Life and Style

For all the cuddly Thomas the Tank Engine nostalgia that surrounds Britain's railway history, it should never be forgotten that this was the story of capitalism in the raw. In the 19th century, fortunes were made but more typically lost and the winners were only too keen to signal their grand ambitions to the world.

Making staying in the new going out: 5 great ways to have fun without leaving the house

Even though it's freezing outside and you're skint anyway, there's still plenty of fun to be had inside. Here are five brilliant ways to have big nights in without breaking the bank

Investment View: Follow its boss and walk away from Punch

Punch Taverns took another kicking after its chief executive, Roger Whiteside, walked out to take charge of Greggs, the bakery chain. You can see why. Punch, an advert for everything that was wrong about the debt-fuelled madness which infected corporate Britain before the credit crunch, still faces significant problems.

Feathered friends: Venice carnival-goers

The Hedonist: Behind the mask in Venice

What to see and where to be seen

The Week In Radio: Saturday morning fever with master muso Mary Anne

"In another life I would have been out on the road DJing and dragging a record box around in the middle of the night in some shady club," remarked Mary Anne Hobbs at the start of her new weekend breakfast show on BBC6 Music.

Hollywood: An A-list invasion in the West End

More Hollywood-friendly stars than ever are swapping screen for stage in 2013.

An American Christmas: Why are we sacrificing British traditions for a yankified yuletide?

Candy canes a-plenty and silver lanes aglow; Christmas is undergoing a transformation, but it's not too late to stop it

Venice's bohemian bar suffers from drop in 'quality tourists'

Their establishment is as much a part of the Venice myth as the canals, gondolas and the Rialto Bridge. But now last orders have come for the Cipriani family, who have run Harry's Bar in Venice for 81 years.

Arrigo Cipriani pours a Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice

Last orders at Harry's Bar: banks call time on Venice's legendary Cipriani family

Their establishment is as much a part of the Venice myth as the canals, gondolas and the Rialto Bridge. But now last orders have come for the Cipriani family, who have run Harry's Bar in Venice for 81 years.

The Emperor's New Clothes (09/12/12)

Stop sniggering at the back. Yes, sperm counts are down, but that's no reason to write off all men
Very Moorish: Hôtel Heure Bleue Palais

The Hedonist: Wining and dining in Essaouira

What to see and where to be seen

Ricky Hatton's return to the ring ended in defeat, as he was knocked out by Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena.

Boxing: Body blow to Hatton's hopes of redemption

The Hitman's comeback ends in tears – and finally he throws in the towel

Joe McCanta, Cocktail maker: 'A dash of bitters - orange, lemon or celery - changes a whole drink'

My Life In Food: Joe McCanta, cocktail maker

McCanta started out bar tending in New York and went on to work for Saf raw food restaurants, opening Saf Restaurant and Bar in London in 2008. He has devised the cocktails for the Grey Goose Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation tomorrow. For tickets, go to ejaf.com

Make spooky cookies for your Halloween party

Halloween on a budget: five simple recipes

If you're having guests over for Halloween, the least you could do is cook up some frightening food. Read on for some killer recipes this Halloween.

Thirst for 'affordable luxuries' helps drinks giant Diageo hit £1bn sales

A thirst for "affordable" luxuries, in the shape of expensive cocktails in the trendiest bars, has helped global drinks giant Diageo record more than £1 billion in sales of its high end liquor in the past year.

Shanghai’s South Bund

Shaking it up in Shanghai

Waking up in the super-sleek bed in my room at The Waterhouse (1-3 Maojiayuan Road; 00 86 21 6080 2988; waterhouseshanghai.com) leaves me delightedly confused – the last time I awoke in Shanghai I was in a grotty hostel. This time around, we're poshing out at the minimalist boutique hotel in the up-and-coming Cool Docks – a refurbished part of Shanghai's South Bund.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past