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February 2011

What To Do In The UK – March

Posted February 24, 2011 by BookingBuddy


19624qorqdmu08l Now that the days are getting longer and the air is warming up, there’s hardly any excuse for you to stay cooped up inside all the time! There’s no shortage of events this month that will entice you to come out and enjoy some sun.


6th March – Maslenitsa Festival, London

Kickstart Spring with a dose of Russian flavour at this festival in Trafalgar Square. The Maslenitsa event will feature live bands and choirs performing traditional Russian music on stage. There will be a range of kiosks and food stalls around Trafalgar Square, serving up an array of Russian delicacies such as blinis and borscht.


17th – 20th March – Antiques For Everyone Fair, Birmingham NEC

Ever dreamt of making a fortune from a dusty little ceramic vase – like those folks on the Antiques Roadshow? Visit the Antiques for Everyone fair and you may just pick up a few tips and some valuable antiques at the same time. The fair is crammed with over 400 dealers and millions of pounds worth of items ranging from teddy bears and textiles to kettles.


25th – 17th March – Hawick Reivers Festival, Hawick

The Scottish town of Hawick steps back in time this weekend, to commemorate the town’s turbulent and colourful history. A concert kicks off the proceedings, followed by a parade through town. Actors dressed in 16th century costumes will re-enact a series of trials on Saturday, with workshops, lectures and performances taking place throughout the weekend. 

(Photo: Rob Wiltshire)


Breaks In Ayia Napa, Cyprus

Posted February 23, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Cyprusbeach Ayia Napa has been a paradise for partygoers for years, so if you haven’t been there yet, it might be time to consider a trip soon! The clubs are far from the only attraction here – Ayia Napa’s incredible beaches, with their fine white sand and clear blue waters have drawn many visitors over the years. Relax on Nissi Beach and top up your tan with the beautiful people, or head to Cape Greco for a possible sighting of the mythical Ayia Napa Sea Monster.



Ayia Napa Monastery – Visit this historic monastery for a tranquil respite from hung over clubbers and sunburnt beach bodies. Ayia Napa Monastery sits in the centre of town, on the site of an illuminated icon discovered by a hunter. The sycamore tree by the gate is thought to be over 600 years old, and the cool fountain in the courtyard was built nearly 500 years ago.



Napa Mermaid Hotel – Forget the cheap fittings and crowded public areas of other resorts on Ayia Napa – the Napa Mermaid Hotel offers guests a chance to relax in quietly elegant surroundings. The rooms are decorated in neutral, luxurious furnishings, and look out over the sea. The facilities include both an outdoor pool and a heated indoor pool, as well as a gym, tennis court and spa. Room rates start from £60.



Clarabel Restaurant – This family-run restaurant offers an array of Mediterranean and Cypriot dishes on its menu. Enjoy a variety of mezes, or enjoy the flambé dishes, cooked on a portable flambé trolley right in front of your table!


Check here for Ayia Napa travel information


(Photo: Paolo Neo)

Breaks In Cyprus

Posted February 22, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Cypruschurch If Ayia Napa is the only thing that comes to mind when you think of Cyprus, then it may be time for another visit to this sunny Mediterranean island! History buffs will have a great time exploring archaeological sites or simply wandering through the historic streets of Nicosia. The Troodos Mountains covers a significant portion of the island, is home to some of the oldest trees on earth! It is also a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders.



Bellapais Gardens – Set in a romantic landscape of fertile gardens and meandering paths, the Bellapais Gardens in Kyrenia is the ideal destination for a relaxing getaway. With only 17 self-contained cottages, you’ll be sure to enjoy some tranquillity while staying here. Most of the cottages come with a terrace when you can enjoy views that stretch all the way to the sea. Bellapais Abbey is only a minute away from the hotel, and can be seen while you have a relaxing swim in the spring water pool. Room rates start from around £50.



Nicosia – A tale of two cities unfolds daily in Nicosia – it is the capital city of both Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, with the Green Line dividing Nicosia in half. On the Cypriot side, the picturesque Old City is popular with visitors. The narrow streets are filled with the scent of jasmine and lined with a multitude of shops. The historic Famagusta Gate houses a cultural centre, and the Ledra Observatory Museum gives visitors a bird’s eye view of Nicosia.



Antonaros Tavern – This unassuming little restaurant in Limasol has only mezedes on its menu, so you’ll be able to sample a wide array of local dishes at once. There are plenty of familiar items, such as dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), halloumi and soulaki. You’ll also find some seafood dishes here, and freshly grilled fish.  


Check here for cheap flights to Cyprus.


(Photo: Paolo Neo)

Heston Blumenthal Vs. Inflight Meals

Posted February 17, 2011 by BookingBuddy

British-Airways_web Ever wondered why inflight food hardly ever tastes good? Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal attempts to answer that question while trying to satisfy the tastebuds of 100 000 airline passengers. He will be doing all that and more, in the tiny confines of a plane’s galley. This will all be part of his Heston’s Mission Impossible programme, to be shown on Channel 4.


Blumenthal will be collaborating with BA crew members Jackie Simister and Simon Curley in order to come up with a meal that will taste just as good at 35 000 feet in the air as it does on the ground. They will be working with Steve Walpole, BA’s develop chef to develop that meal, which will then be judged by a tasting panel.


Changing the bad reputation of airline food may seem like an impossible mission, but Blumenthal is no stranger to challenges. If anything, the award-winning chef of the Fat Duck Restaurant in Bray seems jump at them. He recently gave the menu at Little Chef a make-over, and will also attempt to do the same for NHS meals in the Heston’s Mission Impossible series. If his menu for BA proves successful, then BA passengers will be able to enjoy his creations as part of their inflight meals. Anyone ready for snail porridge, followed by bacon-and-egg ice cream?


Breaks In Turks and Caicos

Posted February 16, 2011 by BookingBuddy

It’s only about an hour’s flight from Miami, but life on Turks and Caico’s seems a world away from the fast pace of city life. Don’t worry if you can’t quite decide where you want to spend your break – the islands are small enough and close enough that you can easily squeeze several of them in during a short break. You’ll find all the trappings of a must-visit Caribbean destination here – crystal clear waters, fine white sand and colourful reefs. You may also be able to spot a herd of humpback whales off the coast, or a donkey wandering the streets of a quiet country town.



Grand Turk Lighthouse – This working lighthouse has had a long and rather turbulent history, starting with its construction in the UK over 150 years ago. It was then brought over to Grand Turk brick by brick, and rebuilt on the island’s northern tip. The lighthouse runs on electricity these days, and the old lens is now on display in the museum.



Da Conch Shack – True to its name, Da Conch Shack’s specialty is conch, served cracked, curried, stewed and almost any other way you can think of. The conchs are served fresh from the sea, caught by local fishermen and kept in pens near the shack. Those who aren’t into conch needn’t worry, there’s plenty of other seafood and even jerk chicken on the menu. Wash down all down with a pitcher of Jan’s Infamous Rum Punch, and enjoy a rum cake or real rum and raisin ice cream before you leave.



Osprey Beach Hotel – Fall asleep to the calming sounds of the waves lapping against the shore at the Osprey Beach Hotel in Grand Turk. There are 27 rooms that open onto the beachfront, and another 10 more that look into a lush tropical courtyard. The suites are equipped with kitchens so you can enjoy your own home-cooked meals, or head to the Birdcage Restaurant for some local cuisine. Room rates start from around £65. 


Check here for Turks and Caicos travel information. 


Breaks In Jamaica

Posted February 15, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Like her Caribbean neighbours, Jamaica has plenty of sun, sea and sand, but it is its turbulent past and distinctive culture that set it apart. The local cuisine is unforgettable – take some time out to try some ackee and saltfish, and local fruits such as star apples, guineps and jackfruits. Negril’s dramatic black and blue landscape and laidback lifestyle is perfect for those who want a relaxing holiday. The Blue Mountains offers visitors a chance to see the world’s second largest butterfly and numerous unique plants, as well as some of the best coffee in the world.



Hot Pot – This casual, unpretentious joint serves food that’s nothing like the bland hotel fare you’ll find in the tourist traps nearby. The menu at Hot Pot features comfortable Jamaican home-cooking, the sort of stuff you’ll enjoy if you had a Jamaican grandmother. Enjoy ackee and saltfish, curried mutton, stewed pork or beef, and a plethora of animal parts served with beans. Wash it all down with a can of Red Stripe or refreshingly cold coconut water.



Blue Cave Castle – True to its name, the Blue Cave Castle is an incredible castle-shaped building, set just above a glittering blue cave rumoured to be a former pirates’ hideout. All the rooms here have wonderful views, and a couple of rooms have direct access to the ocean and the eponymous Blue Cave via a series of steps chiselled into the cliff. Room rates start from £38.



Dunn’s River Falls – If you think Dunn’s River Falls look familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it in a film or two. Jamaica’s most spectacular waterfalls are popular with visitors as well as filmmakers. It’s a wonderful escape on hot days, as the water cools you down while you’re hiking up the falls. Pack a skimpy swimsuit and pretend you’re Ursula Andress (or Sean Connery) while splashing about in the pools here. 


Check here for Jamaica travel information.


Adults Only?

Posted February 10, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Girl-crying-on-plane Sick of the child behind you kicking the back of your seat all through your eight hour flight? Well, you may not have to put up with that scenario for much longer, if certain campaigners get their way. 1000 business travellers at the recent Business Travel and Meetings Show were asked what they found most annoying about air travel.


Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they were irritated by children on planes. Some felt that airlines should provide adult-only flights, or introduce child-free sections similar to the Quiet Carriages on some trains.


This view was supported by travel journalist Dave Richardson, who said ‘I definitely think introducing an adults-only cabin or service is a good idea and it would work well on high-frequency routes so that families could be accommodated on other services. On long-haul routes I might look to more innovative airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Emirates or Etihad to consider taking this on board. Many airlines will continue to operate the B747 far into the future, so making the upper deck adults-only should not represent a huge logistical problem, and most airlines also have business class seats downstairs on 747s.”


However, not all travel experts agree with this view, with some deeming the idea ‘unethical’. Paul Charles, the former director of Virgin Atlantic, commented that ‘It would be a bad decision by an airline to ban children. Once you did, would you start banning other types of travellers?’

What are your thoughts on this? Are you happy to put up with kids near you, or would you prefer to fly in a child-free environment?


Breaks In Grenada

Posted February 9, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Grenada Discover the spicy side of life with a holiday in Grenada! The beaches here are less crowded than some other Caribbean islands, but they are no less beautiful. Away from the beaches, you’ll discover an abundance of cool waterfalls, flourishing nature reserves, and notable forts. Visitors may also want to check out the spice plantations and bring home some freshly harvested spices for themselves.



Petit Anse Hotel – Located in a beautiful, secluded cove, the Petit Anse Hotel provides guests with beachfront views, as well as a tranquil garden to relax in. Unwind on your four poster bed while the ceiling fan keeps you cool in your room. The hotel is not far from a beach where turtles lay their eggs, so you may even be able to go turtle-watching! Room rates start from £75.



Gouyave Nutmeg Factory – Visit this nutmeg processing plant to for an insight into why Grenada is known as the ‘Island of Spice’. Nutmeg and mace, the island’s most popular exports, are sorted and processed in this factory, one of Grenada’s largest processing facilities. Get a personalised jute bag from the stencil room to remember your trip, and visit ‘Nutmeg World’ for pre-packaged spices.



La Sagesse – Sitting on a stretch of dramatic black sand beach, La Sagesse is famous for its fresh fish and seafood, as well as for its take on Grenadian cuisine. Their ‘Catch of the Day’ platter features the best of the day’s catch. Other dishes include savoury lambi (conch) creole, grilled lobster tail, filet mignon and chicken piccata.


Check here for Grenada travel information



Breaks In The Cayman Islands

Posted February 8, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Cayman-islands It may be better known as a tax haven, but you don’t need to have a chunky bank account to enjoy yourself in the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman’s long coastline is the millionaires’ playground, filled with glitzy hotels and expensive shops. If you’re seeking somewhere less commercial, then head for Little Cayman, where you’re more likely to run into a scaly blue iguana than a blue suited banker. The clear waters and colourful reefs around the island have made it a firm favourite with divers.



Hell – Your friends back home may not believe you when you say you’ve been to Hell and back, so remember to send them a postcard! Hell is not other people, but a series of craggy ironshore formations on Grand Cayman. The formations have become quite a popular attraction, and can be seen from two viewing platforms. You can also visit the Hell-themed post office nearby or pop into the gift shop for a photo with ‘Satan’.



Aunt Sha’s Kitchen – Follow the locals to this hot pink building on Cayman Brac for some tasty homecooked goodness. The best seats in the house are on the patio during high tide, when you’ll be able to dine with the sharks as they swim in the water beneath. Enjoy Caymanian cuisine such as conch fritters, grilled kingfish and key lime pie.



Pirates Point Resort – Unlike the pirates, you won’t be suffering from scurvy while at Pirates Point Resort, as the resort’s owner is an award-winning chef, and the daily buffet spreads are laid on by highly trained gourmet chefs. With such a stellar line-up in the kitchen, you may be tempted to stay in the dining room all day. Work off those calories with a dip in the freshwater swimming pool, or a stroll along the private beach. Room rates start from around £90.


Check here for Cayman Islands travel information



Breaks In Barbados

Posted February 3, 2011 by BookingBuddy

Barbados Having trouble deciding on your next holiday destination? What about enjoying a trip to Barbados, where it’s summer all year round! This Caribbean island’s white beaches and clear waters have made it a firm favourite with visitors. The lush green hills inland are dotted with beautiful colonial buildings – many of which have been turned into restaurants or hotels. Grab your scuba gear and explore the jewel-like coral reefs that ring the island, or brave the swells for a spot of unforgettable surf.



Sunbury Plantation House – Learn about the history of Barbados at this sprawling colonial house. The walls of this 300 year old mansion are built from coral (from the surrounding reefs) and ballast stones (from the English ships that exported sugar from the island). Join a tour to see the interior, still furnished in original pieces from the colonial era.



The Sandpiper – Kick off your dream holiday with a stay at this elegant beachside resort. The Sandpiper is set in the midst of a peaceful tropical garden and is fronted by a sandy beach. Accommodation here ranges from standard rooms and suites, to the luxurious Tree Top Suites, each with their own private terrace and swimming pool. Enjoy Caribbean-inspired dishes from the restaurant’s menu, or indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa. Room rates start from £130.



Oistins – A fish fry completes the quintessential Bajan experience, so head to the town of Oistins for a Friday night knees-up with the locals. Get freshly caught and grilled fish from the little huts on the beach – chose from tuna, marlin, lobster and of course, flying fish. Top it all off with a hearty serving of macaroni pie, coleslaw, or breadfruit, and then work off the calories with a dance or stroll along the beach. 


Check here for Barbados travel information



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