As the working year starts in earnest, you may have already found yourself dreaming of getting away. Just in case you need any extra excuses or inspiration, we've got a round-up of exciting cultural and creative events taking place in our fabulous destinations across the 2011 calendar. These are some of the best times not just to be in, but to be a part of a place. So don't just visit, get stuck in...
January 14th - 16th: Miami Art Deco Weekend
Miami Beach's Art Deco district kicks off the new year by diving back into the era of pastel design with the Art Deco Weekend. Celebrate the fantastic architecture of the 1920s and 1930s with everything from jazz to classic cars and a celebratory procession. The whole weekend is a tribute to the area's architecture and the period from which it grew. Auctions offer the opportunity to purchase memorabilia and collectable items salvaged from recent renovation.
For great deals on flights from London to Miami click here.
February 21st - 25th: Habano Cuban Cigar Festival, Cuba
Smokers of rich Cuban tobacco, known to be the world's finest, revel in their pleasurable vice at Havana's annual Habano Cuban Cigar Festival. Taking place from 21 – 25 February 2011, visitors can discover the workings behind cigar factories and tobacco plantations, try new cigars and attend seminars and workshops.
For direct flights to Havana from London, check out our great deals here.
March 10th to 13th: Taste of Sydney
Bring a healthy appetite to Taste of Sydney, an epicurean extravaganza held in Centennial Park. The city's top restaurants serve sample-sized plates of their signature dishes, which visitors gobble up with gusto and wash down with fine regional wines. At the Chef's Table, look out for renowned culinary masters who are there to chat and share their kitchen tips. Learn more about beer and wine in masterclasses, or simply enjoy a tipple or two while listening to the festival's live music.
Check out our deals on direct flights to Sydney here.
April 24th to 29th : Annual Antigua Sailing Week
Antigua Sailing Week rolls thrilling races, barbecues and rum punches into one unforgettable package. The gathering of over 200 participating yachts of varying sizes in Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour is truly a majestic sight. The week starts with the Around the Island Race and other highlights include the Beach Bash in Fort James, Beating of the Retreat in the romantic Nelson's Dockyard and the prize giving ceremony.
For flight info and fare deals for Antigua, click here.
May 17th: Buddha Jayanti Festival, Delhi
Buddha Jayanti celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautam Buddha in different years. Buddhist sites in Delhi, most notably the Buddha Jayanti Park, celebrate with prayer meetings and colourful events. Gautam Buddha, also known as the enlightened one, is believed to be the creator and first practitioner of Buddhism. Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima is a major festival for the Buddhist community across South Asia. On this day, mortal remains of Buddha are also brought out for public viewing by the National Museum in New Delhi.
Return fares from London to Delhi in 2011 start from £558 per person.
Boston Chowderfest - 29 June to 3 July 2011
More than 2000 gallons of this New England delicacy are served up in City Hall Plaza during Boston Chowderfest, a cornerstone of the annual Harborfest celebrations. Twelve of Boston's most ambitious restaurants ladle out their 'chowda' to be guzzled or shunned by voting fans. A few dollars gets you unlimited access to the best of the hot and creamy seafood soup. Fresh from the city's immense natural harbour, experts say that you can taste the unique essence of Boston's waters in the perfect clam chowder.
For great deals on direct flights to Boston, click here.
Crop Over Festival, Barbados – 2 August 2011
The end of the year's sugar cane season is celebrated in style at Bridgetown's annual Crop Over Festival. See the ceremonial delivery of the last sugar canes and limber up for addictive calypso dancing throughout the capital's streets. The festivities kick off with the traditional crowning of the festival king and queen, the most productive male and female cane cutters of the season. Carts are decorated in colourful designs and patterns for the cart parade and handicrafts and mouth-watering delicacies abound in Bridgetown Market during the festival.
For the best deals on direct flights to Barbados, click here.
Mid-Autumn Festival, Hong Kong – 12 September 2011
When the harvest moon is full and bright, Hong Kong lights up for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Thousands of lanterns in every shape, size and colour fill streets and public parks and visitors should head up to Victoria Peak for the most spectacular views. The festival also commemorates China's 14th-century uprising against Mongolian occupation. The call to revolt was hidden by rebels inside cakes smuggled to their compatriots. Today, in honour of this, people eat special yuek beng (moon cakes) - pastry crust filled with sugary fillings like lotus seed paste or red bean paste.
Check out our deals on direct flights to Hong Kong, here.
Anything we've missed? Know of any other unique local events happening in any of our destinations this year? Comments and suggestions welcome below as always.
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About the author: andrewAndrew Bowman
Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.