10 Iconic British Foods And Where To Sample The Best

Fish and chips, UK

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Britain has many iconic foods. But just where in the UK should you travel to taste the best examples of these national dishes? From cream tea to haggis, this post explores some of the most famous British foods and the best places around the country to eat them. 


Haggis is one of the best known national foods of Scotland. It’s made from minced sheep offal, onions, oatmeal and spices. This was traditionally wrapped in a sheep’s stomach (although this is often not the case with most modern haggis). 

The most common time to eat haggis is Burns Night, however you can try haggis at other times of the year. Just where are the best places in Scotland to try haggis? The big cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness all have restaurants where you can try top quality haggis. This post lists some of the best haggis restaurants

Welsh rarebit

This Welsh dish consists of a cheese-based sauce served over toasted bread. No, it’s not just cheese on toast – different places will have different cheese sauce recipes, which may include other ingredients like onions, beer, bacon and mustard.

There are many Cardiff restaurants and pubs where you can taste Welsh rarebit. Madame Fromage, The Potted Pig and Pitch are a few award-winning places worth scoping out if you’re in Cardiff. While in Cardiff, check out other Welsh national attractions such as Cardiff Castle and the various museums. 

Cream tea

Cream tea is eaten across the UK, but is most commonly associated with the West Country. It consists of afternoon tea served with scones, which are topped with jam and clotted cream. 

Cornwall is one of the best places to try cream tea. Stay anywhere on the Cornish coast and you’ll usually be able to find cafes in the area that specialise in this. The best cafes will bake their own scones from scratch and make their own jam. Check out holiday parks in Cornwall and check out other local attractions such as St Michael’s Mount and the Eden Project.

Yorkshire puddings

Go into any pub that serves a Sunday Roast and you’re likely to be served Yorkshire puddings. Yorkshire puddings are also a key component of the classic British dish, Toad In The Hole. 

The birthplace of Yorkshire puddings is of course Yorkshire. Go to the county’s buzzing capital, York, and you’ll find a number of places dedicated purely to Yorkshire pudding dishes such as The York Roast Co. and Hole In The Wall. Make sure to visit the various museums and take a look around the narrow lanes of The Shambles while in York. 

Fish and Chips

When many people think of British food, Fish and Chips is often the dish that comes to mind. Everywhere in the UK has its own local chippie and you can buy fish and chips in most pubs. However, some restaurants clearly take their fish and chips more seriously, using carefully concocted batter and only the freshest fish.

Unsurprisingly, most of the best restaurants are found in seaside towns where fish can be freshly caught and cooked. Kent, Devon and Norfolk all have a good selection of highly rated fish and chips shops. However, it’s Yorkshire and North Cornwall that both take the prize when it comes to sheer amount of top quality fish and chips shops. Look online for five star ratings.

Eton mess

Eton mess is a classic dessert consisting of strawberries, meringue and whipped cream. It is believed to have originated from Eton School in the 1800s where it was served at annual cricket matches against Harrow School. 

Nowadays, you don’t have to go to Eton to try Eton Mess. There are many places across the UK that serve this dessert. But just where should you go to find the best Eton Mess in Britain? London seems to be the best place to try this dessert – the likes of St John Bar, Little Social and Bill’s Covent Garden Restaurant all have highly rated Eton Mess desserts. 

Black pudding

Much like Yorkshire puddings, black pudding is not a pudding at all. It is in fact a savoury blood sausage made from pork or beef blood and oatmeal. Like haggis, not everyone will be daring enough to try it. It is however more widely available than haggis.

You’ll find some of the best black pudding in Scotland. Anderson’s Quality Butchers in North Berwick is a must-visit place if you’re staying in North Berwick – its black pudding has won awards in the past. North Berwick also has great beaches and scenic views, making it worth a visit. 

Cheddar cheese

Cheeses including Red Leicester, Stilton and Wensleydale all come from the UK. However the most iconic British cheese has to be cheddar. 

While cheddar is produced all around the world nowadays, the cheese originates from the Somerset town of Cheddar. It is here that cheddar was first stored in the caves and allowed to age to give it its distinct taste and texture. You can try and purchase authentic Cheddar cheese in Cheddar Gorge. Check out the caves and quaint shops while you’re here. 

Full English Breakfast

All of us have had a Full English fry-up before. But just where in the UK can you taste the best Full English?

Most cities have some great choices. However, Liverpool’s Dale Street Kitchen is hard to beat. This cafe has won many awards and is often regarded as serving the best Full English Breakfast in the country. Read more about this cafe and some runners up here at this post.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Many people do not realise that Chicken Tikka Masala is in fact a British dish. Chefs who had migrated from India to the UK in the 50s and 60s were unable to replicate traditional Indian dishes at first due to a lack of access to similar ingredients, and so they made their own unique curries using ingredients they could find. A recipe that several chefs seem to settle on was Chicken Tikka Masala.

While it’s hard to narrow down the exact origin of this dish, Punjab in Covent Garden is widely regarded as the oldest Indian restaurant in the UK and has a highly rated Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s worth also trying the Chicken Tikka Masala in Harrods. This post delves more into the best Chicken Tikka Masala in London.

About Simon Petersen 504 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.

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