British food is full of flavours, history, and special dishes from different regions. From warm savoury meals to sweet treats, the United Kingdom has many delicious foods to try.

At BSC we love to help you understand British culture while you improve your English skills. Let’s explore the must-try dishes and the best places to enjoy them.

 

British foods and where to find them

Food can be an excellent insight into a country’s history and culture, and British food is no exception. Before you head to the UK, check out these traditional British foods and discover where to find them on your next trip.

  1. Shepherd’s Pie
  2. Beef Wellington
  3. Fish and Chips
  4. Chicken Tikka Masala
  5. Eton Mess
  6. Afternoon Tea
  7. Cornish Pasty
  8. Full English Breakfast
  9. Roast Dinner

 

1. Shepherd’s Pie

A shepherds pie is a traditional British meal

A wholesome and classic British meal, Shepherd’s Pie originated in Scotland and the North of England, Its two main ingredients are minced lamb and potatoes. Many families will make this dish using beef, but then it should actually be referred to as Cottage Pie, as ‘shepherds’ only herd sheep, not cows!

Where can I find Shepherd’s Pie in the UK?

Most Brits would agree that Shepherd’s Pie is best eaten at home with your family and the dish is not often served in restaurants. But, if you’re desperate to try an impressive Shepherd’s Pie then the most iconic can be found at the Ivy in London.

 

 2. Beef Wellington

Beef wellington - one of the most traditional meaty British foods

Beef Wellington is a fillet of steak coated in patê and then rolled in pastry. Although the dish shares its name with the famous Duke of Wellington, it shares no link with British politics. In reality, it is thought that Beef Wellington was based on the French dish filet de bœuf en croûte (fillet of beef in pastry).

Where to find Beef Wellington in the UK

Beef Wellington is served in posh pubs and restaurants up and down the country, but if you’re looking for something really special, then try it at the House Restaurant in Brighton’s Lanes.

 

3. Fish and Chips 

Everyone loves fish and chips, one of the most popular British foods

 

Perhaps nothing is more synonymous with British food than fish and chips. But, unfortunately, this dish can often be a bit disappointing if you don’t get it in the right place. A top tip is to look for chip shops that cook their fish fresh to order- avoid a chippy (slang for fish and chip shop) that displays stacks of precooked fish behind the glass!

Where to find Fish and Chips in the UK

Although there are fish and chip shops all over the UK, we find that this dish is always at its most delicious when eaten by the sea. That’s why if you’re looking to experience a true British seaside delicacy it’s best to try it somewhere coastal. If you’re studying at our language college BSC Brighton, we recommend checking out this list of the top places to get fish and chips in Brighton

 

4. Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is the most popular Indian style dish in the UK

Although it may have South Asian roots, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that Chicken Tikka Masala was first created in Britain by a Bangladeshi chef in Glasgow. Nowadays, it’s considered one of the country’s most popular dishes and is served in curry houses all over Britain.

Where to find Chicken Tikka Masala in the UK

Alongside a stunning array of British-Asian cuisine, some of the best curries in the UK can be found on Manchester’s curry mile

 

5. Steak and Kidney Pie 

Pies are a popular British food

Whether they’re covered in pastry or covered in potato, pies feature heavily in British cuisine and are the perfect antidote to the harsh British winter. 

Where to find Steak and Kidney Pie in the UK

For the home of pies, it’s best to head to the North of England to Manchester or York where you can find delicious homemade pies in local markets and restaurants. For those based in the South, Pieminster offers an incredible range of pies and has branches all over the UK.

 

6. Eton Mess

 

The perfect treat on a summer’s day, Eton Mess is a dessert made with meringue, a variety of berries, and cream. The dish was first served at Eton College in the late 19th century at school cricket matches and is now popular all over Britain.

Where to find Eton Mess in the UK

Eton Mess is so simple and delicious that it’s best made at home or brought on a picnic. Find out how to make this traditional British dessert with this Eton Mess recipe.

 

7. Afternoon Tea

Cream tea is one of the components of an afternoon tea

Scones, finger sandwiches, cake and tea- what could possibly be better? Although we Brits are famous for having afternoon tea every day at 5pm- that’s really a bit of a myth. Afternoon tea is a rare treat that is generally taken at around 3-4pm.

Where to find Afternoon Tea in the UK

For a traditional afternoon tea, there’s no better place than the Betty’s Tea Room in York. 

 

8. Cornish Pasty

A cornish pasty, a peppery treat

A pastry stuffed full of meat and vegetables, Cornish pasties first became popular among tin miners as they were easily transportable and eaten without a plate or cutlery. Nowadays, the humble pasty plays an important part in British food culture. It’s even thought that there were the inspiration for the South American empanada.

Where to find Cornish Pasties in the UK

In Cornwall- obviously! But if you can’t make it that far down the country, you can find delicious Cornish Pasties at most markets and bakeries. Or grab one on the go from the West Cornwall Pasty Company.

 

9. A Full Breakfast

A full English breakfast is one of the best British foods people like to eat in the morning

Also known as a ‘fry-up,’ a full breakfast is made up of eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, toast, tomatoes, and sometimes black pudding (blood sausage). This hearty breakfast is popular all over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and is often consumed on the weekend. There are also regional variations, with a ‘Full Scottish‘ served with black pudding and ‘tattie scones.’

Where to find a Full English Breakfast in the UK

You can find fry-ups at greasy spoons (cafes a bit like diners) all over the UK, but if you’re studying at our English language college in Edinburgh we particularly recommend the Quick and Plenty cafe.

 

10. Roast Dinner

The roast dinner began as a meal that was eaten after the Sunday church service, as the meat and vegetables could be left in the oven to cook while the family was out at worship. Today, a Sunday Roast is still an important part of British life with around one-fifth of British people sitting down to a roast every week, and an extra-special roast meal at Christmas.

Where to find a Roast Dinner in the UK

Every self-respecting pub will have a roast dinner menu on a Sunday and nowadays, it’s not just beef and dripping. Do a little research and you can find yourself just about any kind of roast you like at local pubs like the Star Inn, just 5 mins from BSC York.

 


If you want to discover more about British culture and traditions you can also check out our English Language Training courses in the UK.