Travel An Edwardian gazebo in Kingston, passed as you meander along the river Thames

The Thames Path combines history with nature as it forges towards the capital from Hampton Court Palace

Barbecoa, 20 New Change Passage, London, EC4M 9AG

Before the TV shows, the bestselling books, the school-food campaigns and the browbeating of obese Americans, Jamie Oliver's approach to cooking was that of an experienced brickie – grab this brick, mix this cement, trowel the cement on here, plonk the mixture down there and bish, bosh, zing, zing, hey presto it's done. He convinced the nation that simplicity, rather than complexity, could deliver big flavours. Through the unveiling of his 15 restaurant, and his immensely popular Jamie's Italian chain, he has kept faith with the basic, the tasty, the honest-to-God. Devotees will be relieved to hear that his newest incarnation mostly maintains the tradition, at least when it comes to food. If only everything else about it were so simple.

Travel by numbers: Thanksgiving

This Thursday marks the biggest holiday celebrations in the US. Jonny Payne starts the countdown

From regal Runnymede you'll find more majesty along the Thames

Try finding Runnymede on a road atlas of Britain and you may well be thwarted. The seminal place where the Magna Carta was sealed fails to appear on many maps – including mine. Which seems odd, given that this was the birthplace of civil rights and modern democracy. All the more reason, then, to pay a visit.

The Timeline: The Blitz

Athlete/I Am Kloot, Old Royal Naval College, London

Rock festivals get everywhere these days. It seems every local authority with a small patch of grass wants to be in on the action, to earn kudos from having one or two mid-table bands play their back yard.

The Old Brewery, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10

This fine summer's evening we are travelling downriver to Greenwich, to partake of a whitebait dinner and a glass of Hospital Porter. How delightfully mid-19th century. In Dickens' time, Greenwich was famous for its whitebait – the small fry of various fish which bred abundantly in this polluted stretch of the Thames – and visitors would journey from far and wide for an infanticidal fry-up. The fish may come from Billingsgate Market these days, but the traditional Greenwich whitebait dinner is enjoying a revival, thanks to an appealing new venture from local brewers Meantime.

Seeing Further, Edited by Bill Bryson

This year the Royal Society celebrates its 350th birthday. The "Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge" was founded on 28 November 1660, when a dozen "ingenious and curious gentlemen" met at Gresham College, London, after a lecture by Christopher Wren, the 28-year-old Professor of Astronomy, and decided to found "a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning." Among the signatories of that historic memorandum were Wren, chemist Robert Boyle, clergyman and polymath John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and mathematician William, Viscount Brouncker.

Vicar's blessing for mobile phones

The Week In Radio: From female fascists to Jane Austen's iPod

Like the great white shark in Jaws that bobs up from nowhere, so P D James rose from apparently calm waters to devour an unwitting Mark Thompson. Did the Director General even see what was coming as the baroness sliced lethally through his arguments on the subject of BBC salaries and the need for the head of paperclips to earn £300,000? Either way, James's boat-rocking interview was a signal that this is going to be an important year for the corporation. An election is coming, and there is an Opposition with definite ideas about the BBC's future. So where better to start the debate than with programmes that truly justify the licence fee?

The Royal Society: Dilettantes to DNA via cuckoos and kites

It began as a talking shop for rich intellectuals but 350 years later, the Royal Society is the de facto national academy of science

My Life In Travel: Sam Neill, actor

'In Sardinia I met Harrison Ford on the beach, of all places'

Westminster Abbey to get its crowning glory, at last

£10m corona will realise Wren's vision
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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
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