Ending 2015 in England

I am back in California, currently sitting on my parents’ sofa in physical and mental limbo. (Thanks, jet lag.) We spent a month in Europe for the holidays, bouncing between Kent and London, with a side trip to Paris. England was gray and wet — and kinda gloomy, to be honest — but it was nice to spend time with family, and to explore London and see friends, which I’d never complain about.


I haven’t done much proper sightseeing in London over the past several years, but I try to take photos with my phone when I can.

The London Eye
The London Eye.
St Pancras station
I love this car, parked outside of St Pancras International.
Obligatory statue shot at St Pancras
Obligatory snapshot of Paul Day’s “The Meeting Place,” which I always photograph when passing through St Pancras.
Cute flat in Bloomsbury
A cute Airbnb flat I recommend: the Sandwich House in Bloomsbury, super-close to the British Library.
Crazy wallpaper in Lambeth flat
Another flat we stayed in, near Lambeth North tube station, had the craziest wallpaper.

Brick Lane

Street art and murals spotted in east London, along and off of Brick Lane.

Street art alley

Street art heart

And I did.

Brick art off Brick Lane

Cheri and black and white mural


Shots taken near the village of Trottiscliffe, near the town of West Malling.

Misty Trottiscliffe

Coldrum Long Barrow
The Coldrum Stones (Coldrum Long Barrow) near the village of Trottiscliffe.
In the fields of Trottiscliffe
The path toward the church in Trottiscliffe.


Just a few photos from Dreamland, a small amusement park modeled after Coney Island, in the seaside town of Margate in southeast England. (Sidenote: I would’ve loved to visit Banksy’s Dismaland.)

Dreamland Margate slides
Super slides.
Dreamland lockers
Colorful storage lockers.

Most of these photos were taken with my iPhone 5s (and a few with a Canon G11).

Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

I am an editor at Longreads. For over a decade, I've worked on curation, editing, and storytelling projects across Automattic, including WordPress.com.

57 thoughts on “Ending 2015 in England

  1. Incredible photos, really enjoyed them. I liked that you mentioned that most were taken with a phone, some with a Canon. I’m going to go back through and try to see if I can spot a difference.

  2. I loved your pictures! Your photography skills are amazing. Your blog made me feel like I was getting a tour around England. Even though I live 1000000000000 plus plus miles from England, your blog makes me want to go there in the future. 🙂

  3. A really interesting, eclectic mix of images… I like your London ones because they capture the offbeat spirit of the city that somehow still manages to survive the ravages of gentrification and bland, corporate style ‘re-development’… As for the ones of the Kent countryside, you’ve captured the misty, moody feel of autumn perfectly:)

  4. I love it : ‘it was pretty gloomy to be honest’ – you hit the nail on the head, I bet you have newfound appreciation for sunny California! Gorgeous pictures, may I ask what phone you have (good camera!)

  5. Inspiring photographs! I love how you captured the atmosphere of the single situation in your pictures and most importantly they provide evidence that you pay attention to the litle nuances that makes life so colourful and exciting!

    Please keep the good work up!

  6. Stumbled upon your site through exploration… The top photo is just magnificent. A lot of these are, really. Just beautiful! ::smiles::


  7. As someone who spends most of his week in London, it’s interesting to see an outsider’s view, especially how you see things differently with a fresh pair of eyes and no baggage. To me, St Pancras is the place my workday begins and ends and I just want to get through it. Now I will see it differently, perhaps I too will stop and take a photo with my iPhone. Thank you.

  8. Great shots there, shows what you miss when you’re rushing around constantly.
    I never make the trip from Manchester to London often enough. I have been told that Banksy’s Dismaland is so cool.

  9. Thank you for all the beautiful photographs. As Edward Cullen said to Bella — and as I would say to photographs — “You’re my own personal brand of HEROIN.” 🙂

  10. Superb shots of the street art. Did you use your iPhone to shoot those? Makes me want to take a trip to London to wander around the streets. Love the heart with the eye on it. 🙂

      1. Way professional looking. I haven’t got any photos on my blog (cos I’m lazy) and assumed some level of competence with an SLR was required to produce quality images. I have an iPhone though so problem solved.

        1. I currently have my iPhone 5s, my beat up-but-still-working Canon G11 (a compact but fairly powerful digital camera), and a pricey Panasonic Lumix DMC‑LX100. I bought the Lumix thinking I wanted to go back to being fancy and taking better pictures. But to be honest, it’s collected dust in my drawer. My iPhone camera is just too convenient, and takes decent photos anyway 🙂

  11. Our daughter is leaving this Monday to attend university in England, (from Toronto). Just looked through this together and she’s now more excited than ever to go. Thank you for that. 😉

  12. Thank you for the inspiration! London is my next big dream trip…hopefully, a starting point for a traipse through Europe. Your photos really bring it to life. ❤️

  13. A lovely post. You mentioned taking photos with your phone…did you take that first photo with the purple car with your phone? It’s looks so HD-ish? And if you took the other photos with your camera, you sure don’t need to spend any money on a camera!

  14. The quality of the graffiti seems to have improved a great deal since the days when in London many, many years ago. I think Banksy must be having an influence!

  15. Great shot. Love the wallpaper.
    I don’t like vandalism, but the street arts are just really good, especially the one that looks like doodles.

  16. Oh! This gave me such a series of jolts – I’m still tying to process surprise, delight, and a whole mixture of other emotions. I’m originally from Kent and grew up in Platt which is about 3 miles from Trotiscliffe. I studied art at Canterbury and spent many happy hours in Margate and then lived and worked in London for many years. This has been an extraordinary post for me because I’ve not been back to any of these places for more than 20 years, and now can’t travel much – the last time I was in Kent was probably in the late 1980’s. Goodness. They’re wonderful pictures. The Coldrum stones! Looking I may say better than they did in the 1960’s. I shall be looking at them again and again…….

  17. Oh thank you so much for the virtual trip. I used to go to London fairly regularly when I lived in France (from Normandy with the ferry and then from Paris with the train that runs under the channel). London is my favorite European city (after Paris, of course!) and I appreciate your snaphots since I haven’t been there since 2008. Street art and murals have always played an important role in London. In comparison to Paris in the 1980s for example. Whenever I went there the quality amazed me. London always seemed to me much more daring than elegant Paris and I loved that trait of character a lot. I really felt in a very far foreign country in London. Things are more similar now, but the British remain much more civil and courteous, another trait I love a lot. That and their sense of humor!
    Rain and gloomy weather are somewhat hard for Californians, but the distinct British countryside’s charm is due to the wet cool weather.
    Totally understand the jet lag. Take care and see you soon on your blog with more stories and great photos.

    1. It’s great to hear your observations from both cities in their past iterations. (And while Paris is ever-elegant, it also has that edge, too. I saw some street art, although didn’t go looking for it — maybe next time!)

      But yes, London… it’s not a favorite city of mine, but it’s certainly a colorful, diverse place that has everything: from chaotic street markets to urban art in gritty alleyways to posh high tea and swanky neighborhoods. I realize more and more that I’m a person of extreme contrasts, so I appreciate London for all it offers.

      If my husband and I are successful in our grand long-term plans, we’ll regularly find ourselves in London for a part of each year.

  18. We’re in England now and leaving for London later this week…I see how your fondness for fog came out here in the countryside. I tried to capture those wisps while in Ireland over Christmas. Funny (my wife says), no matter how super these places are we can visit, we have it pretty good back home in the States, in Seattle…San Francisco…going away helps remind us that, too. Happy 16 and cheers to you and yours Cheri! Bill

    1. Thanks, Bill — indeed, I love (and am comforted by) the fog — anywhere! Enjoy your time in England. While I visit a lot, I don’t explore other parts of the country. Hoping that, in time, I can see more of it. Happy 2016!

  19. Thanks for explaining about the white books. I was just gonna ask. The heart photo was my favorite and I’ve referred folks to it.

  20. You know what I loved most about your post, Cheri? How differently you “saw” each of your destinations. You’ve really captured a wonderful sense of place in your images. Thank you for braving the jet lag to share your trip with us!

  21. You have a really good eye for photography. Nice colors and even in cloulding days, you got a nice luminosity. That’s great. Thanks for that.

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