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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. tunehotels.com

Classical music: The biggest hitter in percussion today

Evelyn Glennie, Leonard Slatkin

Minor's major work

CLASSICAL OPERA COMPANY BUXTON OPERA FESTIVAL AND ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC

Music: Just singing, singing in the rain

OPEN the Garsington Festival programme-book, and the first thing you find is an advertisement for Hello! magazine - which tells you something about the sort of people you're probably sitting next to. But in the past 10 years - and yes, it is now a decade since Leonard Ingrams started sharing opera with his neighbours - Garsington has managed to transcend the social and the decorative. It's a deadly serious undertaking, with a track record that includes the rediscovery of Haydn's virtually forgotten stage-works and the re-evaluation of rare Strauss scores. And few things could be more serious (or potentially more deadly) than Lucio Silla, which opened there on Tuesday.

Christmas broadcast for Silent Night's lost verses

Three forgotten verses of "Silent Night", Britain's favourite carol, have been rediscovered in an Austrian manuscript more than 200 years after they were penned by a penurious priest, writes Vanessa Thorpe.

Seven killed in gun rampage

Seven killed in gun rampage

The Skier's Guide To Austria

countries, writes Tania Alexander

Skiing: High season, low tech

You don't need such hi-tech facilities as lifts and cable cars to go skiing - with the right equipment you can simply clamber up the mountains. Richard Holledge goes touring at the tiny Austrian resort of Kuhtai.

Interview: `Othello' comes into his own at National

A co-production of `Othello' between the German director Peter Stein and Sam Mendes of the National Theatre offers both a fascinating contrast in cultural approaches and some surprising similarities

Edinburgh Festival: Music: Putting on a brave Front Not enough time, alas, for this 'Child' Flow of wisdom at the water's edge

Long traditions of democracy and meanness have made Britain rather good at the sort of festival that blurs the divide between professional and amateur, participant and listener. It gives everyone a chance. It doesn't cost like Salzburg. And a good example to put beside St Endellion, which I wrote about last week, is Lake District Summer Music: an annual event that merges a temporary academy for young string players with a public platform for distinguished artists who come both to play and teach.

1789 and all that

Roderic Dunnett enjoys a bold but not always audible staging of Von Einem's `Danton's Death' at the Brighton Festival; "Give Couthon my head, Robespierre my balls, and perhaps they'll stop baying in the streets."

Obituary: Brian Merrikin Hill

Brian Merrikin Hill was, in the last decades of his life, widely valued as a poet, a translator of poetry and as long-time editor of the poetry magazine Pennine Platform. Although not inclined to seek fame, he was regarded as a compeer by poets as distinguished as Kathleen Raine and David Gascoyne. The Blakean title of his 1984 book Wakeful in the Sleep of Time gives some indication of how seriously he viewed the poet's vocation.

Obituary: Sndor Vegh

The death of Sndor Vegh sees the passing of one of the last of the great Hungarian violinists who could trace their traditions back through Hubay and Joachim to the Italian violinist Viotti. Vegh was, throughout his long career, soloist, chamber musician, conductor and teacher, and it would be difficult to say in which of these activities he served best the cause of music. In other words, he was a giant, whose accomplishments are indelibly etched upon every one of his undertakings.

'Twas the nightie before Christmas

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Making it a doddle for guests who toddle

Adrian Bridge tries to take the strain out of a family break

Brown heeds history lesson

Phil Gordon talks to the coach who is ready to learn from past mistakes
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US