Travel

Now... Depart any day this month for a walking holiday of the Cinque Terre – an idyllic string of five fishing villages on Italy's Ligurian coast. The self-guided trip with UTracks costs £490pp, with six nights' accommodation and train tickets. utracks.com

Top gun: Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in 'The Walking Dead'

This is the life

Jack Davenport and Andrew Lincoln are among the British actors wowing audiences in the US. By Sarah Hughes

High life: The pool overlooks the estate

24-hour room service: The Hotel Chocolat, Saint Lucia

Angus Thirlwell has a Willy Wonka twinkle in his eye – or at least that's the impression I get from the photograph in the brochure of his latest venture, a hotel in Saint Lucia. Thirlwell is the British co-founder of Hotel Chocolat, the chain of grown-up chocolate shops found throughout the UK. With a name and an idyllic location already in place, a hotel was the next logical step: the Hotel Chocolat opened on Thirlwell's cacao plantation last spring.

British woman dies after garden cliff fall

The family of a British woman who was killed after plunging from the top of a Caribbean clifftop on Christmas Day have described her death as "a terrible accident".

Fame Academy: Tracey Emin is the RA's new, high-profile professor

Editor-At-Large: The royal liggers should stick around in hard-up Britain

Buckingham Palace has a terrible sense of timing. As the latest figures show unemployment reaching the highest level for 17 years, one group of plucky Brits can look forward to a spot of sun and fun in 2012, and, even better, they won't have to pay: the hard-up British taxpayer will. Lavish plans to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee were unveiled last week, just as the number of women out of work passed a million, just slightly more than the number of jobless young people. Given that Great Britain plc is staring at the very real possibility of a double-dip recession, and personal debt is higher than ever, you might think the bureaucrats who organise events for the Royal Family would have some sense of appropriateness, of adapting to straitened times. Sadly, not.

Travel Agenda: London's West End; Papaya Playa; low-cost Caribbean; Inghams' winter ski programme; Disneyland Paris Express

Today: The West End of London welcomes Christmas shoppers. Oxford Street and Regent Street are closed to traffic this weekend, opening up the roads to pedestrians (westendvip.com). Meanwhile in Tulúm on Mexico's Mayan Riviera, Design Hotels is hosting a pop-up beach camp of 99 rustic-chic cabanas. Papaya Playa is open to guests until 5 May 2012 (papayaplayaproject.com).

Halliburton sues BP over Gulf spill

The US oilfields contractor Halliburton is suing BP in the US for "negligent misrepresentation, business disparagement and defamation" related to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster last year, which killed 11 people and caused the worst offshore spill in US history.

Amy Winehouse planned to adopt

Amy Winehouse was reportedly in the process of adopting a 10-year-old girl when she died.

No charges yet in St Lucia rape case

Police on the Caribbean island of St Lucia wrongly announced they had charged six men with the rape of two British women, officials have said.

Six charged with raping Britons on St Lucia

Six men have been charged with the rape of two British women on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, officials said today.

DNA profiling used to track rapist

Investigators tracking the Night Stalker used cutting-edge techniques to try to build a picture of the man from his DNA.

Boyd Tonkin: Poet who combines high art with common life

A couple of years ago, I heard Derek Walcott speak at the St Lucia high commission in London to an audience largely made up of his fellow-islanders. As always, he insisted that pride in a place and a home should always combine with a keen embrace of the best the wide world of culture has to offer. "Art is as necessary as sewage," he said.

Walcott's meditation on dying wins poetry prize

Nobel laureate Derek Walcott was honoured with Britain's most prestigious award for poetry last night when he won the TS Eliot prize.

Caribbean crime wave linked to US deportations

The crime was horrifying enough — a nightclub owner, hacked to death with a machete, was found buried in pieces. But what really outraged people was that the accused killer had been deported from the US to his native Grenada as a convicted felon.

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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
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Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

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RuPaul interview

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Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

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