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

24-Hour Room Service: Windjammer Landing, St Lucia, West Indies

The perfect place to fall in love with the Caribbean

My Secret Life: India Hicks, interior designer, 42

The house/flat I grew up in ... was a 1704 Georgian mansion with a stone pediment in Oxfordshire. My parents were ... surprisingly different for sharing the same star sign. My father led a theatrical life making bold statements and my mother was beautifully quiet and serious. But they shared a keen sense of humour.

Tips and deals of the week: 14/02/2010

Tips

The app

The AA has launched a new "Best of Britain" iPhone app, full of recommendations for travellers on the move around the UK.

Price £4.99, from iTunes.

Walcott finally wins his poetry professorship

Nobel laureate chosen by Essex University after smear campaign cost him Oxford job

I'm no Alex Haley, but this feels just like home

Was it a holiday or was it the return of a prodigal son? Peter Victor was in two minds about a trip to his parents' birthplace

Policeman murdered fiancee just before wedding

A policeman who killed his police constable fiancee and then staged a car crash to make her death appear an accident was jailed for a minimum of 18 years today after he admitted her murder.

Dollar boost for British travellers

British travellers are being boosted by the strengthening pound which is making dollar destinations much more attractive, it was revealed today.

Police arrest Night Stalker suspect

19-year hunt is 'biggest case in history of the Metropolitan Police'

2,000 DNA tests in hunt for 'night stalker'

Detectives hunting Britain's most wanted serial rapist-burglar have obtained more than 2,000 DNA samples from suspects, it emerged today.

Album: Various artists, Tumbélé! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds From The French Caribbean 1963-74 (Soundway Records)

Essentially a bunch of sprightly tunes from Caribbean islands such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica and St Lucia which mix various Cuban and Congolese styles with New Orleans jazz and a hint of Parisian high-society pizzazz.

Travel by numbers: Puerto Rico

From lush rainforest to Caribbean rum, John Sannaee counts the ways to enjoy an island that's back on the travel map

Observations: A-listers cover a hot topic with another charity record

From the shrinking sheep populations of the Scottish archipelago of St Kilda to the diminishing ice sheets of Greenland, the effects of climate change are ever present. And now here's another charity record – Rhythms del Mundo: Classics, released on Monday. It hopes to raise awareness of the threat to our planet, and like a lot of charity records, has attracted a fine pedigree of A-list contributors: the Killers, the Kooks and Editors all step up, combining forces with Cuban collective Rhythms del Mundo to perform Dad-rock classics like "Imagine" (performed by Jack Johnson) and "Satisfaction" (Cat Power) with a twist.

Parents in despair at Winehouse's 'denial'

The parents of Amy Winehouse have spoken of their desperation as their daughter struggles with drug addiction, saying she is "in denial" about her problems.

Dom Joly: I'm going to spend more time with my family, hem hem

It is with sadness that I have to announce to you, my loyal readers, that I shall not be standing again as an MP at the next election. I know this will come as a shock to a lot of you. Some of you might not even know that I have been an MP for the past 15 years.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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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
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'