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Soup up a city break by adding on an adventure beyond the city limits, says Laura French

ith so much focus on just a few short-haul favourites over the past few months, the Middle East might have fallen off the radar a little.

But that’s all about to change as the United Arab Emirates, along with Qatar and Bahrain, have become the first countries in the region to be added to the government’s travel corridor list. Although restrictions on travel from the UK still apply, it’s a good sign that once lockdown is lifted and travel can resume, there’s still time to squeeze in a winter-sun escape. And why stop at a city break? From rock-climbing in the mountains to dune-bashing in the desert, kayaking through the mangroves to flying along the tracks at Ferrari World, there are plenty of ways to extend a city stay.

DUBAI: CITY + DESERT With its soaring skyscrapers, sprawling entertainment complexes and glitzy beaches, Dubai needs little preface – from whizzing to the top of the Burj Khalifa to browsing the souks at Dubai Creek, clients aren’t short of things to do. No visit would be complete without a trip into the desert, however. For those wanting more than just a day trip, Gold Medal

recommends the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, where camel rides and 4x4 dune drives meet fat biking, falconry, archery and a host of other activities to keep all ages entertained.

Book it: Gold Medal offers three nights in a Club Room City View at the Grand Hyatt Dubai and three nights’ half-board in a Superior Room at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa from £959, including flights from Heathrow on September 2, 2021.

ABU DHABI: CITY + FAMILY From the dripping-in-gold Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to the modern, silver-domed Louvre, Abu Dhabi is anything but understated, and there’s a host of sights to explore. But for families wanting to break up the educational visits with adrenaline-fuelled thrills, Premier Holidays suggests pairing a stay in the centre with a few nights on Yas Island. “Kids can meet their favourite characters at Warner Bros

World, plunge down the chutes at Yas Waterworld and experience the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World – then end the day with a wander along the marina for stunning views over the Formula One circuit,” says Nikki Hain, product manager for the Middle East. For an extra hook, Ferrari World

has just added a new zipline and child-friendly Family Zone. Book it: Premier Holidays offers three nights at Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi and two at Yas Island Rotana from £2,699, based on two adults and one child sharing all-inclusive, with flights from Heathrow on May 2, 2021. 19 NOVEMBER 2020 CITY ADD-ONS | MIDDLE EAST

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