Chester: Races, Romans and the River Dee

Make some history of your own with a visit to this captivating Cheshire city, says Lucy Gilmore

Halki: Time out on a timeless Greek island

On Halki the pace is slow, the food is good and the locals welcome you like one of the family. Linda Cookson succumbs to its laid-back charm

Howard Jacobson: It's that time of the year again, again

If the return of football is always cruel, this year it’s even crueller because it never went away

This boot was made for walking: Hiking the spur of Italy's heel

The stunning scenery of Italy's Gargano Peninsula's is no longer the preserve of pilgrims.

Album: Rodion Shchedrin, The Sealed Angel (Wergo)

First performed in 1988, Shchedrin's so-called "Russian Liturgy" was smuggled into the communist cultural landscape under the guise of a Nikolai Leskov story about the transcendent power of art.

Great works: Annunciation (1438-45), Fra Angelico

Museo de San Marco, Florence

A 12-day voyage through 2,000 years of history

The Black Sea has endured wars, revolutions, and the rise and fall of empires. Suzanne Cadisch took a cruise around its ports

Rhodes: Two sides to a Greek island

A new family resort on Rhodes has everything children want from a holiday. The challenge: convincing them to venture outside the gates

Two nations, one World Cup final and 440 years of hurt

Spain play the Netherlands tomorrow against a background of conflict that goes back centuries.

Album: Karl Jenkins Gloria/Te Deum (EMI Classical)

As with his earlier Adiemus and last year's Christmas album Stella Natalis, Karl Jenkins' new piece Gloria, while ostensibly a Christian work, embodies the kind of multi-cultural holism we're unlikely to encounter in either politics or pulpit, with readings from Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Islamic sources interspersed among the five movements like inscrutable musical sorbets.

Unearthed, the ancient texts that tell story of Christianity

A British bookbinder has restored ancient copies of the gospels dating back to the fourth century, writes Jerome Taylor

The General Synod of the Church of England: A brief introduction to the issues

The latest – and, arguably, the most important – meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod will start this Friday in York.

Pope launches mission to re-evangelise the West

Pope Benedict XVI has created a new office to "re-evangelise" the Western world in an attempt to roll back secularist advances in what the Vatican sees as the traditional heartland of Christendom.

Home of retired archbishop searched in sex abuse case

Police raided the home and office of the recently retired archbishop of Belgium yesterday, carrying off documents and a personal computer as part of an investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests, officials said.

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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas