Life in London for an Aussie is great, but every so often we all get hankerings for items from home. You know, times like when only a Tim Tam will hit the spot, or horror upon horror, you’ve run out of Vegemite (and we all know that Marmite just isn’t the same).
So where do you go to get such things in London?
Well, thankfully there are a few places. Although we have to say, the loss of The Australian Shop in Covent Garden a couple of years ago was a big blow for all London Aussie expats, that’s for sure.
But there are ways to buy all your favourites – you just have to give it a little more lateral thinking to do so.
To get the best Aussie deals, you’ll need to balance the convenience of online shopping against actually entering a store. Of course, shopping online is great, but sometimes you just want to go and look and touch a product before buying it.
And if you know where to look, some of the British shops sell certain staples as well. With that in mind, here’s a guide to the 8 best places to buy Australian in London.
The Covent Garden based Cybercandy isn’t specifically an Australian shop, but they do stock a few essentials, such as Tim Tams and other Australian sweets.
Think delights such as Cherry Ripe and Violet Crumble, not to mention those wonderful Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate flavours that you can get back home but not in the UK.
Not that we’re advocating you visit Brighton simply to visit the shop, but it’s a great excuse to get out of London. And it makes for a super day out, with loads to explore and a chance to feel the sea breeze rushing through your hair…
Okay, so Sanza is not a brick and mortar shop, but online. Yeah, yeah – perhaps this is cheating as you can’t walk in and browse, but you can sit in your home in London, browse through the products, and order them to be speedily delivered to your door.
There’s tons of stuff to choose from such as Allens Chicos, a whole range of Arnotts cookies, Gravox, Sanitarium Weet Bix, Uncle Toby’s Vita Brits, etc.
And they also sell other Aussie stuff besides food – making browsing their website a great cure for any pangs of home sickness…
Keeping to the online theme, eBay is always a good source of all things Australian. Not only can you find the staples, but also nice little home touches such as Australian flag cupcake toppers or the Australian Woman’s Weekly magazine, as a couple of examples.
4. Tom Hixson of Smithfield
If you’re hankering for some real Aussie beef, then look no further than Tom Hixson of Smithfield, who sells restaurant quality Queensland beef to the general public.
Choose from virtually any cut of beef you can think of, and enjoy the taste of home whenever you so desire.
5. Fine Food Specialist
Got a desire for some genuine Aussie Abalone? Well, visit the Fine Food Specialist (based in Covent Garden) and you can get it shipped to your door the very next day.
Sadly, they don’t accept people just popping in to buy, so you do have to order online. But we’re pretty sure that if you’re a lover of such a mollusk, you’ll be delighted to get it however it’s delivered…
6. John Bell
John Bell & Croyden Ltd. stocks a full range of Australian Organics pure plant care products, and thankfully these guys have a brick and mortar shop, as well as giving you the opportunity to purchase online.
The range includes all the various hair shampoos and conditioners, as well as body lotions, shower gels, and other bathroom essentials. In store, you can also take full advantage of regular brand demonstrations, product demonstrations, and various advice topics too.
They’re a pretty upmarket outfit, and are the appointed pharmacist to Her Majesty The Queen, so you’ll know you’ll be shopping in good company.
7. Australian Food Online
Sorry, but we’ve reverted to the online option again, with Australian Food Online. What takes your fancy? Cheezels? Twisties? Milo (ooooh, Milo!)?
This is a great website that delivers direct from down under to you in London (or anywhere else in the UK, for that matter).
8. British Supermarkets
At last the Brits are getting to grips that there’s a lot of us over here.
And thankfully, mainstream supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose stock a (small) selection of Aussie products – such as Vegemite – and at pretty reasonable prices (£1.97 for a 220g jar as of October 2015).
As you can probably gather, there’s actually not that many places in London where you can actually walk into and purchase a huge range of Australian products (do we spot a gap in the market here?).
So to ensure that you’re able to get hold of those “must have” items, you’ll need a little bit of tenacity to do so.
But hold on a moment, because aren’t you trying to immerse yourself into British culture?
So, to be honest, why not try to see if anything can work as a substitute for those things you crave from home. Yes, we know that certain things just can’t be replaced, but isn’t that half the fun of living in a country on the other side of the world?
Worst comes to the worst, you’ll simply have to order a “Red Cross Parcel” from family or friends back at home.
And here’s a sneaky tip (because postage can be expensive): have them check out parcel delivery costs online, because they normally work out far, far cheaper than simply going to the post office.
Try Interparcel and see how much cheaper it can cost (you’ll be amazed).