Ben is basically Indian now, but actually, he’s English and since I’ve been living in India with him we’ve gone back to the UK to see his family a few times. I’ve written about Tunbridge Wells before (where he grew up), Brighton, and Hastings & Rye, a trip we took with his mom, brother and mom’s boyfriend.
Although Ben is usually unimpressed with Tunbridge Wells, as most people are with their hometowns, I think it’s a really nice town. His family doesn’t live there anymore but it’s just 20 minutes away so we went a couple of times.
Our first meal was fish n’ chips from a Chinese place down the road which coincidentally was my first meal in England EVER when I was 20. Turns out the Chinese shops are known for making pretty good fish and it was pretty tasty.
On a previous trip we went to Hever Castle, and this time Ben took me to another one called Bodium Castle. It’s from the 14th century and has a moat. It was 20 pounds for the two of us to enter (plus parking). Not bad!
As always, we spend a lot of time eating (and deciding for hours where we want to eat because Ben and his friends are literally the least decisive people on the planet). This little pub called the Little Brown Jug was really tasty! We had more fish n’ chips, ham and cheese sammie, and some mac n’ cheese.
In case you’re wondering the green goo is mushy peas and it’s really good!
We chose this time of the year to go back because it coincided with Ben’s little sister getting married. She had the most Pinterest-perfect wedding ever and designed/decorated it all herself.
It went off perfectly and was so much fun. It was in Brixton inside a chapel of an old asylum. The reception was a building that used to hold raves back in the day. Ben and his bro’s Josh and Max read a poem at the ceremony and when she walked down the aisle a friend sang and played guitar.
These two are Ben’s bro Josh and his girlfriend Tamsin on the transport arranged to get between venues- old school red English buses
We did spend some time in London. Ben’s sis generously offered her apartment to us while she was off on her honeymoon. She lives in Brixton which is the “coolest place to be” these days. We checked out the famous Brixton Market, Pop Brixton, and some other “hip” spots.
People rave about Federation coffee, so we stopped in for a cappuccino. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t drink mine. It tasted awful. But this is coming from someone who typically drinks vanilla flavored beans, adds chocolate creamer, and caramel Hershey’s syrup, plus a scoop of sugar to her morning mocha. I’m sure real coffee drinkers will think this stuff is gold.
We went into Shoreditch too, to BoxPark another little market of sorts. These places are all so cute but when you see what they’re importing from abroad and compare prices it’s crazy expensive. Like I could actually buy these things in Asia at about 1/10th of the price.
Our reason for going to Shoreditch wasn’t because we are super trendy and love graffiti it was to eat greasy American food. I’ve corrupted Ben who claimed this meal was his favorite meal while was back in the UK.
We ate at Red Dog Saloon and strangely there are 4 big American BBQ restaurants in this area. I had wings and a root beer float (okay, okay, I had onion rings and jalepeno poppers too…) and Ben had the brisket.
Speaking of food, I did try some different restaurants this time around. Wahaca is a rip off of Chipotle but it’s pretty good if you miss Tex-mex. It’s a chain restaurant so you’ll see it all over. Tortilla is a super rip-off of it and it was pretty terrible, also a chain.
Everyone was raving about this place Franco Manca’s who has whole sourdough pizzas starting at 5 pounds. It was really tasty. They have this hipster vibe where they don’t cut the pizza to be cool or something, but I’m like seriously just cut my pizza for me. It would take them two seconds, but with my dull butter knife I destroyed the pizza over the next 5 minutes. Moving on… I always love the pizza from Pizza Express, and still, unfortunately, don’t get the appeal of sausage rolls.
We stayed at the Grazing Goat during the weekend of the wedding which is in Marylebone, near Oxford Street, and I gather a pretty fancy part of town (hint being the many Bentley’s on our road).
I have seen the touristy stuff in London before, so we didn’t do too much of that. We did go to the Tate Modern. It’s free entry to most attractions there and was nice to wander around although we got tired of it after about two hours. We probably only saw 25% of it.
We went to Borough Market but didn’t buy anything, because again London markets are cute but the novelty comes at higher pricetags.
PS the tube is about 3 pounds per journey but if you buy an Oyster card for 5 pounds and use it to tap in and out, not only is it easier, but it’s only 1.50 pounds. Same for overground train rides for which you’ll basically get 50% off. I didn’t know until part way through my trip (or for the last 4 years I’ve visited London). Ben, of course, didn’t tell me because he hates the tube and likes to use any reason to Uber instead (ha!).
We had a great two weeks in England. When we weren’t in London we were in the town his mom lives hanging out with his family and his friends. I always love going to England to see Ben’s people.
I had come from London straight from Israel. After this trip, Ben went back to India but I went on to Latvia. I came back to London for a couple of days and worked with a company called Pictrip who do photo tours of the city. I have a couple of pictures below. From there I went to Morocco, then back to London again for two days. Immigration had a few more questions on my third entry to the country within a month. Dealing with immigration, though… what else is new!?
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