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Supermarkets in London

Sainsbury's Meal DealFifteen years ago, there were only a handful of supermarkets in central London. You can now find them on all main high streets — handy if you don’t have the time or money to eat out in a restaurant or cafe all the time.

Supermarkets are open 7 days a week. Large branches have reduced opening times on Sundays (typically 10am–4pm).




Supermarket chains

Not familiar with British supermarkets? Here’s a quick guide to the major chains.

See all central London supermarkets on a map.

Tesco

Tesco is the UK’s biggest supermarket chain. Their largest supermarkets are ‘Tesco Extra‘ and ‘Tesco Superstore’, medium-sized stores – ‘Tesco Metro‘.

Tesco Express‘ are the small branches and are more like convenience stores rather than supermarkets. These are everywhere. Prices are 3-4% higher than larger branches.

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s are not far behind Tesco in terms of number of outlets and quality. Large supermarkets are ‘Sainbury’s Superstore’. Medium-sized branches are just ‘Sainsbury’s‘.

Smaller conveniences stores are ‘Sainsbury’s Local‘. Like Tesco Express, these are more expensive than larger branches.

Marks & Spencer

M&S is not a place to do your weekly shopping if you’re saving money, but they’re popular with London’s office workers mainly for their huge range of sandwiches, salads, sushi & wraps. Smaller branches are called ‘M&S Simply Food‘.

Waitrose

Waitrose is probably the UK’s most expensive supermarket, but the quality is high and buying a ready-meal is still cheaper than a going out to eat. ‘little Waitrose‘ are their smaller branches. It’s part of the John Lewis group, an iconic British brand famous for its customer service.

The Co-operative Food

The Co-op is the UK’s most ethical supermarket chain. It’s similar to Sainsbury’s and Tesco in terms of price, but most branches are small.

Lidl

One of the cheapest supermarkets in the UK has no branches in central London, but they have a few Lidl branches in zone 2. The closest and easiest to get to by public transport are:

Lidl Camden
64-70 Camden High St
London, NW1 0LT
Tube station: Camden Town/Mornington Crescent

Lidl Stockwell
189 Clapham Rd
London, SW9 0QE
Tube station: Stockwell

Aldi

Aldi are similar to Lidl in terms of price and quality. They don’t have any branches in central London. The closest is:

Aldi Kilburn
142-162 Kilburn High Road
London, NW6 4JD
Tube station: Kilburn Park (then 10 minute walk)
London Overground station: Kilburn (then 6 minute walk)

Sandwich Meal Deals

If you’re on a tight budget, do what Londoners do and buy your lunch in a supermarket — the cheapest places to buy sandwiches, rolls, salads and drinks.

Some supermarkets offer special meal deals: a sandwich, a packet of crisp or fruit and a drink for around £3–£3.75. For a light lunch, cheap sandwiches start at £1 or if you’re really counting the pennies, larger branches have deli counters where you can assemble your own sandwich or roll for less than £1.

Boots, a chain of chemists, also offer sandwich meal deals. As do Greggs, a chain of shops selling sandwiches, hot savouries, cakes and bread.

If you want to eat your food inside, try a branch of Pret a Manger or EAT. Be prepared to pay a bit more through.

Cheap soft drinks

Soft drinks are always available near the sandwiches in the chilled cabinet. If you’re happy with a room temperature drink, they’re cheaper in the other aisles. This is especially true for water — a 2 litre own-brand bottle costs as little as 18p-50p.

Ready Meals

If you’re staying in an apartment or have self-catering facilities and don’t want to cook, all supermarkets offer a range of ready-made meals. Look out for the special dinner for two deals at M&S and Waitrose. For £10 you get a starter or dessert, a main meal with a side dish and a bottle of wine.

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