Travel

The journey home – 'home' still being the word I instinctively use for the house I grew up in, atop of wild Welsh hillside, even if today it's where I go to escape everyday life – begins with bustle. The battle on the Tube with a case, the dash around Euston juggling handbag-paper-coffee-lunch. It's wise to stock up: the journey to Pen-y-Bont takes over four hours, via Crewe and Shrewsbury. It's very much not the route a crow would fly...

White magic: Britain's best snowdrop gardens

Snowdrops are patient creatures, as Mark and Clare Oglesby discovered when, a few years ago, they became the new owners of Goldsborough Hall, near Knaresborough in Yorkshire. The woodlands behind the house were choked with brambles, but when they began to clear them away, snowdrops and aconites appeared in grateful carpets under the trees. Now that they've come to the end of the initial scrub-bashing, they are opening the garden next Sunday for its first-ever snowdrop spectacular.

PM's Shropshire pledge

Fables: A Film Opera, Spitalfields Winter Festival, London <br/> The Messiah, Wigmore Hall, London

Stories of survival, rebellion, greed and love come to life in a remarkable marriage of music and film

Police make fresh appeal over Shropshire rape

Police investigating the rape of a teenage girl launched a fresh appeal for information on a busker who is a suspect in the case.

Snooker: Higgins revels in UK title reward

John Higgins is hoping the "hardest six months of his life" are behind him after winning his third 12bet.com UK Championship title.

Snooker: Bold Higgins eases past Allen to book place in UK final

John Higgins defeated Mark Allen 9-5 in Telford last night to book his place in the 12Bet.com UK Championship final and close in on a dream return to major championship competition.

Who's that girl? The assassin from Shropshire storming Manhattan

Emily Smith, the new editor of Page Six, is the talk of New York. Matthew Bell tells all

Man found dead in flat suffered head injuries

A murder victim whose body was found at his flat had suffered severe head injuries, police confirmed today.

Cheese recipes - Shropshire Blue, Orange and Spinach Salad

Packed with goodness, this recipe is a great example of how cheese can be part of a balanced diet. There is calcium in the cheese and plenty of Vitamin C in the oranges and spinach too.

Nazi's Shakespeare gift to fetch &#163;5,000

A unique copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet which was given to an actor by the Nazi leader Hermann Goering is expected to fetch up to £5,000 when it goes under the hammer this month.

Six quizzed in abduction and rape probe

Detectives have arrested a total of six men in connection with the alleged rape and abduction of a 19-year-old woman, it was revealed today.

Smith hits new England milestone

England 2 Switzerland 0

Triple deaths inquest told of man's income loss

A man believed to have killed his wife and daughter before hanging himself faced losing up to 95% of his income, an inquest heard today.

Outside the Box: Tribute to 'Judas' Barmby makes Everton fans cross

Goodison Park has a splendid new photographic timeline running round the outside of the ground, tracing the history of the club and its most famous names. The one player featured whose presence has not gone down well amid such luminaries as Dixie Dean, Alex "Golden Vision" Young and Wayne Rooney is a certain Nick Barmby. The little midfielder is remembered for uttering what the club chairman Bill Kenwright called the five worst words in the English language: "I want to join Liverpool," after which he duly defected. Worse, Barmby's picture is displayed right opposite the door of the Winslow Hotel, a rabid Everton fans' pub. It was defaced, we are told, with the word "Judas" even before it was formally nailed into position.

Begovic and Pulis set for showdown over refusal to play

Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is facing showdown talks with manager Tony Pulis after refusing to play for the club.

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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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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
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Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all