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While politicians agonise over the size of the Government’s debt, one of the most expensive publicly funded projects in recent years is quietly getting under way.

The Duke of Buccleuch is Europe's largest landowner with holdings valued at more than £1bn

Imagine a feudal country where 432 families own half the land. Welcome to Scotland

The country's vast estates are under threat of being broken up and sold to small farmers. The laird's response? Get off our land

Buckingham Palace has just opened for summer visits but staff will be working on zero-hours contracts

Buckingham Palace employs summer staff on 'zero-hours' contracts

Part-time staff are not guaranteed any hours but have to agree not to work for anyone else

Dawn Approach (left) defeats Toronado to win the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month

Glorious Goodwood: Declaration Of War can spike big guns in Sussex Stakes 'Duel on the Downs'

O'Brien four-year-old offers solid value against younger rivals Toronado and Dawn Approach

Squadron Leader Peter Tunstall, the cooler king of Colditz who failed to get the recognition he deserved

His death has raised questions about why he was never honoured

Lee Westwood said he needed his A game yesterday to win

The Open 2013: Major 'positives' for Lee Westwood but Tiger Woods speeds to the excuses

Westwood let a two-shot lead slip away as Phil Mickelson pulls-off the 'best round of my career'

Phil Mickelson plays out of the green-side bunker on the 15th

The Open 2013: Phil Mickelson fancies double Scotch

American believes he’s found secret that will  enable him to back up Castle Stuart victory

A woman cools her foot in a fountain during hot weather in Nottingham, central England May 8, 2008. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Heatwave, what heatwave? Hanging out in Britain's coldest spots

It's not all sweat and sweltering - from Ceredigion to Cornwall, find out what you could be up to in out of the heat

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Our MPs were made of sterner stuff in the 17th century

The ‘closest thing’ to a CEO, supposed Mr Nye, was the ‘Secretary and Keeper of the Records’

Richard Hawley received a nomination for Best Male, five years after his last nomination

Gig review: Richard Hawley, Somerset House, London

Dressed in black and protected by fifties-style shades, Richard Hawley explains the inspiration behind 'Don't Stare At The Sun': the mundane act of taking his youngest son kite flying. “What made it interesting was I was off me head on fucking acid”.

Palladio’s Palazzo Barbaran da Porto

Slice of the City: Vicenza - a trove of architectural treasures

Palladio’s grand buildings are a feature of this northern Italian city

The Blagger's Guide To: Historical fiction

All you need to know about the hottest literary topic of the week

The Beatles made it into The Feeling's 12-minute medley of British rock’s greatest achievements

The Beatles and Blur - but no Oasis or Rolling Stones - for the Queen's 12 minutes of British pop

The Feeling will perform the medley at Buckingham Palace this weekend

Wimbledon 2013 Men's Final: It was a game of clichés for the men in the commentary box

Until play actually started the BBC must have been quietly satisfied with its Wimbledon coverage. Or at least relieved. With an hour or so gone and virtually the whole country watching, at least none of their commentators had triggered a Twitter-storm – as John Inverdale had done the day before with his less-than-chivalrous remarks about Marion Bartoli and the hitherto unexplored Appearance/Trying Really Hard nexus.

Details of private military funeral to be held for murdered Woolwich soldier Lee Rigby announced

Drummer Lee Rigby, who was killed near his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London in May, will be given a private military funeral in Greater Manchester on 12 July.

Work to refurbish House of Lords toilets could cost up to £100,000

Work to refurbish House of Lords toilets could cost up to £100,000

Up to £100,000 will be spent sprucing up two toilets in the House of Lords, it has been revealed.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect