World Travel

London for the homesick Aussie

Tim Martin
London for the homesick Aussie
"And for all the expats that have been without a Tooheys New or Extra Dry in an awfully long time ... drink your fill."
Tim Martin
London's one of the most vibrant cities in the world — with a pub on every corner. It's high on the list for many an Aussie traveller. But what happens to all those stranded citizens of the "Lucky Country" when the skies get grey and heavy and the Poms a little too whingey? They go in search of a little taste of Australiana abroad.

The Walkabout pubs

If there's one watering hole that's synonymous with Australians in the English capital, it has to be the Walkabout.

Whether it's to meet some mates for a yarn and a cold stubby of VB or just hear the reassuring twang of an Aussie accent, this bustling chain of pubs is the perfect place to remind you of home. With kangaroo steaks and the trusty meat pie on the menu it feels just like (a tackier version of) home.

Throw in the fact that this true blue Aussie icon serves up a weekly dose of sport that would have even Reg Reagan reaching for the talcum powder (they endeavour to show every NRL, AFL and Super 14 match live), and with six locations scattered across London you're never far from a "Walky". There's no cover charge, no dress code and a "no worries" atmosphere, making it very hard to believe you're 17,000km from home!

Note: The Temple Walkabout is probably the best venue in London to watch sport. With 28 plasmas and a gigantic main screen, you'll wanna catch every second of the World Cup here. Added bonus? Mini screens in the dunnies so you'll never miss a minute!

The Church

Going since 1979, this Sunday institution is not for the faint-hearted. A crazy mix of hedonism and tinnies served in ice-filled plastic bags, the Church is a place where chaos and fun go together like Bundy and Coke. If you can draw your attention away from the centre stage where all manner of mayhem takes place (think boat races, wet T-shirt competitions and live music) then you'll see a bar with sawdust on the floor and throngs of thirsty antipodeans singing, dancing and partying.

Service starts at 12pm sharp every Sunday (expect queues on busy days) and no matter whether the patrons are saints or sinners, by the end of it, they're more likely to be hovered over the porcelain throne than genuflecting at the pulpit.

The current resting place is in Clapham Junction and it'll usually cost you around £7 ($12) to get in the door.

Interesting fact: The Church is where Australian rugby league legend Andrew "Joey" Johns spent a day of revelry before being caught by UK police with an illegal substance in his pocket.

News from home

It could be very easy to fall into the London bubble and get completely absorbed in whether Amy Winehouse is in or out of rehab or whether England have a chance in hell of winning the World Cup this year (let's hope, for the sake of our Socceroos, they don't). Thankfully there's several ways to keep up-to-date with all the goss from home.

TNT Magazine is a free travel mag out every Monday that caters to the Aussie, Kiwi and South African. The Australian Times is another rag by Aussies, for Aussies. They're both jam-packed with everything from Tony Abbott in his Speedos to the controversy surrounding the Melbourne Storm and even have a full-blown gig guide of every Aussie act and artist performing in the UK.

The Red Back Tavern

Speaking of music, what better place to belt out some fair dinkum Aussie anthems than Acton's very own Red Back Tavern.

The Reddy, known for its free barbies and ridiculously cheap drink specials (10 pence happy hours), is a truly great place to pay homage to all things Australian. Enjoy the sporadic London sunshine in the enormous beer garden or rock out to some classic live acts. If it's sport you're after, they've got that covered, too.

Close to Acton Town and Ealing Common tube stations, there's often a cover charge and a queue on weekends.

Once a jolly jumbuck ...

Alright, alright — Poms have more of a penchant for producing pasties than turning out a bonza pie, but at Jumbuck's Aussie Pie Company you're assured of the real thing. They may call them Jaffle Pies, but they're ever so tasty. And who could seriously knock back a "Bushranger Special" (beef, mash, bacon and cheese)? With outlets all over the city you're never far from a taste of home, but I recommend the location at Shepherd's Bush.

The Slug

Wimbledon is best known for its immaculately cut lawns, a certain Swiss tennis player's mercurial dominance and plates of strawberries and cream washed down by jugs of Pimm's. But there's another side to the famous London suburb. Welcome to The Slug. With "probably the best sports bar in the world" its official slogan, there's a lot to love about this unashamedly Aussie boozer (except for their one-eyed devotion to the West Coast Eagles).

Australian DJs rock the decks every Thursday. And for all the expats that have been without a Tooheys New or Extra Dry in an awfully long time ... drink your fill.

The Australia Shop

Out of Vegemite? Hankering for the sweet taste of home that comes with every bite of a Cherry Ripe? The Australia Shop has it all (literally). This is the joint where hordes of London-based Aussies head when they run out of their most cherished supplies.

Hidden away in Covent Garden it's not the cheapest place in the world (air freight isn't what it used to be), but from Crown Lagers to Caramello Koala's, this shop is heaven for any home-sick traveller missing the things they love most.

User comments
These pubs are all absolutely pathedic. They are a disgrace to Australians everywhere and any australian who goes there should be ashamed of themselves. TNT magazine is rubbish. What a load of s**t
There is also another 'The Church' in Kentish Town, which is the one Andrew Johns was at.
'Australians' forever harp on about people not fitting into 'their' (settled) Country. I have never met a group of people so unwilling to integrate in my life!! There is a lot that you can learn
Wow "Assimilator", that's amazing that you have so many english friends. You must have really been a novel hit in London with your cool Australian accent and your laid back cool attitude. Had any of your new friends even met an Australian before? You must have been really special to meet. It's great that you were able to avoid all the other Australians, cause they were obviously the problem (not you with your really cool & laid back take on the world). Thank god you've gone home mate, there's already too many aussies here that are so proud of "doing london so well", tool.
Most Australians that live in London do so long term,. They do so because they absolutely love it and have absolutely no intention of returning to Australia's backwardness and complete lack of sophistication and culture. The ones that paint their face and complain are the bogan exports who work in bars and in other menial lines of work while here. They are always drunk and despised by both professional expats and the English alike. They are shameful. That's is exactly why places like the Church and Walkabouts exist. It's to cater for the lowest Australian common denominator that cannot assimilate nor afford the live-in European experience. It's a good thing these places exist to keep them isolated from the rest of us. And one more thing, It's amazing how the Australian media has stereotyped the English as whingers. They are a lovely educated and at the top layer sophisticated people. I can't say the same for Australians on any level.
The organisationthat owns the Walkabout pubs went into administration some months ago with many of them shutting down including the Shaftsbury Avenue, Putney and Islington pubs. Check which ones are still open before you go there, a little more research in this artible would have been good.
Thank god ,we have all became *** in this country .The only thing we are getting known for in the world is our bogan attitude,alchoholism ,racism and ignorant ways..Go Aussie
Yeah that would be right ,where esle do skips go for travels.England to get more ***.It seems like our alchoholic ,cultureless nation has found another *** head country to travel to.Good on you .Keep up the great work ,while you smell of *** ,act like a bogan and show your *** crack from miles away and at times wear the flag like an idiot,other Australians preffer to go to better places in the world.
i can only laugh reading this article and 100% agree with 'the assimlator'. the church n walkabout pubs in london are one of the worst places to go to! and to be honest a complete joke! its like steppin into some horrible timewarp of the most dodgy-est pub your ever been to. avoid these places at all costs! if your that homesick just go on skype or msn. london is such an amazing place to explore, why go to pubs that are like home? the funniset is when aussies only ever socialise with other aussies for example move to the australian 'district' of west london and get totally absorbed in the cult out there. not that there is anything wrong with that-if thats what you plan to do (boring!) but your missing the whole point of being in a stylist city. london changes your life if u allow yourself to some diversity. so put down your VB's, leave your thongs at home (dnt be an *** n wear them out in winter!), get on the tube n travel beyond the walkabout if u have any sense at all!
Who writes these things? you have named every hangout for the bogan aussie traveller.. These places are terrible, they stink and are full of trailer trash.. well done