Sunrise in Leeds while on a business trip.

Sunrise in Leeds

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 at the Mercure Parkway hotel.
The sunrise light is looking great on the autumn colours in some of the vegetation.

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.

Sunrise in Leeds - subtle colours looking behind the sunrise.
When taking a sunrise or sunset shot in cludy weather always looik to the other side of the sky. The colours in the clouds were subtle.

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.

Here’s one for you to post to Pinterest

Sunrise in leeds - Please pin this

Weald Smokery – Great Lunch Stop

It’s always good to find somewhere different to eat, especially when it’s not the usual “pub grub” style of food. And so it was at the Weald Smokery near Flimwell in Sussex. We spotted a chalkboard sign advertising the food, on the main road heading towards Hastings, so stopped to check it out for our lunch

Smoked Seafood Lunch

Common to many bistro style cafes Weald Smokery offers a selection of sandwiches along with a few meals. All looked tasty and interesting. Following the “smokery” theme we opted to share a fish pate and a Fish Sharing platter.  Service was quick and very polite, and we didn’t have to wait long for our food, sitting outside in warm sunshine.  We were definitely not disappointed and enjoyed a tasty and ample fish meal.  The pate was served with salad leaves and toast. The sharing platter included salmon, trout, smoked prawns (which I had never tried before) accompanied by taramasalata, a dill sauce, salad leaves and olives, and an assortment of artisan breads.  Sitting in the sun in this countryside spot it is easy to think that you are in the countryside, and forget that it is only 17 miles to Hastings, at the coast, and a good source of fresh fish, as we discovered on our visit to Robertsbridge on a previous trip. 

A Bit More about the Weald Smokery

The Weald Smokery is one of a limited number of smokehouses in the UK producing smoked foods by traditional artisan methods. It has been family owned for 30 years, and has received awards for its products. Do check out the website

Why Visit this Part of Sussex

Flimwell is a village on the A21 route between the M25 London ring road and Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea, both on the coast and popular in the summer holidays. The village is situated in an Area of Natural Beauty, and is inside “1066 Country”, near the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Medieval Bodiam Castle is nearby. 

Pay The Area a Visit

Travelling down towards Hastings? Stop in and have a look around.  Or just take a day trip…. 
Rough Seas at St Leonards Beach

Stormy Seas at St Leonards-on-Sea

Stormy Seas at St Leonards-on-Sea

With a few hours of daylight on a winter’s day, after our visit to Robertsbridge in East Sussex we decided to explore a bit. Of course the beach called, so we headed towards Hastings and found the beach at St. Leonards-on-Sea.

St. Leonards-on-Sea

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

St Leonards PierThe 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.











Our Visit

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.





The High Street, Robertsbridge Village, East Sussex

Robertsbridge, East Sussex 

Robertsbridge Coat of Arms

Robertsbridge Coat of Arms


As you drive along the road you see their names. Towns you have never heard of, appearing on road signs and gone in a flash. And then, for whatever reason, you stop in one. That is how we came to Robertsbridge. Having been to an appointment nearby, we just decided to stop in. OK, the Inn was recommended as a good place for a meal too.










Where is RobertsbridgeCrossroads to Battle

Robertsbridge is a village just off the A21, about 10 miles (16km) from Hastings, on the English cost.

Close by (5 miles/8 km away) is the town of Battle, on the site of the Battle of Hastings which occurred in 1066. For those who don’t know English history, the Battle of Hastings was the battle in which William the Conqueror, with his Norman forces from Normandy, took the English crown from King Harold.

Indeed, as we approached the area, a road sign proclaimed that we were entering “1066 Country”.

Lunch at the InnThe George Inn, Robertsbridge, East Sussex

The George Inn was recommended to us for lunch. We arrived to a great welcome, entering the pub to see a cosy and warm space by the fire, with a temptation to settle down with a book and a glass of something good. On the opposite side was a light and airy restaurant area.

As always, my first call was to look at the fish and chips. The menu detailed the fact that the fish was locally caught, landed at Rye or Hastings. Haddock was the fish of the moment, cooked in a tempura batter. That was a really enjoyable fish and chips, one of the best I have had.

Two fish and chips cost £32, along with a few soft drinks.


Taking a walk

Despite a cold day, we took a walk along the High Street.

Robertsbridge apparently had wealthy times in the 14th and 15th centuries, resulting in a number of large houses being built. Some of these are still standing.

Judge’s Bakery looked interesting, so we dropped in, taking a sample of their products back home for our dinner. Well worth a future visit!

Next Time

It’s possible that we will be visiting the area again this year. It will be a good opportunity to have a wander and see the sights, particularly at Battle.

Stratford River Festival 2017

Stratford River Festival 2017

Stratford River Festival 2017

Purely by accident, a few years ago, we discovered the Stratford River Festival in Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire, England. An annual festival, it is held on the banks of the River Avon. The festival offers a great family day out with much for the kids and adults alike. There is plenty of space away from the river for the children to play, and plenty to do in the festival itself. Here’s a little summary of our day at the festival.

Little Red Cart Coffee
Stratford River Festival 2016

As always, first stop was the Jabberwocky’s green van, a new one this year, for one of their superb toasties. Always a great start to the day at the festival. That was washed down by coffee from Red Coffee’s Little Red coffee cart.


[singlepic id=1264 w= h= float=none]Next stop, of course, is the shopping. Along with a range of food stalls, the festival always has a selection of toys, clothes and the like on sale. The ladies always spend a bit of time there looking for bargains. The guys, in mean time, discovered some interesting chilli sauces. Good thing we still had some coffee to wash that down.

Going for a Walk (using the Chain Ferry)

[singlepic id=1255 w= h= float=none]We took a walk around the festival area to get to the ferry across the Avon River. It’s a pleasant walk through the open green area of the Recreation Area, dominated by the view of the Holy Trinity church on the other side of the river and road.

[singlepic id=1256 w= h= float=none]The chain ferry will take you across the river for 50p. It’s a popular way to cross the river – we had to queue while a couple of groups crossed the river. Somehow the swans seem to manage to avoid it, along with other boats on the river.

Chain Ferry on the River Avon
The chain ferry will take you across the river for 50p.It’s a popular way to cross the river – we had to queue while a couple of groups crossed the river.Somehow the swans seem to manage to avoid it, along with other boats on the river.

Walking up from the chain ferry takes you around the back and side of the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre. Back at the river, take a cruise boat or have a wander around Stratford upon Avon.

Take a Cruise

A Cruise Boat on the Avon
One of the cruise boats on the River Avon,Seen at the Stratford River Festival 2017.

These cruise boats run all day, taking in the view down the river to the weir below the Holy Trinity Church. Then they turn and head up river. Set back from the river in green and shady areas you will see some beatiful houses.

The cruises are a great way to just chill out. The entire cruise is about 40 minutes.

On the cruise it’s also a lot of fun watching the various couples and families in different types of small boats, trying to make their way up and down river. And mind for the swans and Canada geese. How they miss being run over is a mystery.


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There’s always a good selection of food at the River Festival, and it’s always popular. Here’s our favourite – slow roasted lamb in a bun with lettuce and salsa verde.Take your pick at the one of the food stands from burgers, barbecued meat, Caribbean food, a selection of Thai food, pies and more.

And, of course, don’t forget the drinks. A number of bars and stands around the grounds sell soft and alcoholic drinks. Our preference was the gin mixes supplied by a local publican.

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Relax and Listen to the Music

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At every River Festival we have been to the music has been pretty good. Definitely worth sitting back, and enjoying, perhaps with gin in hand, into the late hours.

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Heading Home

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The big wheel is a new addition to the area. It does dominate the main recreational / festival area. We chose not to do this one, though it seemed to be busy.

This is a parting view when we decided to leave, with the music going strong, enjoyed by a good crowd staying to the end.

We skipped the 10:00 p.m. fireworks and headed home. Not without sampling one of the excellent burgers from One Elm’s pop-up burger stand, offering “28 day dry cured beef burgers”. They were as good as that sounds. As we arrived home I noticed that it was just 12 hours since we arrived at the festival. A great day out. Now what date is the 2018 river festival?

Update: Next year’s river festival is 30th June to 1st July 2018. See you there!

Photo Notes

Hope you liked my photos. For the photographers out there, all of these, except the zoom shot of the band were shot with the Panasonic Lumix TZ100.


Have a look at the full photo gallery, and the whole Stratford River Festival Photo Album.