Travel

Lose yourself in the enchanting scenery and crystal waters of this historic chain of islands – perfect for relaxation and activity alike

Sophie Heawood: Women rarely say, gosh, I've had the baby

I'd never given the American pop star Jessica Simpson much thought before. Nice blond hair, reality TV show origins, some songs I can't remember. Until last week, when she became so fully gestational that all her famous friends started banging on about it. "Has Jessica Simpson had that baby yet?! I'm getting anxious," tweeted fellow pop star Katy Perry. TV presenter Chelsea Handler, recently voted one of the world's most influential people by Time magazine, asked much the same thing, only worse: "How has Jessica Simpson still not given birth to this baby? I'm getting frightened." At the risk of suggesting that a woman who hasn't had a baby might not know as much about the subject as one who has, it is clear that neither Perry nor Handler know what it is to be very, very pregnant.

Rail union urges passengers to protest over ticket office closures

Thousands of rail passengers were today urged to back a union campaign to save hundreds of smaller ticket offices from closure.

From the Hans-Peter Feldmann exhibition at the Serpentine

Jester has the last laugh

The Serpentine Gallery's retrospective of Hans-Peter Feldmann proves that this prankster's work is playful but far from puerile, says Adrian Hamilton

From the Hans-Peter Feldmann exhibition at the Serpentine

Hans-Peter Feldman: Serpentine Gallery meets anarchic conceptual art

The Serpentine Gallery's retrospective of Hans-Peter Feldmann proves that this prankster's work is playful but far from puerile, says Adrian Hamilton

Harriet Bridgeman: The first lady of fine art

She owns more than 300,000 works by great artists from Da Vinci to Monet – or, at least, she retains the rights to reproduce their images. As Harriet Bridgeman's incredible art library celebrates 40 years, John Walsh meets its charismatic chief curator. Plus, she picks her favourite 'acquisitions'.

Zoe Leonard, Camden Arts Centre

The world usually rushes at us so quickly – its perfume, noise and changing weather, the skewing angles of our emotions and thoughts – that we find it hard to see.

How Soon Is Now?, By Richard King

To the younger generation of music fans, "indie" is a genre, a ubiquitous term used to describe artfully scruffy purveyors of white-boy guitar pop. In the late Seventies and Eighties, however, it was an abbreviation of "independent", used to distinguish the small, self-financed, artist-friendly record labels - the type started in garages, garden sheds and behind the counters of record shops - from their corporate counterparts.

Sporting glory: The opening ceremony of the 1924 Paris Olympics

Forgotten field of dreams: Visit the scene of Britain's triumph at the 1924 Olympics in Paris

You probably know the place, at least on screen. If you have seen either Chariots of Fire or Escape to Victory, you will have seen the centrepiece of those sporting thrillers: a stadium in the north-western reaches of Paris. Or, rather, you will not have seen it. Because the Stade du Matin is represented in the former feature by Bebington Oval in the Wirral, and in the latter by a stadium in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Yet by some miracle of neglect, the venue for the most celebrated 400m race in Olympic history – not to mention the 1938 World Cup Final – is still there, buried in the banlieue, and all yours to race around.

Chill factor: The splendour of the Grand Canyon in winter

A wintry, ice-draped Grand Canyon? Cool!

Presidents have praised the magnificence of this geological scar in the south-west US, yet most people only see it in summer. To enjoy this landmark in solitude – go with the snow, says Chris Leadbeater

Album: Pugwash, The Olympus Sound (Lojinx)

With the Seventies back in guilty-pleasure fashion, The Olympus Sound could be the album to bring Thomas Walsh's Pugwash the success he deserves.

No mod cons: Soneva Fushi in the Maldives offers guests
neither phones nor TVs. It's one of a new breed of
destinations where less (distraction) is more (relaxing)

'Black-hole' resorts: Turn up, tune out, log off

'Black-hole' resorts where mobiles are banned and the internet is anathema are set to be huge this year

A place of the beautiful and damned: Aerial view of Mauritius

The Prisoner of Paradise, By Romesh Gunesekera

It is 1825. Lucy Gladwell, a callow young Englishwoman, arrives in Mauritius to live with her aunt and uncle in a grand plantation house. She is, of course, ardent and plucky, idealistic and hopeful that here, away from stuffy England, she will be emancipated, find her true self and an all-consuming love.

A Card from Angela Carter, By Susannah Clapp

Dear Angela, wish you were here

Troubled Clinton Cards and JJB fight back with strong festive figures

Two of the high street's most embattled chains, JJB Sports and Clinton Cards, gave their battered shareholders cause for hope yesterday with an improvement in their trading over Christmas.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project