There really is nowhere quite like Dubai. This former small Gulf trading centre has, over the last 40 years or so, grown into one of the world’s essential travel destinations brimming with architectural wonders, extravagant hotels, superb restaurants, beautiful beaches and so much more. For a glimpse of pre-skyscraper Dubai, head to Dubai Creek where ancient dhows ply the busy waters or the atmospheric souks which hum with activity and bargaining banter.
If contemporary shopping is more your style, options include the vast Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emirates or Dubai Hills Mall where along with the latest trends at over 600 outlets there’s also a cineplex and indoor rollercoasters.
In must-visit Downtown Dubai, see the world-famous Burj Khalifa and whizz up to its observation decks for staggering views, watch water dance at the Dubai Fountains, or at Bluewaters Island ride on the world’s tallest observation wheel, Ain Dubai.
If you fancy a beach base, then Jumeirah has nine miles of coastline, swanky hotels, chic shops, private beach clubs and Wild Wadi Waterpark. Set back from the sand is The Walk, a pedestrianised area of shops, bars and restaurants at Jumeirah Beach Residence. Close by is man-made Dubai Marina, with lots of trendy and upscale eateries.
Other must-sees are Palm Jumeirah, the renowned man-made island resembling a palm tree, along with the spectacular man-made Deira Islands development, comprised of four islands and whose attractions include a waterfront souk. For laidback charm, beachside bliss and family fun aplenty, look no further than La Mer, known for its contemporary design and arty vibe with over 30 shops, cafes and restaurants.
Jebel Ali, which sits in an outlying district, is another top spot for lazy days beside the sea and easy access to the thrilling rides and family fun of Dubai Parks™ and Resorts.
Along with exhilarating watersports and immaculate golf courses there’s wintery fun at Ski Dubai and Dubai Ice Rink, while at the Museum of the Future you can explore next-generation science and innovation. Save time also for a desert adventure of exhilarating dune bashing.
Dubai also spoils with its amazing hotels and resorts that suit all tastes and budgets. Look out for club room upgrades which are fantastic value and highly recommended with access to exclusive lounges serving food and beverages during the day, including alcoholic drinks, snacks, afternoon tea and evening canapés.
GMT +4 hours
Dubai is approximately 7 hours from the UK.
Dubai enjoys virtually guaranteed year-round sunshine. Between December to February temperatures average in the mid-20sºC, rising up into the 30s from March to April and again from October to November. While the scorching temperatures between May-September may be too much for some (usually in excess of 40ºC), it’s one of the few destinations when it’s cheaper to visit during our school summer holidays, whether travelling with children or not.
A Tourism charge is payable locally at all hotels and apartments in Dubai. Details will be advised at the time of booking.
During Ramadan, it is forbidden to eat, drink or smoke in public places (including hotels and those offering all inclusive) between sunrise and sunset; and no live entertainment is permitted. Hotels usually provide a private area where non-Muslims can eat during the day. Alcoholic drinks are not served in hotels (including those offering all inclusive) on dry days and other days stipulated by the government. Alcohol is available in Dubai hotels after sunset. Please ask for more details at time of booking.
The UAE’s latest cultural landmark, Dubai Frame, is an iconic structure that ‘frames’ impressive views of Old and New Dubai, while serving as a metaphorical bridge connecting the Emirate’s rich past and amazing present.
See Dubai from a new angle! On level 52 of the iconic Palm Tower, enjoy stunning 360 degree views nearly 800 feet above the world-famous Palm Jumeirah. Spot iconic landmarks and hidden gems of this beautiful city.
This is no ordinary museum, it is a gateway to a future world combining elements of exhibition, immersive theatre and themed attraction, with each floor like a film set from a future that you can inhabit, explore and interact with.
Thrills and spills aplenty await you at Aquaventure Waterpark with more than 30 slides and attractions for all ages to dive into.
A must-do when in Dubai! Along with a 4x4 drive over the soaring dunes, you’ll have the chance to go sandboarding, meet camels, get henna hand-painting and feast on a delicious BBQ dinner beneath the starry desert sky.
Experience an overnight glamping stay in the heart of the pristine dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Includes a dune drive, watching the sunset with sundowners, a BBQ dinner served under the stars, unlimited soft drinks, accommodation in a deluxe tent and breakfast.