Is there a Costco in the UK?

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Ah, Costco. The famous wholesale retailer that Americans adore. I have fond memories of basically eating dinner while strolling through the free sample aisles, and when I first moved to England, I was definitely one of those people looking up…

“Is there a Costco in the UK?” or “Is there a Costco in London?”

And the answer is…yes and almost!

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Before we get on to the topic at hand, consider taking a look at some of the other articles I have to help you either adjust to life as an expat in the UK or simply to understand more about the culture before you get here as a short-stay visitor!

Hey, sidenote! If you’re traveling to the UK, whether for a short period of time or as an expat, why don’t you join my Facebook group where you can ask questions, get advice or just look at pretty pictures of this part of the world! Just click here to request to join and I’ll add you!

 

Firstly, you need the best book on England ever written – the book is called “Watching the English” and you should click here and check it out.


It takes everything you think you know about the UK and either explains it or shows you what you’re really getting yourself into (major small talk and frequent tea breaks, woo!)

Costco in the UK has been a presence since the early 2000s. Today, there are 28 Costcos scattered around the UK, all owned by the US company.

That being said, Costco isn’t as popular here as it is in the US. In fact, most British people will be able to tell you that there are Costcos in the UK, but they won’t have ever been to one.

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I put this down to the nature of the bulk shopping trip clashing with the amount of space that many Brits have in their homes.

There is less space to store food and essentials, which means people make more regular trips to the store instead of stockpiling their pantry like it’s about to be the end of the world.

At Costco in the UK, you can buy Costco’s signature brand, Kirkland, as well as mostly UK brands. Don’t expect to walk into UK Costcos and find a treasure trove of American goodies, as you’ll most likely be disappointed.

In terms of whether there is a Costco in London, the answer is that there aren’t any in central London, but there are if you go further out into the communities surrounding the capital city. Check out this map to see what I mean.

Costco UK has its own set of membership requirements, which you can find here.

You do need to have a membership before purchasing anything in store, but you can also buy an online-only membership to make purchases directly through the website delivered to your home if you don’t live near one or don’t feel like trekking all the way to your local store.

Check out this map of Costcos around the UK. As you can see, most are in England, with just a couple in Scotland, one in Wales, and none in Northern Ireland.


If you’ve been to a Costco in the UK, let me know what you thought! Did it satisfy your need for wholesale shopping or were you left disappointed?

And no matter how long you’re in the UK for, I’ve made a list of some other comparisons that might help you as you plan your meals and how to get your American fix.

Fast Food

The UK has…

-Pizza Hut
-Burger King
-KFC
-Subway
-Dunkin Donuts

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The UK doesn’t have…

-Arbys
-Chick-Fil-A
-Wendys, but you can find more about Wendy’s in the UK here

Sit-down restaurants

The UK has…

-Five Guy’s
-TGI Friday’s
-Chipotle (but it’s more expensive!)

The UK doesn’t have…

-Carrabba’s
-Outback Steakhouse
-Tijuana Flats

Big Stores

The UK has…

-it’s own version of Walmart, which you can find at my Walmart in the UK article
-QVC shopping channel

The UK doesn’t have…

-Home Depot or Lowes (instead it has Halfords or B&Q)
-Bed, Bath, and Beyond

If you’re wondering what other stores we may or may not have in the UK, ask me below or e-mail me at girlgonelondon@gmail.com!

 

Coming to London Soon?

Hey! Since you’re here I’m assuming you’re intent on visiting this amazing city soon! Getting the lowdown on the hottest spots in town can be time consuming so I took the liberty of picking out some great ones below. Hope you enjoy!

Open Top Bus London Tour: Double Decker buses are not only a way of transportation in London, but a definitive pastime of the city dwellers. This tour lets you see London by night and experience a true right of passage that every Londoner must complete. A two for one YAY! 

Kew Gardens: If you want to explore some of the calmer areas of the city, I highly recommend exploring the botanicals at Kew Gardens. London’s largest World Heritage site boasts acres of gardens in a royal glass palace because, yes, everything here gets the royal treatment. 

Afternoon Tea Cruise on River Thames: Oh so you’ve come to London looking for tea? Lucky for you theres literally MILLIONS of options to choose from… it can actually get overwhelming. So I made it easy for you and found one of the best teas in town, complete with the best setting as well!

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