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London life can really take its toll and make you realise just how far from home you are.
Homesickness can strike at any moment but, don't worry, there are places you can go and indulge your sense of nostalgia long enough to tide yourself over until you next visit home for a chocolate fish fix.
Here are a few ways you can beat the melancholy whenever you are feeling a little misty-eyed for the land of the long white cloud.
No, this is not a joke. Airports have a way of making people feel closer to home. One of the best things you can do if you’re missing home is head for Heathrow, ideally when a flight full of Kiwis is due, and let their fresh-off-the-flight accents transport you home while their enthusiasm for London lifts your spirits a tad.
During summer it’s easy to rub shoulders with your fellow countrymen. Britain loves its music festivals and there are a couple on the calendar which have a distinct New Zealand or at least Australasian flavour. For example, Homelanz 2013 ticketholders can kick back to the contemporary sound of Tahuna Breaks as well as the more traditional Ngati Ranana London Maori Club. It’s even possible to pick up a pie and a piece of pav too. Bonus.
Kiwi feather cloak
Head to Bloomsbury in central London to visit the British Museum’s Oceanic collection where you can see a 19 beauty and the feathers of kiwi, kereru and tui make it unmistakably a national treasure.
London New Zealand Rugby Club
Let’s face it, not everyone goes to London to mix with the locals. If you’re someone who prefers to stick to the kind of people you already know or don’t want to give up this very Kiwi activity, the club could be just right for you. If you’re the spectating type, go to a game, close your eyes and imagine yourself at the Cake Tin with your mates.
New Zealand War Memorial
Just a short walk from Oxford Street, one of London’s busiest shopping drags, lies this simple but poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by some of our forebears. There’s nothing that cures a bit of homesickness like a healthy dose of national pride and it is hard not to feel it in this little corner of Hyde Park. The 16 cross-shaped bronze sculptures are the result of a collaboration between John Hardwick-Smith and sculptor Paul Dibble and are intended to cement the lasting bond between our country and the United Kingdom – perhaps they can serve as a reminder as to why you left one for another.
Waitangi Day Circle Line Pub Crawl
Waitangi Day Circle Line Pub Crawl This annual event is a firm fixture in many a Kiwi diary, in fact more than 10,000 are believed to take part each year. Beginning at Paddington (and not for the faint hearted) participating ex-pats head counter-clockwise on the London Underground’s Circle Line and head for Westminster where usually a haka takes place. There is some definite danger of some prickling at the back of your eyes here but in a good way rather than a sad one. The haka marks the end of organised festivities, though the crowd often heads for the Walkabout bar in Temple to round off the night.
Speight’s Alehouse, Temple
For some homesick Kiwis, this is the only place to go for a taste of home. The fully built ale house was shipped to London from Dunedin amid much fanfare in 2007 and has been quenching the thirst of ex-pats ever since. Just don’t overdo it or you could end up having a snivel instead of a pleasant trip down memory lane.
- © Fairfax NZ News