Under £200... Capital Christmas shopping

Tune Hotels offers a budget pre-Christmas stay in the English and Scottish capitals, with double rooms for £50 at some London properties and £25 in Edinburgh. These rates apply on a few nights between now and Christmas, with availability good on 23, 24 and 25 December.

Three die in tunnel terror under Alps nightmare

ONLY THREE months after 42 people died in the Mont Blanc road tunnel fire, Austria has been rocked by an almost identical tragedy.


This year's bumper crop of summer festivals offers a feast of fun for groovers and culture vultures of every persuasion. Fancy chilling out in the Nevada desert, catching carnival fever in Notting Hill, or dancing in a muddy field in the West Country? No problem! Sharon Gethings has cast her net far and wide, from Womad to Woodstock, to scoop up the best dates on the summer circuit - so pack your sleeping bag, and get ready to toe the party line ... Additional research by Charlie Hamilton

A good idea from ... Stendhal

UNHAPPY love affairs force even the most unreflective people to start thinking. It seems impossible not to write at least a few lines of poetry or a diary after one's heart has been broken. The French novelist Stendhal (1783-1842) observed that he would never have taken up his pen if, at 18, he had known happy love. Fortunately for us, Stendhal was unhappy in love throughout his life, and his most painful passion - for a beautiful, enigmatic Italian woman, Metilde Dembowski - drove him to produce his greatest book, De l'Amour, a mixture of anecdote, analysis and aphorisms, published in 1822.

Austria's heirs to Hitler

THE MAN who once praised Hitler's employment policies is tipped to regain the governorship of Carinthia, Austria's southernmost province.

Travel: 24-Hour Room Service: Goldener Hirsch Hotel, Salzburg

"LUXURY ISN'T about gold plating. We believe it's about feeling you have come home." This is the philosophy at the Goldener Hirsch, which at first sight is more like an old country house, transplanted into the middle of the city, than a deluxe hotel.

Travel skiing In Austria: Resort Report: Zell am See, Austria

ZELL "ON-THE-WATER" is a chocolate-box version of a lakeside village, as appealing under a thick covering of snow as it is in summer, when the flowers are out and the steamers chug back and forth across the lake. Traffic, which once raced through the centre, has been diverted through a tunnel, restoring some of the original medieval calm.

Arts: Fresh in from Frisco

Compared with its Angeleno neighbour, the San Francisco Symphony is an unknown quantity. But as London audiences will discover tonight, under Michael Tilson Thomas it's a world-class force

Obituary: Rolf Liebermann

THE COMPOSER Rolf Liebermann was one of the most influential figures of the post-war musical scene, especially of opera, along with such luminaries as Walter Legge, Herbert von Karajan and Sir Rudolf Bing, all of whom he outlived. It was as an opera administrator that he was best known, at the Hamburg Opera 1959-72, and as director of the Paris Opera from 1973 to 1980.

Travel Skiing Austria: New deals for the salopette classes

Planning a holilday in St Anton or Ischgl? Cathy Packe on the best offers this season

Thursday Book: Professor of the unpopular


Serbia retreat is the latest in Cook's tour de farces

WHEN IT came, the climbdown was of breathtaking proportions. For days, beleaguered British officials had defended the UK's failure to implement a flight ban on Serbia because of legal niceties.

Serbs take Albanian men to unknown fate

IN AN echo of the "ethnic cleansing" of Bosnia in 1992, Serb forces in Kosovo have been seen separating groups of men from columns of ethnic Albanian refugees and taking them away to unknown destinations, US observers say.

Cook stays on holiday as foreign ministers meet

ROBIN COOK, the Foreign Secretary, has dismayed some of Britain's European allies by failing to attend a two-day gathering of foreign ministers that opens today. He is staying on holiday in France while foreign ministers in Salzburg discuss the role they should play within the EU.

Birmingham says goodbye to Rattle

A GLITTERING era in British classical music ends tomorrow night when Sir Simon Rattle conducts his last concert as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Over the top in all scales

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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam