One thing that likely springs to mind when visiting London is to try some of the local British food and drink on offer. But other than fish and chips and a pint of beer, you might be wondering what else you should be trying, and where you should go to get the best of what’s on offer.

Well, one of the options that we recommend is to take a food tour in London.

Laurence actually lived in London for a couple of years, and ate a whole variety of foods at different locations across the city. But even he enjoys taking food tours in England’s capital as there’s always something new to discover.

Food tours vary greatly in length, the amount of food included, and price. We’ve done a number of food tours in London, and wanted to share what we think are the best options available for your visit. Before we do though, let’s answer a couple of questions about food tours in London.

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Why Take a Food Tour in London?

A food tour is an excellent way to try a curated range of delicious dishes. Tours will let you try the best of what’s on offer, covering many of the highlights of British cuisine, at some of the best spots in the city for each dish.

Food tour companies often have a special arrangement with the food vendor, chef, or restaurant that they visit on the tour.

As part of an organized tour, you will often have the advantage of visiting places outside of normal hours (or at least during quieter hours). You’ll avoid waiting in lines to order, and be given smaller portions than you’d be able to order on your own. This allows for a more effective tour where you can try more things than you’d be able to do on your own.

You’ll also normally get an expert guide to help you along the way, so you can understand some of the history of the food you are trying. A good tour guide will help give you some background about the foods you are tasting, the area of London you are visiting, and also be an excellent resource for answering questions and providing recommendations.

If you are visiting London for a few days, then a food tour can also be a good way to learn what’s good to eat and where. Ask your guide about what other places that are good for X, Y, or Z, their favorite pub, or their favorite takeout spot.

Depending on what you like, they should be able to point you to some good spots for both traditional dishes and historical venues as well as contemporary dishes and trendy new hotspots.

Now most food tours will focus on more traditional British foods which is probably what most visitors are going to enjoy most.

If you are looking for a tour that focuses on traditional British classics then we’d recommend a walking tour such as this one or this one.

Or if you prefer one more focused on pub food and drink then we’d recommend a tour like this one.

But if you have already tried a lot of the British classics, you might want a food tour that focuses more on something like Indian curries, beer, cocktails, afternoon tea, Caribbean foods, or local cheeses.

Or maybe you want to learn how to cook a British dish or bake something like scones. We’ll be providing recommendations for all kinds of options later in this post.

Despite Laurence having grown up in the UK and Jess living there for 7 years, we have really enjoyed the various food tours, afternoon teas, and food workshops we’ve done in London.  We’re always discovering new variations of classic British foods (and new places to try them) and learning more about the history of British cuisine.

Taking a food tour is one of our recommended ways to start your food journey in London, but we definitely encourage you to use it as a starting place and a springboard to continue exploring the food scene in the city on your own.

Types of Food to try in London?

Before you choose a food tour of London, you should probably have an idea of what types of food the capital is known for and what kinds of foods you wish to try.

London is a cultural hub, which means there’s a huge range of flavors to try, from traditional pub food through to international cuisines such as curries. You can find traditional British foods everywhere from street market stalls to fine dining restaurants.

Most foods are not unique to London but are eaten throughout the UK with lots of regional variations. Many traditional British dishes can be hard to find outside the British Isles.

As a general idea though, we think most people would enjoy trying at least some of the following popular British foods and drinks (all of which we’ve tried):

The above is just a short list of typical foods eaten in the UK and focuses more on traditional British foods. It would of course be impossible to try all these things in one trip but it should give you a good idea of what most people think of as British foods (and probably some you’ve never heard of).

If the above is more overwhelming than helpful, then here is a shortlist of some of the most popular foods that travelers tell us they want to have in London:

Popular drinks visitors want to try include real ale, English cider, and a cream tea.

The Best Food Tours in London

There are actually a number of different types of food tours and experiences in London, so we have divided this guide into some of the main options we think you should consider.

These vary from more traditional food walking tours through to tours that focus more on beer, tours and experiences that cover afternoon tea, tours that take place on a vehicle of some kind, and cooking classes that have you learning how to make iconic dishes.

We think that between all the various options you are sure to find something you’ll enjoy!

London food and pub toursLondon food and pub tours

Food Walking Tours

A food walking tour is definitely one of the most popular types of food tour you can do in London. This type of tour normally has you exploring a part of the city and trying a number of different foods at various locations.

The tour should also include a knowledgeable guide who can tell you about both the food you are trying and something about the history of the area you are visiting.

There are a few different food walking tours in London. One of our favourites is this Borough Market and Southwark Tour with Take Walks / Devour Tours.

As a quick note, we’ve taken many walking tours with Take Walks and their sister food walking tour Devour Tours. They run tours all over the world, with a focus on small groups and great guides. We’ve always had an excellent time and are happy to recommend their tours.

The Borough Market and Southwark tour they offer focuses on the Southwark area of London, which is the part of the city to the south of London Bridge where you will find sights such as The Shard and Southwark Cathedral.

Southwark is also home to the world-famous Borough Market, where you will find a huge range of eateries and food stalls. So, it makes sense for a food tour to focus on this area!

When we took this tour it included seven food tastings and a drink stop, including popular classics such as fish and chips from arguably the best fish and chip shop in London, as well as oysters, a bacon and egg sandwich, sausage rolls, and sticky toffee pudding. And those are just a few of the dishes we tried.

All the food was delicious, and as this tour largely revolved around Borough Market there wasn’t a huge amount of walking involved. There were also some stops that included sitting.

Overall, we really enjoyed this tour and can recommend it if you want to try a lot of different foods in a small group setting. If you like the sound of this tour, you can book it here.

Of course, there are a number of other tours that included Borough Market and this area, including this popular option which can be booked on GetYourGuide here, and as a private tour on Viator here. There’s also this tour which focuses on the foods of Borough Market.

There are also a number of other walking food tours in London you might consider. Below we list all the ones we recommend you consider, which we’ve divided into more traditional food tours and those which focus on other popular types of food.

Traditional English Food Walking Tours

Specific Food Walking Tours

As you can see, there are plenty of options to choose from!

Fish and Chips Borough Market by Laurence NorahFish and Chips Borough Market by Laurence Norah
Borough Market Food Cart by Laurence NorahBorough Market Food Cart by Laurence Norah
Cheese Shop London by Laurence NorahCheese Shop London by Laurence Norah
Cheese and biscuits London by Laurence NorahCheese and biscuits London by Laurence Norah
Curry LondonCurry London

Pub and Drink Tours

One thing we really love about London are the remarkable historic pubs, many of which have been serving traditional drinks and food for literally hundreds of years. You too can eat and drink in places where London’s historic figures partook of their victuals, sometimes by a cosy real fire to boot.

As there are so many good pubs to experience, we wanted to share a selection of tours where pubs and drinks are as much of a focus as the food. So, whilst these tours usually include food, they also include a good selection of drinks as well.

One of our favorite tours of this type that we have taken in London is the Tastes, Tales & Traditional Ales: Food Tour of London’s Historic Pubs with Devour Tours.

This tour had us visiting four of London’s oldest and most traditional pubs, found around the Fleet Street area which was famous for being the home of journalism in London. At each stop we tried a delicious traditional drink (primarily beers).

We also tried a range of traditional pub foods including fish & chips, a homemade Scotch egg, whitebait, and more. Jess doesn’t normally like Scotch eggs, but she actually really enjoyed the freshly made version on this tour.

One of the most fun parts of the tour was at the end when we played a traditional and historic pub game, made popular by Henry VIII!

Overall, we really enjoyed this pub tour, which is a good option if you want to visit some truly iconic London pubs and enjoy a good mixture of traditional foods and drinks. You can check availability and pricing and book this tour here.

There are also some other food tours in London which combine food and drink which you might want to consider. We’ve included all our recommended tours below:

Laurence in pubLaurence in pub
London food and pub toursLondon food and pub tours
Pint in London pub by_Pint in London pub by_

Afternoon Tea in London

Popularized in the UK in the mid-19th century, afternoon tea is a delicious tradition that is well worth experiencing in the city it became popular in.

An afternoon tea is traditionally served in the afternoon (although you can often book one for a late morning). Normally, it includes a course of savory items including sandwiches, followed by scones and then sweet treats.

Of course, this is all accompanied by hot tea, although some establishments will give you the option to have coffee or another drink.

We have had afternoon all over London, including at the Berkley and the Ritz. It’s always been an enjoyable experience. Our one tip would be to come hungry, because an afternoon tea involves a lot of food!

There are a number of options for having an afternoon tea in London, including walking tours that have an afternoon tea component.

You can also of course book an afternoon tea directly with your preferred location if you’d rather just focus on the afternoon tea and skip the walk part.

Below, we’ll share some options to consider that include afternoon tea.

London afternoon teaLondon afternoon tea
Afternoon tea by Laurence NorahAfternoon tea by Laurence Norah

Boat & Bus Food Tours

If you like the idea of sightseeing around London, eating, and doing those things whilst sitting down, then you should consider taking a boat or bus food tour.

There are a number of options to choose from. For the boat tours, these obviously are limited to the River Thames. However, as this goes right through the heart of London and passes by a number of major landmarks like Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, London Eye and Houses of Parliament, you will still get spectacular views.

For the bus tours, the routes vary depending on the tour you choose, but will normally cover London’s major landmarks such as the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament and so on.

If there are specific landmarks you want to see it’s a good idea to check with the operator before booking to see what is covered, although be aware that routes can of course change depending on things like road works.

In terms of options, there are a number to choose from. These offer different menus and routes. Some suggestions to consider are as follows.

London Eye at night by_London Eye at night by_
Afternoon tea bus tour by Laurence Norah-2Afternoon tea bus tour by Laurence Norah-2
Afternoon tea bus tour by Laurence Norah-2Afternoon tea bus tour by Laurence Norah-2

Food Workshops in London

If you’d love to learn how to actually make a classic London dish, then you we’d suggest you look into taking a food workshop or class during your visit to London.

Now, unlike somewhere like Rome for example, London doesn’t have a great many food classes to choose from. However, there are definitely some options out there. We’ve chosen some options which highlight the more traditional foods and drinks you might want to learn how to make in London.

Laurence cookingLaurence cooking

Pie in LondonPie in London

Tips for Choosing a Food Tour in London

Before you book your food experience in London, we wanted to share some tips to help ensure you have a great experience, and book the right tour for you.

Check What is Included / Excluded

When you are comparing different tours, you should check to see what is included and excluded. Tours should list in detail what you actually get for your money.

Normally, you should be told if food or drink is included, and if so, how much. Most food and drink walking tours do include food and drink, but not all of them, so it’s always good to check!

Tours will also list any other inclusions or exclusions. For example, some tours might visit attractions and have the attraction fee included. Others may include soft drinks.

Tips are generally not included on most tours, although they are of course always appreciated.

When comparing tours by price, you will always want to compare what is included. A tour may cost less, but if you have to pay for a lot of food and drink, then the final cost might end up quite different.

Traditional pub LondonTraditional pub London

Confirm Dietary Requirements and Food Allergen Information in Advance

This one may seem obvious, especially if you have dietary requirements, but it is important to note.

If you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, you definitely want to communicate these with the tour organizer in advance to ensure your needs can be met on the tour you want to do.

Fresh Oysters by Laurence NorahFresh Oysters by Laurence Norah

Check Restroom Availability

The majority of walking tours take place over a few hours, and there’s always a chance that you might need a restroom break as part of your tour.

Pretty much all the food tours we’ve ever taken have had ample restroom stops. However, some of the tours we’ve listed take place on vintage buses for example, where a restroom is not available for the duration of the tour.

This is definitely something to keep in mind should you feel it might be an issue for you.

Confirm Walking Distance

In our experience, the majority of food walking tours take place in a fairly small area, and don’t require a great deal of walking. However, this isn’t always the case.

Depending on your mobility and how comfortable you are walking, you might want to check with the tour organiser before you book to see how far you will actually be required to walk as part of your tour, to ensure it will be a comfortable experience for you. Reading recent tour reviews can also help with understanding if there’s a lot of walking involved.

Confirm Any Accessibility Requirements

If you have any accessibility needs, you will want to communicate with your tour organizer in advance of booking your tour to ensure they are able to meet these requirements.

Some tours will list as to whether or not they are accessible for wheelchair users for example, but the listings don’t generally cover every accessible need.

As such, we highly recommend reaching out to ensure you are going to have a good experience prior to booking and avoid any challenging situations on the tour itself.

Bring Appropriate Attire

It’s important to bring and wear attire that is appropriate to the experience you book. For London, the weather is never guaranteed, and rain or sun are possible year round.

As such, we always recommend packing something like an umbrella or rain coat just in case. You can get more packing tips in our guide to what to pack for London here.

In terms of a dress code, whilst most food tours won’t have a dress code, if you are visiting a high-end hotel for afternoon tea then you should definitely check to see if they have any dress code requirements. You can see an example dress code for the Ritz Hotel’s afternoon tea here.

London packing list – Laurence and Jessica in front of tower bridge london

Further Reading for your Visit to London

That’s it for our guide to food walking tours and experiences in London. Before you head off, we wanted to share some more content and resources we’ve put together to help you plan your time in London. We hope you find it useful!

And that’s it! We hope you found our guide to food tours in London useful, and as always, if you have any questions, just pop them in the comments and we’ll answer them as soon as we can!

A detailed guide to food tours in London. Suggested food and drink to try, the best tours to take, advice on choosing a tour and more!A detailed guide to food tours in London. Suggested food and drink to try, the best tours to take, advice on choosing a tour and more!