Below is our list of 10 traditional British foods that you need to try when you are in London, including a few places where you can taste them.
Be sure to also check out our other related posts:
We list our favorite foods in London, places to get them, as well as which of our tours either includes a shop or take you nearby. Read this post en español.
Some of these foods and locations can be found on our East London Food Tour.
1. Fish & Chips
There’s nothing that says ‘British Food’ like Fish & Chips.
Known the world over, this traditional British dish is on the top of any foodie list for visitors to London and the U.K.
Although fish & chips are best eaten on the seaside, it is possible to get great fish & chips in London.
Our Recommendation: Poppies, Shoreditch, or Camden.
Read our full post on the top fish and chip shops in London.
On a Budget?: Poppy's is happily affordable with a massive portion of fish & chips (easily split by 2) for under £7.00 each!
Our East London Food Tour visits Poppy's, so consider signing up to try a sample! Check out the video of our guided tour below.
2. Sunday Roast with Yorkshire Pudding
Sunday roast is a true British classic. Traditionally this meal is eaten any time from noon to 5 pm (17:00) on Sundays.
Although you can get Sunday roast with turkey, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and veggie options – it’s important to always make sure you get your Yorkshire pudding!
Traditionally served with beef, Yorkshire puddings a true British classic and can often be added to any Sunday roast order.
A traditional roast comes with meat, potatoes, gravy, and vegetables and should be so large you find it difficult to walk afterward!
Our Recommendation: We think the best traditional Sunday roasts are found in local pubs and our favourites are:
On a Budget?: Sunday roast at The Windsor Castle starts at £12.00 for a MASSIVE portion so dog in!
3. Full English Breakfast
The full English breakfast is a mighty meal!
Traditionally, you need to find a dish that incorporates: sausages, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, mushrooms, blood pudding, potatoes, and toast.
Perfect for a hangover (not that we’d know!), a full English is a great traditional British dish – easy, tasty, and usually inexpensive!
Our Recommendations: Breakfast Club, various
On a Budget?: The Breakfast Club has got you covered with a massive FULL English Breakfast at £10.00!
4. Pie and Mash
Pie and Mash have come a long way from simple steak and kidney or pork pies. Today there are a whole plethora of pie types to try!
A classic comfort food, pie served with a pile of creamy mashed potatoes and lashings of gravy is a real British treat!
Our Recommendation: The Windmill Mayfair. Delicious food in a classic London-style pub! They describe their pies the best:
5. Bangers and Mash
Another classic with mashed potatoes as a side is Bangers and Mash.
Essentially sausage and potatoes, this is a hearty British staple that is guaranteed to keep you full, happy, and warm on a cold London day!
Our Recommendation: Mother Mash, Leadenhall, and Soho
On a Budget?: Mother Mash will give you a bangers and mash meal fit for a king and all for under £10.00!
Oftentimes reserved for the more adventurous eaters, cockles are a small type of clam, and are traditionally associated with London’s East End where they were a cheap, staple food for decades.
Today cockles can be found in grocery stores, but also in some of London’s tastiest markets!
Our Recommendation: Borough Market
On a Budget?: Cockles are one of the cheapest, and most authentic, foods going at Borough Market - so load up!
7. Eton Mess
A simple and delicious dessert, Eton Mess is named after the prestigious boys' school of the same name.
A fabulous mix of crushed merengue, cream, and strawberries, Eton mess is a classic British treat.
Keep an eye out for variants made with different kinds of fruit or with ice cream instead of cream – although we believe that the best experience is with the classic strawberry ingredient.
Our Recommendation: The National Café, The National Gallery
On a Budget?: Desserts at the National Gallery Cafe hover around £5.00 so are easily affordable.
8. Sticky Toffee Pudding
Originating in Scotland, sticky toffee pudding consists of moist sponge cake stuffed with raisins or dates drenched in a toffee sauce and served with custard or ice cream.
What else is there to say? Delicious!
On a Budget?: Both these pubs are run by the same - affordable - company so get your dessert fix for around £6.00.
The ultimate British tradition, afternoon tea is a fabulous way to while away the time and enjoy true British delicacies.
Traditionally comprised of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream as well as pastries, and your choice of tea, afternoon tea is meant to be an experience so make sure you reserve a couple of hours to enjoy yourself!
Oh, and if you’re having afternoon tea, you may as well add a glass of champagne as well!
We have a whole post on afternoon tea in London.
Our Recommendation: Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Piccadilly
On a Budget?:
If Fortnum & Mason is a bit out of your price range, get a classic tea, cake (and a cheeky glass of bubbles), and Bea's of Bloomsbury where you can order as much - or as little - as you like, all with prices anybody can afford.
10. Beef Wellington
Perhaps the item with the most British name on the list, beef wellington is made up of filet steak, oftentimes covered with pate, which is then wrapped in puff pastry and cooked.
Moorish, flaky, and filling, beef wellington is a standard British classic, despite the fact it is now believed that the dish was NOT named after the Duke of Wellington, but instead after the town of Wellington, New Zealand.
But we won’t say anything if you don’t!
Our Recommendation: Simpsons on the Strand [www.simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk]
On a Budget?: Beef Wellington is notoriously expensive but Simpson's can serve you up a classic dish - split between two - for just over £15.00 each.
- Check out our main food tours page for our other self-guided London food tours and posts.
- Consider one of our London walking tours.
- Save money on tickets to popular London attractions.