If you want to explore a great couple of islands in the sun this year you should consider Antigua and Barbuda the Caribbeanâ€™s Leeward Islands as your getaway holiday location. Flights go there direct from Gatwick Airport. Book one of the gatwick airport hotels with parking so you can pack all the holiday bags into the car without worrying about transport and flight time.
Antigua and Barbuda are actually two separate islands separated by about thirty miles of the Caribbean but are politically the same entity. Both islands are probably best known for their fanatical love for cricket and Antigua Sailing week, which is a yachting race series which takes place off the shores of Antigua every year. Of course, they are a lot more than just these two things and for most visitors from Britain. The interest will be the sun, the beaches and the laid back Caribbean Island lifestyle in a region where English is widely spoken and understood.
Both Antigua and Barbuda are popular places for Caribbean cruise ships to dock and stop awhile and itâ€™s always possible you could hop on a short cruise originating from St Johns, the capital of Antigua.
In St Johns itself, carnival is on from July to August, which also coincides with the Caribbean summer. Although the Caribbean can be visited at any time of the year, the winter months are probably ideal â€“ with clearer skies and the humidity down, while the summer months can see brief tropical downpours, hotter, more humid weather and the occasional hurricane â€“ just to spice life up a little
Also in St Johns is the historic Nelson dockyard and plenty of things to buy from the duty free shops in and around the town centre.
Antigua and Barbuda both offer plenty of things to do in and around the water. Sailing, either on a day trip or on a chartered yacht, out of St Johns is a fantastic way of exploring the nearby Leeward Islands â€“ St Kitts and Nevis and little Montserrat to the West. Guadeloupe and Martinique lie to the South with St Lucia a little further still. You could lie on the beach with a cocktail, imagining yourself island hoppingyour way all the way to South America.
If you havenâ€™t time for dreams how about snorkeling in the clear Caribbean or if you have had PADI training you could do some scuba diving. You can also complete dive training on either of the two islands which will allow you to do some more adventurous diving.
For the beach lovers, there are plenty of those â€“ your hotel or resort probably has its own stretch of beach, but if you hire a car or motorbike or jump on a bus you can reach plenty more. Try the Five Islands Peninsula for a start â€“ there are several accessible beaches in that location and most have great restaurants where you can buy and eat local seafood dishes and wash it down with a Caribbean beer or locally made rum, an island favourite.