Travel Vibrant Guangzhou

Adjust your body clock and explore an exciting city en route, says Simon Calder

Lake escape: the Hotel Lenno in Italy

Travel deals - UK spa breaks, Barcelona, and skiing in the Dolomites

Deals of the week

Under £200... Recuperate on a UK spa break

Secret Escapes offers a range of day spa breaks in the UK. Examples include access to The Malvern Spa in Worcestershire for £65 per guest, with a 30-minute treatment, use of the spa and a light lunch between now and March, when booked by tomorrow. secretescapes.com

Get me out of here - Mauritius, Madeira, cruising the Arctic Circle

Now... Grab some winter sun in Mauritius

Depart on 5 December for a week in Mauritius. Western & Oriental's offer on the Indian Ocean island is £1,159pp for seven nights at the Veranda Paul & Virginie resort, with all meals, transfers and Emirates flights from Heathrow via Dubai included. westernoriental.com

The cheapest time to travel is between April and June

How to explore Australia

Our guide to getting there, getting in, and getting around

A Hindu devotee, whose body is pierced with skewers, takes part in the religious festival of Panguni Uthiram in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 26, 2013. The festival is observed in the Tamil month of Panguni and is celebrated in honour of the Hindu god Muruga. The devotees make offerings to lord Muruga with sacrificial feats they believe will keep them away from evil spirits. REUTERS/Babu

New study shows how inflicting pain in religious festivals increases charitable giving

Researchers compared two rituals - one involving only praying and singing, the other requiring participants to pierce their bodies with hooks, skewers and needles

An elderly couple take a quite moment near the peak of Chopok mountain in Low Tatra mountains

Expats call for fairer pension payouts

Half of pensioners abroad have had their pension frozen. That’s not right, they say

Get me out of here - rural Portugal, Mauritius, Egypt

Now... Depart this month for a break in rural Portugal. Sunvil has four nights' B&B at two Pousadas (historic hotels) split between Estremoz and Alcacer do Sal, with TAP flights from Heathrow to Lisbon, car hire and one dinner for £542 per person. Sunvil.co.uk

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Thomson takes delivery of first Dreamliner plane

The first UK airline to fly the ultra-green Dreamliner plane finally took delivery of its initial aircraft today.

Travel Agenda: The Refinery in New York City; new Generator Hostel opens in Berlin and new range of travel luggage by Knomo

From hip Berlin hostels to luxury luggage and Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-o-Matic ride

Anger at McAreavey murder photos

The publication of crime scene photographs of Michaela McAreavey, who was murdered on her honeymoon in Mauritius, marks a new low, her family said.

Publication of photos of Michaela McAreavey triggers family outcry

The publication of crime scene photographs of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey's body by a Mauritian newspaper marks a new low, her family said.

Some like it hot: the Mount Cinnamon Beach Club and Resort in Grenada

Summer 2012: Sun guaranteed

Head to the far south of Italy for sun-drenched days on Puglia's beaches. Long Travel (01694 722193; long-travel.co.uk) is offering free B&B at Masseria Torre Coccaro, near Fasano, for children aged up to 12 this summer. This 39-room five-star hotel is set in a 17th-century masseria that counts a chapel among its charming buildings.

McAreavey suspects 'tortured'

A man charged with murdering the daughter of one of Ireland's best-known sporting personalities yesterday claimed that police interrogators had held his head in a bucket of water and partially suffocated him with a towel.

Sheila Hancock: Holding forth on Just a Minute on 'hope over experience'

Recycled Radio, Radio 4, Monday
Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle, Radio 4, Tuesday

Welcome to Hancock's half-minute (and other utter failures)

Somali security forces take part in a detention of mock pirates during a training drill in Mogadishu

World leaders plan crackdown on Somali pirates

As David Cameron hosts summit to tackle threat to trade on the Indian Ocean, Britain is accused of soft-pedalling the issue

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'