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!
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.
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.