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 lots of places that do afternoon tea from high-end, traditional teas like the famous The Ritz or 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 or The Savoy because to be honest, they are only about £20 more expensive than the lesser known ones and they are super fancy! 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 you 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 just buy a drink. Your £23 ticket just turned into a £10 ticket with a drink included. Plus, 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 with it’s amazing breakfast views across London and think it’s way out of your budget, you’ll be shocked to know a cup of tea and some eggs on toast come in at just over £10 for. 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 and you can expect things like Thai cooking classes, historic tours and walking photography workshops. 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 then you need to download City Mapper. 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. You can also learn more about London Transport on my guide here.
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 isn’t just the touristy parts like Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden and the roads around Buckingham Palace. Don’t get me wrong I love all of those areas 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 my blog and I LOVE doing it 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. There are come great ideas here and here. My absolute favourite is Hawkmoor ‘s which I highly recommend goes right to the top of your list.
9. Get up early.
London is a completely different city in the early morning. The streets are less busy, the 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 look at the forecast first 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 prices.
If you know London you know that the theatre is a big thing here. What’s that got to do with food you might be thinking? Well, it means you can take advantage of lots of great pre-theatre dining 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? 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 about the best places to go eat in London . Do your research, write a list and make a plan accordingly so your time is spent eating and not walking around wondering where to go! 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 plans as above then make sure you try and book where you intend to go. While a lot of people don’t like committing, 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 experience it’s gems.
15. Spend a day at a market.
London has some AMAZINGGGGG markets around and there’s always something to suit everyone. There are antique markets like Portobello, flower markets like Columbia and food markets like Broadway and Borough. I’d highly recommend getting up as early as possible to experience London markets at their best. They can get very 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, The Nudge is one website to check out.
17. Grab Timeout on a Tuesday.
TimeOut is a magazine that comes out every Tuesday. It is handed out at most tube and training station and is filled with all the latest food reviews and things to do in London. The best part? It’s freeeeeeee! 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.
Wait! Before you go…
You might also be interested in How To Have The Perfect Foodie Day in London For Under £20!