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Guide to Tipping in London and the Greater UK

Updated: February 4, 2024

This post is about tipping in London and is geared toward the visitor and tourists to the city.

We cover restaurants, bars, taxis, hotel staff, tour guides, and more.


One of the most interesting things about traveling throughout the world is visiting new countries while learning and experiencing their unique customs.

Oftentimes, language isn’t the only barrier between a visitor and a locals. Many times social interaction between the two can lead to awkward and accidental faux pas.

So, it’s always worth it to get some information ahead of time to see what will be expected of you when you are visiting a foreign country.

One of the most common social differences between many countries is tipping, who to tip, when to tip, how much to tip, and when not to tip!

So with this in mind, we’ve drawn up a quick guide to tipping in London to give you the basics of tipping culture in the United Kingdom.

Be sure to also read our other posts:

How Much to Tip in London Restaurants?

Tipping in London eateries is pretty straightforward.

In restaurants or pubs where you place your food order at the bar and later it is brought to your table, it is not customary to tip.

However, at a restaurant with a doorman, waiter, or waitress where orders, drinks, and food are taken at your table, a tip from around 10% - 15% is common.

Many restaurants will automatically add this amount to your bill so make sure you check yours closely!

If service is already included, you will not be expected to add anything extra.

However, if your service was unacceptably poor, it is appropriate to ask for the service charge to be removed from your bill at departure.

You may also find written on your bill or on the menu, ‘service not included’. This is a subtle hint that a tip will be appreciated and expected.

It may also be a good idea to politely ask your wait staff if the tip you leave will go directly to them or not.

If you want to ensure the tip you leave goes to the exact staff who helped you, do not include the tip with any card payment but leave a cash tip (or even hand the cash tip directly to the staff you wish to receive the amount).  

For a more in-depth look at tipping in London restaurants, check out this article from the Guardian.

How Much to Tip at London Bars and Pubs?

Tipping in London watering holes is not common. Bartenders in bars and pubs in London do not expect to be tipped.

London Pub Tipping

If you have had exceptionally good service, or have built up a rapport with the person behind the bar it is appropriate to offer a small amount of money, along with the phrase, “and one for yourself.”

The bar staff may then make themselves a drink or they will put the money aside to be used later.

You could also say ‘keep the change’ once you have paid.

Both of these scenarios, however, are entirely at your discretion.

NOTE: At particularly busy bars, tipping might make you stand out from the crowd.

You might also be interested in our post on historic London pubs, which include riverside pubs, literary pubs, and pubs with great views.

Or, take the historic London pubs tour

How Much to Tip a London Taxi?

It’s not a requirement to tip in taxis but it is customary simply to round up to the nearest pound or so and say, “keep the change.”

london black cab tours

If you have a lot of luggage and the cab driver has assisted with the bags or been particularly helpful a 10% tip or an extra £5.00 for longer journeys is appropriate and generous.

Things are different if you take a taxi tour. Then, we recommend leaving a tip as you would with a tour guide.

How Much to Tip London Tour Guides?

Guides here at Free Tours By Foot receive no salary or payment from the company.

Their earnings are based entirely on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means the public decides what the tour was worth.

If you are taking a hop-on-hop-off bus, there will usually be a tip jar at the front of the bus for you to leave something at your own discretion.

However, most other walking tour guides in London earn a fee for leading a tour.

Many times at the end of the tour it would be customary to hand the guide something extra, £2.00-£5.00 for an excellent tour, or around £1 per person if you are part of a larger group traveling together.

On coach tours (particularly long ones) a tip to both the tour guide and the coach driver is expected and appreciated.

A good guideline would be between £1.00-£2.00 per day traveled.

How Much to Tip at London Hotels?

Staff at high-end hotels in the United Kingdom will be used to receiving tips of between £1.00-£2.00 per bag, or around £5.00 overall.

Staff working in hotels below 5-star will not expect to receive tips, aside from the porter who brings your bags to your room, in which case around £2.00 is acceptable.

Chambermaids are not usually tipped in London, however, if you left money for cleaning staff on a bedside table after your last night, it would not be inappropriate.

Many hotels now have begun adding an included service charge of around 10% - 12% on your total bill so make sure to keep an eye out for this when you are checking out.

Check out our guide to London hotels for under £100.

How much to Tip Others

Spas (massages, manicures, etc.) | Tipping in spas is not customary.

Hair salons | Tipping around 10% is common but not required.

Delivery and Takeaway | When taking food away or “out” no tip is expected. This is true also of any food that has been delivered to you from a local restaurant or pizza chain.

A bill for food delivered in a hotel may have a service charge included, so make sure to check this as a tip in this instance is accepted and you will want to avoid inadvertently paying twice.

Cafés | A small tip is appreciated when table service is available. £1-£2 is acceptable, or a “keep the change.”

In café where you have retrieved your own drink, you may find a small tipping tray on the counter which you can donate to if you wish, but tipping in this instance is not expected.

Can you tip in USD in London?

While you might technically be able to tip in USD in London, it's generally not a common practice.

Employees, taxi drivers, and housekeeping staff, for example, would usually expect tips in the local currency, which is the British Pound.

Using local coins and credit cards for tipping ensures that the person receiving the tip doesn't need to go through the hassle of exchanging currencies.

So, it's better to tip in Pounds when you're in London.

We hope this guide to tipping in London was helpful.  For more tips on saving money during your visit to London, please check out our London blog.

Is tipping the same in London as in the rest of the UK?

In the UK, tipping customs are quite similar throughout the country, and London is no exception.

Whether you are riding in black cabs, dining at restaurants, or getting a haircut from barbers, a rule of thumb is to tip around 10-15% for good service.

However, tipping is often seen as an optional service charge and not a requirement, regardless of whether you're in a bustling city like London or a quieter place in Britain.


While we've done our best to provide all the information you'll need to understand tipping in the UK, you might have specific questions of your own you need help with.

Thankfully, our London Travel Tips group on Facebook is the perfect place to look for those answers

Here are a few examples of interesting and helpful tips provided by members of our group:

  1. This person had a number of trips for a trip to the London area including a suggestion to buy an Oyster Card, swapping old currency, and tipping. Members suggest, as we do above, to check London restaurant and bar bills for a service charge.

2. This reader wanted to know whether to get cash for tipping. The consensus is that tipping isn't done the same way in the UK as it's done in America. The London service charge in bars and restaurants is again mentioned. Some travelers ensure that have local currency on hand to tip people performing certain services, including cab drivers, tours guides, and hotel staff.

3. This reader wanted to know what an appropriate tip for a tour guide would be. Some folks say there's no reason to tip while others talk about it being customary. For example, there are free London walking tours, but one can tip what they think the tour was worth at the end of the tour.

For even more information about tipping, or about anything at all in the London area, please feel free to ask for advice on the Free Tours By Foot London Travel Tips Facebook page.

Enjoy your trip to the United Kingdom!


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: February 4th, 2024
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