UK dining: What to expect whilst eating out

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As we all know London has fast become one of the tourist hotspots of the world. Even though it ranks up there with the best, there’s no doubt that there are some major cultural differences that can surprise visitors when they reach the capital.

As today’s title may have already given away, we are going to focus on dining out in the city’s restaurants. Through today’s post, we will now mull over some of these to show what you should expect as you prepare to dine out in the UK.

The opening hours are very different

This is one of the biggest things that tends to surprise visitors. If you have visited the likes of Spain, you might be under the impression that late-night dining is something which is translated around the continent. Well, while some countries might fall under such rules, London certainly doesn’t tend to.

In short, the peak hours for eating in the UK range between 7 pm and 9 pm. If you start venturing out after 10.30pm, which is completely normal and sometimes early in some regions of the world, you’ll find that some places are starting to close.

In short, late-night dining isn’t normal in the UK – and you may have to adapt your schedule accordingly. If you are set on eating later, you might have to do a bit of research to find a restaurant with opening hours to accommodate your needs.

On the subject of peak hours…

We’ve just spoken about the peak dining hours in the UK, and even though they might be different from a lot of places in the world, they still get exceptionally busy.

Particularly if you pick a spot like Covent Garden, with a whole host of popular restaurants, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that you get a huge number of people visiting. It means that you should be looking to reserve on pretty much every evening of the week unless you hit one of the quieter hours.

Tap water is free

This next point isn’t going to make or break your evening meal, but it’s worth pointing out that UK laws dictate that tap water is often free. In short, any establishment serving alcohol needs to serve free drinking water. Sure, some of these may circle around the rules by charging for the use of a glass, or a serving fee, but the vast majority will just provide tap water free of charge, and that’s the end of the story.

The rules on tipping

As we all know, one could pen a whole dissertation when it comes to tipping. Each country has a different set of rules, and while somewhere like the US it is almost a legal requirement (well, it seems to be!), in other places of the world it’s not expected.

The UK falls between the above two scenarios. More and more restaurants are starting to add a discretionary charge of 12.5% to the bill, but some will still leave this completely up to the customer.

On the whole, you will have to pay something in the region of the above, and this of course needs to be budgeted before you visit.

 

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