Markets and Michelin Stars: a Food and Drink Tour of London

Borough Market is one of the oldest markets in London, with roots in the 12th century
Borough Market is one of the oldest markets in London, with roots in the 12th century | © Peter Lane / Alamy Stock Photo

On this gourmet city break in London, you’ll uncover age-old pubs, treat yourself to afternoon tea and cook with a local chef in his kitchen.

Considering the extraordinary array of world-class restaurants and award-winning chefs that make up the London dining scene today, it’s hard to believe it was not always thus. In fact, the English capital once languished way behind many European counterparts, such as Rome and Paris, for gastronomic excellence. Thankfully, those days are long gone, and London is now considered a gourmet go-to, with everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to moreish markets proffering the best of British produce.

“It’s a huge melting pot of innovation, design and culture,” enthuses Marcus Eaves, executive chef of Oblix restaurant on the 32nd floor of the Shard building. “You’d be hard pressed to pass a single street without finding an awesome place to eat or drink – whether a cool bar celebrating the world’s most talented mixologists, or an edgy restaurant in the back streets of Shoreditch. London’s dining scene really does have it all.”

However, it’s not just the bars and restaurants that make London special, but the variety of foodie-friendly experiences you can have here too. From browsing bustling food markets to exploring ancient ale houses, we’ve whipped up a chef’s selection of tastebud-pleasing tours and paired it with the perfect place to stay – all bookable right here on Culture Trip.

Where To Stay: the Hotel…

1. The Montcalm Royal London House

Chain Hotel, Luxury

A bedroom at Montcalm Royal London House with a double bed, striped carpet, office chair and white/grey walls
Courtesy of Montcalm Royal London House /

Located on the borders of suit-wearing City of London and hip Shoreditch, the Montcalm Royal London House fuses the best of both worlds. The styling in the former 1950s Royal Mail headquarters is buttoned-up city smart, though with plenty of mid-century chic and nods to the edgy East London surroundings. The trio of eating and drinking options are particularly on-trend. The Long Arm Pub serves craft beers from the on-site brewery, together with gourmet burgers and hot dogs. The Burdock slides a little more upmarket, with everything from morning smoothies to evening cocktails and sharing plates. And crowning it all is the Aviary, a rooftop dining experience where cityscape views and outstanding dishes are high on wow factor. For outside eats, you’re within a short stomp of the Brick Lane curry houses and the ever-growing hit list of top dining spots in Spitalfields, including Middle Eastern Bubala, homestyle Indian Gunpowder and British-with-a-twist St John.

What To Do: the Experiences…

2. Afternoon Tea Bus with Panoramic Tour of London – Upper Deck


Combining the iconic London bus with the quintessentially British afternoon tea, this 90-minute ride takes you on a journey through the heart of the capital. From your top-deck seat, you’ll get elevated views of some of the top London landmarks including Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. While watching London pass, you’ll be treated to nibbles from finger sandwiches to scones with clotted cream. You can even toast the experience with a glass of prosecco.

3. Borough Market Visit and Cooking Class

Activities, Tours

If you love market-fresh produce but never know how to use it, this is the experience for you. Your host for the day is food professional, Simon, who first guides you around the fabulous sights and smells of Borough Market – the largest and oldest food market in London, with origins dating to the 12th century. After shopping for your ingredients, you’ll be shown how to prep and cook them back in Simon’s kitchen. Best of all, you’ll then get to sit down and celebrate your newly learnt skills as you feast on your culinary creations.

4. Historical Pub Walking Tour of London


There’s nothing more London than a traditional boozer, and this walking tour guides you around some of the very best pubs in the capital. Your knowledgeable local guide will take you on a journey in and around the City of London, visiting the most remarkable and historic drinking dens and age-old watering holes. You’ll learn all about the fascinating past of the pubs, visit hidden corners of the capital and, of course, sample an ale (or three) along the way.

Need somewhere to stay in London? Book one of the best hotels near Brixton with Culture Trip.

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