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November 2009

Breaks in Robin Hood’s Bay – Robin Hood’s Bay Hotels

Posted November 26, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Robin_Hoods_Bay_at_dawn For a pleasant dose of sun and sea during your next holiday, pay a visit to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Norfolk coast. Local legend says that Robin Hood himself fought a group of pirates who had stolen the villagers’ possessions, and returned their belongings to them. The maze-like cobbled streets that wind through the town provide it with a distinctly romantic character, lending a charmingly old-fashioned feel to many parts of the village.

Robin Hood’s Bay Museum – This little three-roomed museum is crammed full of interesting artefacts about the Bay and its surrounding area. The volunteers that run the place have even managed to squeeze a lifeboat into one of the rooms. Visitors can find out about the activities of smugglers who used to frequent the area, and view a life-sized model of a fishwife with contraband hidden within her clothes!

Bottom House Farm – This old-fashioned bed-and-breakfast is part of a family-run working farm. Guests will feel right at home in the cosy bedrooms, with views over gorgeously green farmland. On a clear day, you’ll even be able to catch a glimpse of ships in the bay two miles away. Stuff yourself with a full English breakfast, then take a leisurely stroll down the idyllic paths or follow the road into town. Rates start at about £28 per person per night.

Picnics – Stop by this gaily decorated hole-in-the-wall and fill up your tummy, or take away some food for a picnic on the beach. Enjoy thick wedges of freshly made sandwiches or home baked bread and cakes. The locally produced ice creams are thick and creamy, with none of the artificial flavour you often find in other ice creams.

Check here for flights to Robin Hood's Bay.


What To Do In The UK – December

Posted November 25, 2009 by BookingBuddy

PuddingRace9 December may be cold and windy, but it’s also one of the most magical times of the year. Streets are decked out in bright, cheerful strings of lights, and there are parties and fairs happening all over the country. While Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve all happening this month, it’s also a time for feasting in the company of loved ones. If you’re worried about packing on the pounds after all that turkey and pudding, then why not strap on your ice skates and visit the ice rinks that have been set up? Or just stick to your New Year’s resolution and go on that diet.

4th – 19th December – Dickensian Festival, Grassington
The little town of Grassington is transported back in time during this festival. Villagers dressed in Victorian costumes can be seen in the shops and on the square. There is also a traditional Christmas Fair, with carollers and actors entertaining the many visitors that descend upon the town. There will also be a Nativity procession through the streets, with actors dressed as Mary and Joseph.

5th December – Great Christmas Pudding Race, London

Your mum may have told you not to play with your food, but surely she wouldn’t object if you were doing it for charity? Teams of six runners – all in fancy dress – run a relay race through an obstacle course in Covent Garden. And to make it more difficult, they have to do so while carrying a Christmas Pudding. Proceeds from the race will go towards Cancer Research UK.

29th December – Hogmanay Torchlight Procession, Edinburgh
Indulge your Viking fantasies as you roam through Edinburgh with a torch in hand, ready to set fire to a Viking worship. The Torchlight Procession forms part of the city’s famously rowdy Hogmanay celebrations. Thousands of would-be Vikings are expected to surge through the Old Town and up Calton Hill, where a waiting ship will be set aflame to the sounds of pipes and drums. Torch vouchers cost £6 on the night.


Breaks In Whitstable – Whitstable Hotels

Posted November 24, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Kirsty Haggar - wheelers oyster bar Large Web view

The next time you find yourself yearning for a short break by the sea, it may be worth skipping the crowded Spanish beaches and visiting the little town of Whitstable instead. Nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Kent’, this coastal spot is famous for its pretty shingle beaches and succulent local oysters.


Whitstable Beach House – Some days, you just need to get away from everyone else. The Whitstable Beach House lets you do just that, with nothing more than a private beach and gorgeous views for company. The house itself has an airy, open-plan layout, with large windows that look out onto Seasalter Beach. The outdoor deck means you’ll be able to enjoy a meal in the salty sea breeze, or just sit out there enjoying tranquil sunsets. Rates start at £125 per night for a minimum of two nights.


Squeeze Gut Alley – Whitstable has a number of tight little alleys that were used by residents to get to the sea (and also doubled up as escape routes for smugglers), and this is tightest one in town. Don’t try to pass through it after a heavy meal, as you may not fit! Local legend says that the alley got its name when cheeky local boys were playing a game with an overweight policeman, who couldn’t get through this tiny space.


Wheelers Oyster Bar – If seafood isn’t your thing, you may want to steer clear of this restaurant. This tiny dining spot has been serving the famed Whitstable oysters, and a range of other seafood, for over 150 years. The oysters themselves are fresh and briny, and hardly need any seasoning to be enjoyed. There’s also lots of fish, and deliciously sweet prawns and mussels that are served in several different ways. The menu may not be large, but everything on it is as local as you can get, and delicious to boot!

Check here for flights to Whitstable.


Breaks In Grassington – Grassington Hotels

Posted November 19, 2009 by BookingBuddy

GrassingtonHighStreet If you’re finding life too hectic these days, why not head to Grassington for a change of pace? This attractive little market town is a great spot for a bit of relaxation, and also provides a handy base for exploring the Yorkshire Dales. Grassington is also a bit of a goldmine for history buffs, with Bronze Age burial mounds and Roman settlements close by. Each December, the town also hosts a Dickensian festival, which sees the villagers dressed in Victorian costumes and a traditional Christmas market held in the square.

Grassington House – This squarish brown Georgian building hides a recently renovated modern interior, with carefully preserved period touches scattered throughout hotel. The rooms have all been individually decorated, which provides them with different personalities. The Red Room has a stunning aluminium claw foot bath, while the White Room is very feminine, with lots of pink and frills all around. Grassington House also has a highly celebrated restaurant on site, run by hotel owner John Rudden. Room rates start at around £75.

Stump Cross Caverns – Discovered by miners in 1860, these magnificent limestone caves have been open for public viewing since Victorian times. The show caves themselves are about 6km long, although the system itself extends much further. There are impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations all through the caves, as well as remains of animals such as bison, reindeer and wolverine. You’ll feel like you’re on a journey to the centre of the Earth while exploring the caves and viewing the otherworldly limestone formations.

The Retreat Café – If your idea of vegetarian food goes no further than sloppy, tasteless lentil soups and tofu burgers, then a visit to The Retreat Café may help change your mind. This little café tucked away just off the town square serves up meals so deliciously filling, you won’t even notice the meat is missing. On a cold day, why not order a spicy vegetable curry to warm you all the way through? After that, if you’ve still got some space in your tummy for sweets, then try a generous serving of the chocolate fudge cake or gluten-free carrot cake, guaranteed to leave your sweet tooth satisfied.

Check here for flights to Grassington.


Unique Gifts From Around The UK

Posted November 18, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Birmingham-xmas-market The holiday season is fast creeping up on us, and that means having to shop for presents. This year, instead of going the usual route and getting run-of-the-mill gifts like everyone else, why not get some one-off items for your loved ones instead? The recent popularity of handmade items has seen a resurgence in craft fairs and Christmas markets all over the country. You’ll be able to present unique gifts to family and friends this year, instead of re-gifting that smelly old guest soap set from last year. So this winter, why not spend a weekend exploring what the various fairs have to offer?

19th November to 23 December – Christmas Market, Whitefriars Square, Canterbury
This traditional style Christmas Market brings Germany to the centre of Canterbury. Enjoy German Gluhwein and bratwurst while shopping for gifts for your loved ones. There will also be musicians performing traditional Christmas songs to entertain visitors while they shop.

28th/ 29th November – Candy Cane Christmas Fair, The Workstation, Sheffield
Organised by Sheffield artists, this Christmas fair is an excellent opportunity to view (and maybe purchase) unique, handmade items by artists from Sheffield and the surrounding region. It’s a chance to pick up goods ranging from post-modern cross-stitch kits, to stuffed toys, to more traditional items such as scarves and even handmade soaps.

5th December - WeMakeLondon Christmas Fair, Chelsea Town Hall, London
This Christmas fair is set in the beautiful Town Hall on Chelsea’s King’s Road. The hall itself is a marvel to look at, with gorgeous period architecture and fantastic fireplaces in each room. There will be 75 stalls at the fair, ranging from up-and-coming designers to old-school crafters, selling handmade woollies, cards, paintings and other items.

12th/ 13th December
– Caerphilly Medieval Market, Town Centre, Caerphilly
Set against the magnificent backdrop of Caerphilly Castle, this medieval-themed market makes for a great day out with the whole family. Keep your hands free and your kids entertained while shopping, by letting them join the various children’s workshops available, or take them for a visit to Santa’s grotto. The ninety stalls at the fair will be selling food, traditional crafts and even replica medieval goods.



Breaks In Bridlington – Bridlington Hotels

Posted November 17, 2009 by BookingBuddy

What-to-do-in-Bridlington Tucked away on the east coast of Yorkshire is the little seaside resort of Bridlington. With its old-fashioned charm and quaint attractions, it makes a great spot for a short break with the family. The surrounding area has many attractions for outdoorsy sorts, with a range of kinking and cycling trails nearby. If you prefer something less rugged, just have a stroll through the Old Town and take in the many historical sites dotted around the place. 

Mont Millais Hotel – Run by an enthusiastic young couple, this little bed and breakfast may not have all the frills of bigger hotels, but makes up for it with warmth and helpfulness. The hotel itself is conveniently located on a quiet little street, a short walk from the promenade and seafront. Rooms are surprisingly spacious, with neutral décor and comfy bedding providing a very homely feel. Room rates start from around £30, with breakfast included.

Flamborough Head – Take a walk along the impressive white chalk cliffs of Flamborough Head and find out about the area’s exciting history. The Romans are thought to have settled here many centuries ago, and pirates and smugglers have used the caves for their nefarious business through the years. The many deep caves along the cliffs also provide present day visitors with ample opportunities for exploring (who knows, you may even find some hidden pirate treasure?). Stop at the imposing lighthouse and climb up to the top for spectacular views around the bay.


Ellie Mae’s Bistro – This popular little restaurant is located in a quaint little Victorian building in the Old Town. The menu feels reassuringly old-fashioned, with dishes such as beef Wellington and deep-fried Brie featured. However, it is the Sunday roast that is the real winner – it is so popular with locals and tourists alike that bookings are often required. If you’re not one to plan ahead, then simply visit between Tuesday and Saturday and avoid the crowd.

Check here for flights to Bridlington.


City Breaks In York – York Hotels

Posted November 12, 2009 by BookingBuddy


When you need a break, why not take a trip to the historic city of York? The historic city of York is a great spot for a break, whether you’re only there for a weekend, or for a much longer stay. With its winding medieval streets and little hidden snickelways all around the city, exploring the city on foot often rewards visitors with unexpected surprises in tucked away corners. All this walking around tends to get the tummy growling, so pop into one of the city’s many quaint little cafes to rest your feet and recharge those batteries.


The Churchill Hotel – Despite its Georgian country manor appearance, the Churchill is actually conveniently located a short walk from York Minster. Set in its’ own private grounds, the hotel successfully blends classic and contemporary touches in its décor, and provides a luxurious retreat for guests. Rooms have the usual mod cons such as LCD TVs and free Wifi access, while classic furniture and the magnificent bespoke staircase in the atrium hark back to a much gentler period. Rooms start at around £110.


Jorvik Viking Centre – Travel back in time to York’s early (very early) history when it was a Viking settlement. Part theme park, part museum, Jorvik Viking Centre stands on the site of the Viking city of Jorvik, established more than a thousand years ago. A Viking village has been recreated as authentically as possible, and visitors can wander through it to experience the life and times of 10th-century villagers. Children are likely to get a kick out of interacting with the costumed Viking hosts walking around the place. Ticket prices start from £6.40 for adults, and £4.50 for children.


Betty Café – Step into the flagship branch of this well-regarded regional café chain, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped through a portal into an earlier age. The décor was inspired by Bettys founder Frederick Belmont’s journey on the Queen Mary, and reflects the same sense of sophistication and elegance. The food retains a similar feeling of old-fashioned elegance, with familiar favourites lovingly prepared and served with care. On a frosty evening, the autumn vegetable gratin accompanied by a large mug of mulled cider will warm you up and help you face the cold head-on.

Check here for flights to York.


City Breaks In Skegness – Skegness Hotels

Posted November 10, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Skegness460 If Butlins is the first thought that comes to you mind when you think about Skegnesss, perhaps it’s time for you to pay a visit to this seaside town up by the North Sea. Affectionately known as Skeg-vegas thanks to its multitude of flashing lights along the beach, the town makes a great holiday spot for families, whether you’re visiting during the high or low season.

Eastleigh Hotel – The Eastleigh Hotel is located a short distance from the pier, with a line of trees along the avenue protecting guests from the chilly winds blowing off the North Sea. The owners provide guests with a warm, hearty breakfast every morning, and at night, the soft, thick bedding will ensure you’ll fall asleep in no time at all. Room rates start at around £50.

Natureland – For a great day out with the family, take the kids to Natureland. It aims to entertain and educate at the same time, allowing visitors to get up close to puppy-eyed baby seals and adorably clumsy penguins. Pets Corner is hugely popular with younger visitors, offering opportunities for them to handfeed tortoises, koi and tame domestic animals such as goats and rabbits. The park also takes pride in its conservation work, taking in and caring for a wide variety of animals.

The Gandhi – This popular Indian restaurant in Skegness offers customers an elegant, intimate eating experience that is a far cry from the fluorescent-lit chippies dominating the area. Their extensive menu ranges from the familiar tandoori dishes, to less well-known items like chicken chaat puri. The mango lassi is rich and creamy, and a welcome foil to the spicer dishes on the menu.

Check here for flights to Skegness.


Stay In The World’s Smallest Hotels

Posted November 5, 2009 by BookingBuddy

02.06.09_DasParkHotel_01 The next time you’re searching for a hotel, why not choose something out of the ordinary? Big chains such as the Hilton or Best Western may be familiar, comfortable choices, but why not go for something truly memorable (and perhaps slightly uncomfortable). A stay in one of the world’s smallest hotel rooms will surely make your trip unforgettable!

Hotel Kirkenes, Kirkenes, Norway
Set on the shores of the harsh Barents Sea in northern Norway, the only clue that this plain, rectangular box is a hotel is the ‘H’ stencilled on the wall. Built by Finnish architect Sam Rintala, the Hotel Kirkenes’ 27 square metres includes two bedrooms, and a stove for heating, but no electricity or running water. Definitely one for rugged outdoorsmen (and women).

World’s Smallest Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark

This little hotel in the middle of Copenhagen offers guests two rooms, and a fantastic over the waterfront. The rooms, while fairly tiny, are airy and minimally decorated, which helps increase the sense of space. There’s no need to rough it in this little hotel, as breakfast is provided, and its central location allows guests to be in the thick of the action.

Das Park Hotel, Ottensheim, Austria
This is probably one of the most unique little hotels you’ll ever stay in – three large, repurposed cement drainpipes make up the ‘rooms’ of the hotel. There’s not much else besides  a double bed, storage and a lamp – although the top of the pipes do boast a ‘skylight’ should you miss having a window. The toilets and showers are located further away in the surrounding public space, so it’s not all bad. Just think of it like camping in a very sturdy tent.

The One Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Just because a hotel is tiny doesn’t mean it can’t be comfortable. The One Hotel, in the bustling centre of Siam Reap, is everything a luxury hotel should be, except that it has only one suite, so you have the whole place to yourself. The staff is there to cater to your every whim, and spa treatments can be taken anywhere you want. Feel like a midnight snack? The chef will create whatever you feel like eating.  In short, you’ll be treated like a king – and there’ll be no other guests to compete for attention.


BA Takes You On A Caribbean Break This Winter

Posted November 3, 2009 by BookingBuddy

Bigstockphoto_Boracay_Beach__96061small Start packing your swimsuits and sunglasses, and head to the Caribbean this winter! BA has launched several new flights to the Caribbean this season, bringing their total number of flights to the region up to 45 flights every week. The new flights will be between London Gatwick and Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic (both known for their sun-drenched beaches). These new routes mean that British Airways currently offer more flights to the Caribbean than any other UK carrier.

So if your summer tan is fast fading away and you’re languishing under layers of knitted jumpers, maybe it’s time to ask the boss nicely for a week or two off. After all, lounging about on the golden sands of a beach in St. Kitts, rum-based cocktail in hand, will surely help recharge your batteries in no time. Just tell your boss you’re trying to boost your productivity. If St Kitts or Montego Bay isn’t your scene, BA also offers flights to Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, and St. Lucia. Just open up a map of the Caribbean, close your eyes point, and BA will take you there.

And don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!


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