HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >


What to bring home from London?

I'm leaving soon, and I need Christmas gifts. Any ideas of things that can only be bought in London, or are the best in the world but only available here?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you are from the States, there are a few unique things but not really all that many. I guess it depends where in the U.S. you live. I often brought home some of the jams that are sold here - usually better than average supermarket stuff.

    Have fun and just wander the food halls at Selfridge's or John Lewis. Things will hit your eye. The potato chips (crisps) are wonderful in the UK - great flavors you won't find anywhere else. But, I don't think they make much of a Christmas gift. :-) There are also some great crackers.

    1. I always go to Fortnum and Mason (picadilly circus) for Christmas gifts. Their jams, preserves and chutneys are absolutely top notch and exquisite, especially their Strawberry and Champagne preserve, its my favourite, I buy one every time I visit, I'm pretty sure you won't be able to find them elsewhere.
      I'm sure you will be able to find lots of other great gifts and good foods there, British or otherwise.

      3 Replies
      1. re: purplishrose

        Thanks for mentioning F&M. I completely forgot them yesterday, and that's just where I used to go, too, for jams and other goodies. And Maison du Chocolat is right across the street if that's not available back home.

        1. re: zuriga1

          macarons from laduree either in harrods on their little outpost on picadilly make for great gifts too... english tea is a great gift too... i like a little store on duke street for tea, HR Higgins http://www.hrhiggins.co.uk/

          1. re: zuriga1

            It's not particularly English but you can't find them in the US and they are very well received here. Whenever I was in Europe or England, I always used to buy the Mon Cheris (sic?) cherries with brandy and bring home lots of small boxes of them to give away.

        2. Doesn't importing certain foodstuffs to the US generate a degree of excitement amongst the Customs officials?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robin Joy

            You're right. Certain foodstuffs are not allowed into the U.S. As far as I know, the U.S. is not part of the EU... yet. :-) One can't bring back fresh fruit, veg, meats etc. I'm sure some people try smuggling and maybe get away with it.

            1. re: zuriga1

              I got sniffed out by an agriculture dog once! I was on a return trip back to the US and the dog started sniffing my carry-on and doing his "there is something in this bag" . I started panicking slightly, since I've watched a few too many episodes of "Border Control".
              I had thrown an apple and a banana in my bag before leaving home and then forgot about them. My daughter thought it was hilarious. Me, not so much. :-)

          2. Go to a big Sainsbury, Tesco, or Safeway for much better prices on English tea , chocolate, mint sauce, etc than you will find at F&M or Harrod's. There used to be a Safeway on Edgware Road a wonderful Sainsbury in on Camden Road (walk left from Camden Town underground), also a Tesco near Russell Square but I haven't been there in a while so check phone book for current locations.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Querencia

              Although obviously the prices are cheaper at the supermarkets, tea from F&M comes in gorgeous tins more suitable for Xmas gift giving - I had a friend in Japan who couldn't get enough of their Queen Anne tea. For the person that has everything what about a silver Marmite lid? Crazy but true - Google it! And obviously lots of Marmite to go with it. Hmm... I'm gonna have to make some toast now....

            2. I tend to bring what people like and they always like Cadbury's Chocolate, the big bars. This year I will also return with Lyle's Golden Syrup and Black Treacle and Maldon salt.

              1 Reply
              1. re: acme

                My brother lives in America. He likes to bring back English teabags, crisps, egg cups and egg cosies. And marmalade. And can you buy crumpets in the States?

              2. i really like two chocolate bars in london......wispa and aero.... wispa being a little sweeter and the aerated holes smaller.....occasionally, i can find aero here but are usually beginning to get stale by the time i buy them.....aero was introduced here years ago but was discontinued....it didnt taste as good as those from london.....must be the water used in making them...who knows?....

                6 Replies
                1. re: jaymor

                  My friends in the states always want things like cadburys chocolate, or as mentioned above wispas and items you can't get over there. I usually bring real ale with me for friends (again something they can't get) - Utobeer in Borough Market is fab for unusual beers to give as gifts.
                  I would definitely say tea is a great gift - as is shortbread!

                  1. re: iheartcupcakes

                    I'm going home for Christmas as well. I've gotten requests for cadburys chocolate, percy pigs and biscuits. i must say the clotted cream biscuits from the harvey nics foodhall is wonderful. =)

                    i'm brining home the things mentioned above as well as mince pies, christmas cakes, coffee, random jams, maybe some indian sauces and cheese. we'll see how the last one goes.

                    1. re: felizglfr

                      I don't think cheese is allowed, but I'm not sure. It's worth a try, especially if wrapped up with many layers! I like the idea of Indian sauces. They aren't very good or plentiful in the States and are much better in England.

                      What are percy pigs??

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        Percy Pigs are fantastic marshmallow sweets shaped like pigs heads from Marks and Spencer! They are very moreish!

                        1. re: iheartcupcakes

                          Ah, thanks. I avert my eyes from the candy at M&S. :-) This definitely sounds like something for my grandkids and I will search out Percy.

                          1. re: zuriga1

                            I think they're on buy one get one half price at the moment! If the grandkids like Percy they're also doing a cute range of Percy Pig money boxes and other gifts for Xmas!

                2. Branston Pickle (chunky type)
                  Golden Syrup
                  Cadbury's Wispas
                  Kit Kat Four finger bars
                  Shortbread biscuits
                  Anything from M&S
                  Jaffa cakes
                  Mc Coys crinkle cut crisps

                  1. My bf always brings back Jammie Dodgers