The number of Britons who spend Christmas Day abroad could be set to soar this year, according to new research.

More Brits heading abroad for Christmas this year.

More Brits heading abroad for Christmas this year. Image by Scott / CC BY 2.0

Online travel company Opodo has reported a 39% increase in bookings for people who will be overseas between December 21 and 26 compared with the same period last year.

Winter sun appears to be fuelling the exodus, with Spain the most popular destination followed by Italy and Portugal, the firm revealed.

Opodo’s UK managing director, Stephanie Uhlig, told the Press Association: “The festive season is always such a joyful time, and while people enjoy home comforts during this period, we are noticing a trend for more Brits travelling abroad at Christmas.

“The Mediterranean appears to be a popular choice for festive breaks, with the United States the only long-haul choice in the top 10.”

According to travel organisation Abta, an estimated four million Britons left the country during the Christmas and new year period in 2014.

Opodo found that the 10 most popular destinations for Britons this Christmas are:

1. Spain

2. Italy

3. Portugal

4. France

5. Germany

6. Ireland

7. United States

8. Romania

9. Poland

10. Finland

(Press Association)