You feel a tinge of excitement as you enter the new Dutch homeware store Hema in London’s Victoria Station. All is colourful, bright and tidy, and because it’s new territory (being the first store to open in the UK) you have a real urge to explore every corner. Your exploration won’t be in vain – there’s sure to be something in there you need – or at least think you need – or want.
Hema is like a hybrid of the late Woolworths (*sob*) and homeware chains Wilkinson and Tiger. Everything is in price denominations of 25p, and the average price of an item is £3. Hema has been dubbed a ‘value’ store, but it feels more upmarket than your average Poundland, plus the majority of products are made by or for the chain itself (they’re ‘own-brand’), and they’re not boring at all; they seem of a good quality and have distinctive, cheery designs.
To list everything that is stocked in Hema would probably require a good few pages, but here’s a quick selection: cereal, snacks, Dutch baked goods, kitchen utensils, tea towels, baking tools, craft items and activities, stationery, children’s toys, colouring books, greeting cards, picnic items (and other summery items), kids clothing, towels, face and body products, make up, and my personal favourite; crunchy and gooey Dutch mini waffles… told you there was lots. So whether you’re a keen baker, a parent, a hungry office worker or looking for a pair of emergency flip flops, and you find yourself in central London, chances are you’ll get it here. Location-wise, I think it’s a win.
Later this month, another store will open in Kingston, and then the third will open in Bromley in July. Hema already has more than 600 stores across Europe, and it has become known for its quality and affordability. The question is whether it’ll be able to stand up tall against the many other homeware stores in the crowded UK market.
How to find Hema in Victoria
It’s hidden away in Victoria Place, a little shopping arcade above the mainline Victoria station. Head through the departures hall of the station towards platform 15, toward Victoria Coach Station. On the right side of the departure boards, you’ll see escalators. Go up them and pass Dorothy Perkins, Pret, New Look, and then on your left you will see Hema.