Tips for Spanish expats in London


Of the many European destinations to visit the most popular and most visited is the City of London, which attracts more than 17 million visitors to the city annually. It has a splendid history that dates back more than two thousand years to Roman times. With such a long and illustrious history London is home to some of the finest historical and medieval attractions to be found in entire Europe. It has an amazing number of palaces, museums, art galleries and other iconic sights that make it a favourite with visitors from all over the world and in particular with those from Continental Europe.

The city has a slew of fine luxury hotels for families apart from accommodation to suit a variety of budgets. The key to finding suitable accommodation is to make your hotel reservations well in advance especially, in the tourist season when there is maximum occupancy.

One such hotel popular with foreign tourists and visitors to London is The Montcalm at the Brewery London City, which is located in a central locations and offers value for money, apart from the finest in luxury accommodation. London is very popular with expats from all parts of Europe with a sizeable Spanish community that lives and works in London. If you are an expat, some of the best places to visit to enjoy the finest of Spanish cuisine away from home in London are as follows:

There are more than 40,000 Spaniards staying in and around London, which accounts for a major part of the Spanish population spread out across the UK. London has always been a popular spot for Spanish culinary delights and brands ranging from a number of tapas bars to be found in the West End to the numerous Spanish brand names to be found in the shops on the high street.  Some of the top Spanish stores that have left an indelible imprint on British wardrobes are Mango, Bershkaare and Zara, which are good in quality while being economically priced. And one of the best locations to start the day Spanish style in the city is on the west side of London, a place where  a large Spanish segment has settled.

Then there is Portobello Road, which on Saturdays is extremely popular with Spanish expats and tourists in London. It is also where you fill find R Garcia & Sons, a deli that specialises in Spanish delicacies ranging from chorizo, olives, paella pans to turron sweets and chocolates. Once done shopping there drop in at the cafe next door for a great cup of coffee or walk up a bit more to Galicia restaurant to enjoy an authentic tapas experience. If you plan to head further into town move from the eating and shopping whirlpool at Kensington and head towards a place that is reminiscent of Granada. The Kensington Roof Gardens can be found located above an old department store that has a Moorish-influenced garden that is along the lines of the Alhambra palace. To carry on with the Spanish trail in London visit the National Gallery that has a fine collection of Spanish art. With greats like Velasquez, Goya, Zurbar Ain and El Greco visitors will have a thrilling art experience.

National gallery and Trafalgar Square
You could end the day with a visit to any of the other tapas joints to be found at the West End’s which is home to a myriad of Spanish restaurants. One of the top places in the area is Barrica in Fitzrovia which is renowned for its excellent Spanish fare with dishes like oxtail and pork meatballs and picos leaves with chicory.

Another cool Spanish joint worth a visit is Barrafina located on in Frith Street. It is owned by Hispanophiles Sam and Eddie Hart who based the tapas bar along the lines of the legendary Cal Pep in Barcelona. Another fine option is Tierra Brindisa on Broadwick Street which forms part of Borough Market and is a deli known for its exceptional cured hams. For something more casual hop along to Pix in Covent Garden, a pintxo bar that offers fine snacks and great wine at very reasonable prices!

Tips for Spanish expats moving to London

Speak preferably in English: For those who are not very familiar with English trying to speak the language initially may seem a bit daunting especially, if you are a beginner. The thoughts that go through most people’s minds are will I be understood, will they smirk at your accent or would they plain ignore you!  While these are natural to think if you want to become confident and fluent in the language you need to overcome you initial hesitation and speak and practice in English. The more you practice speaking the easier, it will be for you to get a grasp of the language and help you to become more fluent and confident. It does not matter if someone asks you to repeat what you said, just speak slowly and clearly.

Understand the public transport system: To be able to effectively travel around London, which has one of the finest public transport systems in Europe you need to get a hang of it. Firstly the public transport system comprises mainly of The Tube  (Underground), the cities iconic red buses, Metro and light rail, the DLR and a limited tram service. One of the best ways to travel is to use contactless payment or an Oyster Card, which is the most cost-effective. The benefit of using these is that they are pre-paid and visitors need not buy tickets for a trip. All you need to do is swipe the card at the start and end of every trip and you are charged automatically, which is at the most cost-effective price.