board with private transfers in July (trailfinders.com).

CARIBBEAN

With tennis courts, watersports, a spa and a gym, the four-star St James’s Club Morgan Bay suits sporty types but is set in lovely landscaped gardens in a quiet setting

With tennis courts, watersports, a spa and a gym, the four-star St James’s Club Morgan Bay suits sporty types but is set in lovely landscaped gardens in a quiet setting

Every island has its own set of rules, with St Lucia, Antigua and Barbados among the frontrunners to open to holidaymakers who have negative Covid test results.

Luscious St Lucia

With tennis courts, watersports, a spa and a gym, the four-star St James’s Club Morgan Bay suits sporty types but is set in lovely landscaped gardens in a quiet setting.

Details: Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £1,399 pp, including July flights and transfers (trailfinders.com).

Barbados beach

Chill out at the elegant Sea Breeze Beach House Hotel, facing a white sand beach.

Details: Seven nights from £1,333 pp all-inclusive from Heathrow in July (bestattravel.co.uk).

Awesome Antigua

In a lush tropical garden facing the beach at Dickenson Bay, the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa enjoys one the island’s finest locations with watersports, pools and massage treatments galore.

Details: Seven nights all-inclusive from £1,975pp in June with flights (dialaflight.com).

MONGOLIA

Stay in yurt-like tents and go on trips to spot Asiatic ibex, Mongolian gazelles, polecats and — if you are lucky — snow leopards

Stay in yurt-like tents and go on trips to spot Asiatic ibex, Mongolian gazelles, polecats and — if you are lucky — snow leopards

And if you are feeling adventurous…

Snow leopards

Stay in yurt-like tents and go on trips to spot Asiatic ibex, Mongolian gazelles, polecats and — if you are lucky — snow leopards.

Details: 11 nights with flights and most meals from £6,995 pp (wildlifeworldwide.com).

 … and now for the UK

Getting to know our own country has been one of the themes of this year, while travel overseas has been restricted. So here are some brilliant UK breaks to take in 2021…

Head for the Broads

In the tiny hamlet of Mautby, two miles from the beaches and waterways of the Norfolk Broads, are the eight holiday cottages of Lower Wood Farm. With a heated pool and a recently opened play area, they’re perfect for families.

Details: Three nights in Pipkin Cottage, which sleeps four, cost from £567 in July or August 2021 (premiercottages.co.uk).

Coastal classic

Tregoose Farmhouse, just outside Porthleven in Cornwall (above), sleeps 12 and is ideal for a multi-generational break

Tregoose Farmhouse, just outside Porthleven in Cornwall (above), sleeps 12 and is ideal for a multi-generational break

St Ives, Port Isaac, St Mawes — everyone’s got their favourite Cornish seaside village. But the best of the lot might just be Porthleven. Fishing boats bob in the harbour, waves crash into the sea walls and there are plenty of lovely cafes and restaurants.

Details: Ideal for a multi-generational break, Tregoose Farmhouse, just outside Porthleven, sleeps 12. Seven nights cost from £1,430 (porthlevenholidaycottages.co.uk).

Trip back in time

A trip to one of the UK’s historic cities will likely be top of the list for many. Lincoln is small and its streets are perfect for meandering. Take in the Sir Christopher Wren-designed library, the castle, or stop off for light refreshment at the pubs and tea rooms of Steep Hill.

Details: Rooms at the Duke William Hotel cost from £100 (dukewilliamlincoln.com).

Go wild in Wales

Stay in a one-bedroom glamping tent at Forest Farm in Pembrokeshire, Wales, which can sleep up to four people

Stay in a one-bedroom glamping tent at Forest Farm in Pembrokeshire, Wales, which can sleep up to four people

Enjoy a Japan-inspired stay on the Pembrokeshire coast in one of Forest Farm’s Onsen Domes (an ‘onsen’ is a Japanese hot spring; the word also describes the bathing facilities and inns situated nearby). Each one-bedroom glamping tent (which can sleep up to four) has a wood-burning stove, barbecue area, indoor shower and outdoor concrete tub.

Details: Three nights cost from £948 in spring or summer 2021 (coldatnight.co.uk).

Explore the Dales

Grand surroundings befit a grand place to stay and, thankfully, the Yorkshire Dales is full of them. Grantley Hall in Ripon makes for a great base to visit Fountains Abbey, tramp the Dales or strike out to the North York Moors National Park or Pennine trails.

Details: Four nights’ B&B are the price of three, from £577 pp including spa and gym, plus one fitness class a day (grantleyhall.co.uk). 

Island dream

There’s something transportive about being on an island, even if it’s just off the British coast. And none is more glorious than the Scilly Isles. In spring, 400 species of sea birds make this archipelago their home, while Tresco Abbey Gardens houses 20,000 plants.

Details: Prestige Holidays offers five-night B&B tours of Tresco and St Mary’s in spring 2021 from £1,499 pp (prestigeholidays.co.uk).

Jurassic jaunt

The Swanage Bay View caravan site makes a good base for exploring Dorset's Jurassic Coast. Pictured is Durdle Door

The Swanage Bay View caravan site makes a good base for exploring Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. Pictured is Durdle Door  

Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is the magnificent location of the Swanage Bay View static caravan site. Explore the nearby ruins of Corfe Castle, road trip through charming villages or spend the day lounging on the beach. A bargain.

Details: Three nights cost from £421 for a family of four in June 2021 (ariaresorts.co.uk).  

Rye not?

The charming seaside town of Rye is just a couple of hours’ drive south of London, near to quirky Hastings and the swathes of beach at Camber Sands.

Details: Three nights at the three-bedroom Winchelsea Cottage cost from £692 in July (cottages.com).

Wonderful Windermere

Wake to views of steep Cumbrian hills and mist blanketing the water while staying by Windermere. Go cycling, swimming, canoeing, fishing and power boating, or just enjoy the trails and scenery.

Details: Doubles at the Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa for June 2021 start at £149 B&B, including dinner (secretescapes.com).

Highland adventure

A walking tour is a great way to explore the majesty of the Cairngorms National Park — the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Pop into a whisky distillery and 13th-century castle along the way.

Details: Six nights half-board with Wilderness Scotland in July or August cost from £1,565 pp (wildernessscotland.com). 

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