tipping in London

With so many varied activities and events to experience in London, it can be hard to know exactly what the tipping etiquette is. Gratuities are not as common in the UK as in other countries so visitors may be surprised to know that in many cases tips are not expected. However, when given they are appreciated as exactly what a tip should be: a tip and not an expected addition to the bill.

tipping in hotels in London

in London Tip 0-10% at Hotels

Many of the smaller or cheaper hotels will not have any kind of porter service or room service but if you feel like the maids did a good job you may want to leave a small amount at the end of your stay to show your appreciation. Even for B&B's where you receive breakfast as part of your stay, gratuities are not expected and you can choose whether you want to leave something or not. The classier hotels are more likely places to dish out tips. There will be a porter to take your things to your room and you will want to give him one or two pounds, the same for the person who delivers any room service you have ordered to your room. For hotel restaurants, see the restaurant section as the same rules apply, and for the maid service it’s completely at your discretion, but again some small change will be appreciated but not expected.

tipping customs for restaurants in London

At a restaurant Tip 10-15% in London

The tipping etiquette for restaurants in London varies depending on the kind of establishment. Anywhere with table service you should tip the waiter or waitress between ten and 15 per cent. Sometimes this has already been added to your bill in which case no extra gratuity is required. If you feel that the meal was exceptional, a small extra tip will be appreciated. At a fast food place, tipping is not mandatory. Sometimes there will be a tipping jar where you can throw in a few coins. The same goes for local cheap restaurants where you go to the till to order. At market stalls people rarely tips.

tip etiquette at Bars in London

In London Don't tip at a bar

Locals pretty much never tip at pubs, bars and clubs. Usually there is a tip jar and people will throw some small change in but gratuities are certainly not expected. The exception to this rule is if you receive table service, usually at a more expensive place, there may be ten per cent added to your bill, or you may choose to leave about this amount.

should you tip your taxi driver

In London Round up your taxi fare

Gratuities are not compulsory for any type of taxi but a small addition to the amount due will always be appreciated. Locals will not always tip but if they do it will be a pound or two, or rounding up the fare to a convenient amount. There are also private taxis which can be flagged down on the streets, often at night, and you should negotiate the price before getting in as they can sometimes try to overcharge. You may want to tip a pound or two if you think the price they charged was fair.

should you tip your hairdresser

in London Tip 5 - 10% at a hairdresser

The hair dressing industry is one of the few service industries in the UK where tips are actually commonplace. Hair dressers are often poorly paid, especially when in training, so giving a small tip to the trainee who washes your hair or sweeps up the cuttings, as well as your hair dresser, can make a huge difference to their quality of life and will be greatly appreciated. Men’s traditional barber shops are located all over London and it makes a nice experience for men who want to experience a close shave from one of London’s top barbers (hopefully not a descendant of Sweeney Todd!). Here, leaving a pound or two is sufficient as the cuts are quick and cheap anyway. In higher end hair dressers for women and men ten per cent to the hair dresser and some small change for the person who washed or dried your hair is the general tipping etiquette.

should you tip tour guides in London

In London don't tip tour guides

If you take a paid tour or a tourist bus tour in London, there is no real tipping etiquette as such, it’s really up to the individual. Depending on the length of the tour and the quality of the guide, you may want to leave a small percentage of the cost of the tour but it is really not required. Tour guides are paid a decent amount and don’t rely on tips to supplement a low income. However, if you visit some museums, galleries or historic sites such as the British Museum, it would be a nice gesture to show appreciation by giving a small tip at the end.