London

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A man rummaging through a skip at the back of an office building in Central London.

London, the capital of England, UK, is a wonderful city for its free food.

There are also two counties, City of London and Greater London, which both constitute what we simply know as London. This page unites all administrative units related to London.

www.dumpstermap.com has several things added for London. It seems to be a good way to see what is in your area since it's such a huge city. Maybe someone could add things to the map and add things from the map to the list as well?

Markets

At all street markets, as with anywhere else, it is easy to gather free food when they're clearing up. However, the main market in London for dumpster diving is the New Covent Garden market, in Nine Elms, near Vauxhall. You can go any time between 10pm and 10am. In the last year, however, security guards in vans have made it much harder. They chase anyone collecting food and ask them to leave. They hand you a leaflet warning that it is a criminal offence to take the food. This has been enough to scare many people from collecting at the market. But some people may still manage it, if they are fast, or go at a time when the guards aren't present.

Give-away shops

The Food Not Bombs collective in Whitechapel often hold freeshops too, to give away free clothes, etc. to the community.

InSpiral in Camden usually give away food at the end of the evening if you ask (it's amazing and all either raw/organic/vegan)

Supermarkets

Supermarkets are often difficult to dumpster dive at. Sometimes you can get very lucky with Boots, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsburies and Tescos. But most of the time their rubbish is inaccessible, hidden away in a loading bay you can never access. Only a few of their stores place the rubbish in dumpsters on the street; but when you find a good one, it can feed you and your friends for months.

Bakeries and sandwich stores

Paul's is a fantastic bakery, found in various places over London (check their website for exact addresses), which throws out the most luxurious of breads, baguettes and cakes in bin bags outside the shop after closing time.

Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Costa and especially Eat are always reliable for their wasting of good food, but make sure that you beat the binmen to the food! The best time for Eat is around 7pm (sometimes earlier, depending on when it closes), and around 9pm-10pm for Starbucks. The best areas in central London for coffee shop finds are Mayfair, Holborn, and Goodge Street.

The sandwich chain Eat throw out all of their remaining food at the end of the day, and except for a few of them who give to charity, it's always a very reliable source of yummy salads/sandwiches/cookies. Lately some of their branches have started destroying their food before they throw it in the bags, meaning the baguettes are partly out of their wrappers, the salads are opened up. Try the branches of Eat at Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street, and Great Eastern Street.

Common skipping sites by location

Sub-regions used here are ones adopted by the EU and used by 'London's Poverty Profile' (.org.uk)

Outer East and North East

Enfield

  • Tesco opposite Enfield Chase station is a good one for skipping. (Last checked: autumn 2010)
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Waltham Forest

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Redbridge

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Havering

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Barking and Dagenham

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Bexley

  • There is a Costcutter next to Abbey Wood station which is good for skipping but you have to climb over a fence (at night). WARNING: it is a trespassing violation, so do it on your own risk! (Last checked: autumn 2010)
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Greenwich

  • The best place to go for freebies in Greenwich (apart from the market stalls if you want to sample some hot food) is behind the Sainsburys and Co-op on Greenwich High Road. (Last checked: November 2010)
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Inner East and South

Haringey

  • Somerfield opposite Bruce Grove station is a good bet in this area. Find the bins round the back off Stoneleigh Road. (Last checked: autumn 2010)
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Islington

  • The Iceland and the Co-op at the Texaco garage are good places to go. Both are on Caledonian Road. (Last checked: August/September 2012)
  • Iceland supermarket on Junction Road, Archway. Employees might be laid back and tolerant if you are nice. Possible to dive both during the day and night (take a torch for night diving though). (Last checked: Dec. 2011)
  • Tesco Express on St. Johns St., Clerkenwell. (Last checked: July 2012)
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Hackney

  • Iceland seems to be the best place to try in Hackney, as the one on Mare Street near Graham Road and Sylvester Road can be skipped during the day as long as staff aren't around. (Last checked: September 2012)
  • It also might be possible to check when the bins are out on the new Sainsburys where Dalston Lane becomes Lower Clapton Road opposite the St. John-at-Hackney Church.
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Tower Hamlets

  • Whitechapel market is great for fruit and veg. Go around 5-6pm for best results. (Last checked: July 2010)
  • Brick Lane market is also good, with many international food stands. On Sundays especially but also Saturdays they have discounts starting from about 4pm.
  • Sometimes you can check the Iceland on Bethnal Green Road when the back gates are open. (Last checked: September 2012)
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Newham

  • Co-op in Forest Gate (just down from the station with the same name and find the bins round the corner passed the Earlham Grove Community Centre) is the only place known to regular divers in Newham. (Be careful at this Co-op though, they've been known to intimidate skippers by filing people on camera phones during day-time skipping!) (Last checked: November 2011)
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Lambeth

  • The Co-op at the Texaco garage on the left side of Wandsworth Road as you head east towards Wandsworth Road station can be skipped at any time for usual Co-op results. (Last checked: autumn 2010)
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Southwark

  • Mace and Shell petrol stations can be skipped all on Camberwell Road. But best skipping them at night! (Last checked: September 2010)
  • Co-op on Camberwell New Road 177-183 can be accessed from an alleyway leading to Farmer's Road or from Warham Street round to the left the other side of the store. Usually no problem skipping here during the day and the people who work opposite are friendly! Just don't leave a mess as another Co-op in the area locked it's bins due to people being inconsiderate! (Last checked: October 2011)
  • There is one Iceland store on Walworth Road (about 10 minutes walk south of Elephant and Castle station) which has a large yard at the back with open skips. (Last checked: August 2011)
  • Bins in front of Tesco Express on East Dulwich Road are brilliant for pastries (Last checked: March 2012)
  • Some sandwiches, doughnuts and such can usually be found in the bins of BP on Peckham Road (Last checked: March 2012)
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Lewisham

  • There's a bin behind the smaller Pay Less opposite a car dealers in Deptford. (Last checked: September 2010)
  • Also, on Brockley Road, near Crofton Park station, there is Co-op, Londis and a Costcutter next to The Brockley Jack pub (that needs two people to skip as the gates need to be held open), all close together. (Last checked: September 2010)
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Outer South

Bromley

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Croydon

  • One good place in Croydon is the Co-op at the roundabout where St. James Road becomes Lower Addiscombe Road and is joined by Cherry Orchard Road. It's best to go at night though because you have to climb over the gate which holds the bins round the back. It is however a really easy climb. (Last checked: December 2011)
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Sutton

  • Skipping on the corner just down the road from Carshalton Beeches station. (Last checked: autumn 2010)
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Merton

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Kingston Upon Thames

Unfortunately, Kingston is so overrun with chain shops that they all seem to be connected with some underground waste disposal scheme hidden in the depths of the carparks, however, on a good day there are still a few places there. There are two markets still run amongst the commercial madness:

  1. Monday market (next to the leisure centre) that mostly sells clothes but there is some gleaning of fruit to be done around lunchtime when the stalls pack up.
  2. Food market, held daily in the main market square. These pack up around 4 in winter and five or half five in summer, a lot of fruit and veg is left on the floor and the rest is in big dumpsters around the back of the stalls. Sometimes there is cheese too. Get there quick though, because this is the fist place the rubbish collectors go on their rounds! (Last checked: Dec.2011)
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Outer West and North West

Richmond Upon Thames

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Hounslow

  • The Marks and Spencers at BP petrol station on Bath Road by the roundabout where Great West Road (A4) meets it has dumpsters behind a small fenced area. Would be best to skip here at night. See folks at Hounslow Community Gardens for more info. WARNING: it is a trespassing violation, so do it on your own risk! (Last checked: September 2010)
  • Or for an easier skip with friendly staff, visit the Tesco on Bath Road:

Address: 780 Bath Rd, Hounslow, Greater London TW5 9SL Location of the bins: Round the back in the car park, always the ones closest to the back door but never had any problem with the staff here! (Last checked: July 2012)

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Ealing

  • The Tesco at the Petrol Station on Uxbridge Road near the end of Twyford Avenue is great for the usual gack and random Tesco finds! (Last checked: September 2010)
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Hillingdon

  • Co-op at Harlington Corner is the most skipped of any store in Hillingdon. There's also the potential to skip the Harlington Hospice skip round the corner if you're there at night. And if you've got time to spare you could always walk down Sipson Lane and call in at Grow Heathrow where they are freegan-friendly and will be happy to chat about skipping in Hillingdon over a cup of tea! (Last checked: October 2012)
  • There are now very few skippable places in the West Drayton area. Iceland recently stopped throwing out their food waste, and Tesco lock their bins away. It's occasionally possible to skip a small amount of food from Costa on Yiewsley High Street, but it's hit and miss as the bins are sometimes locked. Sainsburys on Porters Way is still pretty reliable.
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Harrow

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Brent

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Barnet

  • Skipping in Barnet resulted in good finds along High Barnet High Street - particularly from dumpsters behind Iceland and Sainsburys. (Last checked: Autumn 2011)
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Cricklewood

  • The Co-op in Cricklewood Lane is a good bet in this area. Find the bins in the narrow street next to the store. (Last checked: December 2010)
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Inner North & West

Wandsworth

  • The New Covent Garden Market is in this Borough (see info above).
  • In Tooting it is possible to skip from the Co-op on Mitcham Road. The bins are in the car park and have been skipped successfully at day and night. (Last checked: May 2011)
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Chiswick

  • Marks and Spencer on Chiswick High road. Sundays are good. (Last checked: ?)
  • As Nature Intended, next to Chiswick Police Station. On Sundays they close slightly later (around 8.30). (Last checked: ?)
  • Bins (check all of them) behind the fruit and veg stall opposite the methodist church at the T junction between Dukes Avenue and Chiswick High Road. These also have pastries from the nearby bakery. (Last checked: ?)
  • Any of the cafes. Check Turnham Green too. Sometimes Mortimer and Bennet have a couple of bags of bread and things on Sundays. (Last checked: ?)
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Hammersmith

  • Marks and Spencer on Kings Street. Beware of the blue dye though. (Last checked: ?)
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Kensington and Chelsea

  • Starbucks at 186 Earl's Court Road (SW5 9QG) has been known to leave cakes and other gack in the doorway towards closing time, but sometimes this is mixed in with other waste and needs to be sorted carefully! (Last checked: November 2011)
  • Tesco at 146-158 Kensington High Street (W8 7RL) has access to the bins off Phillimore Walk. There is a bakery there also but some bins are random and might be locked. (Last checked: November 2011)
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Camden

  • Tesco on Goodge St near Tottenham Court Road (address: 10-16 Goodge St, London W1T 2QB) seem to put their bins out on a Friday morning. Location of the bins: round the back on Whitfield Street. (Last checked: November 2010)
  • The main Co-op in Camden is good if you don't mind climbing the metal fence around it. (Going at night and not making too much noise would be a good idea as it can be a busy street during the day.) (Last checked: November 2010)
  • Many stalls, especially ones doing crepes, were happy to give away some of what they didnt sell at the end of a recent night out at Camden Market. (Last checked: September 2010)
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Westminster

  • Pret A Manger at 163 Piccadilly (W1J 9ED) left its gack bag on the street for a jolly seasonal skip!! :-) (Last checked: December 2011)
  • Look out for other sandwich shops, especially Eat, that often leave bags outside. (Last checked: autumn 2010)
  • The Tesco on Parliament Square is also a good bet at 10pm - 11pm. (Last checked: October 2010)
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City

  • Look out for sandwich shops, especially Pret, Eat and sushi shops that often leave bags outside.
  • Waitrose near Nesham st.. Beware of the rotating spikes bar on the other side of the bike rack, it is possible to climb down the gate instead. People have been caught by security guards before, be quiet and look out for traffic and passers by. (Last checked: March 2012)
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Counties of England

Bedfordshire | Berkshire | City of Bristol | Buckinghamshire | Cambridgeshire | Cheshire | Cornwall | Cumbria | Derbyshire | Devon | Dorset | Durham | East Riding of Yorkshire | East Sussex | Essex | Gloucestershire | Greater London | Greater Manchester | Hampshire | Herefordshire | Hertfordshire | Isle of Wight | Kent | Lancashire | Leicestershire | Lincolnshire | City of London | Merseyside | Norfolk | Northamptonshire | Northumberland | North Yorkshire | Nottinghamshire | Oxfordshire | Rutland | Shropshire | Somerset | South Yorkshire | Staffordshire | Suffolk | Surrey | Tyne and Wear | Warwickshire | West Midlands | West Sussex | West Yorkshire | Wiltshire | Worcestershire