A great many young people made the overland journey to India during the 1960s, travelling the hippie trail to Kathmandu. However, Robert leader did it twice, in 1966 and again in 1969, the second trip filled in the gaps and widened his experience of India and South East Asia.

In those days it was possible to travel through the Middle East and Iran and even to hitch-hike through Afghanistan. All the glories of all those ancient cultures were there to be visited at leisure, the temples and the mosques, the peoples, the bustling bazaars and the lost cities of Petra, Persepolis and Mohenjodaro. Much of it was to become lost again, closed off by barriers of politics and war, but in the fantastic sixties the hippie trail to Kathmandu was wide open and a whole generation followed it in search of love, faith or hope, or perhaps just insatiable curiosity.

The vivid colours of the desert, the multi-shaded greens of the jungles and the magnificent Himalayan sunrise above Everest were all witnessed. The erotic carvings of Khajuraho, the shadowed, tree-strangled mysteries of Angkor Wat, the junks and sampans of Hong Kong and the splendour of the cherry blossom in Japan are all here in this fascinating book.

Robert Leader writes with a wry sense of humour, a keen eye for detail and a deep interest in the history and cultures of the regions through which he passed.








Suffolk is quintessentially English in character, subtle and beautifuly in an unshowy, gentle sort of way. Its beauty is the pastoral charm that Constable portrayed so well in pink-walled cottages, the sheltered, gull-wheeling haunts of fishermen and sailors, the old flint churches and meandering rivers. But there is history here too in its grand castles, ancient guildhalls and once-great abbeys.

      Photo-journalist Robert Leader spent four years wandering with a camera through the the byways and villages of Suffolk, its towns and riverbanks, its countryside and seashore. His stunningly illustrated book follows each of Suffolk's rivers, charting the history of the county with words and photographs that evocatively capture its special heritage and beauty.



      Norfolk is one of the few remaining English counties where time, if it hasn't stayed still, has at least marched at a slower pace than elsewhere. Strikingly beautiful it has succeeded in guarding its heritage and keeping most of the ravages of modernity at bay. It is also one of the most popular counties for visitors  from overseas and from all over Britain.

      With over 100 of his own breath-taking photographs Robert Leader has charted the heritage and history of this unique county through its great Norman castles and abbeys. its guildhalls and mediaeval wool churches, and the stately homes of the great land-owning families who helped to shape it all.

       He follows the courses of Norfolk's rivers, capturing the charm of its fishing villages and genteel Edwardian towns, the drama of its wide skies, the lonely beaches, the mysterious fenlands and the lovely Norfolk broads.

       The prime glory of Essex has to be its marvelous maritime heritage. Between the River Stour and the River Thames there are a multitude of waterways, river mouths and estuaries, creeks and marshes. They are the haunts of sailors and fishermen and once the haunt of old time smugglers.

      Inland too, Essex has a rewarding diversity of endless attractions, flower-draped cottages, cosy thatched villages, mediaeval market towns, castles and abbeys, the cool splendours of Epping Forest, and a windmill or a church tower peeping over almost every wooded hilltop.

          It is all within easy reach of London, growing ever more rural and idyllic as the ripples of fields and woodlands spread northward from the M25. The county is a joy to explore, following the wanderings of the river valleys from their sources to the sea. The rivers were always the main corridors of exploration, colonization and trade, and the villages and towns that have grown up along their banks all have a story to tell. From the Charm of the Chelmer to the Blackwater by-ways, every twist and turn finds a new delight. Essex is a county to savour at leisure, and a single summer is not enough.







This fascinating and beautifully photographed guidebook follows Cambridgeshire’s waterways from leafy Huntingdon to the wide-sky Fens, along the lovely Nene Valley down to the busy port town of Wisbech and travels beside the gentle stream of the Cam into the architectural glories of the university city of Cambridge.

The narrative explores the history of Cambridgeshire through its vanished castles and abbeys, tracing the draining of the wild marshes. Cambridgeshire is a county that is different to any other in England, and the watery landscapes of the Fens are unique.

 From the bizarre Straw Bears that lead the hosts of Morris Dancers through the heart of Whittlesey every January, to the sedate Rose Fair that graces Wisbech church and gardens every June, Cambridgeshire has something to offer everyone.


After fifty five published novels and three illustrated guide books to Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, I have finally got round to writing a history of Bury St Edmunds, my home town. After the success of EXPLORING HISTORICAL ESSEX this one was commissioned by History Press in their new Bloody History series. The new book is called BLOODY BURY ST EDMUNDS

          This is not the definitive and detailed history of Bury and was never intended to be. My brief was to write a history with, “all the boring bits left out,” and so BLOODY BURY ST EDMUNDS is a cheerful romp through all the gore-splattered and violent episodes of Bury’s past, all leavened with a spicy mixture of murders, ghosts, witches and burnings. You could almost call it a Horrid History for adults.

          The series is proving a big hit for History Press and BLOODY BURY ST EDMUNDS is now on sale throughout East Anglia. It is a best-seller in the major bookshops of Bury. The book is heavily illustrated with many of my own photographs, including a central color section.


Death Danes and Disaster in Dark Age Ipswich!

The castles are burning!

Attacks, Battles and Wars in Ancient Suffolk!

Queen of Blood and Fire!

The dark days of Bloody Mary are revealed!

Sea of Blood! Smugglers, Sea Battles, U-boats and Invasions along the Suffolk Coast!

The Zeppelins are Coming! Bombs and Bodies in the First World War.

      Suffolk has one of the most amazing histories of any British County. Betrayals, conspiracies and invasions have all left their mark on Britain's eastern frontier.

      Discover how vicious power struggles between the Danes and the Vikings shaped the history of not just the coutry but the United Kingdom as a whole. Read of the troublesome Bigod dynasty, the Suffolk city lost under the  sea, and the strange story of the thousands of burned bodies that washed up on the county's beached during the Second World War.

The history of Norfolk and Suffolk mirrors that of England, and yet many of its events and people are unique and specific to this fascinating corner of East Anglia which thrusts its shoulder out into the grey North Sea. East Anglia was the home of Boudicca; the warrior queen who challenged the might of Rome. Its rivers and estuaries bore the brunt of many savage Viking raids and saw the cruel death and martyrdom of the boy King Edmund. Later Bloody Mary raised her standard in the Suffolk town of Framlingham before marching her forces upon London.

East Anglia’s position close to the continent of Europe meant that her ports thrived on continental trade and her seafarers played important roles in the wider world. Bartholomew Gosnold took the first settlers to found Jamestown in America, and George Vancouver was the first sailor to explore the Pacific coast of the new-found continent. Sir Thomas Cavendish was a pirate contemporary of Raleigh and Drake and was the first Englishman to navigate his way around the oceans of the world. The Norfolk man Horatio Nelson was the hero of Trafalgar.

During World War Two the many airfields of East Anglia were the launching platforms for the vast numbers of RAF and USAF bombers that pounded and paved the way for VE Day.


This brief but beautifully illustrated history, told through the ages from the Stone Age to the Modern Age, tells it all.









          My series of guide book to the counties of East Anglia grew out of the many photo-feature articles I wrote for the Suffolk and Norfolk Journals and the Essex Magazine. The magazine covers pictured above all carried my features and my photographs on the cover.

My favorite subjects were history and heritage and there was a wealth of ruined castles, abbeys and great stately homes to explore. I followed the coastlines and the courses of all the local rivers from their sources to the sea, first with a second hand Pentax and then with a brand new Pentax MZ-6 which my family bought for my sixty-fifth birthday present. My photo trips occupied most of my summer weekends. I was still running my painting and decorating business during the working week so the articles were mostly written up in mid-winter when the outside work ceased.

          Eventually it dawned on me that all of these published articles could be incorporated into the chapters for a series of souvenir guide books. All I had to do was to fill in the gaps and edit out the repetition. The magazines were then published by Thorogood Publishing and they were keen to publish the first two books. When Thorogood sold off the magazines and returned to their core of business publishing. History Press took on the Essex book which meant a slight change of title.




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