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Leah Bracknell on life in Worthing, yoga and how she spends her free time in Sussex

PUBLISHED: 10:12 09 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:12 09 December 2014

Leah Bracknell

Leah Bracknell

Archant

After starring in Emmerdale for 16 years, Leah settled in Worthing. Here she tells us how she spends her free time

Former Emmerdale actress and Worthing resident Leah Bracknell is a qualified yoga teacher. She has been teaching for 10 years and has released two DVDs: Yoga & You and Yoga for Life. Leah played Zoe Tate in Emmerdale for 16 years and the character has been lauded for being the first realistic portrayal of a lesbian on a mainstream soap. Leah has also worked on television programmes such as Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost and DCI Banks. She has toured the country on stage from Shakespeare to pantomime, including working at Brighton Theatre Royal (Strangers on a Train), The Connaught Worthing (Gaslight), and The Capitol, Horsham. She has volunteered and fundraises for Worthing Churches Homeless Projects. So how does she spend her precious time off?

Leah moved to West Sussex from Yorkshire, and says she is still getting used to the weather here on the south coast: “I lived in Yorkshire for 25 years, and as stunningly beautiful as it is the weather can often be a little rainy and overcast. When I moved here I couldn’t believe how sunny and warm it was. It’s like being on holiday. That feeling hasn’t faded yet.”

The weekend might start at Worthing’s Coast Café, a favourite venue for “a lazy breakfast in the sun right on the beach, watching the seagulls, gazing at the sea. There’s always something different going on: open air films, bands, artists, and fire eaters to name a few.” Worthing’s seafront is her favourite view in her adopted county: “Living so close to the sea is an amazing blessing. Every day it is different – the colour of the sky, the water and the light – and I love that it is still a working fishing beach, where you can buy fish freshly caught from the sea. I love walking along the beach at low tide in wellies. It’s always very chilled and never overcrowded. Half an hour of sea-gazing is healing for the soul. And it means I am home.” Last year Leah celebrated her birthday with drinks, nibbles and a swim in the sea, and “it’s a great place to be to start the new year as the clocks strike 12, glass of bubbly in hand and with the wind and waves roaring in the dark.”

Her favourite walk is “Kingley Vale – amongst the yew trees. Ancient, wise and beautiful beings of the land with stories to tell if you listen closely.” She’s often teaching yoga in the evenings – her yoga mat is among her favourite possessions – but being a thespian she has quickly got to grips with the local theatre scene: “I have been to all the local theatres in Worthing, Chichester and Brighton, I have even enjoyed Shakespeare and a picnic in the rain at Highdown Gardens. And I have worked at local theatres too.”

Sundays might include a vegetarian roast at The Gun Inn in Findon, which has “garden tables for when the weather is sunny,” or a day trip to Brighton. “When I came down to work at Brighton Theatre Royal a few years ago, the first place I headed on my day off was for a tour of the Royal Pavilion. It is a unique and exotic symbol of Brighton’s heritage. 
“I’d follow that by some people watching on the grass outside, soaking up the Brighton vibe.”

Leah teaches weekly classes in Worthing and district for children and adults. She runs Yogaplay!, yoga workshops for schools and Yoga and Stress Relief workshops for corporate clients.

One-to-one yoga sessions and shamanic healings are available.

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For all details of classes and workshops: www.leahbracknellyoga.com or email info@leahbracknellyoga.com or 07580 895509

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Read on

Clare Holman on life after Lewis, moving to Rye and her favourite Sussex locations

Journalist and presenter Natalie Graham on how she spends her free time in Sussex

Michael Simkins on growing up in Brighton, witnessing a near-catastrophe on stage and his career as a writer

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