A couple of Saturdays back we wandered over to Great Tew, mainly to visit BakerGirl (see my previous post), which, sadly, was about to close down. Being lunch time we decided to have a bite to eat at the local pub, The Falkland Arms.
The Falkland Arms Pub
Walking into the pub made me think of a “proper” English pub (from a Southern African’s view anyway). Low ceiling, a bit smoky with a lovely log fire in the fireplace – something necessary on a cold Saturday. A cosy and welcoming space.
On a previous visit to Great Tew and a short walk my wife had commented that she could “smell that the food was good” without even going into the pub. It was no disappointment.
The menu offered more than a normal pub menu, prepared on site from fresh ingredients. Indeed, the Falkland Arms prides itself on the use of local produce and support for local business.
We were too late to sample the chicken pie. Beef features very low in our diet preferences, though the beef pie was tempting. We chose a lighter option in the form of fish cakes. Served on a bed of french fries with creamed spinach, the salmon and chive fishcakes were “full meal” sized and well cooked and presented. Accompanied by a glass of wine for my wife and a glass of cider for me, they made an excellent Saturday Lunch.
Note to self – take food photos. Sorry readers, though I had two cameras, the food photos didn’t happen. May be we need another visit?
The meal cost just on £40. Arguably expensive for a pub lunch, but good value as a better quality meal. No complaints from us on that score.
Stay at the Inn
The Falkland Arms offers B & B accomodation in 6 rooms in their 16th century building. These look good and, if the accomodation is anything like the food, would be a great weekend getaway or a base to visit Oxfordshire.
A Bit of History
There is evidence that there was human habitation in the Great Tew area in the Bronze age, and the remains of a Roman Villa have been found nearby.
Th Falkland Arms pub, itself, has carried the name since 1830.
That’s the entrance to Marylebone Station from London, taking you out to Aylesbury and the surrounding area, or as far as Snow Hill in Birmingham.
Travelling via Bicester or Banbury we normally arrive in and depart from London via Marylebone, so we know the station pretty well. From Marylebone the underground delivers us quickly to the middle of London via the Bakerloo line. On a good day it can be almost quicker to walk to nearby Baker Street station, especially if we want to pick up an underground line other than Bakerloo.
Marylebone Station – A Bit of History
Marylebone opened in 1899 as the London terminus for the Great Central Main Line. In 1993, after problems and a threat of closure, it became the terminus for the Chiltern Main Line, run by Chiltern Railways.
Marylebone is the smallest and quietest of the London stations, though it does handle a growing amount of commuter traffic as towns to the North grow. Rush hour trains are frequently full.
Business trips are not always the best for catching good photos, though I have had a few good shots on work trips away. Here I had a hotel room with a balcony facing the right way. Though wintry and cool it was not cold enough to stop me catching this sunrise in Leeds.
At the end of October the timing of the sunrise is also great – no effort needed, simply get out of bed and take photos.
Sunrise in Leeds Photo Notes
The power of the phone camera! And a bit of Snapseed. These were all taken using night mode on a Huawei Mate 10 Pro. A little of cropping a tweaking in Snapseed brought them to life.
While the raw images from my TZ100 Or DSLR may arguably produce technically better images, which will make better prints, the Mate 10 delivers great shots, very quickly ready to use online.
Location: Mercure Leeds Parkway Hotel
The Mercure Leeds Parkway Hotel is my normal choice of accommodation when up in Leeds. It is a very convenient hotel for local businesses, as well as a few local attrractions, and is only two miles from the Leeds Bradford International Airport.
With most of the modern conveniences one would expect from a modern hotel, the Brasserie has always delivered a good meal when I have been there. Certainly the best of the local hotels which I have tried.
After another day trip to Robertsbridge, we decided not to waste the afternoon and drive back via the coastline. A bit of “interesting” driving through some country roads took us to Eastbourne. From there we took a drive along the south coast towards Brighton.
That was a pleasant drive, and we will definitely explore the area a bit more. next summer maybe?
Having only eaten a small lunch, food was calling. We spotted the Brighton Marina and decided to Explore.
Here are a couple of photos. It’s a marina, so plenty of boats in evidence.
And we did enjoy an excellent seafood meal at the Barracuda Brasserie chosen as it didn’t look “fast food” and we are not fast food fans. It was a beautiful afternoon / evening so we could sit and eat outside.
It’s easy to focus on overseas travel, but there are many local places to visit and explore, just a few hours drive away. We’ll definitely back this way in the not too distant future.
Back at the end of May we spent a bit of time in London. We always love to visit Camden Market. Never buy much at the market but the atmosphere is great. In the long days of spring and summer it’s great to end the day with a drink or two while the rush hour winds down.
At the end of the day it’s great to chill out at one of the pubs and enjoy the early evening with a drink.
Here are a few views of the area, from the pub at sundown.
Of course, this was spring. We also went there in Winter – check it out.
Starting with a family wedding in May, the spring and summer have been filled with activities. Now i’m trying to catch up. Here’s part 1.
From home we can be anywhere in London in under 2 hours. It’s a trip we do occasionally just for fun, or sometimes on business. We recently had a visitor stay with us on a first visit to the UK. That was a good excuse to head south and be London tourists. Here’s part one of our visit, where we started with a plan, lost the plan and just enjoyed ourselves. No deliberate visits to iconic landmarks. Just doing a day trip to London.
Like many in the UK, we take this train ride for granted. It’s easy to forget that many countries simply don’t have this luxury. So the trip to London becomes a bit more of an adventure.
Love it or hate it, if you don’t do it often, the London Underground becomes another part of the adventure. Of course, depending on where you are going, the iconic London bus offers a slower but more scenic way to travel. In a hurry? Catch an Uber or a black cab.
Sometimes it can be enjoyable to simply walk. Some of London’s Underground stations and bus stops are quite close together, and a sightseeing walk can be fun. Finding your way around London can be tricky, but I strongly recommend the Citymapper app on a smartphone. Citymapper does give problems at times as a walking guide. Google Maps is a better tool for walking in London.
We did have a plan. Somehow we lost the plan and we ended up at Marble Arch. Who knows why, but it was a good start.
Marble Arch was originally built at Buckingham Palace, but was relocated to its current location when Buckingham Palace was extended during Queen Victoria’s reign.
From there it’s a short walk to Hyde Park, empty on this Friday, but a good spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, sitting on the grass on a warm spring day.
Spend time in London and you will see, wherever you go, some part of the history of the city. Hyde Park is no exception. Created by Henry VIII in the 16th century as a hunting park. It was opened to the public in the following century, and remains a public park today. It has frequently been the site of protests and public events.
In modern London, in summer, Hyde Park is known for free, weekday rock concerts. These are generally paid events at the weekends which have to be booked well in advance, such as the Eric Clapton and Friends event which we attended in July.
Many first-time visitors (including me in my first visit) are often very surprised at the green space, like Hyde Park, in London. Visitors from some countries do perceive London as a polluted concrete jungle. Indeed, I know those have never visited the UK, who believe that is a good descrption of the whole country!
Animals in War Monument
On Park Lane at Hyde Park we discovered a monument which I did not know about. The Animals in War Memorial commemorates the animals which have served the armed forces over the centuries.
The modern military is highly mechanised, powered by the internal combustion engine. It’s easy to forget the many animals, including donkeys and horses and others, which took armies to war.
Although a relatively recent site, having been created in the 19th century, Parliament Square sits in the middle of a number of buildings of historic and current importance. There are a few (see the link above) but the most noticeable for the visitor are The Palace of Westminster, or the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. It is a “must” for the foreign visitor.
The queue to get into Westminster Abbey was long, probably partly because we visited on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend, so we didn’t try to get in. It’s a good idea to book ahead and get there early if you want to visit the Abbey.
Many of the photos in my London at Night Gallery were taken a few years ago at Parliament square and nearby, around Westminster Bridge. In a way it brings some iconic London features together – many red double decker buses passing by, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
One downside on this trip was the fact that Big Ben is undergoing repairs and is shrouded in scaffolding and plastic sheeting, as it will be for a few years.
A look across Parliament square. Sadly Big Ben is covered up
A walk across Westminster Bridge and along the River Thames took us to the Southbank centre with its many pubs and restaurants. Our aim was the Southbank Centre Food Market, which we know from previous visits.
The Southbank Centre Food Market features food from all over the world. Take your pick of many different food. Sample a bit of each and have a great meal. We bought a selection of British pies, curries and eastern food, all washed down with fruit juice and craft beer.
On a number of occasions a group of us has bought our selection of food and taken it to nearby Jubilee gardens, under the London Eye, to share and enjoy the meal.
South Bank Food Market – Pimms right next to Korean BBQ
This little visit, up to this point took us to early afternoon. We covered a lot of ground, but London still has much to show off. Our plan collapsed, but we have been there often enough to still take our visitor to some interesting spots.
Watch this space – plenty more of our London jaunt to come.
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With the name often shortened, St Leonards has been part of Hastings, in East Sussex since the 19th century. It was planned and established as a seaside resort early in the century, and later merged into the town of Hastings.
St. Leonards Pier
The St Leonards Pier was completed in 1891 as a local feature and entertainment area. During the second world war it was cut in half to protect against invasion, but was later destroyed by fire, having suffered some bombing damage.
The remains of the pier were removed after the war.
We found ourselves at the location of the old pier, simply because it was a useful place to park, with the winds rocking the car, and the surf looking interesting as the wind drove the breakers on to the beach.
Now anybody who knows the UK, knows that the beach is not a great place to visit in January. To top that off, storm Eleanor had blown across England over the preceeding two days, and the wind was fierce. In fact it was hard work to walk around and take photos. Even the seagulls struggled with the wind. We had a laugh watching take off and go nowhere.
Enjoy the photos. We have added St Leonards to the list of places to visit in summer, as it looked as if it could be quite festive.