If you’re visiting London you’ll want to take advantage of the UH-MAZE-ING food it has to offer. Here are 18 must know foodie tips to make your trip the best (and most delicious) it can possibly be. Happy eating!
1. Afternoon Tea is a must
London is famous for it’s quintessentially British afternoon tea so having one when you visit London is basically the law! There are loads of places that do them from high-end, traditional teas like the famous The Ritz and The Savoy to more quirky ones like ‘The Madhatters Tea Party’ at The Sanderson Hotel or Kensington Town House do a gorgeous one inspired by the landmarks of London. My big tip would be to save up and go for one that is really iconic like The Ritz and to be honest it’s only about £20 more expensive than the lesser known ones. Another great tip is to check out www.afternoontea.com for some really good offers!
2. Find sneaky ways around things.
When you haven’t got the biggest budget but still want to explore as much of the city as possible, finding sneaky ways around things is the way forward! For example, you can pay £23 to go to the viewing tower of The Shard or instead you can go to the bar (where the view is just as good) for free and then just buy a drink. Your £23 ticket just turned into a £10 ticket with a drink included and you don’t have to go for an alcoholic one if you don’t want to. Also, if you’ve seen somewhere like Duck and Waffle and think it’s way out of your budget, a cup of tea and some eggs on toast come in at just over £10. The moral of the story? Do your homework – you might be surprised!
Air BnB have recently launched their ‘experiences’ and there are so many to choose from in London! If you haven’t heard of them before they are organised group meet ups, tours and classes usually ran by a local person who knows the city the best. It’s such a good way to really live in the city you’re visiting. Click here to find out more.
4. Download City Mapper.
If you don’t want transport problems getting in the way of your breakfast or dinner you’ve booked at a specific time, City Mapper is a comprehensive, easy to use app that makes navigating around London so much easier! It’s an absolute lifesaver for anyone visiting London. Click here for Apple, here for Android or here for the website.
5. Go for brunch.
Brunch is a big thing in London! Families, friends and super hungover groups of people all rally around between 11 am and 4 pm on a weekend to get their bacon, eggs and pancakes fix and luckily for us we’re spoilt for choice for where to go. Lots of great recommendations here.
6. Make sure you get out of Central London.
Probably the most valuable piece of advice on this list is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get out of central London! London is just Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden and the roads around Buckingham Palace. Don’t get me wrong I love all of them but there is SO much AMAZING food London has to offer outside of zone 1 (central London) and it’s really, really not as far or as scary as you think!
7. Ask the experts.
The great thing about the internet and social media today is that we can immediately and easily connect with the people who live and breathe these amazing cities every day. Go and say hey to a local foodie on Instagram or Facebook and ask them for their best food tips in the city. Even ask them to meet for a coffee if you fancy. I know I have met lots of people through this blog so if your reading this and fancy meeting up hit me up here.
8. Eat a Sunday roast.
Like afternoon tea, a Sunday roast is a British staple and again, if you want to eat as the Brits do then you have to go for one on a Sunday. I’ll be honest and say they can be quite pricey and they can range from anything between £14-£22 so spending the money wisely is key. Some great ideas here and here. My absolute favourite is Hawkmoor ‘s which I highly recommend sits at the top of your list.
9. Get up early.
London is a completely different city in the early morning. The streets are less busy, cafes are tranquil and you can actually see the sights without having to push your way through the crowds. It’s got a real calmness about it that doesn’t last for very long. So make sure you take advantage!!
10. Check the weather forecast.
There’s NOTHING worse than bad weather to spoil a foodie day out. Wandering around a cold rainy London is NOT FUN so find the forecast out and make a plan accordingly. Trust me you’ll thank me for this tip when you’re freezing your balls…. of your feet off! 😉
11. Take advantage of pre-theatre dining means.
If you know London you know the theatre is a big thing here. What does that mean? Lots of great value deals at some of London’s top restaurants before 6:30 pm and after 10 pm. Some of them are extraordinary value compared to if you went outside of these hours. The best part is you don’t have be going to the theatre to take advantage! OpenTable and Bookatable have lots to choose from so take a look at them.
12. Make a plan and do your foodie research.
Somedays wandering around and getting lost is all part of the fun, however if you haven’t got a lot of time you’ll want to use it wisely. There are so many tools on the internet and write-ups about the best places to go and amazing things eat (.. and you’re in the right place here) Research them out, make a list and make a plan so time is spent eating and not travelling! I’d recommend checking out my blog of ‘How to efficiently plan your trip in 4 easy steps‘
13. Book in advance.
If you’ve made your foodie plan as above then make sure you try and book where you intend to go. While a lot of people don’t like committing right now, it’s better to book and then cancel than to turn up excited for your morning pancakes and be turned away. I would be livid!
14. Don’t stay safe.
No, I don’t mean going out in the deep dark depths of the night I mean don’t stay food safe. Just because you recognise the name of somewhere or think the larger chains are usually the most affordable you’ll want to think again. For example, Pizza Hut is in most countries and it can get really pricey when it adds up. Instead, you could go somewhere like Franco Manca who do affordable and unusual sourdough based pizzas for under £10 or try Homeslice with their huge and quirky 20-inch pizzas for just £20. If you’re coming all the way to London make sure you really experience it.
15. Spend a day at a market.
London has some AMAZINGGGGG markets around and there’s something to suit everyone. There’s antique markets like Portobello, flower markets like Columbia and food markets like Broadway and Borough. This is one thing to get up early for as markets here can get pretty crowded and it’s not fun to be stuck in a queue when you could be filling your face with free tasters!
The Nudge is like your uber-cool cousin telling you all the uber cool things to eat and do in London. If you like to be a little more adventurous and venture away from the usual touristy stuff this has to be one website to check out.
17. Grab Timeout on a Tuesday.
Timeout is a free magazine that comes out every Tuesday with all the latest food reviews and things to do in London. The best part? It’s freeeeeeee and can be picked up at any tube station. Just make sure your trip falls on a Tuesday.
18. Tipping is optional.
Tips will usually (but not always) be added to your bill as a standard 10% or 12.5% (or more of larger parties) . However, it is not compulsory to tip your waiter in the UK but it is appreciated if your service was good. Always double check your bill as it’s not always clear if they will add it or not.
I hope that was helpful. Any other tips you have or comments I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, have a great trip! x