St Leonards and Hastings

Tower Bridge from London Bridge
Tower Bridge from London Bridge

We left the house at 6:50 and caught a 205 but were able to change after one stop to a 43 that goes all the way to London Bridge where we take the train.

Hay's Wharf
Hay’s Wharf

We got off the bus before station so we could walk across the bridge and enjoy the view down river to Tower Bridge. The sky was clear blue and the sun had risen above the lowest buildings making a scene to gladden the heart.

I took some photos as we walked over the bridge against the current of people already flooding out of the station and heading towards their offices in the City. To me it was a happy novelty to be here at this early hour on a sunny day but to these workers it must have been just the beginning of another week of dull repetition.

Tooley Street
Tooley Street from the footbridge

Our train was due to leave at 7:36 but as we stood there clutching our breakfast of cheese baguettes and coffee we realized the train would be late. London Bridge station is a famous bottle neck and delays are inevitable during the rush hour.

The need is to add more lines but space is at a premium. The planners have their eyes on the historic Borough Market, famous far and wide for the range and quality of the foodstuffs it sells, but imagine the protests that would respond to any plan to remove it and build on the site!

Our train was only a couple of minutes late and we quickly found table seats and started on our baguettes. As the train trundled slowly out over the points, our speed was such that an airliner off to the right seemed to hang motionless in the clear blue sky like a model hanging on a string.

Despite the sunshine, there was a frost and the fields were silvered in the low sunlight. As the sun rose, the frost retreated, lingering like a second shadow of trees and buildings.


Bo Peep Tunnel
Bo Peep Tunnel

At 9:07 as advertised, our train emerged from the Bo Peep Tunnel into St Leonards Warrior Square station.

We knew from our previous visit that the client address is a little difficult to find unless you know it. Fortunately, our cab driver was the same as last time so remembered how to get there. He’s an interesting chap and he remembered us, so we chatted merrily and the drive seemed to take no time at all. By 9:25 the job was done and we cabbed it back to he station to start our day out. We set off along the sea front, as we usually do, and continued on into Hastings.

A once-elegant terrace
Seafront terrace
Warrior Square
Warrior Square divides St Leonards and Hastings
Weathered regal lion
Weathered regal lion
Hastings Pier looks doomed
Hastings Pier looks doomed
Queen's Arcade
Queen’s Arcade
 
The Italian Way
The Italian Way, where we had lunch
St Mary in the Castle
St Mary in the Castle
Hastings Old Town
Hastings Old Town: antiques, jewellery, all sorts
 

West Cliff Lift
West Cliff Lift

There are two cliff lift services, West Cliff Lift and East Cliff Lift. These are more like mountain railways or funiculars than the convenional lift and are fun to ride. We took the West Cliff Lift, which runs in a tunnel. The East Cliff Lift is open-air along its track but is currently closed for refurbishment. Emerging at the top of the cliff, one has wonderful views of the coast, the town and the countryside inland.

View from the cliff
View from the cliff

Nearby is the ruined Hastings Castle. We didn’t visit it this time but may do so another day.

Behind me as I took this photo was an open grassy area with a grassy bank at one side. It was warm in the sun and relatively sheltered, so we decided to rest for a while. Both of us fell asleep. And this, despite the shouts and squeals of an excited group of language school students brought up here on a visit.

Basking gulls
Basking gulls

Down at sea-level once more, we continued walking along the front. This pair of gulls were not the only ones to take advantage of sun-warmed car roofs as good places for basking and dozing!

Further to the east is the fishing port which is still operational. It has a museum in what was once the fishermen’s church. Admission is free but you are requested to make a donation.

A Passage
A Passage
A friendly cat
A friendly cat

We now turned up All Saints Road which is on a hill and has a raised pavement on the eastern side. It contains many historic old buildings and various “terraces” and “passages” that strike off to left and right.

On the way up, we met a friendly cat and, being cat lovers, we naturally stopped for a chat!

At the top of All Saints Road, we found a bus stop and shortly afterwards a bus arrived that took us to Hastings Station. Now, altough we had started the day at St Leonards, we had had the foresight to book our tickets one stop further to Hastings. Thus, we could take the train here back to London.

15th century house
15th century house, All Saints Road

It had been a beautiful day, with sunshine all the way except for the occasional passing cloud. Earlier, the sky to the north did look a little stormy but that soon melted away. If this wasn’t the first truly spring day then it was a pretty good imitation.

We saw some familiar sights, enhanced by the sunlight and also explored some areas we had not seen before. We were impressed. Hastings is a lovely town. We have visited it several times already but we will be happy to return and enjoy it anew.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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