Most people in the UK do their food shopping in the big supermarkets because they stock everything, are often cheaper than smaller shops and are very convenient. Most supermarkets are open from around 8.30am and close at 8.00pm. Some stay open 24 hours a day.
Types of supermarket
The main supermarkets in the UK are:
- ASDA (Walmart)
Other smaller (and often cheaper) supermarkets stocking European produce:
Where to shop
Many students living in Bournemouth prefer ASDA, because it is cheap and conveniently located close to Bournemouth train station and the Lansdowne Campus. For students living in Corfe House in Poole, Sainsbury’s is the most convenient, but ASDA and ALDI are also within walking distance.
Students' Union at BU (SUBU)
The Students' Union shop stocks a limited variety of food and snacks. It is convenient (especially if you live in the Student Village) because it is on the Talbot Campus, but as is the case with most small shops in the UK, it is more expensive than the supermarkets.
Supermarket vegetables are often quite expensive, especially the pre-washed pre-prepared variety. If you have time, you may wish to find a greengrocer close to where you live. Greengrocers often have a good selection of seasonal vegetables for a much cheaper price.
Like many larger towns in the UK, Bournemouth does not really have a big market. There is one in Boscombe on Thursdays and Saturdays, open all year from 9am to 5pm and selling fruit, vegetables, footwear, clothes and other items. There is sometimes a small farmers’ market in Winton on Saturday morning selling local meat, fruit and vegetables.
Clothes in the UK are quite expensive compared to what you may be used to. There are many budget shops (TK Maxx, Primark and Matalan are examples) all over Bournemouth and Poole and charity shops, which sell second-hand (used) goods.
Below are some average prices for clothes items you may wish to buy when you are here:
- Waterproof boots/shoes: from £40
- Warm coat: from £40
- Warm jumper (sweatshirt/fleece): from £20
- Umbrella: from £5
Bournemouth has a good selection of shops in the town centre and a large shopping complex called Castlepoint on the edge of town. The Unilinx bus has a route to Castlepoint. Poole has a number of budget shops as well as major brands in the Dolphin Shopping Centre. If you want a change of scene, it is very easy to visit Southampton by National Express coach, or by train. Both the coach and train stations drop passengers within easy walking distance of the large shopping centre, West Quay.
“You’ll find that living in Bournemouth is more expensive than you may have expected. I suggest being loyal to Primark for your wardrobe and going to Lidl to stock up your fridge!”
Naveen Haroon, The Netherlands, MA Magazine Journalism