Since the expansion of the EU in 2004, there has been a huge influx of Polish people moving to the UK. It is estimated that over 515,000 Polish-born people currently live here and there is also an increase in the number of British-born Poles (children born in the UK to Polish immigrants).
Whilst Polish people can be found all over the UK and in many different parts of London, as with most large groups of immigrants, there are certain areas that they tend to favour, perhaps based upon the proximity to Polish shops, cultural centres or Polish language services – a significant number of local libraries now offer Polish language books.
The Zjednoczenie Polskie w Wielkiej Brytanii (Federation of Poles in Great Britain) has been set up to promote Polish history and culture within the UK and has already created around 70 Polish organisations here.
If you’re wondering where to live in London as a Polish person, then check out the list of areas below which might be of interest to you:
Largely due to the presence of the POSK (Polish Cultural Centre), Hammersmith is one of the main hubs of Polish activity in London. The POSK includes a nightclub, bar, restaurant, theatre and library. Alongside the centre, Hammersmith also contains some Polish treats including several restaurants (many on King Street), bookshops, Polish Specialities food shops, the Kosciol Sw. Andrzeja Boboli church and a selection of dance classes hosted by Tatry (.org.uk) To find out more about living in Hammersmith, please view our Living in Hammersmith area guide.
Ealing is another West London haunt which is popular with Polish people. Much of the action is concentrated around activities taking place at the Ealing Polish Church Hall. The church it is linked to is Kosciol NMP Matki Kosciola – regular social events include weekend retreats and student meetings and a student mass. Ealing also has a dance club called Zywiec who run Polish dance workshops (popular dances include Sadeckie, Goralskie and Rzeszowskie) and are heavily involved in Polish folklore events as well as being heavily involved with the Ealing community. To find out more about Living in Ealing, please consult our area guide.
Balham isn’t necessarily an area that you’d associate with Polish people, yet there is still a significant Polish community in the area. The Polish church, Kosciol Chrystusa Krola, is situated on Balham High Road. There is also the White Eagle Club which hosts Saturday night ‘zabawa’ (lots of vodka drinking and dancing to traditional Polish folk and pop tunes). Then everyone comes back the following day after mass at the opposite church for lunch and a bit more of a drink. A Polish Saturday school takes place on Nightingale Lane. To find out more about Living in Balham, please view our area guide.
These 3 areas are perhaps amongst the most renowned for attracting Polish people, but other areas which are a little less obvious but still contain the odd Polish shop, church or even have a decent amount of produce in the local supermarkets, include areas such as Streatham (at least 2 Polish shops and a restaurant), Willesden Green (Saturday school), Islington (church and a shop), South Kensington (2 restaurants/bar and a church) and Acton (Polish shops).
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