Travel

Mons is embracing the future as it prepares for its role as next year’s European Capital of Culture, but it’s also steeped in intriguing history. Philip Sweeney explores its two sides

The 10 Best adventure playgrounds

No matter how chilly it is outside, come half term, you're going to need to tire out the children. Try one of these for size

The 12 Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park, are evidence of immense forces

Take the scenic route: A long weekend on Australia's Great Ocean Road

If the "wide brown land" of Australia is a Hob Nob then the Great Ocean Road is where it has been dunked into the roiling tea cup of the Southern Ocean. The road – perennial candidate for the title of World's Most Scenic Drive – runs westward for 242km along the crumbling coast of south-west Victoria from the town of Torquay, just west of Melbourne; keep on going around the coast and you hit Adelaide, 800km later.

Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao's Great Famine, By Yang Jisheng, trans. Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian

This epic work of testimony and investigation lays bare a Communist crime of the century

Television choices: Intricate web of secrets and stealth drives active agent

TV pick of the week: Spies of Warsaw

A Thornton Wilder Christmas, King's Head Theatre, London

There's a famous scene in Citizen Kane where Orson Welles chronicles the disintegration of a sixteen year marriage in two minutes of screen time through a montage of increasingly chilly breakfast confrontations.

Expert dismisses claims WWII pigeon code has been cracked

Historical advisor to Bletchley Park says Canadian historian's solution is 'just silly'

To lose your mother, as Murdoch has, is part of the slow progression into adulthood. Yes, even at 81

Rupert Murdoch's mother Dame Elisabeth died this week, it's a devastating and sometimes transformative experience at any age

Council fined £30,000 for 2007 warehouse blaze that left four firefighters dead

A local authority has been fined £30,000 for health and safety failures linked to a warehouse blaze in which four firefighters died.

'World's oldest person' Besse Cooper dies aged 116

The woman who was listed as the world's oldest person has died in a Georgia nursing home at age 116.

Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar has been given permission to wear his turban instead of traditional regimental headgear

First Sikh guardsman to be given permission to wear a turban instead of a bearskin

Palace under pressure not to break more than 100 years of tradition.

'Downtown Abbey' writer Julian Fellowes

Television: What Julian Fellowes did next

Just how gilded was this age, and how much nose-wrinkling might it have inspired in the dowager countess? The formidable Downton Abbey matriarch wasn't fond of new-moneyed Americans, the subjects of a new NBC series involving the ITV show's writer, Julian Fellowes.

House of Stone, By Anthony Shadid. Granta, £14.99

Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Shadid, foreign correspondent for the New York Times, died in February this year. Just 43, he suffered a fatal asthma attack while trying to leave Syria on horseback.

'Call The Midwife' and 'Downton Abbey' will not go head-to-head this Christmas

Downton Abbey versus Call The Midwife in Christmas Day ratings battle

After last year's EastEnders Downton clash, TV bosses are anxious to avoid making viewers choose

Seeing double: Samuel Barnett, Johnny Flynn and Mark Rylance in Twelfth Night

IoS theatre review: Twelfth Night, Apollo Shaftesbury, London
The Magistrate, NT Olivier, London
The Promise, Trafalgar Studios, London

Tim Carroll's all-male production of 'Twelfth Night' is both funny and touching in its exploration of love and sexuality

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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 15 May 2015
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory