1 Visit the Family Park
You’ll find this green space slap bang in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s 8km stretch of corniche. If the kids get a bit overheated, thanks to all that running around, let them cool off in the mini water park and palm pool. Then when they’re done, and you’re all packed away, pick up an ice cream on your way out – the perfect free afternoon for all the gang.
Free. Daily 24 hours. Corniche Road West, Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi.
2 See the flamingos at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
The area is home to wetlands featuring salt flats, mangroves and lagoons, and earlier this year, volunteers planted hundreds of new mangrove saplings there in a bid to create new mangroves. Although more than 60 species of bird and 500 species of flora and fauna can be spotted here, the flamingos are the real stars here.
Free. Open Sat-Thu 7.30am-5.30pm. Ras Al Khor Road, Dubai, www.rasalkhorwildlife.ae (800 900).
3 Work out at Reem Central Park
With the cooler winter weather here, being outside is on the top of everyone’s priority list come the weekend. Not only is it absolutely massive but there’s also loads to do in this cool public park. Located in the heart of Reem Island, the green space features playgrounds, outdoor gyms, restaurants, a beachfront, a fountain with daily light shows, sports courts and a skate park. Forget work and head outside to get fit.
Free. Open daily 24 hours. Reem Island, Abu Dhabi www.reemcentralpark.com.
4 Shop at Ripe Market
We are huge fans of this community market, after all, what’s not to love? There is delicious fresh produce to shop, and the weekend market also showcases work from top artisans, designers, jewellers, artists and creators from across town.
Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 10am-7pm. Dubai Police Academy Park, Umm Suqeim, Dubai & Umm Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi, www.ripeme.com.
5 Gaze at The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai
Head down to the deepest depths of the ocean, without getting wet. Get (not too) up close and personal with some sharp-toothed sharks, sting rays and tiny little sea-dwelling creatures swimming around.
Sun-Wed, 10am-11pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.thedubaiaquarium.com.
6 Have a picnic at Al Barsha Pond Park
Home to countless winter picnics, this (unsurprisingly) pond-side spot is a brilliant spot to unfurl your blanky and kick back for the afternoon. There’s a huge lawn overlooking the pond – which is more lake-sized than pond-sized, really – and once you’re done scoffing your cherry tomatoes and piccalilli you can go and hop on a swan-shaped pedalo and hare your way around the pond-lake. It’s a beautiful spot for a winter’s afternoon spent in the sun.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Al Barsha, Dubai (800 900).
7 Laze on Al Bateen Beach
This spot is popular with both expats and locals, thanks to its family-friendly vibe. The beach is also popular for fishing and swimming.
The waters are very calm and the views from the 800m stretch of sand are equally soothing. And if you are feeling a little active, you can hire kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and get out on the water.There are also a handful of cafés and plenty of parking.
Open daily 8am-sunset. Al Bateen, Khalifa Al Mubarak Street, off Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi.