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Christmas Markets Around The UK

Posted November 11, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Christmas-market With just over a month left until Christmas, it may want to get a start on your Christmas shopping, (unless you fancy getting into a fistfight over the last PSP left in Curry’s). Sites like eBay and Amazon may make Christmas shopping easy, but they take all the fun out of actually choosing the perfect gift. This year, if you’d like to get a gift that’s just right for that special someone, why not visit check out these Christmas markets and fairs instead? Enjoy some Christmas treats, have fun and search for that perfect gift while you’re there.

 

12th November – 19th December - Christkindelmarkt, Leeds

This hugely popular Christmas market takes place in Millenium Square, which is transformed into a German-style market for the duration. The wooden chalet house stalls selling products from German traders – jewellery, handmade toys and cards, as well as Christmas decorations. Feast on gluhwein, bratwurst, stolen and warming soups.

 

19th November – 4th January - Winter Wonderland, London

Hyde Park is transformed into a – you guessed it – winter wonderland for this Christmas extravaganza. There will be over 100 craft stalls here, as well as food and drink stalls and cafes. Take a break from shopping and show off your skills on the ice-skating rink, or enjoy a ride in the huge Ferris wheel. You’ll also find a number of rides here, from hair-raising thrill rides to more sedate carousels. Don’t forget to visit Father Christmas in his grotto before you leave!

 

3rd – 19th December - Dickens Christmas Market, Rochester

Immerse yourself in a Victorian-style Christmas market on Rochester’s High Street. Actors dressed in period costumes stroll through the streets, while carollers entertain passersby outside the market. The market stalls offer a variety of unusual items such as candy bouquets, juggling equipment, stuffed toys and handmade candles. Treat yourself to goodies like waffles, roast chestnuts, hot chocolate and mulled wine.

 

 (Photo: ivebeenthere.co.uk)

 

Know Your Passenger Rights

Posted July 8, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Passenger rights  The chaos caused by the Icelandic ash cloud may have subsided, but the fallout continues. Thousands of passengers were left stranded, and had to deal with the ordeal of cancelled flights and lost luggage. Through it all, many were also unsure of what sort of compensation (if any) they were entitled to.

 

The ash cloud crisis has also highlighted the fact that many passengers are unclear about their rights, and how they deserve to be treated by transport companies. However, the European Commission has now announced plans to change that with an eye-catching publicity campaign about passenger rights.

 

The EC’s Europe-wide campaign covers 23 languages, and includes a website where passengers can go to check up on their rights. There will also be posters and leaflets in airports throughout Europe. The campaign aims to educate passengers on the treatment they can expect from air and rail companies, and covers vital issues such as lost luggage, cancellations, and delays. The EC also plans to extend these rights to passengers using other forms of transport, such as coaches and ferries.

 

It may be too late now to claim a refund or compensation for your cancelled flight, but why not head on over to the website to have a look anyway? The next time a volcano decides to disrupt your travel plans, at least you’ll know what you can expect from the airlines.

 

(Photo: boardingarea.com)

Breaks In Riga – Riga Hotels

Posted June 1, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Riga_places  With so many cheap flights flying to Riga these days, there’s no excuse not to pay this enchanting city a visit. The Latvian capital has a very pretty Old Town with cobblestoned streets, so put on a good pair of shoes and spend hours exploring. Most of the historic buildings, including a plethora of visually stunning Art Deco architecture, have been carefully restored after their destruction in World War Two. Riga’s Left Bank is pleasantly green, so you can simply cross the river Daugava when you feel like you need a break from the city.


Stay

Old City Boutique Hotel – True to its name, the Old City Boutique Hotel is located in the heart of the Old City. Exploring the city is thus extremely convenient, with most of the sights only a short walk or bus ride away. Behind the sleek modern facade is a hotel imbued with history. Many of the walls have been restored to their original, bare brick state, with many black and white photographs of Riga artfully displayed on them. The rooms themselves are cosy and comfortable, and many also feature the beautiful original walls. Room rates start from about £65.

 

See

The Sun Museum – Take some time out to visit this unusual museum, possibly the only one of its kind around. The Sun Museum is solely dedicated to, well, the Sun, and its various representations. The museum was started by an individual with a sun-shaped pendent, and has since grown to include hundreds of models and drawings of the Sun. It’s a great place for those with children, as the museum also conducts a creative workshop, where visitors are given white plaster models of the sun to paint and take home.

 

Eat

Alus Ordenis – Enjoy medieval-style Latvian cuisine served by waitresses dressed in traditional costumes at this casual beer hall. The food itself seems inspired by Polish and German cuisine, with many dishes featuring potatoes and lots of meat. Most dishes seem fairly familiar – potato pancakes, various stews and salads, and lamb or chicken chop. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, have a go at the more exotic dishes like pigs’ tails, or bulls’ testicles. Wash it all down with some local beer, or perhaps some bread soup for dessert.


Check here for cheap flights to Riga.

(Photo: orangesmile.com)

Raise A Toast To St. Patrick

Posted March 17, 2010 by BookingBuddy

St-pattys-day-beer It’s time to put your best green foot forward and celebrate with a brew as St. Patrick’s Day rolls around once again. While green may be the traditional colour for this day, it’s not the most appetising colour for a pint of beer (and just think what all that food colouring is doing to your insides). Treat yourself to some real Irish beer instead, either at a pub, or better still, visit the brewery to try a pint straight from the tap.

Guinness
– This thick, foamy stout is possibly the most famous beer to flow from Dublin. The original brewery at St. James’s Gate has been pumping out countless pints of the stuff since 1759, and is still going strong to this day. Fans of the beer can also take a peek into the manufacturing process at the Storehouse, a seven-story museum dedicated to Guinness.

Smithwick’s
– Marketed as “ Ireland’s Oldest Ale”, this red ale comes from the scenic city of Kilkenny. The brewery – St. Francis Abbey Brewery – stands on the ruins of a Franciscan abbey, and records show that monks have been producing ale on the site since the 14th century. This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Smithwick’s brand, and the brewery is planning some events to celebrate the momentous birthday.

Murphy’s Irish Stout
– This sweet, milky stout comes from picturesque County Cork, and although it may not be as famous as Guinness, it certainly has its fair share of fans. Murphy’s also sponsors ‘Little Big Nights Out’, with lots of free gigs, festivals and delicious food in various venues around Cork.


(Photo: brownstoner.com)

Breaks In Oslo – Oslo Hotels

Posted March 16, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Oslo-opera-house_1201788i Explore the great outdoors without leaving the comforts of city life in Oslo. With the majestic Oslofjord literally on its doorstep, Norway’s capital city can boast some of the most stunning surroundings you’re likely to encounter. Explore the pleasant, cobbled city streets with their brightly painted buildings, or just spend a warm sunny day having a picnic in one of the many green parks. Get a taste of traditional Norwegian dishes before you leave – you’re unlikely to find moose and reindeer in the menus of your local takeaways back home.

See
Nobel Peace Centre – Located in a former train station in the city centre, this museum showcases the history of the Nobel Prize and often holds exhibitions on the lives and activities of its winners. Guided tours are available in Norwegian or English, but need to be booked in advance. The centre is very child-friendly, and feature many games and activities specially designed for younger visitors.

Eat
Lorry – This rather crowded restaurant serves up a feast for the eyes as well as for your tastebuds. The décor is unusual, to say the least, with stuffed giraffes and bears taking pride of place among lots of paintings and sculptures. Oslo’s cultural elites are known to hang out here for a few nibbles. The food is modern with a slight Norwegian twist, featuring lots of seafood and meat. Try the reindeer burgers with lingonberries if you’re after unusual, otherwise, there’s lots of safer options like the Caesar salad or club sandwich.

Stay

Scandic Byporten – It may be a chain hotel, but the convenient location makes it popular with many visitors. The Scandic is right in the city centre, practically hugging the central train station. The rooms themselves are very clean and unfussy, yet very comfortable. The bar has a surprisingly cosy atmosphere, with wooden beams and candlelight tables. You get a free breakfast thrown in, with tasty Fairtrade coffee and a huge range of food at the buffet. Room rates start at about £150, and include breakfast.

Check here for cheap flights to Oslo

(Photo: telegraph.co.uk)

Breaks In Betws-y-Coed – Betws-y-Coed Hotels

Posted January 5, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Swallow_falls Betws-y-Coed is the kind of ridiculously picturesque village you usually only see in magazines. About thirty minutes by train from Llandudno, it has mossy green woods, impossibly clear streams, cute little stone cottages, and a couple of impressive waterfalls. While the village offers its own attractions, it also makes a great starting point for those of you wishing to explore the rest of Snowdonia National Park.

Stay
Swallow Falls Hotel – Located about a mile away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre, this 19th-century coaching inn also offers a YHA hostel, and a campsite in the warmer months. Stunning mountain scenery surrounds the hotel grounds, and guests have the added advantage of right across the road from the spectacular Swallow Falls. A hearty breakfast (included in the price of the room) is served in the attached tavern, and the pub by the entrance offers cheap, unpretentious meals. Room rates start at £60 per night.

See
Swallow Falls – Also known as Rhaeadr Ewynnol, Swallow Falls is one of the country’s largest waterfalls. There are a series of steps and some viewing platforms built beside the waterfall, to provide visitors with views of the falls without having to get their feet wet. Follow the river Llugwy downstream through some verdant woods, and discover half-hidden old mines and other treasures.

Eat
Buffet Coach Café – Set in an old wooden train carriage beside the train station’s single platform, the Buffet Coach Café offers comfort food in a comfortable setting. The menu offers unpretentious dishes – home-cooked soup, baked potatoes, sandwiches, fish and chips. For those with a sweet tooth, the hot chocolate comes in a satisfyingly large mug, overflowing with cream, marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles. The homemade teacakes are delicious, especially with a dollop of local butter.

Check here for flights to Llandudno.

(Photo: snowdoniaguide.com)

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