Preparing for Leeds: Groceries and Essentials
Stress before travelling to Leeds? Worry no more! With the following guide we will help you to survive the first days in this new adventure. From how to get a bedding pack, décor, pans or even food, we will solve the most common doubts from students to help you adapt faster to our beautiful city.
Alejandra: Grocery Shopping
One of the things students are most concerned about is finding places to buy the right cooking supplies. But just finding a place to do grocery shopping is not enough: knowing where the best prices are, getting the right spices, and knowing the exact distance from your accommodation are key aspects for getting the most out of your shopping.
Below, you can find a detailed list of the most popular supermarkets in Leeds as well as their price ranges and the supplies you can find in them:
Morrisons ($$): An all-time favourite because of its proximity to campus (10 minutes walk) and moderate prices. You can find fresh and frozen vegetables, as well as some international spices. It is located in the Merrion Centre Mall, which also has restaurants and other popular shops such as Home Bargains, Boots and Iceland.
Lidl ($): One of the cheapest supermarkets you'll find in Leeds. The best deals are on fruit and vegetables, although canned goods are not far behind. It's about a 30-minute walk from campus, so we recommend going in a group and preparing to do a big shopping spree. Splitting the taxi back to your residence is a great option!
Aldi ($): A cheap supermarket only 30 minutes from the campus. Highly recommended for vegetables, fruit and drinks! But be careful not to forget to bring a pound, because you need it to use the shopping trolleys.
Asda ($$): Very similar to Morrisons, only 20 minutes away from campus. The nearest store to campus is rather small, but convenient for those who live in the area.
Kirkgate Market ($): Another very popular market, home of the first Marks & Spencer, it is a great place to buy fruits and vegetables, and highly recommended for international students who enjoy getting fresh international food supplies for cheap. It is 18 minutes away from campus
Waitrose ($$$): More expensive and the farthest supermarket (40 minutes by foot). It has some exclusive brands that are not found in the rest of the supermarkets. If you are passionate about cooking or feeling fancy, here you will find some specialty ingredients you will not find elsewhere. Would definitely give it a go from time to time.
Tips for surviving a day of shopping:
- Always carry reusable shopping bags, this helps the environment and avoids spending unnecessarily on new bags.
- Always carry one pound with you, in some supermarkets they are compulsory to use the shopping trolleys.
- Buy a shopping trolley to take your shopping home, you can find them on amazon, or you can get them second hand on Marketplace. They will make your shopping easier.
Perla: Kitchen and Bedding Essentials
Apart from groceries, you might want to think about other essentials that you will need when moving into Leeds. If you are going to live in University Accommodation, it might be helpful to use the tool in the accommodation website to find out what is included in your hall of residence, this will give you a better idea of which additional items you might need. If you are going to live with flatmates, you might also want to wait to talk to them about things you can purchase together to avoid any unnecessary expenses.
One of your priorities should be getting bedding, since it is something you will need from night one. Another thing that should be in your priorities are kitchen essentials such as crockery, cutlery, cooking pans, and cooking utensils. If you are staying in one of the University’s halls of residence, you can purchase a Bedding Pack (including a duvet, duvet cover, pillow, pillow case, and fitted sheet) and a Kitchen Essentials Pack from the Accommodation Portal before you arrive in Leeds. Do not worry if you are not going to live in University Accommodation, if you want to decorate your room, or even if you are into cooking and want more kitchen utensils because we also got you covered with stores close to campus where you can find exactly what you need!
Morrisons ($$): It is one of the biggest supermarkets closest to campus, you will take approximately 10 minutes walking from the Leeds University Union (LUU). You can not only find all sorts of groceries, but Morrisons also has different kitchen utensils and dinnerware, bedding and bedroom accessories, and even some storage solutions.
Asda ($$): The closest store from campus is around 30 minutes walking from the Leeds University Union. As Alejandra mentioned, it is very similar to Morrisons and you will also find items for your kitchen and room here.
Wilko ($$): It is another great option for home essentials, the closest one from campus is 15 minus walking from the Leeds University Union. One of its biggest advantages is that its prices are quite student-budget friendly. This store is perfect for anything home related and you will also be able to find cleaning, health and beauty, and stationery products. This one is my personal favourite for kitchen utensils and dinnerware, I bought all of mine here!
Home Bargains ($$): The name says it all! I consider this store quite similar to Wilko, you will find anything home related at an affordable price. The closest store from campus is around 15 minutes away from the Leeds University Union.
IKEA ($$): It is known for its great and affordable designs for homeware, although a disadvantage is that the store is quite far away from campus. You will need to take an Uber/Taxi to come here, as it is around 17 minutes away from the Leeds University Union by car. They have a great website so you could use their click and collect service, which allows you to purchase online the items you need and pick them up in the store the next day. Another option is to purchase online and have the items delivered to your accommodation, but be prepared to wait for long delivery times. What I recommend is to purchase items that you do not need urgently here and maybe go for more essential items to other stores.
Poundland ($): It will take you around 15 minutes to reach it by foot from the Leeds University Union. Even though its selection of homeware is quite limited and it does not have the highest quality, it is definitely the most budget-friendly option. I highly recommend it for decoration items or items that you won’t use that much and are not worth spending too much on.
John Lewis ($$$): This department store is around 24 minutes away from the Leeds University Union by foot. It is the least affordable option but its quality is quite good so it is a great alternative if you want more durable items. Some home items are around the same price as those found in Wilko but these are a bit harder to find. It is not my go-to but I think it is worth checking it. I have been able to make some great purchases there since their sale events are amazing! I highly recommend checking their website first to see if you can find some discounted treasures.
Tips for shopping home essentials:
- Before you purchase anything, make sure you check what is included in your accommodation so you have a better idea of what you will need.
- If you are going to live with flatmates, talk to them to see what you could buy together so you do not end up having more kitchen/home items than what you need and do not spend more than what is necessary. You could also decide who buys what, so each person in the flat/house contributes.
- You can always try to shop online for your home essentials before you arrive in the UK to make sure the items are in your accommodation once you arrive. If you have flatmates that will arrive before you, or if your accommodation has a reception, you can ask for their help to receive the parcels and store them for you.
- When shopping for bigger items, be prepared to pay for an Uber/Taxi if you cannot carry everything when going back home. Another great option for buying bigger items is to order online and have it delivered to your door.
We hope this guide makes it easier for you to prepare before coming to Leeds and that we provided helpful tips! We know the process of moving to another country can be stressful but remember to enjoy it and see it as a great learning experience. We also prepared a video that you can find on YouTube, so feel free to also check it out. Don’t forget that if you have any further questions you can get in contact with the Link to Leeds Ambassadors by finding our details on the website. Here you will also be able to find more blog posts and event announcements that might be relevant to you.