Living in London is wonderful, but there are times when you hanker for a little bit of familiarity from back home. Of course, Germany’s not a million miles away, and with the plethora of cheap flights provided by the likes of Ryanair, Easy Jet, and Air Berlin, it’s always possible to nip home for a weekend.
But when that’s not possible, there’s always the chance to get an authentic German experience right here in London.
So with that in mind, here’s our list of the 10 best things for German Expats in London…
1. Get authentic German food at Fischer’s
But it’s so much more than that… The menu is varied and serves both German and Austrian cuisine. Of course, you can simply pop in for a coffee and a cake if that’s what you fancy, but they also serve wonderfully different menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner (they also cater for vegetarians too).
And they do a mean hot chocolate – and if that doesn’t remind you of home, nothing will…
Fischer’s can be found in Marylebone, and is open 7 days a week from 08:00 to late.
2. Visit the German Deli at Borough Market
Desperate for an authentic bratwurst? Can’t wait to chow down on a “real” sausage? Then look no further than the German Deli Ltd that can be found every day (except Sunday), at Borough Market.
These guys are specialist importers of all things German sausage, and the staff certainly knows their stuff – not to mention that their produce is absolutely delicious.
The queues that wind their way to the counter are not only made up of German expats, but from all different nationalities as they’ve discovered quite how wonderful German sausages really are…
3. Enjoy the sights and sounds of a German Christmas market
Yes, we know that you can’t really have a German Christmas market anywhere but Germany – but actually, there’s some pretty good substitutes in London.
Our favourite is the Southbank Christmas Market, which is – as the name suggests – on The Southbank.
There’s always a whole bunch of great stalls selling all kinds of authentic products – including, naturally, gluwein because no Christmas market is complete without the potent smell of this spicy hot drink…
4. Visit the Bavarian Village at Winter Wonderland
Continuing on the Christmas theme, one of the best things to do in the festive period is to visit the massive Bavarian Village at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
Here you can shop till you drop at more than 200 beautifully lit Bavarian wooden chalets – it’s all you need to make you feel a little closer to home.
And you’ll probably be able to pick up some great German gifts to give to your other expat friends, or to introduce your non-German friends into the wonders of your home country.
5. Still manage to buy real German bread
You have to search hard, because what the Brits refer to as bread certainly isn’t what you’re used to.
But there are a couple of good German bakeries in London. One is called Kamps, and can be found on Tottenham Court Road.
Here you can watch the bakers as they craft their delicious bread, and you won’t have to pay over the odds to purchase it. They provide a whole range of breads, pastries, sandwiches, cakes, and desserts.
The other bakery to check out is Bakehaus near Hammersmith. Not only do they serve wonderful bread, but you can also indulge in a classic German lunch special, choosing from Frikadellen, pork or chicken schnitzel, Fleischkase, curryworst, or Bockwurst.
6. Learn about the comparative history of Britain and Germany
It also has a public library that specialises in German history. They host regular lectures and conferences on a monthly basis. The library is open Monday to Wednesday (09:30-17:00), Thursday (09:30-20:00), and Friday (09:30-17:00).
7. Meet with likeminded expats
The online meeting group, Meet Up, is a great place to connect with others from home. Each group organises its own social events, and there are loads of different types – ranging from German conversation groups to German book clubs.
8. Visit the British Museum
The “Germany, Memories of a Nation’” exhibition at The British Museum examines elements of German history from the past 600 years. Not only does it chart the country’s many political changes, but also art by Hobein, Richter, and more.
It also highlights the technological achievements that have come out of Germany, such as the VW Beetle, Gutenberg’s Printing Press, and Meissen porcelain.
9. Visit London’s authentic Munich beer hall
Known as Bierschenke, you can enjoy the environment of a genuine Munich beer hall right in the centre of London. Serving food and, naturally, beer, you can also dance the night away every Saturday evening with a truly authentic Bavarian Oompah band.
It’s an easy walk from both Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations, and the venue is open 11:00-23:00 on Monday through Friday, and 12:00-00:00 on Saturdays.
10. Go real snow skiing
Of course, the weather in the UK is very different to Germany – especially in the winter months, but if you fancy walking (and skiing or snowboarding), on real snow, then a 30 minute train ride from Euston to Milton Keynes will see you snapping on your skis and hitting the slopes.
Xscape is one of the largest indoor snow slopes in Europe, and a place where all the family can join in the fun.
They offer ski lessons for all abilities, and for those who don’t want to ski, you can don some warm clothes and go tobogganing instead.
Afterwards, you can enjoy dinner at one of the many eateries, or even enjoy the latest blockbuster at the large Cineworld cinema. There’s also a great bowling alley, a casino, and even a nightclub if you’ve got the energy…