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
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
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
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future