Eating London Tours
It’s can be a lot to digest
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Growing up with my British grandparents, I was exposed to some ‘interesting’ cuisine. Although originally invented by a French Canadian in the United States, I remember as a child asking my father why my Grandpa’s ‘traditional’ casserole tasted funny. My father explained, half-jokingly “The English aren’t really known for their cooking… most of their recipes involve using whatever is left in the fridge and mixing it all together.” Though he was somewhat right, at least as far as my childhood exposure went, there was an entire world of gastronomical delights that awaited me in my eventual visit. I just didn’t realize that my grandparents cooking wasn’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of the country. I would one day find myself eating London by the fork full, and not being able to get enough!
Of course, finding the best places to eat in London would be my first real challenge. I didn’t want to stumble upon mediocracy if I was to prove this theory false. I knew if I was to find the where to eat in London properly, I would need to seek the pros. For this reason, I decided to go on an organized tour of the historical East End. Why not get a cake’s layers worth of flavours, history, cultural diversity, and of course be able to eat it to?
The East End Food Tour came packed with more than a mouthful of succulent smells, flavours, and some pretty awesome points of historical significance! Our guide was really top notch and had enough enthusiasm to wake the dead (note: luckily no dead people were in our group, even though it was almost Halloween).
Without giving away any overly secret locations, I can tell you this culinary journey took us eating London through retro fish and chip shops, to old jewish quarter bagel shops (or beigle as it’s locally spelled), to dipping into (not ‘too’ spicy) Indian curries, to sampling proper ales and ciders! And that’s just the half of it. In addition to that (and several other dishes), we learned about interesting tidbits of the area which may otherwise go unnoticed. From the shape of the street posts, through the old stomping grounds of Jack the Ripper, besides an ancient Roman burial ground. You’ll even go past a structure which has been a christian church, an islamic mosque AND a jewish synagogue in it’s lifetime! Holy building, batman!
Eating London’s Food Tour certainly showed me a different side to British cuisine. Apparently it’s much more complex than just throwing last night’s scraps into the blender and re-heating it. In fact, it just may be one of the oldest melting pots of international cuisine! I have a feeling I’ll be eating London quite a few more times – in fact, some of my trips there may be just for that reason alone now!
If you have a sweet tooth, there are some great luxury shops for desserts in London too!
SEE – Photos & Videos
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GO – Getting There
The East End Food Tour takes place in none other than… you guess it: London’s East End.
The meeting points may vary, so it’s best to check your confirmation email from them. We started our day at a spot only a five minute walk from Liverpool Street Station. It was pretty simple to find, though if you’re new to the city or at least to that part of the city, it may be best to bring a map along (pre marked with where you have to go).
Do – Activities & Attractions
Stay – Accommodation
There’s a very good chance that you may need a comfy place to stay for a well-deserved nap after this food tour! London has some incredible options from fancy budget to uber posh hotels to choose from.
For the best deals on any hotel style, we recommend using Booking.com when travelling to London, or any other region in Europe for that matter!
Eat – Restaurants
Tour Food Highlights Include
- Taste London’s best bacon sandwich at the award-winning St. John Bread & Wine.
- Visit the most famous bagel shop, this side of the Atlantic.
- Discover the wonderful world of English cheeses at Androuet, London’s expert cheese mongers.
- Fish & Chips is a must and there is no better place to get your fix than at Poppies, listed as Time Out’s top 100 foods in London.
- Brick Lane has over 50 restaurants on just one street – we’ll take you to our favourite for a delicious sampling of delectable curries.
- Pudding at the historic English Restaurant is a properly delicious thing to do.
- Experience life at the local pub when we take you to our favourite one in the neighbourhood, the Pride Of Spitalfields (non-alcoholic options available too).
- If you never tasted a salted caramel tart, then brace yourself for this mouth-watering experience.
Plus– See some of London’s most dynamic street art, introduce yourself to buildings steeped in history and understand London’s cosmopolitan culture.
Please Note: These restaurants/dishes are subject to change, at any time, by the discretion of Eating London Tours.
Time – Seasonality & Schedules
This tour departs daily at 10:00 am (except Sundays).
All Sundays and English National Holidays (approximately eight days per year) will be unavailable. You will see these days blacked out on the booking page of their site.
Safety – Possible risks
I have always found London a fairly safe city. That said, there is always the risk of pick-pockets almost anywhere in the world, especially in busy markets or public transit. Be mindful of your valuables – as losing your wallet would certainly leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Please Note: Travel inherently comes with an element of risk (just like crossing the road does). You are putting yourself in elements that are unfamiliar and foreign to your usual lifestyle and with that, become more susceptible to fall victim those who try to play off those unfamiliar to their local scams. There are also potential dangers in the environments to which you may not be accustomed to.
Please take extra care in travelling, ensure that you have adequate travel medical insurance (accidents seem to happen when you least expect them), and have let a trusted colleague, family member or friend know your whereabouts and activities.
Where Sidewalks End travel advises you to travel at your own risk, and to be extra aware of your surroundings (without letting it spoiling your time).
Pay – How much does it cost?
The East End Food Tour was (at the time of writing this) a reasonable £65 (GBP) for adults. There’s lower costs for children and adolescents. I’d say this is roughly equivelant to eating out at 3 restaurants in London… though as mentioned earlier, this tour lets you try 8 restaurants on top of a cool walking tour! In my books, it’s definitely worth it!
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Responsible Travel – Best Practices
Reality Check – Be Aware
London has incredible food all over the city – though if you have to buy a full plate of it at each restaurant just to get a sample, you may as well sell your first born and remortgage your home. I found this was a perfect way to try several dishes and not break the bank.
While we were exceptionally lucky (22 degree Celsius sunny weather at the end of October) with our weather, London is notorious for it’s rainy days. Considering this tour spends 3.5 hours, most of which is walking around, you will want to make sure you’ve got an umbrella or rain jacket handy, somewhere dry for your camera and other water-sensitive belongings, and comfortable, dry shoes (if not a dry pair of socks upon your return to your accommodation).
There was several stops where the dishes were not primarily vegetarian. It is possible to get supplements on the tour, but you have to let them know in advance at the time of booking, or you’ll only experience half the amount of samples as the others, as most food was prepared in advance of our arrival.
Overall, I really enjoyed this way of sight seeing (and eating) around London. If you’re looking for fun things to do in London, this is a pretty delicious start!
JOIN US! WSE Travel Packages
This sounds like quite the adventure, right? We thought so too! Though we realize it can be pretty intimidating to get out there into the world on your own, especially when travelling to some of these off the beaten path locations. We love it when our readers give it a shot and try it for themselves! In fact, please leave us feedback if you do!! If trying something ‘this’ adventurous on your own is just a bit outside of your comfort zone, WSE Travel is here to help!
Follow this link for our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Tours – packages that are highly personalized and tailored at your request.
Have you ever tried eating London? Have you tried eating any other city for that matter? What’s your favourite?
Please feel free to share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below!