The estate that Portsmouth residents are travelling two hours to visit, apparently

Tourists from Portsmouth are apparently travelling more than two hours to visit a housing estate.

By Matthew Mohan-Hickson
Thursday, 10th June 2021, 3:45 pm

The Kirby Estate in Bermondsey, south-east London, has been draped in flags and patriotic bunting ahead of Euro 2020, which kicks off on Friday.

It has made a splash in the national media, with photos of the display being shared around social media.

However perhaps more surprisingly, it has proved to be a popular tourism destination – especially with visitors from Portsmouth

St George's flags, the national flag of England, fly from residents' homes at the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey - which Portsmouth residents have traveled up to visit, apparently. Picture: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

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    According to Google Maps, it is around a two hour and 15 minute drive from the city to Bermondsey and if you were to make the journey by public transport it would take around the same amount of time.

    Chris Dowse, 42, who works in the hospitality industry, said residents of the Kirby Estate first began showing their patriotic side during the Euros in 2012.

    He added that tourists from Portsmouth had already come to visit the housing estate, and anyone else who wants to have a look is welcome to drop by.

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    Mr Dowse said: ‘I came home one night and saw one of my neighbours, Alan, had put a couple of flags up. I thought “Oh, that looks nice”, and I looked over to the other block and saw a lady had also put a couple of flags up.

    ‘It just didn’t look finished, so I said to Alan ‘Let’s go get some more.

    ‘So we ended up buying more and more and more. Then one side was complete but Geraldine’s (another neighbour) side wasn’t.

    ‘So we all came together and said ‘Right, we’re doing it properly and we’ll have the whole estate done.’ In 2018 that was the first time the entire estate had a flag on it.’

    This year also features a Scottish flag too, which Mr Dowse said is for a sentimental reason.

    ‘The chap who lives there, his dad was English and his mum was Scottish. They’ve both sadly passed away in the last 18 months or so, so he’s put the Scottish flag up on one side, to honour his mum, and England flag up on the other side,’ he explained.

    ‘We’ve got a Portuguese flag up at the moment, we’re due to have a German one, French and Spanish. What we’ve always said is ‘If you wanna put your flag up, as long as you’re in the Championships or the World Cup, get the flag and we’ll put it up for you.’’

    Mr Dowse said the football fever has also spread to a nearby estate where residents previously felt ‘left out’, so he and his neighbours have put up flags for them too.

    ‘We’ve always had a positive reaction, we’ve always gone to the neighbours just to make sure they’re OK with us doing it, and if they don’t want a flag up we just won’t put one up,’ he added.

    ‘Online, we’ve had 98 per cent positive comments, and then you get the odd idiot who wants to associate it with all sorts of stuff and it’s just not like that at all.’

    A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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