The beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia is the ideal place to escape the cold, gloom and darkness of a British winter.
St Lucia has a rich history, fought over 14 times by the British and the French. We won but French influence lives on with place names like Gros Islet and Vieux Fort.
The volcanic island has white sandy beaches and coconut palms but also a rugged mountainous interior so there's more to do than just lie on a sun lounger.
You can whizz through rainforest treetops on a zipline, or whiff the sulphur springs at Soufriere, billed as "the world's only drive-in volcano".
Its sulphur pools are said to make you ten years younger, though it looks more like half an hour just sitting in grey mud.
Or take a boat ride in the blue, beautiful Caribbean. You can perfect your Johnny Depp impression on a Jolly Roger pirate vessel or a more up-to-date catamaran.
We chose the second option but turned pirates ourselves when we ran out of beer and had to board a rival ship for more supplies.
Another adventure was a trip to Gros Islet for the Friday night "jump-up", a street party where locals and tourists mix.
We'd been warned it wasn't safe but that was not the case - be sensible and you'll have a cracking time, gawking at the young Rastas walking arm-in-arm with white, middle-aged sugar mummies.
There are also four-by-four trips and hikes aplenty if that's your bag. But for me there is nothing to beat lying on a lounger, taking the odd dip in the pool and downing rum-based cocktails.
We tried this strenuous regime for a week at the Coconut Bay Resort and Spa in Vieux Fort, five minutes' drive from the airport.
The hotel is split, with a quieter wing for couples that features a spa and a pool exclusively for the grown-ups. On the other side is a wing for families.
There's a kids' club with basketball, tennis courts, water slides and a lazy river ride.
In between the two sides is a beachside grill serving delicious burgers and a swim-up bar, something you must indulge in at least once.
I did it twice - once for two days, once for three!
The entertainment staff offered pool volleyball, table tennis and even bingo, keeping just the right side of being hassling Redcoats.
Like many Caribbean resorts, it's on an all-inclusive basis so you rely on them to come up trumps on the food and drinks front.
Happily, Coconut Bay delivered.
The buffet was decent and the à la carte Asian and Italian restaurants had their fans too.
An all-in hotel often skimps on the drink but I'm happy to report that was not the case here.
But attempts at bravado, such as ordering the bar staff to mix you cocktails "like a St Lucian would drink", are a big mistake!
St Lucia is a destination where, happily, the tourists haven't taken over. Fewer flights there from the US meant we met more Canadians than Yanks - not a bad thing.
Just one tip - ask Canadians what part of the US they come from.
They love that.
One Canuck there was an armwrestling world champ. We knew because it was written across his enormous biceps.
And no, we didn't ask him which state he was from!
Seven nights, all-inclusive, at Coconut Bay Resort & Spa cost from £750 per person with Tropical Sky, departing June 17. Price includes flights from London Gatwick with Excel (from £899 with Virgin), staying in a deluxe garden double, with resort transfers, taxes and surcharges.
Tropical Sky (www.tropicalsky.co.uk
/0870 907 9600), a web-based travel company, offers excellent value long-haul, late availability holidays. Ideal for those wishing to travel within 12 weeks of booking, the website includes daily offers to many worldwide destinations from city breaks and cruises to beach holidays and honeymoons.