Most of the time, I enjoy creative writing and playing the piano, but certain things inspire the creative processes:
Rural landscape. Village inns and benches on the green. Wooden bus stops on country lanes. The scent of damp grass. Rain. I particularly like getting lost in the local woods near where I live, several miles north of central London. This really helps me to see country surroundings from the perspective of the characters in my novel writing, in particular scene setting. Plus, the fresh air and exercise are good too, brisk hill walking being a hobby of mine. (At one point, I even bought myself a pedometer!)
Places with character. Especially country pubs or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, pubs in rundown urban areas with distinct characters of their own. I like the low beamed ceilings and poor lighting of some country inns, the atmosphere that builds up. Disused factories. Cotton mills. Again, these help me picture social interactions in regards to the characters in the psychological thriller I’m working on.
Music. Classical, jazz, pop or rock. Of the four elements of music (rhythm, melody, harmony and timbre), I like harmony the most, especially when a key changes (modulation).
Weather. My favourite seasons are spring and autumn. Not suprisingly, these feature in both novels, with huge sections around the shore.