The most traditional British foods in London


There are many things that make people different from each other, but one thing that everyone should be able to agree on is that food is an important part of life. However, for many of us, food is more than that, it’s something to be enjoyed, ravished over and it can play a very big part of our everyday routine.

Some people just love eating and others love cooking and exploring food, as well as savouring it. This is why – for foodies at least – food is also a massive part of going on holiday. Whether you’re going on a voyage of discovery by ingratiating yourself fully into the culture of where you travel or you just like to eat regularly when you’re on holiday, food can be one of the most enjoyable parts of a vacation.

Brunch at The Park Grand London Paddington

London is of course brimming over with places to eat, which is great news for those of you who enjoy dining out for all your meals. Plus there are so many different cuisines to choose from that you can have something completely different every day during your trip.

If this is your first time to the capital, you’ll no doubt be wondering what some great British foods might be. If this is the case, you need wonder no longer, as we have a list of some typically British things for you to try while you’re on holiday. Even better than this, we have picked out some of the best places to get them, so you won’t be disappointed by the quality. Happy Eating!

Scones and clotted cream

Many of you will be familiar with the traditional scone and clotted cream combination but there are few things that are as traditionally English when it comes to food.

The scone can be traced all the way back to 1513 and was originally from Scotland and would have been referred to as either a bannock or a schoonbrood. Whatever the case may be, the scone found its way onto British tables and became an essential part of afternoon tea.

For those who are unfamiliar, this was a meal originally created to be served between 2pm and 4pm to fill the void between lunch and dinner. Nowadays, afternoon tea is mostly enjoyed at weekends or on special occasions and London is home to many places that are renowned for their afternoon tea and particularly their scones.

To try a particularly decadent and traditional example, head to the likes of The Ritz, Fortnum & Mason and the Orangery at Kensington Palace. The last on the aforementioned list is particularly well known for its combination of Earl Grey tea with scones with cream and jam. Simply delicious.

Explore Kensington Park and The Royal Gardens

Mince pies

Mince pies, or mincemeat as is their full title, are a wonderful treat that have been popular for years in Britain over the Christmas period.

Minced Pies London

Although they’re generally very popular, they divide opinion occasionally, as people sometimes prefer a plain apple pie over the mincemeat. The mix contains nuts, raisins, citrus peel and a healthy dose of brandy or sherry and they go perfectly with a coffee or a glass of mulled wine – whichever you prefer.

You’ll find that most places will begin selling mince pies once the festive season begins, so they won’t be hard for you to track down. Gail’s Bakery remains popular year on year for these delights, as the pastry is wonderfully buttery and each one is lovingly stuffed to the brim with filling.

For a fancy twist on a mince pie, try the Oxo Tower, not only are they a heady combination of mincemeat and Bakewell tart mixture, they also come with an amazing view across the Thames.

British Food

Somewhere to stay

While you’re tucking into British delicacies this autumn you’re going to need somewhere to lay your head when you’re full!

Luckily, The Shaftesbury Collection has lots of wonderful London city hotels, including the Hyde Park Hotel on Bayswater Road. This establishment is located close to Kensington Park and is just a few minutes’ walk from Queensway and Bayswater Road Tube Stations.

To try some fancy mince pies at the Oxo Tower, take the Central line from Queensway Station for three stops to Bond Street Station then swap to the Jubilee line and ride four stops to Southwark Station. With a short walk to the tower it should take you 27 minutes.

Gail’s Bakery is closer at 18 minutes: you simply take the Central line from Queensway to Oxford Circus Station and you’re there.

There are several different Fortnum & Mason shops and halls, but all are less than half an hour away from the hotel. Similarly, The Ritz is near Green Park Station which is just 18 minutes, via the Central and Jubilee lines.

Toad in the hole and Sunday lunch

These are another two absolute classics from British food history. For most people, their favourite meal is an excellent Sunday roast lunch, which you’ll find at just about any pub in London.

traditional english sunday Food

Beware that people take this meal very seriously, so you’d be best not to make fun of it, as for many it’s a real home comfort. Try the George Inn for one of the most heartwarming of Sunday lunches. You can get roast chicken, beef or lamb and the Yorkshire puddings are delicious. Travel there by taking the Central line from Queensway to Bank Station and swap to the Northern line to get to London Bridge. The pub is a three-minute walk to Borough High Street from there.

Just as comforting is the humble toad in the hole, which is actually sausages baked into a massive Yorkshire pudding. For those who don’t know, this little puddings are made of similar ingredients to pancake batter but are cooked in searing hot oil, which makes them puff up and go wonderfully crispy. You’ll find toad in the hole in the George Inn too, the only difficult thing will be making the decision between it or a roast dinner.

Eton mess and jam roly poly

It wouldn’t be a list of delicious foods without naming a couple of desserts near the end and Eton mess and jam roly poly are perfect choices for anyone.

rolly polly london

Eton mess is normally served during the summer, as it is quite light, consisting of meringue, cream and strawberries. Meanwhile, jam roly poly is more of an autumn/winter dish comprising suet sponge filled with custard and jam that is baked in the oven for a crispy outside and a fluffy middle.

To eat after a lazy Sunday lunch – as it should be – we recommend you go to Franklins for Eton mess. It’s about 50 minutes from the Hyde Park Bayswater Hotel, via the Circle line and Southeastern railway, but it’s well worth the trip.

For jam roly poly, head to Old Tom & English in Soho, which is a crafty hideaway perfect for intimate dinners and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. To get there from the hotel, take the Central line from Queensway to Oxford Circus and you’ll be there in 15 minutes.

This only just scratches the surface of the traditional English fare that you can find in London’s restaurants and cafes. Part of the fun is definitely discovering these places yourself, so enjoy having a look around.

For information on the great hotels we have in London, contact us at The Shaftesbury now.