This blog is a guide for international students who may not be familiar with stores we have here in the UK.
Moving to a new place means…lots of shopping! Getting settled into a place requires lots of things to make it into your home. It’s a challenge trying to find everything you need in a new place while navigating the start of the academic year but we’re here to make your job easier! Here is our go-to list of shops, where you can find all essential products you may need when moving in from cooking supplies and bedding to groceries and study supplies.
– written by Jasmine, Nicola and LP
First things first, you need to prep your room. So here are the best shops for getting household items.
Wilko, located at the Guildhall Shopping Centre, is a great option for students as they offer affordable homeware and household products. You can shop in-store or online, offering click-and-collect and delivery services. You’ve got everything from cooking supplies, bedding, bathroom products, stationery, electronic products such as kettles and toasters and even personal care items! The best thing is that they offer a student discount!
Also located at the Guildhall Shopping Centre, Argos is a catalogue retailer, meaning products are not on display in the store. The products sold by Argos are found online or through their printed catalogue found in the store. The availability of the products can be found online, or through their in-store electronic system. You can either pick up your order in person at the store, or you can have it delivered as well. Argos offers a wider range of products in comparison to Wilko, as they also offer jewellery, furniture, technology products, sports products, and even clothing.
IKEA is a 10-minute train journey from Exeter Central (15 minutes from Exeter St. David’s station). Although it is located away from the City Centre, IKEA is a great option to find cooking supplies, bedding, storage, and organisational items. IKEA is much bigger than the previous stores mentioned, so you will find a larger variety of options to choose from. You can also enjoy a Swedish meal to take a break from shopping!
John Lewis is a more expensive option for homeware goods. You will be able to find more luxurious brands and quality goods. John Lewis is located on Sidwell Street.
Another good way of getting things is just ordering them off Amazon!
Flying Tiger is a design store located in Princesshay which sells products such as bowls, plates, cutlery, storage and organisation products.
Food and kitchen supplies
Now, that you’ve got your room and kitchen set up, let’s get to stocking your kitchen! There are lots of stores in Exeter so try Googling to find the store closest to you. Most of these shops allow you to shop online as well, so it’s a good idea to do a shop online and get things delivered (especially if you’ve a long list of things you need). Here are some of the best places to get your groceries.
Tesco is a supermarket, offering a range of local and international groceries at reasonable prices. There is a Tesco Metro on the High Street and a Tesco Express on Sidwell Street. You can get fresh produce, groceries, frozen food, international food as well as stationary and toiletries. Tesco also offers clothing and electronics, but these are available online or in the big stores, like the Tesco Extra at Digby. You can get there taking the D bus from the University. They offer a Clubcard to collect points and get rewards.
Located in the Guildhall, as well as on the High Street, Sainsbury’s is another supermarket for groceries. The one in Guildhall also has a small selection of bedding and electronics like toasters. It also has a wide range of fresh produce. You can get clothing and more electronics online or in the bigger stores in the city. You can get a Nectar card to get collect points and get rewards.
Morrisons is another budget-friendly British supermarket chain. It is roughly 20 minutes away from the city centre, however, it is close to a student housing area so students living nearby will often grocery shop in Morrisons. You can even find ingredients you cannot find in other supermarkets here!
Definitely the best place for bargains and low prices, Aldi is located on Alphington Road in Exeter, which is a little out of the way if you live near University. It offers groceries, foods and cleaning products in store. You could get the bus or take a train to St. Thomas from Exeter Central or Exeter St David’s and then it’s a short walk.
Located on Sidwell Street – Iceland specialises in budget frozen food. There is a wide variety of frozen food available here, from ready to eat meals to frozen vegetables and meat. Iceland is the place to go to if you are looking for frozen food and ice cream. It is always nice to have some frozen meat and frozen vegetables in your freezer just in case you run out of food and you don’t have time to go out and grocery shop.
LiDL is a German discount supermarket chain that sells a variety of products from Germany and other European countries. The products they offer are cheaper but the Exeter branch is located quite far away from the city centre.
The Cooperative Food (known as Co-op)
There are two Co-op’s quite close to campus. One on Pennsylvania Road and another on Queen street. As these are closer to campus than other shops they are perfect for a quick shop and offer a range of groceries and fresh produce. The individual stores are not big, but this means that often they are still open when other bigger supermarkets are closed (i.e. Sundays after 4pm).
Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencers is located on the High Street. This is one of the more expensive supermarkets in the UK. They offer groceries in their Food Hall as well as shoes, clothing and household items. The Marks and Spencer’s near the Exebridges roundabout is a Food Hall shop so focuses on groceries rather than clothing.
Recommendation: M&S sells a lot of Instagrammable pastry and cakes, they look and taste unreal.
Waitrose is located opposite the St Luke’s Campus. It is one of the more expensive supermarkets in the UK but offers a range of food items and household items.
On our Streatham Campus there are branches of the Marketplace shops in the Forum, at Cornwall House and at Birks Grange where you can get a small selection of groceries in addition to ready-to eat meals. You can get a £3 meal deal, quick snacks, stationary, female sanitary products, microwavable food and more from the Marketplace.
There are also specific shops for different international groceries. You can find out more about these in some of our other blogposts:
There are also several other smaller grocery shops on the High Street and Sidwell Street, including specialised Fruit and Veg shops, like ‘Eat your Greens’ on Sidwell Street or the ‘Real Food Shop’ on Queen Street.
Calling all Asians and Asian food lovers – you can recreate your favourite Asian dishes with the food and ingredients you can find in these Asian supermarkets. Dumplings, fish balls, instant noodles, hot pot soup base, luncheon meat, tofu, bok choy, Asian snacks, vita soy lemon tea… the list goes on. Do not worry about not being able to find the authentic oriental taste in Exeter because you can get a lot of Asian ingredients and snacks in the Asian supermarkets listed below.
There are lots of shops selling Halal meat, especially the Asian supermarkets like Heera International Foods, and stores likes Best-One International and Brother’s butchers in Sidwell Street. Find out more in the Muslim Student Guide.
This is an important part of the shopping experience, not to mention an essential requirement! In Exeter, of course there are all the classic shops – H&M, Hollister, GAP, Superdry, New Look, Reiss, Zara and many more in Princesshay. There are also several other shops and boutiques scattered all over High Street and Queen Street, with some really eclectic ones in the small alleys between the two streets. A few of the stores frequented by students are detailed below.
A good place to get low-priced, sometimes second-hand items, from clothes to furniture, are charity shops. There are several on High Street and Sidwell Street alone, run by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer research UK, Age UK and many more. You’ll get a good bargain and the satisfaction of helping out!
New Look and New Look Exeter Men’s, at Princesshay, have got loads of cool clothes and gifts but the best part is that they offer a student discount!
Another store offering everything from toys and clothing to gifts and accessories at reasonable prices, this store is located at The Exebridge Centre, near St. Thomas station. It is particularly good for getting bargains and deals on branded items.
Located in the Guildhall, this store is the one-stop shop for clothing, footwear, accessories, luggage and even bedding, all at low-prices.
These are a few of our suggestions for getting you settled in Exeter! But if you ever need anything, chances are you’ll find it on High Street or Sidwell Street! Happy Shopping! – Jasmine, Nicola and LP