Escape The Heat: Places You Could Go That Are Colder Than Here Right Now

By Phil Clarke, Editor of The Handbook website Phil Clarke |
18th July 2018

With the mercury hitting the late 20s and early 30s consistently perhaps, and I never thought I’d say this, just perhaps we should be thinking of taking a holiday somewhere a little cooler than England? In the days of The Raj the Brits would up-sticks and move to the mountains for the summer, maybe we should be taking a leaf out of their book… (I mean, just that particular leaf, let’s not go on another colonisation spree).

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Yes You Ghengis Khan

In Mongolia right now it’s around 20 degrees, so admittedly not a huge difference, but if it’s cold you’re after then fear not, we’re looking at temperatures approaching zero within the next month or so as it falls off a cliff in autumn.

The country is the world’s least sparsely inhabited, with stunning mountainous countryside and plenty of history as the birthplace of Ghengis Khan.

Getting there is pretty much a doddle, I’d fly via Hong Kong and spend a day sweltering there first, but why spend eight hours flying when you could spend 20 days driving? The Mongol Rally has literally just departed and the organised whacky race is famously great fun.

Website: www.theadventurists.com

Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland

Ice Ice Baby

Right now it’s a scorching 11 degrees in Iceland’s capital Reykjavík. The island is home to glaciers and more snow than you could shake a yeti at, so the perfect place to dash to escape the UK heatwave.

There’s plenty to do, I’d recommend the Blue Lagoon for starters, go whale watching or visit the West Fjords.

Icelandair run regular flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick, but why spend 4 hours flying when you could spend a couple days? Take a ferry from Denmark all the way to their former colony, Icleand, with Smyril Line ferries.

Website: www.smyrilline.com

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

Come And Zea

It’s four degrees over in New Zealand right now, though to be fair it is winter (coz Southern hemisphere). In their summer (our winter, it’s confusing, right?) it gets to a heady 15. So no sweaty tube journeys.

But what you save sweating on the underground you can put into sweating on some adventure sports, it’s what Queenstown is known for and draws tourists from around the world every year. Right now enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Alps.

Travelling to New Zealand is a slog, set aside a couple days and a grim flight, or try something a little different. Why not take a container ship? Freighter Travel offer bespoke packages that allow you to travel in cabins on cargo ships.

Website: www.freightertravel.co.nz

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska

Weigh Anchor At Anchorage

Anchorage is the capital of the American state of Alaska, and is a balmy 12 degrees. The sleepy city climbs no higher than around 15 in summer before plummeting to up to minus ten in winter. Making it an ideal bolthole.

Things to do include snowmobiling, a la James Bond, hiking up the US’s highest mountain, Mount McKinley, or finding out more about native cultures at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

Travelling to Alaska is pretty simple, as a US state, albeit a far-flung one, it’s well connected to the rest of the states. But very technically you could access Alaska itself from Russia. The Bering Straight, that separates the two nations, is only 50 miles at its narrowest and famously freezes over. In 2012 a Korean team led crossed the straits on foot in six days.

Actual Antarctica

Actual Antarctica

P'p'p'p'p'pick Up A Penguin

Go big or go home, right? In which case escape the heat in London by heading to Antartctica. Right now you’d be enjoying temperatures of around minus 60 degrees. At certain times of year, however, you can enjoy slightly more agreeable temps at around the minus ten to minus thirty mark, but that’s as good as it’s gonna get.

Bizarrely, there’s plenty to do on the continent. Whale watching is recommended, an activity that’s polar opposite (geddit?) to the whaling stations that litter the coasts from times when whales were more likely to be killed by whalers. Deception Island, a former Norwegian/Chilean whaling station even has a hot spring hot tub. The Russians have even built an orthodox church, Trinity Church, on King George Island. Worshippers are, presumably, few and far between.

Travel to Antartica is surprisingly easy, with cruise firms offering once-in-a-lifetime trips to the magical continent.

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