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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Top 8 Most Popular Foods in London

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Chloe M.

Last updated : Dec 07, 20228 min read

Food & Drink

The sights and spectacles of London are hard to beat, and this amazing city is a favored destination for those who plan to visit the United Kingdom. Whether you’re in the Old World to admire Buckingham Palace and the rest of London’s top attractions, or are there for some retail therapy, it is a sin to not taste some of the local foods everyday Londoners enjoy. 

We’ve asked our local guides for their favorite dishes and meals that will assuredly leave you in heaven. From luxurious teatime to everyday morning feasts, London accommodates all types of diets. Enjoy and learn more about these eight dishes whilst on a London tour of a lifetime with one of our London private tour guides.  

Full English

blog imageWith roots going all the way back to the Anglo-Saxon period, the full English has become a bit of a tradition for the British. This meal is a plateful (quite literally), as it consists of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, tomatoes, black pudding, and some toast. Also lovingly dubbed the “Fry Up” or the “English Monty”, the English breakfast can actually be eaten at any time, not just for your first meal of the day (although a hearty breakfast every morning will definitely keep you going if you plan to stay for a few days). 

Today, regional variants have sprung up, so depending on the area a full English can also be called a full Irish, a full Scottish, a full Welsh, or an Ulster fry. Recent years have also seen a rise of hashbrowns being added to the table. Whatever version you may deem to try, you will beyond a doubt be satisfied to your heart’s content. Make sure you get some advice from our local UK tour guides for the best full English breakfasts close to your hotel. 

Pie and Mash 

blog imageIt was in the docks of East London where pie and mash emerged. Originally a working-class meal, the savory pie and mash became a staple during the Industrial Revolution due to its small, transportable size and resilient pastry crust. Filled with minced beef, these flavorful pies are usually served with mashed potatoes and liquor. Don’t be fooled by the last side, as this liquor sauce is actually made of parsley. Yes, you guessed it- liquor sauce has no alcohol!

Many of the pie shops from the 1800s are still in their original buildings to this day. Have a taste of the city’s Victorian version of fast food, and feel like a proper London Cockney for a day. If minced beef is not to your liking, then try some of the more contemporary versions of pie and mash, served with vegetarian and/or vegan fillings. 

Roast Dinner

blog imageIn days of old, families would traditionally come together after Sunday mass to eat a roast dinner. For many, it is the heart of British cooking, with homemade food being shared with family and friends over the same table. Roasted meat is the center of the menu, with roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, gravy, and many other trimmings to boot. This feast can be served and paired with a variety of vegetables and a glass or two of red wine to make it more luxurious. 

On the weekends, be sure to reserve a table in a restaurant if you plan on trying out some good roast dinner. The weekends are usually packed with jolly friends and families nibbling away. From homely spreads to deluxe meals, the roast dinner can do both!

Greggs

blog imageProbably the most common bakery you’ll see a Londoner visiting is Greggs. If you show the logo of four orange squares set in a blue background, we are positive that every local will know it. This bakery chain started out by delivering baked goods by bicycle. It was in 1951 when its first ever shop began business. It is now a household name, and is well-loved by Brits all over the country. 

The bakery has a nice selection of sandwiches, biscuits, and donuts, but the crème de la crème is its pasties. From steak to chicken to caramel custard, you will drool with delight over the large and delicious-smelling baked goodies at your fingertips. Want to know the best branches and pasties to try first? Book a customizable private food tour with one of our local London tour guides to get the ultimate Greggs experience. 

Curry

blog imageAn influx of immigrants from around the world has made the London food scene quite international, and the capital does exceedingly well in the curry-business. Probably the district with the most curry houses, Brick Lane, is host to many great venues. If you visit London in the fall, you can also catch the annual curry festival held in East London. 

If you’re looking for a more high-end meal, then we’d recommend a trip to the Michelin starred Gymkhana. Inspired by the elite clubs of India, Gymkhana serves only the best food of the highest quality. In the hands of Executive Chef Sid Ahuja, you are fated to have a dazzling and sumptuous dinner. 

Afternoon Tea

blog imageA quintessentially British affair, afternoon tea is a spectacle to dress up for when in London. It is a time when you can wear your most flowery dresses and pressed collared button downs and not feel overdressed. You have Anna Maria Russel, Duchess of Bedford, to thank for that. In 1840, the duchess grew hungry early in the afternoon, and so had some food sent at around 4 o’clock. This turned into a habit; and voilà! Now no affluent British family can live without it. 

Have your fill of cakes, pastries, and sandwiches served in a dainty three-tier stand. Drink rich tea ‘til you are satisfied. For an added bit of panache, order a champagne afternoon tea and relax with some bubbly. There are many venues to where you can experience this British delicacy, including B Bakery, the British Museum, and the famous Harrods. Ask one of our London private guides to include their recommended spots into your tour itinerary.

Eton Mess

blog imageA favorite dessert for many Londoners is the Eton Mess - a whipped cream, berry, and meringue concoction. Historians can still not agree as to where it came from originially, but some believe it originated in Eton College during cricket matches with Harrow School in the 19th century. Others believe a labrador had something to do with the “mess” during the meeting. Whatever its origin story may be, we can all agree that the crunchy meringue contrasting the soft and smooth whipped cream is a good idea. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding

blog imageAlthough not originally British, sticky toffee pudding has become a British favorite. Consisting of moist spongecake and delicious dates topped with some creamy toffee sauce, this dessert is hard to ignore. It is light, fluffy, and irresistibly sweet. Many like to top it off with some vanilla custard or vanilla ice cream. 

After a saunter through one of London’s many parks, this sweet treat will please any tired sweet-tooth. A taste of this, and you’ll be craving for this mouthwatering confection as soon as you get home. For the best sticky toffee pudding, ask our professional guides for insider tips and information. 

Conclusion

A trip to the land of the Beefeaters is never complete without trying out some of the local dishes of London. Although we’ve listed down our top 8 foods to try on your next trip, the capital has a host of delectable dishes for you to devour. To know more about food tours around London, book a London private tour with one of our professional London guides and take full advantage of having a local usher you around this incredible city.

London Tour Guide - Vivien S.

Vivien S.

5.00 / 5
(2 reviews)
United Kingdom (UK)

I LOVE London! But I really KNOW London too... I'm proud to be a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, one of a select few who have passed the highest criteria to become a fully qualified London guide. I hold other London guiding qualifications - I am a City of London Guide and Lecturer, A Westminster Guide and a St Paul's Cathedral Guide. I specialise in private, customised (to YOUR requirements) London tours, giving in-depth insight into the best locations such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, St Paul's Cathedral, the Churchill War Rooms, Kew Gardens, Buckingham Palace (summer opening), the British Museum, National Gallery and many more. .... and we can discover hidden alleyways, explore ancient churches, stand where Dickens or Shakespeare or the Romans would have stood...London's many secrets from so many centuries. Guiding is my passion, but I am also a dog-loving, countryside-walking, museum junkie, knit-aholic, who loves to curl up with a good book (I collect old London books) with a lovely cup of tea and a slice of something nice on the side. Come with me to discover London. Whether this is your first visit or you've been here before, I will make sure that you have a wonderful time and take home memories to cherish - and lots of fabulous photos!                                                                                                                                  

London Tour Guide - Ian F.

Ian F.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
United Kingdom (UK)

I am a lawyer, historian and official City of London and Westminster tour guide. Introducing guests to the splendours and secrets of my hometown is my passion. I try to make my tours a mixture of fun and fact (with some of the facts being funny and some of the fun being factual). I would love to arrange a private tour that will make your visit to London truly memorable. All of my income from tour guiding is donated to charity - currently World Jewish Relief's Ukraine Crisis Appeal.                                                                                                                                  

London Tour Guide - Laura A.

Laura A.

United Kingdom (UK)

I'm a qualified London guide now offering History Walks with Gender, Sex and Class. Walks focus on the lives of poorer working people rarely described in historical accounts except as criminals or objects of charity. When there’s an opportunity to talk about women I’ll take it, and social class is always on the table. I've been a writer, researcher and critical historian all my life, and I've been a Londoner since the 1960s, although I've left to live in other towns and countries. Author of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry, for many years I've focused on getting the stories out of women and others marginalised because of being poor, foreign, ‘different’ or doing jobs some folks think are Wrong, in the present and in the past. I'm known as The Naked Anthropologist.                                                                                                                                  

London Tour Guide - Irene K.

Irene K.

United Kingdom (UK)

Hello, I started working as a guide fifteen years ago, while studying at the University of Oxford. I collaborated with Oxbridge tours travel company where I acted as a tour guide for four years until I moved to London. I hold an M.A in art history and I taught art history at Sotheby's Institute of Art and the University of Glasgow. My tours are intended for history and art lovers. I take my guests around art galleries and British country houses. However, I will also be delighted to take you on a walking tour around London or Oxford, and show you some hidden gems most visitors do not know of or have no access to. I will customise your tour to make it a unique and memorable experience. I normally offer tours in English.                                                                                                                                  

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