There is a difference between strolling down Oxford Street on a Saturday morning looking for a place to splash your cash if you are a tourist and getting to grips with living in London, which will mean shopping in London, unless you are considering living in takeaways for the entire time that you are there. At some stage, you are going to have to take the plunge, leave your new London rental apartment, and brave the grocery store. It might take some getting used to, but after you have done it a few times you’ll be happily into the swing of things and calling it a supermarket instead of a store before you know it.
The Difference between Grocery stores and Supermarkets
It’s not just the name. You will find that there are a number of differences between grocery shopping here and grocery shopping in the States and you would be wise to be prepared for some of them. If you are looking for a huge store or a mall then you are going to have to head out of central London and into the suburbs to find them. Most shopping is done in smaller stores and even the open-air markets, if you are looking for fresh food. One of the more pleasing differences is that many stores offer a grocery delivery service. They’ll even carry it into your house and put it on your kitchen table if you’re not around. The biggest factor governing the way people shop though is transport. People only buy as many groceries as they can carry home on the tube or bus. Lugging 10kg’s of rice on the train during rush hour is not fun, so people tend to only shop for a couple of days worth of groceries at any time.
If you are absolutely craving the American style mall experience then the biggest mall is Westfield (Tesco and Whole Foods offer huge groceries as well in Kensington), but after you have been living here for a while you might just come to appreciate the personal service and community feel of your corner shop.