The British are a proud nation, and one seen as quirky around the world. They drink tea in a crisis, apologise profusely, and love to politely queue.
On a visit to London, there are some great customs and traditions you should encounter for a rather British experience.
FILL UP ON A FULL ENGLISH
Start your Great British day the right way with a Full English Breakfast, also known as The Fry Up. Bacon, eggs, sausages and beans, all washed down with a lovely cuppa. Sir Winston Churchill was a fan, and so are we. A dish dating back to the 14th century that you’ll find across the city, not just in the local greasy spoon café.
Get your good old-fashioned fry up at the Regency Café, a traditional greasy spoon serving good, honest grub.
Blue Tour, Stop: College Green
HAVE A CUPPA
Britain is a tea-drinking nation, sinking 165 million cups of the stuff every single day. Traditionally brewed in a warmed china teapot, you add one spoonful of tea per person and an extra one for the pot. It’s a must-try tradition when visiting London, and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Elevenses (11am) is commonly the time to take a break, make a brew and open a pack of biscuits. Dunking is optional.
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
Brits love to shop! Declared the number one leisure activity in England, the average Briton spends 18 full days of the year shopping for food, clothes, gifts and more. And when they don’t have the cash to splash, they simply window-shop for enjoyment purposes. The shopping scene in London is arguably one of the best in the world. Be sure to hit the high street on a visit to the capital.
Some shopping hot spots…
Regent Street for high street fashion finds
Blue Tour, Stop: Regent Street
Carnaby Street for independent boutiques
Blue Tour, Stop: Oxford Street
Portobello Road Market for vibrant stalls
Blue Tour, Stop: Notting Hill
The most quintessential of English customs, afternoon tea should definitely feature in your itinerary when visiting London. From London’s finest hotels, to charming, family-run tea rooms, the good china comes out after midday. Spend at least 3 hours working your way through dainty cucumber sandwiches, followed by warm fruity scones, then cakes and pastries to finish.
Set aside a leisurely afternoon…
Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
Best for: tea selection
Blue Tour, Stop: Piccadilly Circus
Park Room at Grosvenor House
Best for: families
Red Tour, Blue Tour, Stop: Mayfair
The English Rose Café & Tea Shop
Best for: quaint setting
Blue Tour, Stop: Victoria
VISIT THE QUEEN
Take a tour of London’s most royal and iconic landmarks, and literally follow in the Queen’s footsteps…
Where Queen Elizabeth II spends most of her time. If the Royal Standard flag is flying, it means Her Majesty is home. In the summer months, you can take a glimpse inside the spectacular State Rooms, decorated with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.
Blue Tour, Stop: Buckingham Palace
Changing the Guard
Witness the famous Changing the Guard ceremony outside of Buckingham Palace. Guards wearing iconic red tunics and bearskin hats change hands in a display that has been played out over the monarch’s generations. This popular event is free to watch, just be sure to arrive early to get a good view.
For timings, you can CLICK HERE to check the schedule.
Tower of London
Discover some of the Royal Family’s darker history with a visit to the Tower of London. Where Elizabeth I was imprisoned by her half-sister Queen Mary, suspected of plotting against her. But it’s not all grim, the Tower is home to treasures from monarchs over the generations, including the famous Crown Jewels.
CLICK HERE for Tower of London tickets.
Red Tour, Blue Tour, Stop: Tower of London
And not forgetting the Royal Mews, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
If you tick all of the above from your itinerary, you’ll surely earn your Union Flag stripes. Live London like a local for a first-hand experience of its lifestyle and culture. Throw in some Cockney Rhyming Slang and you’ll complete the full Best of British experience!