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This millennium, Britain’s dragonfly contingent has been in the throes of revolution. Several sparkling species have crossed the sea to start colonising the UK. In this ambitious itinerary, you might see up to seven magnificent dragonflies unknown in Britain two decades previously.

Yule love it: seasonal stalls at the Grote Markt in Bruges

A winter's tale in Bruges

This medieval Belgian city provides the perfect setting for Christmas markets and other festive activities, says Katy Guest

Suds and solidarity: Down on the picket lines with University of London cleaning staff

Outsourced staff, most of them foreign, are striking over pay and conditions

Google Street View update helps you find your way through the airport - not just to it

16 international airports and over 50 train and subway stations are included

In Bruges: indulge at the De Tuilerieen hotel

Deals of the week

Under £200... Celebrate New Year's Eve in style

BA has a range of deals on two-night breaks over New Year's Eve, departing from Heathrow. On 31 December, there's a stay at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin for £194pp. Or, hop across to Brussels, where a stay at the Floris Avenue Hotel on 30 December is £197pp. ba.com

Police stopping cyclists is only helpful if they're actually doing something wrong

I had become the latest beneficiary of the Metropolitan Police’s response to a well-publicised concentration of cyclist deaths in the capital

Birmingham hit-and-run: 75-year-old man dies after being struck by large vehicle

A 75-year-old man found fatally injured in a Birmingham street is believed to have been a victim of a hit-and-run, police have said.

Book review: Hatching twitter, By @Nick Bilton

Twitter's creation story is told in overblown prose

Shaving, brushing teeth and using iPads: Distracted motorists caught on camera

Five-day operation across the motorways of Hampshire and the Thames Valley resulted in 198 motorists being prosecuted

Branston Pickle lorry crashes near Cheddar

It is a headline that may spread a little happiness: a lorry transporting jars of Branston Pickle has crashed - just a few miles away from Cheddar.

A police pulls a car over as part of a drive to inform motorists of the risk of using a phone while driving

Motorist caught shaving while at wheel in crackdown on distracted drivers

A crackdown on distracted drivers caught one motorist having a shave using a razor and a water bottle and a woman doing her make-up in the rear view mirror while on a motorway.

The immersive world that games like GTA 5 offer is the appeal, not the violence

Grand Theft Auto is a razor sharp satire of modern American culture

Postcard from... Padua

Landlords are legally obliged to have the gas supply and any gas appliances in their properties checked every year

Consumer Rights: A guarantor can be a friend
indeed if you can’t get credit

Getting someone to be a backup for repayments may make all the difference in securing a loan 

Syria crisis: Rebels harness technology to conflict

In recent weeks, attention in Syria has been on the use of chemical weapons but on Sunday, Mohammed Abdellah, a Reuters photographer, captured the rebel fighters using an iPad to launch attacks.

Mark Cavendish in action on the Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain: Mark Cavendish claims Stage Four win with thrilling sprint finish that sees Sir Bradley Wiggin retain the yellow jersey

Manx Missile takes his first win of the Tour after peloton catches 11-man breakaway with just 1km to go

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy