It is now hard to believe that English food used to be mocked. London is now one of the most foodie cities in the world.
However, it is a big sprawling city and can be intimidating for visitors and new residents. So if you’re a food lover visiting town, taking one of the London food tours is a great idea.
Also, some of the best bits of Foodie London are not in the guidebooks. It takes a local – like me – and your tour guide – to bring them to life.
From street food tours in London to Indian food tours in London options to a traditional English food tasting walking tour in London there is every type of tour you could imagine available.
Book these popular London Food tours before you leave home to avoid disappointment.
1. Afternoon Tea on a London Bus
2. Historical Pub Walking Tour
3. 3 Hour Secret British Food Tour
4. London East End Food Tour
London Food Tours – What are the Options?
Table of Contents
- London Food Tours – What are the Options?
- 1. Best London Food Tours – Borough Market & Around
- 2. East End Food Tour
- 3. English food traditional and new London Tours
- 4. Afternoon Tea Based Food Tours
- 5. Interesting and Different London Food Tours
- 3 More Foodie Things to Do in London
- 1. Bustronome London
- 2. Maltby Street
- 3. London Restaurant Festival
- Boutique Hotels in Londons
- Getting to London and Getting Around:
- Best Ways to get from the airport into London
- Who Paid for What in this Post
I have been on quite a few London Food Tours. There are several key types/areas for tours.
The first is the Borough Market and the area around it – London Bridge. Second, is a London East End Food tour or around Brick Lane – the traditional home of Indian food in London.
Third are tours around traditional and modern British food where you can try England‘s favorite foods for yourself. Fourth is touring around the English tradition of afternoon tea . And the fifth is quirky/slightly different types of London Food Tours.
Included within all of these are London food walking tour options, London bus tour options and every type of eatings tours London you can imagine.
I have gone through and reviewed the best options within each – as well as some other different foodie things to do in London.
I live in London and love to write about it. You might enjoy reading my articles on London’s Bridges, Unusual Experiences in London, Where to watch the Sunset in London, Where to watch the Sunrise in London, Famous Landmarks in London, Things to do in Notting Hill, Cotswolds Tours from London, Facts about London, Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea in London, Restaurants near Clapham Junction and Earlsfield Restaurants.
Wondering what else to do whilst in London? Check out this useful post on a 4 Day London Itinerary.
1. Best London Food Tours – Borough Market & Around
Borough Market is one of my favorite places in London. I first started going there when I moved to London 16 years ago. This is not very long ago considering this market has been operating for 1003 years.
It is the oldest fruit and vegetable market in London. There is so much on offer that sometimes it can be challenging when it comes to Borough Market what to eat, which makes it a perfect place for a food tour of London.
It is one of my most regular haunts – Monmouth coffee, burrata cheese flown in from Italy that morning, the amazing smell and colors of the vegetables – it is a bit of a happy place for me and no terrorist activity will ever change that.
It has become far more popular in recent years and quite a few London food walks now cover the area – a great solution to the Borough Market what to eat there is a million options problem.
One of the best tours I have done of Borough Market was with London Tailored Tours. London Tailored Tours are led by the lovely Charley who is filled with enthusiasm and passion for Borough Market and the Borough area in general.
She is also a passionate foodie, which shines through – it is a pleasure going for a stroll with someone who is talking about their favorite thing.
If you’re visiting London – or live here – check out this great post on the Best London Weekend Breaks
So our London food tours kicked off with the Borough Market what to eat classic – a Bacon Butty. For my non-UK readers, a bacon butty is a British institution and consists of bacon in fluffy white bread and butter or a fluffy white roll.
Tradition would then dictate you add your sauce of choice – red for me – before enjoying the perfect breakfast. Once you taste one, you will realise why this is where all the market traders come for their breakfast at 5 am.
This is one of the England food traditions. After the bacon butty, Charley took us to meet several different types of market traders where we had private tastings.
We kicked off with the rather different British cured meats stall. From seaweed and cider salami from Cornwall to pork, garlic and peppercorn and finishing with the unique blood, wine and chocolate this was a taste sensation.
Next up was cheese. We headed to a Swiss cheese stall – not as in the type with lots of holes in it but other types of Swiss cheese.
Most intriguing was the blue brain cheese and I took a few home with me including the amazing truffle cheese. There is an opportunity to purchase at every stall so make sure you bring a backpack or carry bag as it is very hard not to shop.
Charley is also a fantastic source of information on all types of tales of Borough Market – including showing you the door that was used as Bridget Jone’s home in all of the movies.
Then it was time to sample another British classic – a scotch egg. This was from a stall that only does scotch eggs – yes it has fryers sitting right there and you can have your scotch egg gooey and warm.
The Scotch Egg is a British tradition – egg and sausage meat done in breadcrumbs – the perfect breakfast before you start a big day.
Then on to oysters and a stall that has been in the one family for seven generations. Again they just do oysters, and there is quite the queue. Luckily when you are on the tour lines don’t exist as all had been pre-organized by Charley.
Next up on our Food Tours London was chocolate. The market’s best hot chocolate as well as amazing brownies. This is one I will be returning to as it serves a chocolate afternoon tea and has a lovely terrace.
Charley then takes her tours through the local area with some amazing finds like Crossbones and a secret view of the Shard. Next up was a local wine shop that used to be an old cork factory for a tasting.
We then finished this London food walking tour at a fantastic local pop up/street food venue near elephant and castle tube where we enjoyed some delicious Sicilian sweet puffs with chocolate sauce and pistachio.
The 3-hour food-tasting tour in London flies by and it is fantastic value. All the food is, of course, wonderful but it is all the great stories behind it and behind the Borough area that makes this such a memorable tour – no wonder it is one of the most popular London food tours Trip Advisor has listed.
This is a great tour to do if you’re a Londoner or a first-time visitor to the capital:
⇒ The Borough Market Food Tour runs every Monday and Friday at 230pm and Saturdays at 930am.
If you are looking for some other great places to eat in London why not take the view of a European? Here is a great post on Where to Eat in London from the great blog Travel Eat Enjoy Repeat.
2. East End Food Tour
If you’re looking for an alternative London Food Tour then the East End is the place.
We met our lovely tour guide Amicie not far from Liverpool Street station on a luckily bright and sunny Saturday morning. Appropriately we met under the Goat sculpture.
Our first stop was coffee! We visited Nude who roast their own coffee and I had a fantastic flat white.
We were then on the edge of Spitalfields market. The tour wasn’t about Spitalfields (which is great if you haven’t been) but we did have a quick wander through.
Amicie then pointed out the classic Ten Bells pub. It was a little early for a pint but again this is a great place to go for a drink when in London.
The focus of this London walking tours foodie extravaganza was the back streets around Brick Lane. Brick Lane is traditionally known as being the centre of Indian food in London.
The famous Indian restaurants still dominate the street but now cool cafes and stores have been added as well as stunning London graffiti.
Amicie is a qualified art historian and her knowledge and understanding of art really helped us to gain an appreciation of the London graffiti that we saw.
We were fascinated to discover that one of the major trends in London graffiti is using smaller areas of the walls. Artists are essentially producing stickers and then applying them to the walls. This creates amazing collages with the works of multiple artists.
We also explored some of the lovely old architecture of the backstreets. Amicie shared with us background stories on the classic brick buildings.
I particularly loved the wooden shutters – it was almost like a touch of Amsterdam in London.
Our next stop was the Nomadic Community Gardens. I would never have known this place existed. It is a bit of a wander off Brick Lane so not so easy to find.
Essentially it is like an allotment on steroids. Apparently, the council will be developing this rather large plot in the future. As that is the case they have basically offered the space up free to residents to do with it what they will.
Importantly there is a little cafe – the Roving Cafe – on offer for coffee and cake.
We were able to stop for London street foods snacks along the way – all at spots of course recommended by Amicie. A highlight was the amazing bubble waffles.
These are waffles that basically act as a wrap for different fruit and sweet combinations. Our first stop, however, was at the Tibetan dumpling stand for some chicken momos. They were much better than most of the momos I tasted in nepal.
We then headed to the Old Truman Brewery. This gorgeous building is now filled with street food vendors. Every cuisine that you can imagine represented.
There is also a decent-sized seating area so that you can enjoy your food. Perfect for an eating London tours option.
Korean fried chicken with every variety of sauce you could imagine was on offer. However, the vendor that stood out to me was the one from Peru.
He was selling La Causa which is basically ceviche in a kind of milky mayonnaise-type sauce. He differentiated his offer by providing La Causa in mini sandwiches on purple bread – very Instagram-ready.
We then went past the Cereal Killer Cafe. Yes, what a brilliant name. This cafe actually does sell cereal – every kind you can imagine. It is quite small so we weren’t able to go in and try it but it was filled with quirky retro packaging and super cute.
Our last stop was appropriately chocolate based. Amicie introduced us to an amazing chocolate shop called Dark Sugars. There are two of them along Brick Lane.
They have a mix of chocolate truffles and slabs. And the most interesting were pearls. These looked like bath drops but tasted incredible.
This was a fantastic London eating tours option to really discover hidden London Graffiti and street food. Even as a Londoner I saw and learned many new things.
As you can also hopefully tell it was a very photogenic tour so make sure you take your camera.
3. English food traditional and new London Tours
As I mentioned earlier, English food now receives far more respect than it did, for good reason. London is full of fantastic versions of all food things in English – from the classic pub experience to Modern British Dining.
-You can’t head to London and not visit a pub. Check out this Historical Pub Walking Tour
-Enjoy a Gin Tour and Tasting in London’s East End
4. Afternoon Tea Based Food Tours
I believe it is illegal to come to England and not enjoy a classic afternoon tea at least once. But why not make that afternoon tea experience as fun as possible? Check out these interesting tours:
5. Interesting and Different London Food Tours
Did you know that London now has an exciting donut scene? I appreciate that donuts aren’t what first comes to mind when you think about London and food but these days you’ll find some interesting and delicious donut makers all over London.
The best way to discover London’s donuts is with the fab Underground Donut Tour. The Underground Donut Tour started in Chicago in 2015 and now runs in 17 cities across the world. These people know their donuts!
The London Underground Donut Tour includes four delicious donut stops including a Michelin star donut stop. In addition to donuts, you’ll visit Borough Market, see where Shakespeare used to drink and learn loads of quirky and interesting facts about London.
Camden is one of London’s most vibrant neighborhoods and home to the famous Camden Market. Check out this Camden Town Brewery Tour with a Beer Tasting.
3 More Foodie Things to Do in London
1. Bustronome London
Buses and great food are not normally associated with each other. Bustronome is looking to change this perception with gourmet high-quality food experiences. Where better than London to do this – home to one of the world’s most famous buses.
Bustronome offers lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. I went along to the dinner experience. The pick-up point is on Embankment near the embankment tube and is very easy to find.
I was very impressed when a sleek, black double-decker bus pulled up – and brought out black velvet ropes.
All seating is on the top floor for maximum views. The ceiling and the sides are all glass – and were immaculately cleaned. Essentially the idea is to drive around the key sites of London whilst having a fantastic dinner and wine.
The upstairs deck feels like a high-end restaurant with its wooden floors and design aesthetic.
Bustronome employs lots of clever items to support the experience. The middle of each table features a rather ingenious clear plastic little table that allows glasses to be slotted in to prevent spillage.
And every guest is given a map of the route with key tourism points. This is accompanied by a digital ‘pen’ which means guests can choose which famous London attractions they would like to learn more about.
This means guests can choose to chat or learn more rather than being stuck with a voice-over or loud guide.
Onto the food. Dinner is a 6-course tasting menu (lunch 4 courses) Our first course was a delicious crab & artichoke “gateau” which featured a generous amount of crab. This was followed by a crispy roll with goat cheese and beetroot prepared in 3 ways.
The seared tuna was my favourite course. It was served seared with carrot puree, girolle mushrooms in a tarragon sauce. Roasted guinea fowl followed the tuna.
Then we had both cheese and traditional dessert courses. The strawberries and ginger pavlova served with ginger sorbet were another highlight for me.
A generous amount of beverages accompanied dinner. Dinner brings a glass of champagne on arrival and then white wine for the first 2 courses and red wine for the balance.
The staff were generous with their pouring, which is always appreciated. Mineral water was also available as well as coffee or tea.
Overall this was a wonderful and unique way to experience London and one that I highly recommend.
2. Maltby Street
Not far from Borough Market are four smaller London food markets that not many people know about.
A key thing to know before you head to these markets is that most of the stalls are only open on Saturdays and Sundays – check their websites before you leave – I have put links below.
The two best are Maltby St Market and Druid Street Market. Catch the tube to Bermondsey station and turn left onto Jamaica Road when you exit. Take a right up St James Road and then another right onto Dockley Road.
Follow Dockley Road and you’ll hit the old railway arches. All of these markets are in and around the old arches. These arches are now rented out by London Transport.
There is an interesting mix of tenants – Vespa repair shops and craft breweries. These areas feature in all the best London foodie guide publications.
If you’re visiting London check out this fantastic London City Guide
The first food market that you will hit is the fabulous Spa Terminus. I must say I do think this is my favourite of the lot. The meat and cheese shops here are extraordinary.
All of these markets are extremely generous with their samples and don’t hesitate to ask if you can try something. I do warn you though that it is highly likely anything you try you will end up purchasing as the quality of the produce is so excellent.
There are nine different stalls. Little Bread Pedler seems always to have a long queue and for good reason. Their pastries are pretty extraordinary, and the queue is worth it.
There is a Honey stall and, of course a coffee roaster. But Spa Terminus is mostly about amazing meat and cheese, which are the items to focus on.
The second is a tiny food market on the corner of Marine Street and Enid Street. This is literally the next thing in the arches after Spa Terminus. The fruit and vegetable stalls here are EXTRAORDINARY!
It is serious fruit and veg porn. They do samples and again you will not be able to leave without purchasing. I bought the most amazing melon I have ever eaten here on my last visit.
The next block or so along Enid Street are mostly repair shops. Keep heading towards London Bridge station and take a right under the arches at Abbey Street.
Walk down Druid Street, go under the arches and you will hit the final secret London food market – Maltby St market.
This London food market is what started the whole area. A few stallholders at the Borough market wanted to try something different and the Maltby Street market was born.
There are permanent little bars and restaurants here – the pops ups only appear on Saturdays and Sundays (same for Druid Street). Again the stallholders will vary, but there are a few classics.
Depending on which end you start with, you will hit the most amazing giant bowl of tartiflette you have ever seen. I went quite early last time and saw the raw ingredients going in – wow.
The stalls are mostly food or drink-based (coffee roasters and craft brews of course!) but there are a couple of lovely toiletries stalls as well.
Try to pass the Cheese Truck without buying a toasted cheese sandwich – it is hard work. Then there are Dhans. These are sort of flat egg-shaped crosses between a waffle and a doughnut.
They are served in egg cartons and then you choose the sauce to be drizzled on the top – I went with salted caramel and custard, which was fantastic.
There is a serious gyoza stall that adds delicious sauces to the top of the gyozas and they aren’t all soy.
Unlike the other secret London food market options in this post, there are a few permanent residents on Maltby St. The St Johns Wine bar is one popular option as well as some very cute little restaurants.
You can visit these during the week – and on the weekends. It is just the stalls that appear on Saturday and Sunday.
At the other end of Maltby st is the super cute Lassco. Lassco is everything. It is a vintage antiquey kind of store but also with some newer stuff. And it is a bar. And it is a restaurant. It is a great spot for breakfast and a coffee before exploring.
Allow about 2 hours to walk and wander the arches and the 4 markets – assuming you stop somewhere for a meal along the way.
3. London Restaurant Festival
If you’re a foodie try to time your visit to London for October so that you can visit the fantastic London Food Festival. Every year this fantastic festival offers great deals at some of the top restaurants in London – at every price point and cuisine type.
This year I had a fantastic meal at one of London’s top Asian Restaurants, Hakkasan. Hakkasan has a couple of branches in the capital and I visited the one on Hanway Lane which is very near Tottenham Court Road Tube station.
This is one restaurant where you will need to book to get in – and they usually do a couple of turns, so most likely, you will need to take a 630, 830 or 10 pm slot.
For the London Restaurant Festival, Hakkasan allow access to their Taste of Hakkasan menu outside of the standard early and late options.
For just 38 pounds, there are 5 courses on offer plus one of Hakkasan’s delectable cocktails. I enjoyed the Hakka – vodka, sake, lychee, lime, coconut and passionfruit – fantastic.
If you can try to arrive a little early and have a seat at the stunning bar. Hakkasan is drop-dead stunning in terms of design. The bar has a terrific atmosphere.
The first course is Dim Sum – your choice if standard or vegetarian. The dim sum at Hakkasan is rather beautiful – dollops of scallops and pork in colourful wrappers – so so good.
Next up we shared the Stir-fry black pepper rib-eye beef with Merlot and the Three style mushroom stir fry. The ribeye was oh so tender and with a hint of greens.
Exotic mushrooms created a delicious stir fry as well as some fun ingredients like gai-lan, lily bulb and macadamia nut. Chinese vegetables and Vegetable fried rice complemented this.
And finally, dessert. This and the start dim sum were my personal favourites. The Chocolate Bomb is a sensation. It is made up of a hazelnut praline-style ice cream covered in rice crispies and milk chocolate sauce.
So many fantastic textures and tastes going on together. An outstanding multi-course meal.
Boutique Hotels in Londons
Artist Residence is located in Pimlico which is fabulously central. It is in a gorgeous 5 store regency building and has a cute bar.
The Portobello Hotel is located in one of London’s best known and cutest neighbourhoods Notting Hill. This is also the hotel where Kate Moss and Johnny Depp filled up the bath with champagne. The hotel is located on a quiet street but is a great location.
The Great Northern Hotel is ridiculously close to Kings Cross and St Pancras stations which is incredibly convenient. The hotel dates back to 1854 but has had a major refurb so it feels fresh and modern.
The Hoxton hotel is in the heart of East London in Shoreditch and a perfect base for exploration. The rooms aren’t huge but the location makes up for it – as does the great value for London with rooms starting at £99 a night.
Getting to London and Getting Around:
Best Ways to get from the airport into London
London has several airports. It can be confusing and expensive to get from each of the airports into central London. And the last thing you need after a flight. It is much easier to organize tickets before you fly.
Heathrow is the most common airport for international flights. The fastest way to get from Heathrow into Central London is the Heathrow Express.
This train only takes 15 minutes to get from Heathrow to Paddington Station and runs 4 times an hour. The Heathrow Express is much faster than a cab or any other option.
The lowest cost way to get from Heathrow to central London is the tube. The tube is actually one of the fastest options as well – and will get you the closest to your final destination.
There is also a bus or coach option which drops passengers at Victoria Station. This is a cheap option but you will have to deal with London traffic. If you are taking this option during peak hour it could take up to 2 hours each way.
Who Paid for What in this Post
Thanks to London Tailored Tours, Bustronome, London Restaurant Week and London Guddy for inviting me on their tours and to their restaurants. I live in London so there weren’t really any costs involved for me but as always my opinions are my own.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click through on them and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of this.
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