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Now is the perfect time for a spring getaway, whether you choose to holiday at home in the UK or perhaps to venture further afield. Britain can't promise endless days of sunshine, but providing you make sure to pack a variety of clothing to cope with all eventualities - including the occasional downpour - there are plenty of bargains to be had. It may still be a little chilly for a coastal break, but with so many stately homes, theme parks and great days out to be had, it's possible to create your own perfect itinerary for a relaxing break.

If sunshine is your main goal, then at this time of year you don't have to travel long-haul to get yourself a hefty dose of spring sunshine. Many airlines have already moved on to their summer timetables, giving access to a wide range of destinations, and with school-age children back at their desks for the summer term there are plenty of great bargains to be had.

The Canary Islands are only a short flight away from the UK but promise visitors sun, sea and sand in abundance. The average temperature at this time of year is a delightfully warm 20 degrees Celsius, with an average sea temperature of around 18 degrees making it perfect weather for a dip. Time your holiday for the very end of May and you can enjoy the festivities involved in Día de las Canarias (Canary Islands' Day), when the locals celebrate their history and culture.

It's a little cooler in the south of France, but only by a couple of degrees, making it ideal weather for cycling or walking through some of the country's most spectacular scenery. Explore some of the famous walled cities, or venture down to the south coast and experience the high life of the French Riviera without the crowds.

Spain is a perennial favourite, but don't feel that you have to head for the traditional coastal resorts. There are some fantastic places to stay further inland, allowing you to soak up some of the fabled Spanish hospitality - not to mention the great food - and see another side to this country.

Don't forget the Greek islands either. The Greek economy may have had its ups and downs recently, but that hasn't affected the tourist industry at all. If anything, the locals are even more welcoming than usual, as they are keen to attract affluent travellers who are itching to spend their holiday money on Greek food, drink and souvenirs.

Thanks to favourable prices at this time of year, May is a great time to book a short break to a holiday destination to allow you to get a feel for a place before committing to a longer stay later on in the year.

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