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. You have to go for Afternoon Tea.
Us Brits are famous for our afternoon teas so getting one in London is like the law. There are loads of places that do them in the capital from high-end, traditional ones like The Ritz to more fun ones like The Sanderson inspired by Alice and Wonderland. A 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 and 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 buy a drink. Your £23 ticket just turned into a £10 ticket with a drink included. Also, if you’ve seen somewhere like Duck and Waffle and think its out of your budget, a cuppa tea and some eggs on toast come in at just over a tenner. Moral of the story is 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 they are ways to explore the city with the people who know it best. You can walk around a market with a local, go have brunch someone’s house or do a cooking class at a local restaurant. 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 finding your morning breakfast this comprehensive, easy to use app will definitely take the stress out of it. Oh my gosh, this app is 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 on a weekend in London and has evolved hugely over the last few years. Friends, families 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 it such a nice atmosphere. You can’t walk past a restaurant now without them having some sort of brunch menu even if its Indian, Peruvian or Australian. Some good places here, here and here to check out.
6. Make sure you get out of Central London.
Probably the most valuable piece of advice is in this list … PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t think 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 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 say hey to a local 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 my blog, so if your reading this and fancy meeting up hit me up here.
8. Eat a Sunday roast.
Like afternoon tea, a 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 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 out and make a plan accordingly so your not inside when it’s hot and vice versa. Trust me you’ll thank me for this tip when you’re freezing your balls…. of your feet off! 😉
11. Pre-theatre dining means some great deals.
If you know London, you know 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 fantastic 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! Woohoo! OpenTable and Bookatable have lots to choose from so take a look at them.
12. Make a plan and do your foodie research.
While somedays wandering around and getting lost is all part of the fun, you do want to use your time wisely. Especially if you’re not here for very long. There are so many tools on the internet and write-ups about the best places to go and amazing things eat (hint right here) Research then out, make a list and make a plan based on location so time is spent eating and not travelling!
13. Book in advance.
If you’ve done the 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 it’s a chain or a name you know doesn’t mean it’s the best or the cheapest option. 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. Like I said above, this is one thing to get up early for as markets here can get pretty crowded. 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 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.
No not the naughty step kind, the foodie kind. Timeout is a free magazine that comes out every Tuesday with all the latest food reviews and things to do in London. Best part? It’s freeeeeeee and can be picked up at any tube station. Just make sure you’re trip falls on a Tuesday.
18. Tipping is optional.
Tips will usually be added to your bill as a standard 10% or 12.5% (or more of larger parties) but always check as it’s not always automatically added. It’s not very often that it happens but if service is not good then remember it IS an optional charge in the UK.
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