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Whether you do all of your daily grocery shopping at a Safeway or you’re just trying to search for any familiar grocery store, you might have arrived at this article by wondering if there is a Safeway in the UK or London.
Hey! Sidenote! Planning on visiting the UK or moving to the UK?
For more advice, photos and friendly help, click here to join my UK Travel Facebook group to carry on the conversation with fellow travelers and UK experts.
Safeway is a huge American grocery store chain, and while they are not in every state, they are in enough to make them one of the most popular grocery store chains in the whole country and have great brand recognition.
I grew up with Publix in Florida, so I spent most of my first trip to the UK wondering if there is a Publix in the UK, but for all you Safeway fans, I’ve got answers for you…
So, here we go, the answer to the question of…
“Is there a Safeway in the UK or England or London?”
There is no Safeway in the UK or London, but it used to be and I’ll go over that soon.
There are also equivalents to Safeway in the UK, and places you can still buy Safeway branded food – but more on that later.
Before we get too wrapped up in Safeway in the UK, I wanted to let you know about some resources I’m providing for people who are either visiting or moving to the UK.
Firstly, no matter your reason for being here, you need the best book on living in the UK for Americans ever written – the book is called “Girl Gone London: An American’s Guide to Surviving Life in the UK” and you should click here and check it out.
I also may have written it, so I’m biased.
But truly, if you’re coming to the UK as an expat, a study abroad student, or even a visitor, my guide to life in the UK contains both personal anecdotes and maybe too-honest experiences, as well as resources and advice on topics ranging from homesickness in the UK (or how not to rage book a flight to America like I did), driving in the UK, being a student in the UK, and more practical advice about bank accounts, buying houses, and more.
It’s truly a one stop shop for all of the weirdness and wonderfulness (is that a word?) that comes along with life in the UK, and also there is plenty of opportunity to laugh at me as I share all of my expat fails so there’s that.
Also, I’ve got some free resources on things I’ve found important in my expat life here, including how to get over culture shock (and why it’s okay that you feel it), the amazing story of how I learned to drive in the UK and spent a lot of time running into bushes, and more practical information on figuring out UK money and surviving the London Underground.
- Culture Shock: The Things We Don’t Talk About
- An American Girl’s Guide to Surviving the London Underground
- Understanding UK Money: Pence, Not Cents!
- Driving in England as an American: An Apology to UK Drivers
Right, now that you’re all ready for your trip to the UK, let’s move on to Safeway!
History of Safeway in the UK
To learn about the history of Safeway in the UK, we first have to start with Safeway’s history in the US.
The American grocery store chain was founded in 1915 in Idaho by Marion Barton Skaggs.
The original idea behind the name was that shopping at Safeway was the “safe way” for a family to not go into debt when buying groceries, as the store didn’t offer credit and only accepted cash.
At the time, many grocery stories offered credit and families would then have financial issues due to having credit spend at the grocery store that they couldn’t pay off.
Over the years, Safeway continued merging and growing, and today it has its headquarters in Pleasanton, California and has about 900 stores in the US.
Now, for many articles I write about stores like Target in the UK, Outback Steakhouse in the UK and Chili’s in the UK, there has never been a UK version of the store, only American.
Safeway, however, is different. In 1962, the Safeway grocery store brand came to the UK as a direct extension of the American brand.
The first Safeway was in Bedford, and by 1987, there were over 100 stores in the UK, which is a lot given the size of the UK compared to that of America.
In 1987, American Safeway sold off the Safeway UK stores and they were acquired by other stores and continued to operate off and on until the early 2000s when stores started to be sold off to other UK brands and there was a merger with Morrison’s.
In 2005, the last Safeway was gone in the UK, and it hasn’t been seen since!
Morrison’s have decided to bring back some Safeway branded items, which at this point has no real bearing on the American Safeway, but if you’re just desperate for something that says Safeway, you can find food items with that brand name!
Equivalent to Safeway in the UK
While there aren’t any Safeways in the UK anymore, you can still find grocery stores in the UK because we all need to eat!
Here are some alternatives to Safeway in the UK based on pricing and store experiences.
As a UK grocery store that merged with Safeway, Morrison’s is one of the closest equivalents to Safeway in the UK and in fact some of the Morrison’s stores will have been former Safeways once upon a time.
I regularly shop at Morrison and find their prices reasonable, with lots of budget options and good produce.
US grocery stores are different than UK supermarkets in terms of layout, but mostly you just buy food in each so it can’t be too terribly different!
Another quality grocery store option in the UK is Sainbury’s.
With iconic orange branding and a pleasant shopping experience, they are arguably even a more popular grocery store option than Morrison’s and have shops all across the UK ranging from large, full-size stores to “Sainbury’s Local,” which are smaller, more convenience-based stores.
Read more in my full guide comparing UK and US stores and restaurants.
Coming to London Soon?
Since you’re here I’m assuming you’re intent on visiting this amazing city soon! A great way to really immerse yourself in UK culture is see the sights with the help of a guided tour. I’ve picked out a few highly recommended ones below!
Tower of London Tour with Crown Jewels: One of the best things about having a Royal family is imagining you’ll be a part of it one day… and what better way than to imagine yourself in their jewels! Or at least stare dumbfoundedly.
Either way, this tour is a sure fire way to get dazzled by London.
Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise: London is built around the River Thames, and one could even say it’s the most important part of the whole city!
As such there’s no better, or relaxing for that matter, way to see the sights than from the view of the river itself!
This tour takes you around the city and shows why all Londoners are really still rugged sea voyagers at heart, if maybe just a little more posh now.
Oxford, Stratford, and Cotswolds: Londoners would have you fooled, but there’s more to this beautiful nation than just what remains within the confines of London… shocker I know!
And if picturesque beauty is what you’re looking for I really recommend checking out the quaint and historical towns that scatter the outskirts. If nothing else, this tour will give you a break from commuting by the tube, and we all need that eventually