Life's a beach

Winter getting you down? Book a break on one of these beaches and we bet you’ll feel better instantly...

Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is blessed with beaches. Indulge in a long, leisurely coffee at one of the many cafes at Camps Bay where you can ogle the effortlessly gorgeous, long limbed locals basking in the sunshine. (You won’t see many soaking up the surf as the waters are cold enough to keep even the keenest of swimmers out of the ocean). Another option is to cruise along to Clifton, a stretch of stunning white sand that is divided into four exclusive beaches. But choose your beach carefully; one and two are for the bodies beautiful, while three has a reputation for being a gay haunt and four is for families.

Phuket,Thailand
When it comes to Persil-white beaches, you can’t beat those in Phuket. Your archetypal tropical paradise, Phuket attracts some 5.3 million farang (foreigners) annually who love to laze on the talcum-powder soft beaches and float in the azure Andaman sea. And Ian Flemming fans – or anyone in the grip of James Bond fever – will want to make a memorable day trip to Phangna Bay, which served as a setting for the 1974 Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun. Alternatively potter around Phuket’s old town. Rich in history and heritage, the old town serves as a reminder that Phuket isn’t purely beaches and bars.

Bermuda
Sun seekers can toast themselves on Bermuda’s world famous beaches where the water is a sparkling royal blue, the sand a perfect pale pink and improbably good looking people (Catherine Zeta Jones has a house here) lounge by the sea. Meanwhile golfers will be in eighteen hole heaven: the British Overseas Territory has more golf courses per square mile than any country in the world – who knew? Or head to Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital, where you can enjoy a ride in a horse drawn carriage before filling up on Wahoo game fish and sweet potato pudding.  Little wonder then that Mark Twain once famously remarked that Bermuda is “the perfect country for a jaded man to loaf in.”

Abu Dhabi, UAE
In search of some sun (and given the current arctic conditions, who isn’t?). We have the answer: Abu Dhabi. This sun kissed city is mere 90 minutes down the Sheikz Zayed Road from footballers’ favourite, Dubai, but is a million miles away in character from its showy sibling. For while the more conservative Islamic city may boast many of the same draws as Dubai (read sunshine, a sparkling sea and sand whiter than a dentist’s chair), crucially the UAEcapital has substance as well as style. Acclaimed  architect Frank Gehry has designed the  world’s largest Guggenheim gallery – and the only one in the Arab world – which is due to open its doors in 2017.

Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi is the lynch pin of Malaysia’s tourism and understandably so. Sure, it isn’t the place for schlepping around historical buildings, museums and galleries, but if all you want to do is fly and flop, look no further than Langkawi. Even the most seasoned of beach goers can’t fail to be enthralled by the island’s unbeatable beaches: take your pick from Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok. While it’s the beaches that unite most residents and visitors, Langkawi isn’t all about sun and white sands. Hop on a cable car for a spectacular ride upto the top of the imposing Gunung Machinchang or hike through the rainforest at Telaga Tujuh.