Tipping in London what all London visitors should know

by rainbowsurfer on 10/01/2010

tipping in london, what tip to leave london

Tipping is not compulsory in London

Tipping in London or in the rest of England for that matter, is different than in many other countries because we don’t have a tipping culture here. This article will show you  how much to tip and when to tip in London.

Also at the end of this article, if you’d like more useful tips to help you when you come to London. Get a copy of our ‘What Every Tourist Ought To Know About London.’

Eating out

These days when you eat out in a restaurant in London you often see a service charge added to the bill, which is likely to be 12.5%. This service charge can cause even Londoners to get confused. Do you have to pay it, do you pay it and still tip, do you pay it and not tip?

The first thing to note is if during your meal you think the service is bad, bring it to the attention of the manager straightaway. If you don’t, when it comes to paying the service charge and you refuse to pay it, things may become unpleasant.

The point here is let the manager know there is a problem so that an already bad experience doesn’t get even worse.

This is another reason why we recommend getting our EPok London Pack. The restaurants we recommend are chosen for the good quality of their food and their service. ( We have now stopped doing the Pack)

London tourists often pay more for things than they should. Don’t be one of them

If the restaurant has a service charge added and the service has been ok you should pay the service charge. If you pay this you do not have to leave a tip.

If however you thought your server was very good you could leave them a tip by either handing it to them in cash (which they would prefer), leave the cash tip on the table or if you are paying by credit card add a tip amount to the bill.

Now this is the part that often causes confusion, how much do you leave. The answer is simple, because you have already paid the service charge this extra amount you are giving is purely as a thank you to the server. It could be as little as £2 to as much as you like. You do not need to leave another 10-15% of the bill.

If you go to a restaurant and there is no service charge added to the bill and you thought the service was ok then the bare minimum you should leave is 10%. However what most reasonable people do is leave 15%. Of course you can just get up and leave nothing, the choice is yours.

If you buy a take away meal to eat either on the street or at your accommodation there is no need or expectation for you to leave a tip.

It’s totally different in Pubs

When you eat out in a pub there aren’t the same expectations of tipping as there are in a restaurant.

If you go to a pub for a meal and they don’t have a service charge added, no one really expects you to leave a tip. You can leave £2 or more if you want to, but again that’s your choice as you don’t have to.

Also as I’m talking about pubs, if you’re there just to have a few drinks again no one expects you to tip the barman. Click here for some good pubs to try while you’re here.

Hotels & other places

Tipping in hotels is generally to the porter, £2 – £5 for helping you with your bags and the maid for cleaning your room, £2 per day.

Tipping the driver of the cab is usually done by rounding up the fare to the nearest pound and adding a couple of pounds on top if the driver has been friendly/helpful.

However there’s nothing saying you have to tip the cab driver and many Londoners don’t. If all the driver has done is get you from A – B with little to know advice, what are you tipping for?

Tipping the server in cafés if you’ve had something to eat or drink inside is polite and £2 or more is acceptable.

London can be confusing… get more insider tips

There’s no need to be like other tourists in London. For essential tips about London Click here to get our guide – ‘What Every Tourist Ought To Know About London’.

Also if you’re visiting London for a weekend or for a few days take a look at our Short Stay Pack, it helps you make the most of your time here. And for a good choice of hotels with discount prices, visit Hotel in London for more information.

And finally, you know the weather in London is very unpredictable. If you want to know what the weather’s likely to be when you come here, here’s a monthly breakdown. London weather monthly forecast.

Also see how you can get your car repaired easily and read my article about buying an Audi A4 on my new site at CarBidOff.com.

Click here to stay up to date

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