Voices

Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

Unemployment rises in Britain's seaside towns

The decision by millions of cash-strapped British holidaymakers to abandon a trip abroad in favour of a more frugal stay on home soil has failed to provide extra jobs in the country's struggling seaside towns, new figures reveal today.

Minor British Institutions: Seaside rock

George Formby's song "My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock" was a huge hit for the buck-toothed maestro of the ukulele in 1937, the peak of rock as a desirable seaside treat. By the way, the BBC banned George's song on the grounds of its rude lyrics, including the line, "It may be sticky but I never complain, it's nice to have a nibble at it now and again", that indeed being one of the trademark attractions of seaside rock.

Remember when: Enduring memories of childhood holidays

Childhood holidays by the seaside are the source of some of our most enduring memories.Tracey Emin, Esther Freud, John Burnside, DJ Taylor and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown take a trip down memory lane

Seaside exposure: Martin Parr turns his lens on the densely crowded beaches of South America

Martin Parr is a self-proclaimed "aficionado of the British seaside". Since his controversial project of 1985, The Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton, in which the documentary photographer captured the highs and lows experienced by residents and day-trippers at a run-down resort on the Wirral Peninsula, Parr has braved the wind-beaten shores of beaches across the country. For his latest project, Playas, the 57-year-old and his wife Susie went a little further afield. The couple spent several years visiting some of the biggest resorts in South America, travelling between Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina and Chile in the process. Be it home or abroad, Parr explains, there is something endlessly appealing about the beach.

Seaside Secrets: The Guide to hidden Britain

Want to know where to find the best fish and chips, the tastiest ice-cream or the perfect romantic bolthole? Our guide will make planning your UK holiday a breeze

Salvage, By Gee Williams

A couple holidaying in a Welsh seaside cottage come across a ring on the beach. To their horror, it has two bony fingers still attached.

Children rescued in seaside drama

A group of children rescued from the sea by lifeguards were fully clothed and walking backwards into the water. The group, part of a team-building exercise, were plunged into the cold waters off the West Wales seaside resort of Tenby after a sandbank they were walking on collapsed as the tide turned.

How to buy a wood

Owning a copse can be a dream come true. But looking after one is no picnic, says Ginetta Vedrickas

Canadian boxer found dead in Brazil

Canadian boxer Arturo Gatti has been found dead in a hotel room in Brazil at the age of 37, according to reports.

Kick the Animal Out, By Véronique Ovaldé

A first-person novel that pivots on the vanishing of a disturbed teenage girl's flaky mum sounds like a recipe for gritty realism. Yet this sensuous and sinister French récit delivers a more artful punch.

Head to the North of England for an affordable seaside home

If you want to live by the sea, the best advice seems to be to move north. A Halifax survey into the most affordable seaside towns in England and Wales found the lowest house price-to-incomes ratio exists north of the line between the Wash and the Severn estuary.

The ten best roomy cars

Suitcases – check. Bag of snack – yep. Music for the journey: got that. Kids? Yep, squeezed in. Now, where do I sit?

Album: Spinal Tap, Back from the Dead, (The Label Industry)

The unwittingly self-condemning title is in keeping with Spinal Tap's ongoing satire, offering the unvoiced but unavoidable subtext underlying the current rash of band reformations.

The Magnificent Mrs Tennant, By David Waller

A woman of considerable importance
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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
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

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Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

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Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

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The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

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Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
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Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
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Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

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DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

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It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
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Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
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Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

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