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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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk