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June 2009

What To Do In The UK – July

Posted June 30, 2009 by BookingBuddy

_42788621_a416_lastnight With lengthy days and soaring temperatures, July is a great month to be outdoors. There’s loads of events happening all over the country, so whether you decide to stay close to home or explore the great British outdoors, you’re bound to be spoilt for choice.

Jul 2nd - 19th - Manchester International Festival
This biennial festival showcases a wide range of cultural events, many of them for free. Watch as the Royal Exchange gets a bingo hall make-over, have a picnic under an inverted willow tree, or transform you unwanted shoes into an artwork. You’ll also be able to enjoy music from performers as diverse as Kraftwerk, the Beating Wing Orchestra, and De La Soul. There are also family-friendly events such as The Great Indoors, to ensure your kids don’t get too bored.

Jul 7th – 12th – Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
It’s time for your floral fix again as the RHS Flower Show kicks off in the lush surroundings of Hampton Court Palace. The lavish greenery is sure to inspire you to start training up your green thumb. This year’s show is aimed at encouraging people to start growing their own vegetables, and includes gardening demonstrations. Even if you’re certain you’re not the gardening type, a peek at the jaw-dropping displays of the show gardens might just prompt a re-think.

Jul 17th – Sep 12th – BBC Proms, London
One of the most well-known events of the summer, the Proms are a series of music concerts that take place in venues all over London. With its informal atmosphere, a ‘come-as-you-are’ dress code and low ticket prices, the Proms have introducing audiences to a wide range of music for over a century. Kids over five are actively encouraged to experience the Proms, with many family events organised this year.

Sun 26th Jul – Summer Opening of the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace
Here’s your chance to take a peek into the lifestyles of the Royal Family. The State Rooms of Buckingham Palace are open to the public for two months while the Queen holidays in Scotland during the summer.  Visitors are allowed to view 19 State Rooms, which are used for official occasions and state banquets, before exiting into the souvenir shop where you can purchase a momento of your tour.


(Photo: news.bbc.co.uk)

City Breaks in Malta – Malta Hotels

Posted June 25, 2009 by BookingBuddy

20090426034557 Malta may be the ‘Land of Honey’, but there’s a lot more to discover in this tiny archipelago than apiaries. The small size of the country makes it ideal for a short getaway since most areas of interest are relatively close to each other. Its Mediterranean climate also allows for return visits all year round.

Stay
Hotel Juliani – This little boutique hotel, enviably located right beside the harbour in the former fishing village of St. Julians, offers a great base from which to start your explorations. Book an Ambassador suite for a truly luxurious experience, and enjoy the harbour views while relaxing in the Jacuzzi in your bathroom. Prices start at about £100 for a standard room.

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The Blue Grotto – Named for the brilliant blue waters surrounding its caverns and accessible only by boat, the Blue Grotto is a must-visit destination for many. Live out your pirate fantasies as your boat passes under a huge natural rock arch carved out by millions of years of wind and salt spray, before entering the system of caves sparkling with seemingly hidden jewels. The multitude of flashing jewel hues are actually from minerals with the rocks themselves, but that won’t spoil your sense of wonderment as you cruise through the ancient cave system.

Eat
Ta’ Marija – This family-run restaurant in the central town of Mosta serves traditional Maltese dishes featuring fresh, succulent rabbit, lamb and seafood. If you’re unsure of what to have, order from one of their three menus for a taste of Maltese cuisine, or just pick from their extensive hot and cold buffets (only available on Saturday and Sunday). There are also ‘entertainment nights’ – usually on Wednesday and Friday nights – where singing and dancing is served along with your meal.

Check here for flights to Malta

(Photo: propertymalta.com.mt)

City Break In Manchester - Manchester Hotels

Posted June 23, 2009 by BookingBuddy

ManchesterCentralPanorama Head up to Manchester this summer for a weekend break. Whether you’re into footie, food or fashion, there’ll be something suitable in store for you. Or pop into a club and listen to a local band that may be The Next Big Thing – after all, the city has produced more than its fair share of world famous musicians.

Stay
Arora International - This four-star hotel is ideally located in heart of Manchester, providing visitors with a convenient starting point for exploring the city. Besides the usual room sizes, the hotel also offers five Sir Cliff Richard suites (yes! That Cliff Richard!) that are reportedly ‘inspired by his illustrious career’ and decked out with memorabilia from his personal collection. So whether you’re a fan of the crooner or just a fan of kitsch movie posters, you’re sure to have a memorable night in a Cliff Richard-inspired suite. Prices start from arounf £70 for a standard room.

Shop
Affleck's Palace - Sure, you’re could head over to the huge Trafford Centre for swanky labels and high street shops, but where’s the fun in dressing like everyone else? Head towards the Northern Quarter for Affleck’s Palace, an alternative department store of sorts, where you can walk in looking for beads and come out with a new haircut and a tattoo. You’ll also be able to buy original artworks or try on Japanese Lolita costumes, before getting a massage or a piercing (or why not both?).

Eat 
Chaophraya - Consistently voted one of the best Thai restaurants in the city, the Chaophraya offers a genuine taste of Thailand within a relaxed Mancunian location. The restaurant is so dedicated to providing an authentic Thai atmosphere that they even have their own tuk-tuk to shuttle guests to and from the restaurant. Prices are surprisingly affordable, with lunch starting at £6.50 for a plate of Pad Thai Gung – noodles with prawns, eggs, peanuts and vegetables.


Check here for flights to Manchester.


(Photo: the-retirement-show.com)

City Break In Amsterdam - Amsterdam Hotels

Posted June 19, 2009 by BookingBuddy

B amsterdam-parc-vondelpark Head to Amsterdam for a laidback weekend break the next time you need to recharge your batteries. The capital city of the Netherlands abounds with culture, and offers plenty of other attractions besides the infamous Red Light District and cannabis cafes.

Stay

The Dylan - Housed in a 17th-century building that used to be a theatre, The Dylan is all about luxury and opulence. Each of the 41 rooms is individually decorated in sumptuous furnishings and dramatic colours, according to six different themes. For a room with a view, book one of their Loft Rooms, and gaze out across the city while relaxing in a gigantic limestone bathtub. Or if you want to feel like royalty, stay in the one and only Manhattan suite and sleep in the huge four-poster bed under yards of silken bed linens. Prices start at around £280 for a standard single room.

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Vondelpark - Rent a bike or simply walk around the Vondelpark, arguably one of city’s most popular parks. There’s also a skate-rental booth in the park if you prefer to travel on skates. Take in free musical or theatrical performances at the open-air theatre, or simply sit down with a picnic and people-watch. The National Film Museum is located within the park, in a 19th-century pavilion, and screens a wide range of films.

Eat

Blue Pepper - A former Dutch colony, Indonesia still makes its presence felt in Amsterdam in the form of numerous restaurants serving Indonesian cuisine. Blue Pepper serves up traditional West Javanese cuisine with a contemporary twist. Order the classic ‘rijsttafel’ menu for a taste of the classic Indonesian banquet that offers up intriguing flavours. Or simply order a la carte from their three tasting menus for an authentic taste of Indonesia. Main courses start from around £20.

Check here for flights to Amsterdam

(Photo: worldwebtravel.eu)

City Breaks In Bangkok - Bangkok Hotels

Posted June 15, 2009 by BookingBuddy

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Bangkok may be one of the largest, busiest cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun on the cheap. In fact, the bustling Thai capital offers many opportunities for visitors to indulge in big-time fun while on a small budget.

Stay

Imm Fusion Sukhumvit – Located right on the busy tourist stretch of Sukhumvit Road, this hotel is only a short hop from most of the city’s famous shopping centres. Should Bangkok’s non-stop hustle and bustle tire you out, you can always retreat to the hotel’s massage area to recharge your batteries, or why not have a foot massage while soaking in the sun’s rays by the lap pool. All this luxury and convenience can be yours from only £30 per night.

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Chatuchak Weekend Market – If you’re staying in Bangkok during the weekend, flag down a noisy tuk-tuk and treat yourself to a hair-raising ride on the way to Chatuchak Market. Billed as the world’s largest market, you’ll be able to find almost anything you need - and many more things you certainly won’t need - within the maze-like sois (or alleys) of this seemingly endless market.   And remember, the only way to bag a bargain is to haggle, so don’t be shy!
When your voice is hoarse from all the haggling, simply walk into a different soi to find yourself presented with an endless variety of food and beverages. Once you’ve eaten, it’s time to shop again. After all, with 27 sections and over 15 000 stalls in the place, there’s bound to be something for everyone back home.

Eat
Somboon Seafood – No trip to the City of Angels is complete without a taste of their  succulent seafood. And Somboon Seafood is the place to go to. This huge, noisy restaurant may not be known for its atmosphere but it’s certainly highly rated for it’s delicious seafood dishes. Order the house specialty, chili crab curry, then walk over to the large aquariums outside to pick out the rest of your meal – crabs, lobsters, prawns, fish, what will you pick next? Seafood is sold at market prices, but with such an abundance of it, there’s no need to worry about blowing a hole in your pocket.

Click here to search for flights to Bangkok.


(Photo: travel.nytimes.com)

Hand Luggage Restrictions

Posted June 10, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Luggage_sample Alright, so you’ve decided to heed our advice and only take carry-on luggage with you on your next trip. You’re about to start packing your bag, but all those changes to hand luggage restrictions over the last couple of years has left you confused about what you’re allowed to take onboard. What’s the largest bag you’re allowed to carry on, and will that £30 bottle of shampoo be confiscated by security? This week, BookingBuddy is here to help clear up your packing confusion.

Size Of Luggage
The Department of Transport has stated that the maximum size of carry on bags are to be no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (including protruding parts such as wheels or handles). However, some airlines, such as British Airways, only allow smaller bags, so it’s important to find out about each airline’s size restrictions before flying.
Anything larger than that will have to be checked in, unless you’re carrying a musical instrument, in which case you’ll have to check with the airline as you may be required to buy an extra seat for your instrument.

Carrying Liquids
For security purposes, liquids are defined as drinks, cosmetics and toiletries, sprays, pastes, gels, contact lens solutions, lighters and other items of similar consistency.
There are restrictions on the liquids you take onboard, so if you’re intent on bringing that expensive shampoo or shower gel along, make sure you decant it into containers smaller than 100ml. All containers must be smaller than 100ml, as anything larger than that will not be allowed on even if they are only partially full. Those containers must also be packed into a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag no larger than one litre in volume. Many airports now provide free re-sealable sandwich bags that you can pack your liquids into before going through security.
Lighters also need to be packed into the plastic bag and screened, and have to be kept on your person for the duration of the flight.

Other Items Allowed As Hand Luggage
If you need to carry essential medication in containers larger than 100ml as part of your hand luggage, you will need prior approval from your airline and the airport you are departing from, as well as a letter from your doctor. This also applies to any essential medical equipment you may need for your trip.
Other items such as laptops and electrical equipment (such as a hairdryer), as well as walking aids, wheelchairs and prams, are allowed on as hand luggage, but all need to be screened by security.

While this article tries to provide an overview of current hand luggage restrictions, it's recommended that you always check with the Department of Transport for any recent changes before flying.

(Photo: webjet.com.au)

What To Do In The UK - June

Posted June 3, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Wimbledon-01-g  Summer is here, and it’s time to go out and enjoy yourself! This month, there’s plenty of fairs and festivals happening all over the country. It’s time to take a short break and explore the UK!

June 6th – Strawberry Fair, Cambridge

The Strawberry Fair is a free festival taking place in Midsummer Common in the heart of idyllic Cambridge. There will be bands, theatre performances, a parade and craft demonstrations. For those with children, there are also a couple of kid-friendly areas featuring face painting, storytelling and a bouncy castle.

June 13th – Trooping The Colour, London


Also know as The Queen’s Birthday Parade in honour of her ‘official’ birthday, this annual parade features soldiers from the Household Division being inspected by the Queen, then marching past and saluting Her Majesty. The main ceremony can only be viewed by invited guests, but you can always try to grab tickets to the Colonel’s Review, which takes place a week before the actual event.

June 22nd – Jul 5th  - Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, London

Douse a punnet of strawberries in fresh cream, grab a jug of Pimms and lemonade and make your way to the world’s most famous tennis competition. Sure, you could just watch it on the BBC or at the pub, but you’ll probably miss out on rubbing shoulder with the many celebrities and sports stars at Wimbledon. If you do go, remember to slap on the sunblock!

June 24th – 28th – Glastonbury Festival, Somerset

Perhaps the most well-known of all music festivals, Glastonbury (or ‘Glasto’ as it is fondly referred to) is back for another year on Worthy Farm in the little village of Pilton. Tickets usually sell out months in advance, but it may be worth checking on ebay. If you need to give your ears a break from the music, head to the Cinema Tent or the Circus Field to indulge in some visual entertainment. Children are also catered for at the specially set aside Kidz Field, a family-friendly space within the grounds.

(Photo: forbestraveller.com)

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