Christmas is fast approaching, and cheese lovers will understand the importance of a good cheeseboard in the festive period. Now, we all know about the Selfridges Food Hall and the legacy of Harrods but do you really want to be queuing for hours only to rush the very important decision of buying cheese? Of course not. In the spirit of all things cheesy, here’s a list of 5 independent cheese shops that you should visit if you want support the small cheese businesses that are stinking up London (in a good way). Time to shop:

1. For a South London Gem: The Teddington Cheese

What: After the success of its first shop, the Teddington Cheese have opened another branch in the vibrant neighbouring town of Richmond. With a variety of over 130 British and continental cheeses, The Teddington Cheese herald themselves in providing customers with a range of traditionally made cheese sourced from small farms.

Why Visit: Although Richmond may seem far to some, it’s definitely worth the trek as The Teddington Cheese have been giving zone 4 first dibs on the best cheese selection for a while now, and it’s time more cheese lovers had their share. Although they sell a good continental variety, it’s fair to say they excel when it comes to Britishness as their best sellers include national favourites: Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Cropwell Bishop Stilton and Single Gloucester. Don’t forget the condiments – they sell everything from fruit purees to award-winning preserves and Henry VIII’s favourite, quince.

Where: 74 Hill Rise, Richmond, TW10 6UB

2. For Condiments Galore: Cheeses

What: This tiny gem in Muswell Hill was established in 1982 and has already won awards for being damn great. Exclusively sourcing farmhouse and artisan cheese, Cheeses make buying cheese easier than ever with the option of home deliveries and even pre-prepeared cheeseboards.

Why Visit: Staff at the shop really know their stuff, which means you’ll leave knowing what cracker, wine and chutney to pair your purchase with. If you hang around there long enough you might hear about their special society. Who needs Fight Club when you have Cheese Club? That’s right, this North London cheesemonger offers the opportunity to join an exclusive club where members receive a special monthly cheese delivery. After visiting you’ll want to be a member too, but remember keep quiet because the first rule of cheese club is: you do not talk about cheese club!

Where: 13 Fortis Green Rd, London, N10 3HP

3.For a Royal Find: Paxton & Whitfield 

What: Paxton & Whitfield started as a small market stall in Aldwych and now have evolved into cheese giants with three shops in London. Founded in in 1797 they now stand as one of the oldest cheesemongers in England with a spectacular reputation.

Why Visit: If royal warrants of approval from the Her Majesty The Queen and Prince of Wales aren’t enough then you’re one tough cookie to please. Although the Queen has made some questionable fashion choices in the past, she certainly knows her Babybel from her Brie – so why not get a taste of the high life? Along with the royal stamp, Paxton & Whitfield also happen to be the one of the first cheesemongers to introduce Stilton to Londoners, so fans of anything blue and stinky should pay them a visit.

Where: 93 Jermyn St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6JE

4. For Stacks of Cheese: Rippon Cheese 

What: Rippon Cheese are now celebrating 27 years of success in their quaint shop situated in Pimlico. Stocked up with up to 500 European cheeses their majority comes from England and France, and their collection is always growing as they welcome in new arrivals on a regular basis.

Why Visit: From the outside it looks small, but when you walk inside it’s like cheese narnia. Enjoy the skyscrapers – like sights of stacked cheese wheels, and try and spot the leaning tower of cheesa. Whatever the occasion, Rippon Cheese are happy to create a masterpiece consisting of a hybrid of fine cheeses; if that occasion happens to be a wedding, they offer specially curated cheese wedding cakes and ‘cheese towers’ for those who find cake a bit underwhelming. If that doesn’t excite you, then you should probably stop reading this article.

Where: 26 Upper Tachbrook St, Pimlico, London SW1V 1SW

5. For a Global Selection: La Fromagerie

What: La Fromagerie is the ultimate cheese library. Sourcing cheese from 13 different countries, they have everything from niche cheeses to your well-love classics. Their cheeses are matured to perfection in temperature monitored rooms by their in-house affineurs, and each of their three London based shops boast vast high quality selections.

Why Visit: Don’t get intimidated by La Fromagerie’s stinky yellow display. You don’t need to be a cheese expert to enjoy going here, but you’re guaranteed to leave a little wiser after a visit to one of their signature cheese rooms, or tasting cafes that allows guests to taste the cheeses on offer or even enjoy a meal with a glass of wine. If you’re more serious about learning about cheese, they even host evening tasting sessions that allow you to learn more about their selection.

Where: Locations here