Posted October 29, 2009 by BookingBuddy
The sun may have mostly disappeared, but don’t let that be an excuse to stay home. This month, wrap yourself up in warm clothes and make the most of the festivities happening all around the country. The early nights make a great backdrop for fireworks displays, and many events this month will undoubtedly end in some being set off. And it’s never to early too start shopping for Christmas presents, especially if you want to beat the last minute crush!3rd November – Oxford Street, London
Brighten up your winter nights with a show of colourful Christmas lights this season. The spectacular Christmas lights on both Oxford and Regent Streets will be switched on tonight, signalling the start of the Christmas season. This year’s decorations will be based on ‘A Christmas Carol’.
5th November – Bonfire Night, across the UK
Bonfire Night celebrations will be held in many towns and villages tonight and on the weekend, so warm yourself up near a roaring bonfire and watch some fireworks go off. It’s also an excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, by treating yourself to some toffee apples or bonfire toffee.
14th November – The Lord Mayor’s Show, London
Held each year to celebrate the election of the Lord Mayor, a parade will travel from Guildhall and finish at the Royal Courts of Justice in Aldwych. The extravagant procession will feature 200 horses, 60 floats and 20 marching bands, and will be capped off with a breathtaking firework display in the evening. You can catch the parade anywhere along the route, or just watch it on BBC1 in the comfort of your home.30th November – St. Andrew’s Day, Scotland
Celebrate the life of Scotland’s patron saint today. Saint Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s national day, and events are organised all around the country. As it is a feast day, you’ll have an excuse for stuffing yourself with delicacies such as haggis and clootie dumpling. And of course, the night will end will a shower of fireworks.
Posted October 27, 2009 by BookingBuddy
For some fun in the sun this winter, head straight for the seaside resort of Salou. Often referred to as the holiday capital of the Costa Daurada, Salou has much to offer for young and old alike. Spend your time there relaxing on the golden beaches, or venture around exploring the city’s history sites. If you’ve got kids with you, keep them entertained by spending a thoroughly enjoyable day out at the massive PortAventura theme park. StayMagnolia Hotel
– Only five minutes from the PortAventure theme park and a quick stroll to the seafront, the Magnolia Hotel is the perfect place to stay while on holiday. With large, airy rooms in a clean, modern building, guests can relax and recharge their batteries within the tranquil surroundings. The hotel’s spa offers several treatments, including the delicious-sounding cherry therapy and choco-therapy. Room rates start from around £90.Play
PortAventura – You won’t be hearing any complaints of “I’m bored…” coming from the kids on your visit to this sprawling theme park. One of the largest in Europe, PortAventura is divided into five zones, based on different regions around the world. The roller coasters take your breath away with their speed and height – the Furius Baco
ride is the fastest in Europe, while the Dragon Khan
is said to be one of the most thrilling rides in the world. There are also other, much calmer rides, and even carnival favourites such as Teacups and Dodgems. Running around a theme park is sure to make anyone hungry, so be sure to visit the restaurants and food-points dotted around the park for a bite. Eat
Capri y Creta – Salou may be full of English pubs and restaurants, but if you want to dine like the locals, then head over to this quaint little restaurant near the seafront promenade. Capri y Creta specialises in food from the surrounding region, and is often packed to the brim with Spanish families enjoying a hearty meal together. The paellas are very popular, cooked in a rich stock and stuffed with moist, succulent seafood; you’re likely to be shovelling down spoon after spoon of the rich, tasty rice.
Check here for flights to Salou.
Posted October 22, 2009 by BookingBuddy
A trip to the seaside may be synonymous with summer, but Brighton has its charms even in the colder months. For one thing, there are not as many tourists around, which means you won’t have any strangers wandering into your photographs. The town also has a vibrant nightlife scene, with gigs, clubs and exhibitions all through the year. When it’s much too cold to be strolling along the waterfront, why not take refuge in one of Brighton’s many museums? And while you could go for the obligatory fish and chips when you get hungry, the abundance of eateries in town provides you with the option of trying something more exotic. StayDrakes
– This little, 20-room hotel overlooking the Brighton seafront is a great option for a luxurious weekend getaway. The building’s original architecture has been beautifully preserved, and carefully updated with modern touches. There are large bathtubs in the rooms, and those with a sea-view room can enjoy their bath while looking out at the seafront. There is a wonderful little 24-hour cocktail bar tucked away where you can get a drink before enjoying an evening out on the town. Room rates start at £100.See
Brighton Toy and Model Museum – Hidden away underneath the railway arches at Brighton Station is this museum that will delightful kids of all ages. Grown-ups may grow nostalgic for their childhood days when presented with the large array of toys in the museum, while kids will get a chance to marvel at old style toys such as Meccano sets and marionette dolls. There is also a large collection of slightly creepy Victorian dolls, and the museum’s centrepiece is an impressive working model train collection. On your way out, stop by at the gift shop and pick up some unusual toys or souvenirs to remind you of your trip.Eat
Pomegranate – Skip the fish and chips and head for this Kurdish restaurant in Kemp Town. The dishes are at once both familiar and exotic, with standards such as beef and lamb shank given a Middle Eastern twist. There are several dishes featuring pomegranate, as you would expect from a restaurant named after the fruit. Try the small chunks of beef, served with rice and a sprinkling of the juicy, ruby-red seeds. There are also some very good seafood and vegetable dishes on the menu, with most ingredients sourced locally to ensure freshness.
Check here for flights to Brighton.
Posted October 20, 2009 by BookingBuddy
If you need a dose of the sun, why not escape to Sin City for a revitalising break? Las Vegas offers visitors much more than just glitzy casinos and Elvis impersonators. The surrounding countryside has a range of lush golf courses for sports enthusiasts, and the wonderful weather offers opportunities for ballooning trips over the city. And when you get hungry, you don’t always have to go for the infamous all-you-can-eat buffets, as the city is host to a number of world-class restaurants. But even if you do give in to temptation and go for the $4.99 lobster buffet, no one at home needs to know – after all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. StayBellagio Las Vegas
– Complete your Vegas experience with a stay at this famous hotel on the Strip. There are so many attractions within the Bellagio’s ground that you can have a very entertaining trip even without leaving the confines of the hotel. Go for a stroll in the hotel’s theatrical Botanical Gardens, which boasts a series of over-the-top displays carefully maintained by an army of gardeners. And there’s no need to worry if you’ve forgotten to pack something – there are lots of boutiques in the hotel, and you’re sure to find at least one to suit your taste. Room rates start from around £150.Play
Bonnie Springs Old Nevada – Step away from the glitz and glamour of modern day Las Vegas and journey back to simpler times. Bonnie Springs is a family-friendly attraction modelled after a late 18th-century mining town, complete with tumbleweed, saloons and stagecoaches. Kids will have fun watching the simulated gunfights and helping cowboys and cowgirls track down ‘bad guys’. Take a ride on the miniature train, or wander through the wax museum and come face to face with notorious Old West figures. In true Las Vegas style, there’s also a wedding chapel on the premises, for those couples who suddenly get the urge to tie the knot.Eat
The House of Blues – This music-themed restaurant in the Mandalay Hotel also doubles up as a concert venue at night. The menu is full of spicy Southern-style cuisine, with hearty dishes such as Baby Back Ribs and Jambalaya making an appearance. The aforementioned Baby Back Ribs are covered in lip-smackingly tangy barbecue sauce and cooked till tender, with the meat almost falling off the bone. Those with a sweet tooth might like to finish the meal off with a Florida Key Lime Pie, covered in thick raspberry sauce, which makes a satisfying end to the Southern feast.
Check here for flights to Las Vegas.
Posted October 16, 2009 by BookingBuddy
It may have been fashionable to bathe in the freezing waters off Blackpool during the 18th century, but these days, you don't need a bout of hypothermia in order to enjoy your visit to this bustling Northern city. The imposing Blackpool Tower looms over the city, and is arguably its most visible attraction. The city itself attracts visitors all year round, with a wide range of events organised throughout the year. And what’s a day at the seaside without a hearty serving of fish and chips? There’s lots to choose from, whether you’re looking for high-end restaurants or a hole-in-the-wall.
Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks – Take a walk through this wax museum and get up close and personal with the stars, without having to battle hordes of bodyguards and paparazzi.
The family-friendly museum was started by Louis Tussaud, great-grandson of the famous Madame Tussaud. The museum also boasts an amazing realistic Coronation Street set, complete with wax figures of the characters. Fans of the long-running soap will have a great time wandering through the famous landmarks, before stopping in at Roy’s Café for a cup of tea. For a more macabre experience, take a stroll through the Chamber of Horrors and come face to face with monsters and murderers.
– Just minutes away from the famous Blackpool Tower, the Aindale is a cosy little hotel that caters to families and couples. The rooms all have nice little touches such as iPod docks and DVD players, and the hotel’s proximity to the town centre makes it a convenient base while exploring Blackpool. The owners Paul and Mandi provide guests with a hearty English breakfast to start their day off in style. Room rates start from around £80.
Yorkshire Fisheries – This popular local place is Blackpool’s oldest fish and chip shop, as well as one of its busiest. Traditionalists will have trouble finding fault with their offerings of deep-fried cod or haddock, served with generous portions of chunky chips. For those of you more concerned about the state of your arteries, the restaurant offers the option of steamed fish, and swapping your chips for a side of salad instead.
Check here for flights to Blackpool.
Posted October 13, 2009 by BookingBuddy
For warm sandy beaches even in the midst of winter, get yourself on a cheap flight to Benidorm. This city on the sparkling shores of the Costa Blanc is surrounded by a ring of imposing mountains, which provides Benidorm with a wonderfully warm climate all year round. The beautiful beaches are some of best in Europe, and the city also has three theme parks for fun family days. StayFlamingo Oasis Hotel
– This all-inclusive hotel is a great family-friendly option for those of you travelling with kids in tow. The large swimming pool is a fun place to spend the day when the beach is too crowded, and the heated swimming pool is a great option for guests visiting during the cooler months. If you need to relax, then book yourself into the spa for a luxurious pampering session. The younger members of the family won’t be bored either, as the hotel has a full range of activities aimed making their visit unforgettable. With mini-golf, water polo, table tennis and more, you won’t be hearing anyone whining about being bored. Room rates start from around £130. Play
Aqualandia – For days when you can’t be bothered fighting for a spot on Benidorm’s famously crowded beaches, Aqualandia makes for a fun alternative. Thrill seekers will want to keep queuing for rides such as Kamikaze, Bing bang and Black Hole. And when you want to take it slow, just hop into an inflatable ring and float around casually on rides such as Amazonas or Niagara. Aqualandia also has its very own wave pool for those who want to feel like they’re taking a dip in the sea.
Casa Toni – Stay away from the fast-food chains all around the city, and pop in to this cosy little restaurant for a dose of local delights. Casa Toni is a favourite with the locals, and it’s not hard to see why. The restaurant’s owner Toni has been inspired by his Andalucian heritage, and fuses that with local cooking traditions for some of the tastiest home cooked dishes in the city. For a lighter meal, the restaurant also offers a scrumptious selection of tapas.
Check here for flights to Benidorm
Posted October 9, 2009 by BookingBuddy
There’s no need to go far the next time you feel like having a break by the beach – instead, simply make your way to Tenby. While the charming Welsh seaside town is hugely popular with tourists during the summer, visitors who come during the off-season are rewarded by having the sandy, unspoilt beaches to themselves. The candy-coloured buildings on the Esplanade are guaranteed to brighten up your day, and also provide a contrast to the well-preserved - but monochromatic - city walls.Stay Myrtle House Hotel
– This charming little bed and breakfast style hotel is located in St. Mary’s Street, and is only a couple of minutes walk from both the town centre and the seafront. With only eights rooms in the hotel, the owners Rob and Jan manage to make every single guest feel right at home. Wake up to a generous, home-cooked breakfast and endless pots of coffee or tea, before making your way up to the Esplanade to explore the town. Room rates start from around £30.Play
Folly Farm – For a fun-filled day out with the family, pay a visit to Folly Farm. Combining a funfair, a farmyard, a zoo and a park, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Jolly Barn lets the young ones get up close to domesticated animals, and offers visitors a hand-on experience of farm life. For more animal antics, visit the zoo or Folly Wood, home to several Shetland ponies, goats, shire horses and llamas. The undercover funfair lets the big kids revisit their childhood, with a giant helter skelter, a big wheel, dodgems and lots of other rides. Tickets are £7.50 (adults) and £6.50 (children and concessions).Eat
The Blue Ball – The homely, wood and brick interior of this restaurant provides a cosy spot for a relaxed meal with loved ones. As expected of a restaurant in a seaside town, the Blue Ball specialises in astoundingly fresh seafood, but there are also many other types of dishes. The homemade faggots, served with creamed potatoes and onion gravy, help warm you up after a chilly day by the sea. For fans of fish, the locally farmed gurnard has silky translucent flesh that marries well with a side of saffron-infused creamed potatoes.
Check here for flights to Tenby
Posted October 6, 2009 by BookingBuddy
Escape to this beautiful, historic city on the shores of the Mediterranean the next time you need a short break. The capital city of Tunisia, Tunis is an intriguing mix of antiquity and modernity, and African and European cultures. The streets signs are in French and Arabic, and shining skyscrapers tower over bustling souks where citizens still gather to conduct their day-to-day business. See
Carthage – The ancient city of Carthage is now a quiet residential suburb in Tunis. The ruins of the old city have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and these days, you’re more likely to find swarms of tourists rather than fearless warriors wandering about the place. For a reminder of Carthage’s bloody history, take a walk through the Tophet – its peaceful, shady calmness belying its past as a supposed necropolis for the victims of child sacrifices. The complex also boasts a museum, and the carefully restored Cathedral of St. Louis has been turned into a cultural centre.StayDar El Medina
– You’ll find this 12-room hotel right in the Medina – Tunis’ centuries-old inner city. Housed in an elegant former family home that is nearly 200-years old, it makes a great base to explore the maze-like Medina. The rooms are airy, with cool marble floors to help beat the heat, and are individually decorated in dramatic rugs and artwork. Make your way up to the terrace during sunset for a stunning view of the city’s rooftops. Guests are offered a large, satisfyingly filling complimentary breakfast – eggs cooked to order, plenty of pastries, spreads, juices, and coffee or tea. Room rates start from around £150.Eat
Café M’rabet – This medieval-style café and restaurant is an institution within the Medina. Said to be built over the tombs of three holy men, the café offers a respite from the heat and crowds outside. Take your shoes off before you enter, and rest yourself on platforms covered with tatties, beside imposing pillars painted in rock candy stripes of red and green. A cup of mint tea will quickly revive your spirits, and you may want to indulge your sweet tooth with treats such as baklava. For a more filling meal, head to the restaurant upstairs, for generous portions of steaming lamb couscous.
Check here for flights to Tunis.
Posted October 2, 2009 by BookingBuddy
Escape to Tenerife for a short break this coming winter. This rugged, volcanic island has plenty of warm sandy beaches and imposing, scenic mountains to tempt visitors. However, there’s no need to worry about struggling for elbow space with the other tourists, as the island still has lots of secluded nooks and crannies for a peaceful getaway.See
Black Pyramids – You don’t need to go all the way to Egypt to see some pyramids. Tenerife has its very own set of pyramids in the little town of Guimar. The pyramids were built from black volcanic stone, in a ‘stepped’ design similar to Mayan pyramids. Besides the pyramids, there are also a couple of exhibition areas dotted around the complex. One is known as the ‘Early Navigation Tent’ and provides an insight into ancient methods of sailing, with several replica crafts on display. StayVincci La Plantation del Sur
– If you’re looking for the perfect place for a beach holiday, then look no further. This elegant hotel only 500 metres away from Bahia del Buque beach in the warm, southern part of the island. They provide a wide choice of rooms, ranging from cosy double rooms, to suites, to villas with their very own private gardens. If you’re not up for the 10-minute walk to the beach, there’s always the choice of lounging around the hotel’s pools, or pampering yourself at the spa. Room rates start from around £170.Eat
Los Roques – This seafood restaurant in the fishing village of Los Abrigos is one of the most highly recommended dining establishments on the island. The food may cost more than at some other places, but at least you can be sure you’ll be presented with quality. Los Roques has its very own fishing boat, bringing diners seafood so fresh it’s practically still swimming. If you’re not a big fan of the fruits of the sea, the restaurant also does some delicious meat dishes. The ostrich carpaccio will surely be one of the more unusual dishes you’ll find.
Check here for flights to Tenerife.