When the rain and wind of December in the UK were at full force we decided to seek a little sunshine and opted for our favourite place, Madeira. We’ve been to this verdant Atlantic island in all seasons and it has never failed to deliver warm weather for most of the time. Our base for the fortnight was the beautiful Porto Mare hotel in the Lido area of Funchal. It’s actually one of 3 accommodation options on the same site the other 2 being the Eden Mar hotel and The Residence which is comprised of apartments. We made good use of the 2 indoor pools, the 2 outdoor pools were just a bit too chilly for us. The extensive gardens are beautifully tended and rich with worldwide plants that thrive in the mild climate. The room was huge with comfortable beds, a seating area and good sized balcony. Breakfast in the restaurant was varied and tasty and included Buck’s Fizz if you wanted it. The hotel is situated on the sloping cliff top with great views of the sea. There are plenty of small restaurants and shops locally and a regular bus service to the centre of Funchal for €2 each way. In December you can stroll the streets in t shirt and shorts surrounded by amazing Christmas lights and little market stalls.