We had come to Kent for a funeral and decided to tag a couple of extra nights on to meet up with various friends (as we’re both from Kent originally). On the Friday we had the day free, so we hopped on a train and headed to Blackheath village. Blackheath is located on the outskirts of London, and is a trendy area with lots of independent businesses. The Heath itself is the starting point of the London Marathon. The Waterstones, which is styled as “The Blackheath Bookshop”, is located in the former Blackheath Gallery in the centre of the village. After leaving the shop we walked across the Heath to Greenwich Park, and then down into Greenwich for lunch.
Greenwich Park – The Wilderness Deer Park
Greenwich Park – looking towards the National Maritime Museum
Currently reading: Thicker than Water (DCI Logan #2) by JD Kirk and Circe by Madeline Miller
Next up was Lewes – we arrived late morning and climbed the steep hill up to the town in search of somewhere to eat. We didn’t know anything about Lewes when we decided to head there for lunch – what we found was a beautiful and quaint town, crammed with pretty historical houses and even a medieval castle built in the 11th Century. We spent a long time here, but it wasn’t long enough and we will definitely go back at some stage. The Waterstones here is located in a Grade 2 listed building in the High Street in the centre of the town. The sundial at the top of the building has the Latin phrase Nosce Tempus – “Know the Time.”
Bull House which was built in the 15th century and stands in the High Street. Between the years of 1768 and 1774 it was the home of Thomas Paine the writer, some of whose works heavily influenced American independence. Lewes Town Hall was formerly the Star Inn but was converted in 1893.
Lewes Castle, and the adjacent priory were built by William de Warenne between the years of 1068 and 1070. It is managed by Sussex Archaeological Society.
Lewes Town Hall
The building opened in 1893 in premises converted from the former Star Inn
The River Ouse
Below, clockwise from top left: Lewes Crown Court, Keere Street, 15th Century House (now a book shop), St Michael in Lewes Church (photos 4-6)
On Sunday we hopped on the train from Brighton to Eastbourne, specifically to visit the Waterstones store, but as it was a lovely day we decided to head down to the beach for a walk along the front and to visit the pier. Eastbourne’s pier was officially opened in 1870 although construction wasn’t actually completed for another two years! During WW2 the pier was used as a defence against enemy invasion. As it was a Sunday and we had a second destination planned for lunch we didn’t have time to explore the rest of the town having spent longer than intended visiting the sea front.
Eastbourne Pier and Seafront
The pictures above include the Claremont Hotel, a listed building that was ravaged by fire in November 2019 and then damaged further by storms. It was a listed building, but sadly had to be demolished as it was dangerous and beyond repair.
Brighton is bigger than its sister town of Hove, and whilst it still has that carefree, laidback feel it is also a town with a party atmosphere, so it comes as no surprise that Brighton was the location of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 when Abba won with their song, Waterloo! Two of Brighton’s biggest landmarks are the Pier and the Royal Pavilion. Having walked back from Hove we stopped off at the Waterstones, which is located in an old building that was originally a Burton’s clothing store – the name is etched into the top of the building.
Brighton Palace Pier
The Brighton Palace Pier, which dates from 1899, was the third pier to be constructed in Brighton. It was built to replace the Chain Pier, which had collapsed in 1896 during construction! The Palace Pier is now the only functioning pier in Brighton since the third one, the Brighton West Pier, was destroyed by fire in 2003.
The West Pier
Brighton Royal Pavilion
Brighton Royal Pavilion was built as a pleasure palace between 1787 and 1822 for the then Prince Regent, George IV, and after his death both William IV and then Queen Victoria lived there, but it wasn’t really to Victoria’s taste and so was sold to the town of Brighton for £50,000 in 1850. I don’t know whether it is lit up all year round, or whether it was just for Christmas, but the building looks stunning at night!
Various Brighton shots
It’s fair to say we love Brighton!
We were staying in Brighton for three nights between Christmas and New Year, and were lucky to have exceptionally good weather, so we decided to walk along the seafront to visit nearby Hove to have a late brunch before visiting the Waterstones. Hove started life as a small fishing village on the south coast. It saw extensive growth in the 1880s and eventually spread far enough to join up with the larger Brighton. In 1997 the two merged as part of local government reform to form the Borough of Brighton and Hove, but despite this merger the two areas have a distinctly different feel from each other. Hove has a laidback and almost bohemian atmosphere. The Waterstones here is located in a pedestrianised area with lots of shops and cafés, and is new to Hove, having opened in November.
The Juggler statue
This statue, which is located outside Hove Town Hall, was created by the artist Helen Collis. Sadly she passed away, but her husband presented the statue to the town in her honour. The Town Hall opened in 1974 and is in the brutalist style. It replaced an earlier, red-brick gothic style building which was damaged by a fire.
Below Clockwise from the left: George Street, the location street of Waterstones, Hove Library, King’s Gardens (just four of Hove’s many, attractive, listed buildings).
(Accreditation for two of the above photos:
Hove library photo – and King’s Gardens photo both by Hassocks5489 – Own work, Public Domain)
Our next stop was the seaside town of Worthing, which was our destination for lunch on the way to Brighton, but unfortunately we had very little time to spend in the town. Worthing is a very traditional south coast seaside resort with an award-winning Art Deco pier (which sadly we didn’t have time to visit) and the Regency town has some attractive architecture. The Waterstones is located in a 1930s style building in the main shopping area. It is a former Ottakars store, and like others has a mural by Chris Burke (his site appears to be down at the moment) behind the till.
Currently reading: Circe by Madeline Miller
Rustington is a small town in West Sussex situated on the coast. It has a population of around 14,000 people and, according to Wikipedia, contains a conservation area with the largest number of pre-1850 listed buildings and 18th century flint cottages in the county. Famous residents of the town include the artist Graham Sutherland, famous for the tapestry Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph in Coventry Cathedral and a portrait of Sir Winston Churchill (which Churchill hated!), and Sir Hubert Parry, who wrote the tune to the hymn Jerusalem – named Rustington after the town. The Waterstones is located in a modern building in the main shopping area. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore the town as we had to be in Worthing for lunch.
Currently listening to: Thicker than Water (DCI Logan #2) by J D Kirk
We usually spend a weekend in London before Christmas. We were due to meet up with friends in Stratford in East London on the Sunday but our plans changed so, as we were staying in Ealing, we decided to visit Chiswick. It wasn’t an area we knew at all and we both thought it was very nice – it has a village feel about it with a good selection of shops and plenty of cafés and bars. The Waterstones here is located in a modern building in the main shopping street.
Chiswick has been, and still is, a popular choice for the rich and famous – some of its best known residents, past and present, include the artist William Hogarth, poet W B Yeats, novelist E M Forster, musician Phil Colllins, actor Colin Firth and TV Presenters Ant & Dec! There is a statue commemorating artist Hogarth, who lived in Chiswick for 15 years until his death in 1764. Designed by Jim Mathieson it was unveiled by David Hockney and Ian Hislop in 2001.
William Hogarth Statue
The Thames at Chiswick
Currently reading: Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer
Our last stop on this trip was the city of Derby – the county town of Derbyshire and the site of the world’s first factory. The county was considered to be the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The Waterstones here is located in a grand building called Babington Buildings, built in 1898 as a Boot and Shoe Emporium, and is set over three floors. It is a beautiful building both outside and in.
The ‘Knife Angel’
We were fortunate to be in Derby for two art installations at Derby Cathedral. Outside was the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression sculpture, better known as the ‘Knife Angel’. Made from more than 100,000 confiscated and amnestied blades, he stands over eight metres high and is dedicated to victims of knife crime.
The Museum of the Moon
Inside the cathedral was the Museum of the Moon by UK artist Luke Jerram. The model of the moon, which was suspended from the ceiling, is seven metres high and at a scale of approximately 1:500,000. Images of the moon’s surface from NASA cover the surface of the sculpture. I was lucky to be able to view it as the cathedral was closing for a music event and they stopped people queuing about 15 minutes after I arrived!
Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands which is probably best known for its lace manufacturing and as the home of Robin Hood! The city, along with Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester and Norwich, was declared a UNESCO “City of Literature” in 2015 (I had no idea such a thing existed!) because of its connections to D H Lawrence, Alan Sillitoe and poet Lord Byron. The Waterstones here is set over four floors in an attractive red-bricked Victorian building constructed around 1875 – I took LOTS of photos!
The statue of Robin Hood , together with some smaller statuettes of his ‘Band of Merry Men’, stands outside Nottingham castle. It was created by sculptor James Woodford and gifted to the people of the city by a local businessman. It was unveiled by the Queen (at the time the Princess Elizabeth) and Prince Philip in 1952.
Nottingham is famous for its lace production, which was at it’s height in the 1800s but declined after lace fell somewhat out of favour after the First World War. The area known as the Lace Market is now a protected heritage site, and it’s easy to see why with such beautiful buildings as these.