It’s easy to see why so many Kiwis flock to the Big Smoke. With its 8 million people, London is nearly twice the size of little New Zealand and has a hustle and bustle that draws us all the way across the globe.
In fact, a stay in London is something of a rite of passage for young New Zealanders, many of whom live a rough-and-ready existence here. I rocked up nearly three years ago now and at first – struggling to make ends meet – had to share a room and even a bed with my older sister. Unless they’re one of the lucky ones with sponsorship or British ancestry, most Kiwis here are on a Tier 5 visa, meaning they can stay in this beautiful country for just two short-but-sweet years.
While we’re here we enjoy soaking up the pub culture (from craft ale and gastropubs to sessions in the Slug) and taking off to explore Europe at the weekends. And there are even a few places where we can soak up some Kiwiana in our adopted city. Holly van Ballekom
Did you know? Waitangi Day on February 6 celebrates the date New Zealand became part of the British Empire in 1840. It’s a day to celebrate New Zealand’s diversity and a good excuse for a drink (see below).
Holly’s favourite Kiwi places in London
Toast looking dry? Visit the Pic’s Peanut Butter stall at Maltby Street Market to pick up a Kiwi classic.
Aussies may claim it as their own, but smashed avocado is a Kiwi favourite. Visit Brickwood in Clapham or Balham for the best in town.
The Bach is an ode to the Kiwi holiday home. With beachy vibes and a chilled atmosphere, its two east London branches are a must while summer lasts.
NZ is known for its vino, and The New Zealand Cellar in Brixton sells the largest selection of premium New Zealand wine in Europe.
Every February, thousands of Kiwis dress up and flood the Circle line for a Waitangi Day pub crawl. It finishes with a mass haka near Westminster Abbey.
Unveiled in 2006, the New Zealand War Memorial remembers the many Kiwi soldiers who fought for the British Empire in the two world wars. Pay your respects at Hyde Park Corner.
The best of Kiwi London, according to you
‘Without a doubt The Providores & Tapa Room restaurant: best NZ wine list, friendly staff, great food and relaxed vibe.’ Jo P via Facebook
‘Sacred Cafe on Ganton Street for L&P and lolly cake.’ Michelle A via www.timeout.com