Student

For some language courses, a year in Paris is usual. But if you're reading Arabic, you have to travel a little further afield, as Rosie Collington found out

Travel Challenge: A half-term family holiday in the sun

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specified holiday. Today: a holiday in the sun for February half- term. Prices are for a family of four (with two children under 12) and require no time out of school.

Ospreys raise glass to James' singular double

Scarlets 14 Ospreys 21

Simon Calder: A serene spot to mark a true moment of madness

"Only 15 miles from London, the picturesque Esher venue offers outdoor event space as well as flexible indoor facilities with ample parking" – so trills the publicity for Sandown Park racecourse.

The Traveller's Guide to the Red Sea

Blue skies, golden sands and a rainbow of dazzling colours beneath the surface make this body of water the ideal winter warmer. Matthew Teller dives in

My Life In Travel: Frank Gardner

'I dodged pirates and went skinny-dipping in Thailand'

Griddled prawn and asparagus salad

Serves 4 as a main

Undeterred pirates hijack four more ships

Undeterred by US and French hostage rescues that killed five bandits, Somali pirates brazenly hijacked four more ships in the Gulf of Aden, the waterway at the centre of the world's fight against piracy.

The Complete Guide To: Petra

Retrace the footsteps of Roman generals, nomads and Indiana Jones as you explore the ancientmonuments of Jordan's desert.

World's ships held to ransom by pirates' growing greed

The 1,000 or so Somalis creating chaos in the Indian Ocean are living like kings, and there's little anyone can do to stop them

Family travel: 'Where's best for baby-friendly winter sun?'

Q My husband and I are looking for a winter sun destination for us and our two-month-old baby in early December. We are desperate for a beachside activity-based holiday, with watersports, tennis and golf (if possible). However, I am struggling to find a crèche that will take a baby that young. Surely there are other young mums like myself out there who are keen to line up a postnatal activity break? Can you suggest some hot, baby-friendly beach and activity destinations? L Cameron, via email

Fried chilli prawns with pea shoots

Serves 4

Elissalde manages to cramp Geraghty's style in the sunshine

England tiro runs himself into ground as French limp home

Sailor to recreate Phoenicians' epic African voyage

On the ancient Syrian island of Arwad, which was settled by the Phoenicians in about 2000BC, men are hard at work hammering wooden pegs into the hull of a ship.

Russian police head to London for Litvinenko investigation

Vladimir Putin is sending a special squad of Russian police to Britain to investigate the killing of former spy Alexander Litvinenko.

How to improve holidays with children

Hey Mum, let's rough it in the wild
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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