Travel Here’s looking at yew: the Borrowdale trees

The continuous ridge of russet, stone-strewn lakeland mountain encircles a valley floor as flat as a paddy field. Lights of farms are beginning to spark and the cries of tawny owls reverberate around the bowl of darkening fells. In the distance, sunset pinks the snow-dusted peak of Glaramara. It is a suitable stage to approach the most notable trees of northern England.

Monroe X-rays sold for $45,000

Three x-rays of the late Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe's chest and pelvis, which were taken during a hospital visit, have sold for $45,000 (£30,000) – more than 10 times the pre-sale estimates.

Golden oldie: Anna Pavord is entranced by the mesmerising display of flowers at Forde Abbey

Surprises aren't supposed to work more than once, but Forde Abbey on the borders of Dorset and Somerset surprises me every time I turn up there. I know the way pretty well, and could give you directions for finding it quite easily. Yet when I arrive there, I'm never prepared for the improbability of this vast, low complex of buildings growing out of the greenery.

Deadly tree disease spreads

A deadly tree and plant disease first found in the UK in 2002 has spread to Wales, the Forestry Commission said today.

Has a cure been found for Dutch Elm Disease?

As Paul King toured the English countryside in the 1980s going about his work as a contractor cutting down trees ravaged by Dutch Elm Disease, he was always struck by two specimens close to his Essex home which in the midst of the countrywide destruction remained untouched by the killer fungus.

Letters: Hung parliaments

Strong rule is not good rule

Spring into action: As our gardens burst into life a little hard work now can keep them that way for years to come

The season of fugitive beauties is upon us – carpets of fallen cherry blossom, huge pink camellia petals, and scarlet rhododendron trumpets. While the pleasures of the garden are coming and going this rapidly, it's easy to relax, but even in summer, it's always worth taking the long view: almost every gardener can cite at least one tedious job they wish they'd tackled years ago, because by now they'd be reaping the benefits...

Disease threatens to fell Britain's historic oak trees

The english oak, the quintessential native tree which saved a monarch and defines the British landscape, is under grave threat from a little-understood new disease that forestry experts fear is spreading far more rapidly across the country than previously estimated.

Celtic Grand Tour brought back to life

Walk of the Month: The Cambrian mountains: Created during the Napoleonic wars, the vast Hafod estate fell on hard times. But Mark Rowe finds its fortunes are being revived

A land soaked in sunshine...and sorrow

Its troubled past is unavoidable, but new tours of Serbia offer rich rewards, says Adrian Mourby

Old-school Thai: Skye Gyngell's authentic Asian recipes

The best cooking in Thailand is found on the streets – simple, vibrant and bursting with extraordinary flavour. And if you want to recreate that authentic taste, it's best to take matters into your own hands

Green papaya salad with red-chilli nahm jim

Sharp, hot, sweet and salty, this salad is extremely refreshing. Serve with grilled fish or warm rice laced with coconut cream.

A different world view: A trek through the valleys of Bhutan reveals the kingdom's unspoilt charms

To my right, a man sat with shaven head and full-length earth-red robes; to my left sat a woman, shaved and dressed the same. I look ahead and then to the back of the Airbus A319. Apart from our party of 10, the plane was packed with pilgrims returning from a two-week Buddhist retreat in Kathmandu. We all shared a destination, however: the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. This small nugget of largely forested, mountainous land lies sandwiched between China and India, and recently became democratic.

Man who murdered ex-partner's mother named

A man who stabbed to death his ex-partner's mother then left a chilling message in blood before killing himself was named by sources today.

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One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
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Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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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
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all