The column that gives you the global picture

Destination of the week: lunch your way through New York and Boston

For the last week of this month, from Monday 25 June to Friday 29 June, some of Manhattan's best restaurants will be cutting the cost of lunch to $20.01 (the odd cent is deliberate, to match the current year), which is a shade over £14. Two hundred restaurants will be participating; details from the New York City tourist office in London on 020-7437 8300 or at The flat rate does not include tax or tip (which can add one-third to the bill), nor drinks.

Boston pinches the idea of a three-course prix-fixe lunch menu for $20.01 later in the summer, from 20 August to 24 August. Fifty restaurants will participate, including Abe & Louie's, Atlantic Fish, and Todd English's new Bonfire Restaurant, opening this month at the Park Plaza Hotel. More details from Boston's tourist office in the UK, on 020-7431 3434.

Bargain of the week: a short break for small change ­ Birmingham, Berwick or Bodmin to Bruges for £50 or less

Combining promotional offers can get you from many places in Britain to Bruges for the weekend for under £50.

A Connex special from Charing Cross in London via the Dover-Ostend SeaCat to the Belgian city gives you three days for just £29 return. Book in advance at principal rail stations or through Hoverspeed (08705 240241, The deal should be unaffected by the imminent transfer of Connex's rail franchise to Govia.

From Birmingham or Coventry, you can travel to London for £7.50 return; from Manchester or Liverpool, £10; from Glasgow, £14.50. These apply on the half-price Virgin Value offer, available only by phone on 08457 222 333 or at

Other train operators are offering summer promotions to London. GNER (08457 225 225, has a fare £15 or £20 return from 5-28 June on East Coast Main Line trains from Edinburgh and points south to London.

First Great Western (0845 601 0573) has a deal from Exeter and Taunton to Paddington for £15 return, and from stations between Penzance or Plymouth for £20 ­ but you must quote reference 0154 when phoning to book.