Kent, London
March 2016


This is an abridged description of a trip to England, mainly Kent and London, in March 2016. The intention is to give a firsthand personal experience of how Joy and I did get to and around this part of England. This report may not be as interesting as the other trips to more exotic destinations. And it is only a very small part of England anyway. And as far as most of you are concerned, it may not be all new to you, since many may already have visited at least London.

Since this is not only a travel report but also a personal memory album, so don't complain that Joy is often standing or sitting in the way while taking the photos.

Also don't complain about the photos not adjusted correctly on the right side if you use Mozilla Firefox. I propose to use the Explorer or Edge of Microsoft instead.

Getting from Berlin to England

We decided to make the trip to England by car, because we wanted to see not only London but also the country around, at least a bit. Of course, flying would be better if you only visit London. I like to drive anyway. So we drove by car from Berlin to Liège first instead of all the way to Calais. We stayed the night at the
Ibis Budget Hotel
380 Rue De L'arbre Courte Joie
Liège 4000, Belgium
which we booked at www.booking.com for 56.00 Euro a night. For dinner we visited the "Les Princes Evêques" restaurant right at the Place de la République Français. It was a very good one and we only can recommend it. Since the hotel was located close to the highway we could easily leave Liège early next morning trying to reach the ferry in Calais before midday.

We did book the ferry online at P&O and paid 65.00 Euro. I chose the departure time 02:10 pm to be on the safe side if we would get into a traffic jam. I knew that you could get easily on board at an earlier departure time, if the ferry is not full. And that was the case: We could leave at 11:55 am. There will be no refund if you miss your booked ferry. Even worse: You have to pay a much higher price for a new ticket.

The ferry ride to Dover took around two and half hour. If you have no GBP cash by now, then don't change your Euro on the ship. The exchange rate at the counter was exorbitant: Around 1.50 Euro for 1.00 GBP. The official rate was 1.30 Euro for 1.00 GBP. But we didn't buy anything on the ship except a piece of cake and a coffee for 4.00 GBP, i.e. 5.20 Euro, which was ok.

Click the small picture to get it enlarged

Traveling on a ferry like this Having cake and coffee inside the ferry
First glimpse of the White Cliffs of Dover


Why Elham? It's the home village of one of our friends we wanted to visit. But we didn't want to bother staying overnight in their little house. So we booked also via www.booking.com the hotel
Rose And Crown Elham
Kent CT4 6TD
for 63.00 GBP (82.00 Euro) including breakfast (a really large English breakfast). We just stayed one night in Elham but we made reservation for our last night before heading back to the Continent.
The church of Elham and opposite the pub
Close-up of our friends Warming-up inside the pub
We didn't have dinner in the cozy pub but were invited by Ros and Dietmar
This is not inside of the Canterbury Cathedral but still and only the church in Elham


Since Elham was very close to Canterbury so it was clear that we have to see the famous Cathedral. It' s the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. One of the most famous one was Thomas Becket. We were standing on the spot where he was murdered in the year 1170. You should watch the movie "Becket" with Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole. Look up the history book or the internet to know more if you not already know. Also take a look at the following photos.
This must be the real Canterbury Cathedral
The entrance to the Canterbury Cathedral compound Close-up of the entrance
The outside already looks impressive Even if already being refurbished
The inside is even more impressive
Artful mosaic windows
Artful marble designs
History took place here Everybody knows Thomas Becket
Who is buried here? Who is standing here?
Ok, that was our first visit of a church or cathedral in England, where we had to pay an entrance fee. Not just 2.00 GBP but 10.50 GBP (13.65 Euro) for an adult and 9.50 GBP (12.35 Euro) for a senior. I do not know of any church in Germany, where you have to pay, whether churches or cathedrals in Cologne or Berlin. Donations are ok. Afterwards we had lunch in the restaurant "Côte" on the Longmarket Parade in Canterbury. One two course lunch (with a steak) did cost 10.95 GBP, almost the same as the entrance fee. After lunch we walked a bit around this cute little old town before we hit the road to get on the motorway to London, or better to Morden first.


Why Morden? It's a district south of London. Driving a car into Central London is difficult. Not only. Also because it's a Congestion Charging Zone, which means that you have to pay 11:50 GBP during the day from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Not to mention the problem to park a car in Central London. So I chose Morden. Also because I was here before, when friends used to live close-by. And more importantly: It had an underground station, the last one of the Northern Line, which takes you in 30 minutes to the City of London. And last not least: Hotels and guesthouses are generally cheaper on the outskirts of London. And I found a nice guesthouse for 70.00 GBP (91.00 Euro) the night at www.booking.com, which was the
18 Morlon Road
Mordon, Surrey
Mitcham SM4 6EF
Tel.:+44 7921008167
The owners are a nice couple. He is a Japanese and she is a Korean. Her first name is Kato, so it's part of the guesthouse's name. His name is Mitsuo. Both are speaking Japanese at home. They were really surprised when Joy started to speak Japanese to them (yes, Joy learned some Japanese before my time), while we were having dinner with them. Yes, they have invited us together with some other guests at our arrival day. This also happened another day, but usually we ate in the Irish Pub opposite the Morden Underground Station.
Next morning: Breakfast in the Kato-London-Haus A rib of beef for my honey and lamb for me
Back in Morden's Irish pub to have dinner, but what?

Taking the Tube to Westminster Abbey and the Westminster Palace

Next day we walked from the Katolondonhaus to the Morden Underground Station. It was quite a walk. It took 30 minutes instead of 10 minutes as we were told. The other days we took the car and parked it for free on the "Park and Ride" compound close to the station.

At the station we first bought two Oyster Travelcards for 20.00 GBP (26.00 Euro) each from a ticket machine. The fare will be automatically subtracted for each trip depending on the distance. If not enough balance then you can fill it up. If you have too much balance left you can get the rest of the money back from the ticket machine. This is the most modern ticket system I have ever experienced.

Ok, let's go. First to Westminster Station. What's there to see? Of course the Westminster Abbey Joy wanted to see first, because of the wedding of Kate and William she saw on television. Also here of course you have to pay an entrance fee of 20.00 GBP (26.00 Euro) per person. Ok, I understand it's a church with a lot of history. What church is not. But the English history is special. And I wanted to see the tomb of Elisabeth I. How often have I seen her in movies, especially the ones with Errol Flynn. Sorry, no photo of the tomb. No photos were allowed inside Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Abbey Entrance of Westminster Abbey
From Westminster Abbey to the Palace of Westminster with the statue of King Richard I
And then the Palace of Westminster, which contains the Houses of Parliament. In front the statue of King Richard I, also known as King Richard Lionheart. I like him most in the movie "Robin Hood" with Errol Flynn. He was once prisoner in the Dürnstein Castle, Austria, where I also once stayed one night (not in the prison, of course). Look up the internet. It's very interesting.

And then the next famous guy was Oliver Chromwell. Instead of telling too much you should watch the movie "Chromwell" with Richard Harris and Alec Guinness. His statue also stands in front of Westminster Palace.

And then a lady wanted to be photographed in front of Big Ben of which she has compiled a 3D kit and put on a shelf at home to be admired by everyone. Big Ben is actually the nick name of the bell of the clock but it has been extended to the clock and the tower, which is now called the Elisabeth Tower and is part of the Palace of Westminster. Understood?
From Oliver Chromwell to Big Ben

Buckingham Palace

From Westminster we took the Tube to Victoria Station. That was the station where I first arrived by train in June 1960. More later on to this event. For now we had a cake and a coffee first at Starbucks.

An old lady with a very old and worn out outfit was sitting opposite to us at the table. She seemed to sleep with just the leftover of a sandwich in front of her and some plastic bags beside her. She seemed to be homeless and tried to warm up somewhere inside, because it was cold outside. Her face looked a little aristocratic and she and her outfit has probably seen better days.

We left Starbucks while I was still thinking about the misery of homeless people, especially in rich countries. Why can't the Queen of England provide for food and shelter for her homeless subjects. According to "The Guardian" the Queen has done more for charity than any other monarch in history. What I read was that she is the patron to 510 charities but hardly donates any personal money herself. One example only states: In 2015 the monarch donated personal money to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal to help the victims of the Nepal earthquake.

Anyway, we decided to pay her ... a visit. Unfortunately, she didn't invite us for tea (that's what Joy answered to a friend, why she wants to travel to England). So we only could stand in front and look through the gate of the Buckingham Palace. We were just able to watch the end of "Changing the Guard". And then we had a look at the Victoria Memorial.
Then to the Buckingham Palace But the guards didn't let us in
No tea time with Queen Elisabeth II So we paid our respect to Queen Victoria instead

The Tower

Another day, another sight: The Tower. Just in front of the Underground Tower Hill Station. Another entrance fee: 26.95 GBP (35.00 Euro) for an adult and 20.95 GBP (27.20 Euro) for a senior. It's a must to pay and you will see and learn a lot. The official name of the Tower is: Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. This historic castle is 950 years old. Originally founded by William the Conqueror. Many parts have been added later on. Look up the internet to know more. Now you can follow me:
Next stop at the Tower This is the entrance to the Tower
Outside wall of the Tower Inside: the White Tower
Guarded by not the Beefeater but the Ravenmaster
Who are the Ravenmasters? They have the responsibility to maintain the welfare of the ravens of the Tower of London. There is a legend: If the ravens ever leave the Tower, disaster will come upon the kingdom. The kings and queens were very superstitious in the old days. But now it is just English tradition (for the paying tourists). So are the medieval knights.
Encountering a medieval knight The armor of a medieval knight
This is a noble knight The armor of a not so noble king: Henry VIII
King Richard III was even worse who supposedly killed his two nephews You are lucky if you are jailed only and not killed
Armors like this became obsolete with the advent of canons
View from the White Tower to the Waterloo Block where the Crown Jewels are displayed
Changing of the guards It's a hard job (to guard the Crown Jewels?)
How can you stand still like this for hours? This lady could only do it for a minute
Lions of stone at display in the old Royal Menagerie Just a hole in the wall

Tower Bridge

Next we had to get on the Tower Bridge. We walked along the river Thames first and then under the road leading onto the Tower Bridge. There we saw Starbucks and we couldn't resist to have cake and coffee again.
What's next? The Tower Bridge
Unobstructed view to the Tower Bridge The view to the "Needle" on the other side
On the Tower Bridge View back to the Tower
Now we didn't continue just to walk over the bridge's sidewalk as part of the street but we climbed up the first tower to walk the fly-over and then to get down the opposite tower. Ok, we had to pay for that but it was only 8.00 GBP (10.40 Euro) for both of us. It was really worthwhile and very interesting. Take a look.
Climbing the tower and walking the fly-over Looking down to the traffic on the street
It's scary to stand on the glass while looking down to the street below
Also: A fantastic view to the east and a nice view to the west
Looking to the south-west Looking to the north-west
After walking down the opposite tower we visited the Tower Museum (was included)
To find out how the draw bridge is working
Last view to the Tower Bridge and opposite the Tower
Last view over the Thames and the HMS Belfast in front

Staines upon Thames

Next day we didn't get back into London but we were driving around from the south to Staines upon Thames west of London. The reason was that we wanted to visit Michael, an old friend of mine. The last time we saw each other was more than 50 years ago during the first half of the sixties. During that time I traveled to England five times.

Those were the haydays of British rhythm and blues bands, like the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Rolling Stones, just to name a few. I even was sitting not far away from Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones on the television show "Ready Steady Win". Also Michael as James (or Jaymes) Fender with his band "The Vulcans" was there. He had a lot of fans and he lives now together with one of them: Beverly. It was a pity that we couldn't stay longer than just the afternoon. They were just in the process to move to the south coast with most of their stuff already packed.

We paid a visit to Michael and Beverley Michael on the left and I in the middle in 1964
Michael in the middle of "The Vulcans" John Ford on the left beside Michael became very famous

Windsor Castle

So we drove from Staines upon Thames to Windsor which was farther to the west. But unfortunately it was too late to get into the Windsor Castle. We only looked at the walls and around the cute little town. Then we had something to eat in a Greek restaurant. They had a very interesting menu. You could compile your own meal, which was then arranged on an etagère, i.e. plates on several levels.
Now we want to visit Windsor Castle It was too late and the gate was closed
So we could only see the formidable walls So was the Queen Victoria (statue) in front

Portobello Road

We wanted to drive to the south coast to visit other friends, but there was not enough time. So we decided to visit the market on the Portobello Road next day, a Saturday. The real market with stalls in the street was supposed to take place only on Saturdays. But there have been so many curiosity and antique shops settled down in the houses, which are also worthwhile to visit any day.

In one of the antique shops I couldn’t resist to buy a nice sterling silver tea set for 600.00 GBP (780.00 Euro) after serious negotiation. In Germany I would have had to pay at least double. The road was long with all kinds of stuff being offered, but nothing really extraordinary. Extraordinary was the restaurant
Portobello Gold
95/97 Portobello Road
Nottinghill, London W11 2QB
Tel.: (020) 7460 4900
Many illustrious people were here (so do we) like Daniel Craig as a barman in 1991 (later he became James Bond) and president Bill Clinton as a guest in 2000, who even forgot to pay the bill, what a Bill. Mister Bell, the owner was not amused. It's also a B&B with nice rooms, starting with 80.00 GBP (104.00 Euro) a night. We only settled down in the beautiful back garden under palm trees and beside an aquarium with an extraordinary creature.
Next day: Lunch in the Gold restaurant on Portobello Road but not of the fresh catch out from the aquarium
When that creature saw Joy he jumped up with joy

The Eurotunnel

On Sunday we went back down to Elham to our other friends and had a good time with them again. We also stayed again at the "Rose and Crown". Finally, on Monday we had to leave good old England. After the famous large breakfast we left Elham at around 9:30 am and arrived at the Eurotunnel entrance at around 10:00 am. I was counting on it to get on the train earlier than my pre-booked 12:20 (which was the cheapest time for 73.00 GBP (95.00 Euro). And yes, we could get on the 10:20 am without paying additionally and we were on the road in Calais at around 11:00 GMT or 12:00 CET. It was exciting to travel under the sea thinking of all the water above. The tunnel is 50km long of which 37.5km are under water.
Now we quickly are leaving Great Britain through the Euro Tunnel by train
We drove then all the way to Berlin and arrived safely at around 10:00 pm same day. The only traffic jam was just around Cologne where we did get stuck for 90 Minutes because of an accident. If you would deduct that and the stops at the gas stations and our supper at a motorway restaurant then we could have made it in 7 hours for the approximately 1000km.

This was the end of our trip to England. As it was said before and will be said again: There could have been seen and done a lot more. Also I could have written more. If you want to know more all about the places we have visited, then just look up any of the many guidebooks or the internet.

Created December 2016

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