There’s nothing quite like a food tour to provide a crash course in a new destination’s cuisine. I have happily chowed down in Cambodian markets, Thai open-air kitchens and Italian cucinas. But when it comes to exploring the food culture of a massive metropolis like London, the options can be daunting. Are you in the mood for a certain neighborhood? Sweets? Beer? Markets? Traditional fare?
The options for popular food tours in London are nearly as diverse as London itself. Here are my top picks to help you eat your way blissfully through London, no matter your taste.
East End Food Tour
The East End of London is one of the most diverse areas of the city and the food showcases this splendidly. This tour features Indian curries, salt beef bagels, fish & chips, bread & butter pudding (yes, as good as it sounds), cheese, beer and more. As you walk, the tour guide shares the complex history of the area and showcases some of the best-known street art, also a well-known feature of the neighborhood.
SoHo is where many visitors spend time, thanks to the densely packed theaters, and the proximity of many great museums. But behind the glittery curtain of the neighborhood is also some of London’s best food, from Chinatown to Spanish tapas to the best hidden bars in the city. The history of the neighborhood is also fascinating and is explored in depth by knowledgeable tour guides.
London guidebooks love to showcase Borough Market, the city’s best known covered market, home to tons of good eats and also plenty of crowds. The pubs and restaurants of the London Bridge neighborhood, which surrounds the market, is where many of the market goods eventually end up. This popular food tour focuses on quintessential British favorites, including cheese (yay Cheddar!), fish & chips, local ales, tea, and several decadent desserts. If you don’t know what a treacle sponge is now, no worries. You’ll see soon enough!
Brixton Market is one of our favorite markets in London, and one that isn’t as frequently visited by tourists, thanks to it being (literally) at the end of the tube line. Trust me when I say that a visit is well worth it, and this tour highlights all of the best parts of the covered year-round market, from Caribbean curries to pizza, to chocolate.
London Eco-Eats Food Tour
Highlighting another side of London’s vast food culture is this tour, which specifically focuses on fair trade, locally sourced and otherwise sustainable foodie treats. In addition to all of the eating, this tour also features community gardens, an urban forest and an ancient burial ground.
Vegetarians, stay at home for this exciting tour which focuses on some of the best meat products in the city. Also highlighting London’s East End (see, I told you it’s bustling over there!), this tour includes all of my favorite meats: chicken wings, sausage rolls (a UK staple), burgers, slow roast pork and more. Plus, the tour ends right near a ton of fantastic pubs if you need a beer or three to wash it all down.
London is a fantastic place to explore and there is literally something for everyone when it comes to eating. Arrive for Big Ben, stay for the curries, and the bagels, and the chocolate, and the beer, and the tea, and the treats…
For a unique place to rest your head, venture to the Belgravia neighborhood in Central London and book a room at Belgraves. Nearby Sloane Square offers your pick of shops and restaurants, but the on property restaurant, Pont St., is the real star. From a comforting brunch featuring peanut butter and jelly french toast to seasonally themed champagne afternoon teas, Pont St. is an unforgettable experience. Book your stay including a Sunday for the chef’s signature, Sunday Roast, an English tradition.
About the Author
Julie Smith is half of the team behind Drive on the Left. As American expats in London, she and her husband spend their time exploring the city, the UK, and Europe. When they’re not on the road, you can find them at their local pub, The Crown. Cheers!