The Big Six: Mexican hideaways

Windswept beaches, chocolate-based spa treaments, rustic rooms, art hotels, edible blooms, and old colonial buildings

The return of the Whopper: Burger King makes comeback in France

The firm is planning to open up to 400 restaurants in the next few years

Postcard from... Dietramszell

Set in the wooded foothills the Bavarian Alps, the idyllic country town of Dietramszell is usually best known as a tourist attraction.

Belfast man 'bursts into flames' in sports shop

The man ran through the Cornmarket area of Belfast with his clothes on fire

Howdy foodies: Bloggers and grandmother front Sainsbury's advert

Move over, celebrity chefs. Sainsbury's has called up three little-known bloggers and a grandma to front its latest campaign. Gillian Orr on a new recipe for advertising

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Would sir like a waffa-thin reform?

Sometimes Nick Clegg  is so forthright that – endearingly – he  frightens even himself

A requisitioned employee carries pieces of meat under the surveillance of a policeman at a butchery's depot in Narbonne, southern France

French police arrest 21 people over sale of laboratory horse meat to the public

Twenty-one people have been arrested after an investigation into claims that meat from horses used in laboratory experiments was sold for food.

Postcard from... Kassel

The Up & Away restaurant was built for airline passengers but there is not much “up” happening at the brand new airport it caters for, just outside the provincial German city of Kassel. However “away” is in plentiful supply. Opened in April and costing €270m (£226m), Kassel-Calden is a classic case of political and bureaucratic bungling.

Fit for a king: the Royal Suite

Room Service: The St Regis, Florence

A palazzo with pedigree is reborn

Travel agenda

From Berlin's boutique Bikini to winter walks and Posh Phuket

Review: 'Demons: our changing attitudes to alcohol, tobacco and drugs', By Virginia Berridge (Oxford University Press, £16.99)

A table published in the Lancet in 2007 ranked substances for harmfulness, and it made headlines when it placed alcohol ahead of crack cocaine and ketamine (“Special K”, to those who enjoy administering a horse tranquiliser on themselves). Tobacco was judged to be worse than cannabis, glue and solvents, LSD and ecstasy. Bar-room philosophers all over the land almost spilled their pints at the notion that they were hard-drug users.

Steven Edwards has been crowned champion of MasterChef: The Professionals 2013

MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 - Steven Edwards crowned winner

The head chef beat Adam Handling and Scott Davies to the coveted title

Beyoncé is set to return to UK shores for ten shows early next year

Beyonce announces UK tour in 2014

The singer will play ten dates in the UK and Ireland next year

Life's a beach: 'fingers' on Playa Brava

A big hand for Punta del Este

In this week's Lonely Planet 'Great Escape', discover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side

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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