Thursday, March 23, 2017

Your Epsom Guide


Today's post is a guide for Epsom. Epsom is located within the district borough of Epsom and Ewell (another small town, located to the North East of Epsom), which is in the county of Surrey.

Epsom High Street (west)

Epsom High Street (east)

A quick train ride of 36 minutes gets you into London (either Victoria station or Waterloo station) from the Epsom train station.

Epsom train station, Station Approach 
Along the Station Approach, you will find:
  • Tescos

    A convenience stop for pre-made sandwiches, snacks, drinks, groceries like milk and eggs
  • Train Station Entrance

    With trains southbound to Guildford, or northbound to London Victoria and London Waterloo
  • Costa

    A popular coffee shop
  • Co-Op Food

    A small grocery store

When you get to the accommodation, you will need to outfit your room, kitchen and bathroom. To get these items, head to the Epsom High Street where you'll find Poundland and Wilko.

Poundland , 46 High Street, KT19 8AJ

Poundland is good for:
  • cutlery
  • baking sheet
  • refill paper
  • colander
  • can opener
  • pasta spoons
  • shampoo
  • body wash
  • Kleenex
  • paper towel
  • cleaning supplies 
  • snacks
  • aluminum foil
  • cling wrap
  • hand soap  
  • garbage bags

Whatever you don't find at Poundland, you can purchase at Wilko:

Wilko, 78-80 High Street, KT19 8BA

Wilko is good for:
  • pots
  • pans
  • dish ware
  • knives
  • duvet 
  • pillows
  • bed linens 
  • cutlery 
  • garment bags (don't buy the Poundland ones)
  • laundry detergent 
  • garbage bags 
  • shampoo
  • body wash
  • face wash
  • makeup
  • toilet paper
  • hand soap (a bit cheaper than Poundland)
  • containers for left over food
  • reusable water bottle
  • chopping board
  • drawer separators  
  • clothes hangers
  • snacks

Now that you have everything set up, you need to do some grocery shopping. I recommend Waitrose, located in the Ashley Centre. This is where I do my grocery shopping. It is close by, and it says open to 8pm (except on Sundays when it closes at 4pm).

The Ashley Centre, 54 Ashley Ave, KT18 5DB
Unlike the convenience stores, you can buy everything you need to make a meal from scratch: fresh fruit and veg here, bread, flour, herbs, etc. Keep in mind, everything sold at English grocery stores are not sold in bulk sizes, so you will be buying in small quantities (for example, small loaves of bread and half a dozen eggs).

Other notable places to do your grocery shopping is Sainsbury's. Located a 15 minute walk outside of the High Street, groceries here are cheaper than Waitrose (but sometimes not as good). However, it is open to 11pm on most days (which is a relief).

There is also the market that you can get fresh fruit and veg as well as fresh eggs.

Located beside the clock tower
You can access the market from the High Street as well as from the Ashley Centre. Its open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:00am to 4:00pm. On the first Sunday of the month, you can shop the farmers market, located in the same area from 9:30am to 1:30pm.

Other places to buy food (but not necessarily groceries) are Marks and Spencer's (M&S), located inside the Ashley Centre and Tescos, by the train station.

Ashley Centre, 20 Ashley Centre, KT18 5DA

Alternatively, you can order your groceries from places like ASDA (Walmart equivalent) and get it delivered as many of my flatmates do.

Also located in the mall is Boots, a drugstore where you can find cold and flu medication, makeup, skin care, hair care and hair appliances (don't bother bringing them from home).

57 High Street KT18 5DB
Okay, now for some restaurants! For a quick bite to eat, I suggest Cafe 1 and the fish and chips place by Wilko. 

122 High Street, KT19 8BJ
They have a very good selection of food, for a decent price. All day breakfast is served here. Family run.

86 High Street, KT19 8BA
Small cod fish and chips

There is also the local Weatherspoons at the Assembly Rooms pub. Where you can get a cheap meal for £5.

147-153 High Street, KT18 8EH
There is also the Cafe Rouge (96-98 High Street, KT19 8BJ) and Prezzo (5-7 High Street, KT19 8DA) for something a little more fancy. 

If I'm in a rush, or I want something to take with me on the train, I like to stop by Greggs (right beside Poundland) for a sandwhich, pastry or hot drink. 

48 High Street, KT19 8AJ

As for shopping, everything is located inside the Ashley Centre exept for the charity shops (thrift stores). Some notable stores:

WHSmith, 36 The Ashley Centre, KT18 5DB
Here you can purchase stationary items, sketchbooks and art paper, books, magazines and electronic accessories (purchase the portfolio at the school art store, its half the price!).

Other stores good for current fashion pieces are Next and New Look. There is also a specialty makeup store called Kiko Milano that just opened up recently in the mall. Although it's not big, everything you need is located in and around the High Street. 

Ashley Centre website here.

As for phone carriers, I chose to go with Giffgaff. There are many companies to choose from (O2, Three, etc.), so check out their rates and see what will suit you best. Plans are MUCH cheaper in England (even with exchange) than they are in Canada. For example, I decided to go with the £15 goody bag that Giffgaff had available. It gives me 3GB of data, unlimited texting (to UK numbers) and free texting with other Giffgaff members, and 1,000 minutes of call time. It is also pretty cheap to top-up your account for use in Europe. 

The bank you should use is the HSBC, located on the High Street (54 High Street, KT19 8DS). They were the only bank that would let me open a temporary account. Also, they work with many of the exchange student at UCA, so they know exactly what you need.

As long as we are talking about money, let me suggest to you: Transferwise. This is the program my dad used to wire me money. Instead of going through your bank where you may pay other fees and the like associated with sending money to an account abroad. My dad likes that you use whatever the current exchange rate is rather than the inflated rate is the bank uses. Furthermore, the fee for doing the transaction is less than 1%! This equates to major savings (especially when the amount transferred is $1,000). 

If there is one thing to note, everything closes at 6pm. So make sure you plan accordingly if you need to pick up anything. Class usually runs to 5pm, which leaves you an hour. Banks do not open on Sundays, and close very early on Saturdays. 

The last thing I want to mention is the Ebbisham Centre (which I think recently got changed to Epsom Square). Here you will find the local public library as well and GPs (doctors) and other businesses. 

You access it from a pathway off the High Street beside Poundland and Maplin. 

Ebbisham Centre 6-7 Derby Square, KT19 8AG

Well, I believe that's everything. Epsom is a quaint town that to me is a stereotypical English town. Small, but diverse, it's a nice place to spend the school term.


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