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Dubai Unleashed

Dubai Unleashed

Discover Dubai for a perfect winter getaway. From the wonderful to the unexpected, amazing adventures are waiting, just for you. 40 years ago it was just desert and a fishing village. Today, Dubai is a gleaming super-city. From man-made islands to exhilarating water parks, this city in the sun can feel like a dream. But this is no mirage. Dubai truly is the real deal.


Culture & History

There is a commonly held view that Dubai has little to offer by way of heritage or culture. This is a myth. Whilst Dubai has exploded along the beach front, into the Arabian Gulf and out into the desert, Dubai’s origins are, and remain, around the Creek.

Visit the bustling Gold, Spice and Textile souks, taking an abra water taxi from one side of the creek to the other; learn about the importance of pearl diving in Dubai Museum; wander through the peaceful Al Fahidi district and observe the wind towers.

Dubai culture & history

If you want to meet and talk to Emiratis, pay a visit to The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. This visitor center gives you the chance to meet and talk to local people about UAE and Islamic culture and traditions. They also offer visitors the opportunity to try authentic Emirati cuisine in a traditional setting.

If Art appeals, visit the galleries of the Al Fahidi District as well as the Al Quoz district and even within the Dubai International Financial Centre.



Dubai’s food scene is a reason in itself to visit. There are literally thousands of restaurants in Dubai catering to every taste and budget, from authentic Emirati street food costing small change, through to luxury gourmet dining prepared by Michelin starred chefs.

Dubai cuisine

Friday is the first day of the weekend in Dubai, it’s a time when groups of friend come together to enjoy Brunch. At venues throughout the city a vast array of food is laid on along with themed entertainment. Try the Friday Brunch at Spectrum on One at Fairmont Dubai or the more informal offering at Double Decker at Al Murooj Rotana (Brunch not available during Ramadan).

Dubai also has a vibrant nightlife. The range of options is staggering. Enjoy a cool sea breeze at well-known hangouts like Calibar or the Jetty Lounge at One&Only Royal Mirage; watch some sport at the ever popular Barasti; or for a sophisticated ambience try Neos at Address Downtown, or At.mosphere high up the impressive Burj Khalifa.


Relaxation; Spa & Hotels

With over 60,000 hotel rooms and a further 20,000 in planning there is a vast array of accommodation on offer in Dubai. From bed and breakast hotels to half board special offers Virgin Holidays offer packages to suit all tastes and budgets.

Hotels range from vast Family resorts like Atlantis, The Palm and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to small boutique desert retreats like Desert Palm and Al Maha Desert Resort. For those looking for the ultimate in opulence try the iconic Burj Al Arab, or for more affordable luxury try the beach front JA Ocean View Hotel or Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort.


Dubai is home to a wide range of fantastic spas, many of which have unique themes, styles and concept treatments. Spa treatments are equally global with specialists practicing techniques from Bali, Sweden, Turkey, Thailand, China and beyond. Try the magnificent Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray or the Lime Spa at the Desert Palm Resort.


Beaches in Dubai

There are several public beaches in Dubai such as Jumeirah Beach and Al Mamzar Beach Park; most are free or charge only a nominal entrance fee. Many hotels however have their own private beach; Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort has a 500m stretch and Atlantis, The Palm is home to Nasimi Beach.


Whether public or private the beaches are safe, clean, offer plenty of shade and of course access to the waters of Arabian Gulf.

On the private beaches, don’t be surprised to be greeted by a member of staff offering you a refreshing spray or water, fresh fruit, even a helpful clean of the sunglasses.


Family fun in Dubai

From top class hotels to water parks and beaches, Dubai is the ultimate family holiday destination.

With attractions such as the amazing ‘edu-tainment’ centre, KidZania in The Dubai Mall and the indoor snow-dome and ski slope at Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates, there is more than enough fun for all the family. Plus with a wide range of children’s activities and exclusive kids clubs at selected hotels, there’s enough to keep everyone happy without venturing far.

Family in Dubai

All the major resorts offer excellent babysitting services and kids clubs, and parents will be reassured to by the number of trained life guards on duty at the hotel pools and beaches, the family dining options and the general friendliness of the staff.

Aquaventure is the ultimate water adventure destination, with acres of water based attractions, the pinnacle of which is the 30 metre high Ziggurat and the recently opened Tower of Poseidon attraction. Not forgetting Wild Wadi, this water theme park is 12 acres of pure, water based fun with 30 adrenalin-pumping rides.

Shopping malls in Dubai are so much more than shopping malls! First of all, their size and range of stores is breath-taking, but it’s actually what’s beyond the shopping that will appeal to families. Many malls in Dubai are also world class entertainment and dining complexes offering fantastic family attractions in beautiful air-conditioned environments.

Find out more about Dubai for families »


A winter escape for couples

Dubai is renowned for its glitzy, marble-clad shopping malls, old souks, glamorous hotels, fine dining, pristine beaches and so much more. That's why couples come to Dubai time and time again.

Couple in Dubai

There are many top things for couples to do in Dubai, these include:

  • Starlight Express overnight desert safari excursion
  • Lunch at Madinat Jumeirah’s romantic seafood restaurant, PierChic located out in the Arabian Gulf
  • Dinner in the underwater seafood restaurant, Al Mahara at Burj Al Arab
  • Dubai is simply a shopper’s paradise. From the impressive Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall; through to the historic Gold, Spice and Textile souks and the more modern Souk Al Bahar and Souk Madinat; and not forgetting the incredible value at the discounted Dubai Outlet Mall.

And to make Dubai a perfect couple getaway, Virgin Holidays offers world-class hotels for couples in Dubai.

Find out more about Dubai for couples »


Shopping in Dubai

There is little more that needs to be said about Dubai’s shopping that isn’t already known. It is very simply a shopper’s paradise.

Shopping in Dubai

The variety of shopping options is world class. From the impressive Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall; through to the historic Gold, Spice and Textile souks and the more modern Souk Al Bahar and Souk Madinat; and not forgetting the incredible value at the discounted Dubai Outlet Mall Shopping in Dubai is not only great value, but it is a pleasure.


Outdoor Adventure in Dubai

Whatever your chosen sport, and whether you prefer to watch or participate, Dubai doesn’t disappoint.

Golf: Dubai is home to 11 outstanding golf courses and two of the European Tour’s most prestigious tournaments making it one of the world’s best golf destinations. With year round sunshine holiday makers can enjoy great conditions in any season.

Desert Safaris: Take a trip in to the desert in a 4x4 with a trained driver for dune bashing, sand boarding, falconry and more. End the experience with a desert BBQ.

Sand boarding

Watersports: Parasailing, windsufing, kayaking and power boating are all available at a number of beaches in Dubai.

Hotel resorts like the JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel offer first class facilities in golf, horse riding, archery, tennis, shooting and more.


Events & Entertainment

Dubai has a growing and burgeoning events calendar and regularly plays host to the world’s top performing musicians, sports people and artists. Take a look below at some of the enticing events:

January - Dubai Shopping Festival

February - Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships or Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival or Dubai Desert Classic

March - Dubai World Cup or Emirates Airline Festival of Literature or Dubai International Boat Show or Taste of Dubai or Art Dubai

3 August - 6 September - Dubai Summer Surprises

November - Dubai Airshow or Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens 29th November

December - Dubai International Film Festival

Fountains in Dubai

The Sandance music festival at Atlantis, The Palm brings you top artists, bands and DJ’s from around the world. This amazing beach party has featured artists such as Faithless, The Killers, Florence & The Machine, Ellie Goulding and many more.


Affordable Dubai


Dubai may have the reputation of being one of the most luxurious destinations and the perception of being expensive but it is fast gaining a new reputation for affordable holidays. Travellers to Dubai can now find plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy Dubai’s glamour and excitement without paying the earth. The sun, sand, sea and fabulous skylines are free to all and inexpensive places to visit such as the Dubai Museum and taking an abra tour to name just a few are fast allowing Dubai to become a purse-friendly destination.

Find out more about Affordable Dubai »

Tagged in:

  • Middle East
  • Family
  • City and shopping breaks
  • Spa
  • Dubai, Beaches and Beyond
  • Favourites
  • Luxury
  • Beach
  • Travel tastes
  • Travel tips
  • Shopping
  • Off the beaten track
13 Jun 2016 | Virgin Holidays


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Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

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Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.

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With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates

Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected by email. 

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

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If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646 or chat to us on SMS/Whatspp via Manage my booking.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

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Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans

We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned

If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

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To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?

You can contact our team by emailing to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

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