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August 2009

What To Do In The UK – September

Posted August 28, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Putting-the-shot_tcm12-27934 The weather is cooling down, and the days are getting shorter as harvest time rolls around. However, there is still plenty to do around the country this month. Make the most of the last lingering days of summer, and enjoy yourself at these events.

5th Sept – Braemar Gathering
The Highland Games takes place in this little Scottish village near Balmoral Castle every year, on the first Saturday of September. Watch events such as tossing the caber, throwing the hammer, and Highland dancing in the fields near this scenic village. The Queen often attends the games.

12th Sept – Last Night of the Proms
Proms season draws to a close this month, with performances taking place in parks in London, Salford, Swansea, Glasgow and County Down. Indulge in a wide range of music, with performances from artistes as diverse as crooner Barry Manilow and Sir James Galway. The fun is capped off with a spectacular display of fireworks.

18th – 22nd Sept – London Fashion Week
Some of the most influential designers display their newest collections during week of frenetic activity. Tickets to the major shows are hard to come by, but you may be able to view collections by up-and-coming designers at smaller shows. It will also be an interesting week for people watching, with so many models and celebrities crammed into London during this period.


City Breaks In Glasgow – Glasgow Hotels

Posted August 25, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Uk-glasgow As one of the oldest and largest cities in Scotland, Glasgow provides visitors with a multitude of sights to enjoy. The city itself is full of astonishing architecture, with avant-garde creations often popping up between centuries-old buildings. It bustles with art and culture, and music lovers are sure to be spoilt for choice. Glasgow’s position on the west coast also provides it with milder temperatures than the rest of Scotland, ensuring visitors a perfectly pleasant time while on holiday.

The Brunswick Hotel – This chic 18-room hotel in the Merchant City area of Glasgow is great for those of you who like to be in the thick of the action. The Brunswick has it’s own little bar in the basement – Basura Blanca – which plays host to live bands and DJs several nights of the week. If you’d prefer something quieter, then head over to their bar, Brutti Ma Buoni, for some fine wines or a selection of cosmopolitan beers. Wake up in the morning to a delicious continental breakfast, also included in the price of the room. Room rates start from around £50 per room.

The Hunterian Museum – William Hunter’s collection of medical marvels and oddities form the core of this museum. The permanent displays include Hunter’s anatomical specimens, surgical instruments, fossils, coin collection, and many other strange objects. A journey through the exhibits makes for an educational, if fairly bizarre and macabre outing. At the very least, you’ll be glad that some of the stranger looking surgical instruments aren’t in use these days.

Rab Ha’s – Rab Ha’s is named for Robert Hall, who earned the nickname ‘The Glasgow Glutton’ in the 19th century for his prodigious appetite. With a name like that, you’re certain to be in for a feast at this Merchant City restaurant. It’s menu pairs traditional Scottish with contemporary cuisine. Get started with the very Scottish dish of haggis, neeps and tatties, drenched in silky whisky cream. You may fancy a honey-roasted duck breast after that, with the chorizo adding a spicy kick to the dish. If you’re still feeling gluttonous, perhaps some rum baba with coconut ice cream may be just the thing to complete your meal? And if you’ve overindulged, Rab Ha’s has four rooms upstairs in which you can sleep it all off.

Check here for flights to Glasgow.


City Breaks In The Isle of Man – Isle of Man Hotels

Posted August 21, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Isle of Man, Peel Cathedral, St German's The Isle of Man’s proximity makes it a great spot to escape to for a short weekend getaway. However, don’t let it’s closeness to the main land fool you, for you’ll feel like you’ve landed in another world once you get there. The tiny island is filled with surprising contrasts – where else have you been to that expects you to say ‘Hello’ to fairies on roads, yet also plays host to some of the loudest, fastest motor sport competitions in the world?

The Welbeck Hotel – This little family-run hotel is right in the centre of Douglas, up a quiet little hill away from the noise and activity of the promenade. Most rooms provide great views of the beach, which is only a few minutes walk away. Choose between a range of large, sunlit rooms, or one of six apartments with kitchens. The apartments are great for family holidays, and the daily cleaning service provided by the hotel means you won’t have to pick up after your kids! Rates start from about £40 per person for a room.

Peel Castle – The history if this historic castle is tightly intertwined with the history of the island. First built by Vikings in the 11th century, Peel Castle has been extensively reconstructed through the years. While walking through the ruins, be sure to look out for traces of Moddey Dhoo, the spectral ‘black dog’ that is the castle’s most famous resident. Tickets cost £1.80 for children and £3.50 for adults.

Ciapelli’s – Any restaurant that can make famously crotchety restaurant critic AA Gill swallow his smirk must have something going for it. Ciapelli’s specialises in succulent Manx seafood. Their pan-seared ‘Queenies’ (queen scallops) are particularly impressive, and so are their fish dishes. If you’re not much for seafood, then perhaps order the rack of Manx lamb – their dark meat has a richer, more succulent flavour than most, and goes great with soft, pillowy potatoes.

Check here for flights to Isle of Man.


City Break In Edinburgh – Edinburgh Hotels

Posted August 18, 2009 by BookingBuddy

EdinburghCastle You’ll never have a dull moment when you’re on holiday in Edinburgh. There's more to this city than the Edinburgh Tattoo and Hogmany. The Scottish capital buzzes with activity, and hosts a multitude of festivals all year round. And when you need a little peace and quiet, simply escape to the scenic Lothians for a spot of fresh air and unspoilt greenery.

The Chester Residence – Set in the city’s West End, this tasteful Georgian townhouse is the perfect option for those wanting to treat themselves to a bit of luxury.  Suites are spacious enough to waltz around in, and are fitted out with wide-screen TVs and iPod docks. A delicious and complimentary Continental breakfast is brought to your room each morning, so you can start your day off with a full stomach. Room rates start at around £250.


Glenkinchie Distillery – Take a trip out of the city to East Lothian and visit this little whiskey distiller for a taste of ‘The Edinburgh Malt’. Founded in 1837, the distillery offers visitors guided tours to see how the amber nectar is produced. At the end of the tour, visitors are invited to try some Glenkinchie 12-Year-Old Single Malt whiskey for themselves. If that doesn’t slake your thirst, the bar also serves other brands such as Talisker, Dalwhinnie and Lagavulin.

The Lot Bistro – This casual bistro - set in a stunning, converted old church – places a strong emphasis on locally sourced produce. Add to that a casual atmosphere, and you’ve got a great spot to relax and people-watch while filling up. The salmon and roasted red pepper fishcakes are great as an entrée, or as a dish to share. If you’ve got space left in your tummy after the mains, be sure to order a square of chocolate brownie, served with a generous helping of ice cream, to finish off your meal in style.

Check here for flights to Edinburgh


City Breaks In Cork – Cork Hotels

Posted August 14, 2009 by BookingBuddy

BN4925_17-FB Bag yourself a cheap flight to Cork the next time you need a short break. A sunny and cosmopolitan city, it’s the perfect place for a holiday. With lots of lovely buildings, some dating from as far back as the Medieval period, you’ll have a great time just walking slowly through the city.

Clarion Hotel – Located right beside the River Lee, you’ll be able to enjoy calming river views from your room. If your stomach’s grumbling and you feel like staying in, take your pick from the three in-house restaurants, all guaranteed to tantalise your tastebuds. The hotel is only a couple of minutes from the centre of town, so you won’t have fair to go when your feet get tired from exploring the city’s nooks and crannies. Room rates start from around £100.

The English Market – If you’d like to see what the people of Cork eat, then head for the English Market on Princes Street. The present building dates all the way back to 1786, although it’s origins can be traced back even further, to 1610. Besides offering a veritable cornucopia of produce from all over the world, you’ll be able to find local delicacies such as drisheen (a kind of black pudding) and crubeen (pigs trotters). Cheese lovers will be spoilt for choice with some of the best selections available.

Farmgate Café and Restaurant – Your food won’t come any fresher than this – situated in a gallery right above the English Market, the Farmgate purchases almost all their ingredients from the stalls below them. The dishes change daily, depending on the availability of ingredients from the market. Their chowder comes highly recommended, made with fresh fish from the fishmongers. If you’re the adventurous type, be sure to try their renditions of local delicacies such as tripe or drisheen.

Check here for flights to Cork


City Break In Belfast – Belfast Hotels

Posted August 11, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Belfast-eye With so many companies offering cheap flights to Belfast, why not take advantage and book yourself a getaway to this charming little city? Situated on the eastern coast of Northern Ireland, the city has wonderfully fresh seafood and a lovely temperate climate throughout most of the year. You’ll have a great time exploring this beautifully green city without having to worry about the weather.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel – This city centre hotel combines luxury with thoughtful service, all wrapped up in a beautifully decorated package. The comfortable beds are topped with soft, smooth Egyptian cotton sheets and invitingly fluffy duvets to ensure you drift to sleep peacefully after a day’s sightseeing. If you’re looking for a bite, pop on over to Menu, the in-house restaurant run by Michelin-starred Kevin Thompson, for sumptuous yet simple dishes prepared with the freshest local produce. Room rates start at around £180.

Castle Ward – It’s worth taking a day trip to see this lovely 18th-century mansion, with its quirky yet harmonious juxtaposition of architectural styles. Bring your kids along and dress them up in period outfits. While they busy themselves with old-fashioned toys, you can treat yourself to a calming walk through the property’s stunning woodland. Admission to the grounds cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, with family tickets available.

Mourne Seafood Bar – Tucked away in a little sidestreet off bustling Royal Avenue, this cosy little place specialises in (you guessed it) seafood. And not just any old fish and chips, but sweet, succulent, freshly caught seafood. Starters such as oysters and mussels may be simple, but the quality of the shellfish shines through. The fish dishes are undoubtedly the stars of the menu – served whole, diners are required to pick the bones out themselves, but your patience will be rewarded with some of the best tasting fish you’ll ever have.

Check here for flights to Belfast.


City Break In Alicante – Alicante Hotels

Posted August 6, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Alicante If you’re a little disappointed with the miserable British summer, then why not book a cheap flight to this historical port to enjoy some sun and sea? Alicante is the lesser-known ‘City of Lights’, and its excellent climate will ensure that you’ll want to spend lots of time outdoors.  So take some time out to enjoy its sandy beaches and warm waters, or even explore the many historical buildings all around the city.

Melia -Situated right on Postiguet Beach, this hotel is the perfect place to stay while on a beach holiday. Get yourself up to The Level on the top floor to enjoy wonderful views of the city while sipping on a drink from the free open bar. Should you find the beach too crowded in summer, the hotel has a swimming pool with deckchairs, so you can work on your tan without fighting for elbow space with other tourists. Room rates start from about £100.

Santa Barbara Castle – This huge 10th-century fortress overlooks the city, and is everything you would expect a medieval castle to be. You can easily spend several hours exploring all the cannons, dungeons, moats and various ruins that make up the site. A walk around the castle walls provides an excellent panoramic view of the city and the aqua waters of the Mediterranean Sea behind. Entry to the castle is free.

Darsena – This large, airy restaurant serves up spectacular seaside views along with its famous food. The Darsena specialises in paella – rice cooked with a variety of meat or seafood – and it is said to have over 150 paella dishes on its extensive menu. The arroz con bacalao y costar de ajo comes highly recommended – a magnificent dish of rice, salt cod, garlic and potatoes, all topped off with a delicate crown of egg. If you still have room in your belly after the main event, you may want to ask for a serving of turron, the local version of nougat.

Check here for flights to Alicante.


City Breaks in Corsica – Corsica Hotels

Posted August 4, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Fortress-at-bonifacio-corsica_-france Floating in the Mediterranean Sea between France and Italy, La Corse is famous for being place that gave the world Napoleon Bonaparte. The mountainous island is ruggedly beautiful, and has a variety of stunning ecological zones, from warm sandy beaches ringed by turquoise waters, to dramatic snow-capped mountains. Despite its abundant natural beauty, this island has remained relatively unspoilt, so you won’t feel like just another tourist while exploring this captivating region.

Chez Charles – Overlooking Calvi Bay, this charming hotel in the picturesque village of Lumio looks like it popped straight out of a black and white French movie. The rooms themselves are fairly stark and neutral, but with nature waiting outside, you won’t be spending much time in there anyway. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, then simply relax by the pool with a cocktail in hand, and enjoy the breathtaking views over the bay. Room rates start from about £60.

Bonifacio Haute Ville – The port of Bonifacio clings onto the tip of Corsica, and it’s old city, or Haute Ville (literally ‘high town’) is a spectacular sight to behold. Seen from the bay below, the old town almost seems to be suspended in mid-air. The buildings that rise up on top of sheer cliffs seem to be on the verge of sliding off into the sea. Inside, the citadel is a maze of narrow, cobbled streets and crumbling Genoese buildings, some of which look like they’ve been there for several centuries.

Restaurant Le ‘20123’ – You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve gone back in time and re-appeared in a quaint Corsican village when you step through the doors of this restaurant. The story goes that the family who owns this restaurant originated from a little village south of Ajaccio (postcode 20123) and wanted to recreate their village in the city. So they did exactly that, by building an exact replica of the village in the restaurant!
As well as a large dose of kitsch, you’ll be served lots of hearty, traditional Corsican fare. Expect thick spicy bouillabaise, boar stew, and tender young goat served with sauce.

Check here for flights to Corsica.


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