Is Tipping in the UK Expected? A Super Simple Guide 

What’s the deal with tipping in the UK? Do you tip in London? What about tipping in London restaurants, and other restaurants in the UK? What about tipping in taxis?

It can be confusing for tourists, and especially puzzling for American tourists for whom tipping is a part of daily life. 

The short answer is: tipping is not expected in the UK, but it’s always appreciated. And it depends entirely on the situation whether or not you should leave a tip in London and the UK. 

My American heart cringes every time I leave a UK establishment without leaving a tip, but here it’s just not expected in most situations. 

Let’s go through some common situations you’ll encounter traveling in London and the UK to see whether or not you should tip. 

the ultimate guide to tipping in the UK: image of a restaurant bill with text overlaid: "should you tip in the UK? Every situation explained."

Paying for Things in the UK & How to Leave a Tip 

The UK, and London especially, has gone mostly cashless in recent years. In London, you may never need to hit the ATM at all. In more rural places, cash is more commonly used. 

But what about tipping when you’re paying with a card? Here’s how it works. 

Contactless Payment Tipping in England Restaurants 

When you tap your card, there will usually be an option to leave a tip on the screen. The standard options will usually be 10%, 15% or 20%, though it depends on the establishment. You can always choose a custom amount. 

Contactless Payment Tipping in England: Taxis 

At the end of your taxi ride or rideshare, a tipping option will pop up on the screen. You can choose the amount, though the standard percentages will usually be shown. 

No Tipping Option for Contactless Payment? Don’t Worry About it!

If no tipping option is shown, you can either ask them to add it, or just not worry about leaving a tip. Tipping is not a big part of English culture like it is in America and other countries. 

No restaurant server will chase you down the street for not leaving a tip! It’s just not expected here. 

Tipping in London Restaurants & Dining in the UK 

In America, a solid 20% of the bill is considered standard and polite. But in the UK, it’s more like 10%, if even that. 

Recently in the UK and in London, many restaurants have adopted a service charge which takes the place of gratuity. 

Here’s the expectations depending on the type of restaurant. 

guide to tipping in london restaurants and other eateries in the UK: colorful graphic diagram of 3 tipping situations: casual dining, mid-range dining, and fancy dining with a guide for how much of a tip to leave in each establishment.

Casual Order-at-the-Counter Restaurant

No tip expected, but sometimes there will be a tip jar if you wish to contribute.

Casual Sit-Down Restaurant With Table Service 

No tip expected, but you can either round up the bill, leave a few pounds, or round up to 10-15% if you’re feeling very generous.  

Mid-Range Sit-Down Restaurant With Table Service 

You can leave 10%-15% if the service was top-notch, or even a few pound coins if you enjoyed your meal. 

Fancy Restaurants

These types of places usually have a service change included in the bill that ranges from 12-15%. If they don’t, 10-15% is standard practice and considered polite. 

Tipping in London Pubs & Bars Across the UK 

In America, a $1 per drink or more is standard. But here? Not so much! 

Here’s what to tip when you’re out drinking in London and the UK, from pubs to clubs. 

do you tip in london? Colorful illustrating guide to tipping in england pubs and clubs. 3 types of tipping situations explained in graphics: pub with no food service, pub with table service, and a fancy cocktail club

Standard Pub or Bar, No Table Service

No tip necessary, though they may have a tip jar if you’re so inclined. Some people will leave a pound coin or some change on the bar.

Pub with Table Service for Food 

You can leave some pound coins on the table or round up the bill. 

Bars with Table/Bottle Service (like a club in London, for example) 

You can leave 10%-15%, though there will often be a service charge included in the bill. 

Tipping in London Coffee Shops (& Across the UK) 

Whether or not to tip at a coffee shop in England is entirely up to you. It’s not commonly done, but it depends on the type of establishment. 

tipping in london and the uk: guide to coffee shop gratuity. Colorful illustrated diagram of how much gratuity to leave in each establishment: chain coffee shop, independent coffee shop, and a cafe with table service.

Chain Coffee Shop (like Pret or Costa) 

No tip necessary, though they may have a tip jar if you’re so inclined. 

Independent Coffee Shops

Tipping is never necessary but always appreciated. These types of places will more often have a tip jar if you’d like to contribute. 

Nice Sit-Down Cafes With Table Service 

You can leave 10% or round up the bill. 

London Taxi Tips (And Drivers Across the UK) 

One of the most common questions tourists ask is: “Do you tip in London taxis?” 

Like tipping in the rest of the UK, tipping is never required but always appreciated by your drivers. 

guide to tipping in england: do you tip in London cabs? 3 car services explained: black cab tipping, Uber or rideshare tipping, and private driver tipping. How much to leave in each situation.

Black Cab Tipping 

If you’re in a standard London black cab, common practice is to round up or to include an extra pound or two on the fare. For a very good driver you can always give more! 

Uber & Rideshare Tipping 

No tipping required, but there will usually be an option to tip at the end of the ride on your Uber app. I usually give them a few quid if they helped with my luggage or car seat, and were an exceptionally efficient driver. 

Private Driver Tipping 

If you hire a car service (like from the airport, for instance), the fee will sometimes include a service charge. Check the fine print of your booking, and if it doesn’t have a service charge, you can tip whatever you feel is adequate, from a few pounds to 10%-15%, depending on the level of service. 

Tipping in London Hotels & Across the UK 

Just like the rest of the world, the quality and service of hotels in London and the UK is hugely variable. The tipping expectations for each are different. 

do you tip in london hotels and hotels across the UK? A simple illustrated diagram of 3 types of hotels and how much gratuity to leave at each

Tipping in the UK: Budget Hotels

There’s usually no services performed that would be worth tipping for (i.e. they usually don’t carry your luggage). You can leave the cleaners a few quid at the end of your stay if you like. 

Tipping in London Mid-Range Hotels & Across the UK 

You can give £1-2 pounds to the bellhop, and leave a few quid for the cleaners at the end of  your stay if you like. 

Tipping in London Luxury Hotels & Across the UK 

Here’s where tipping gets more normalized in the UK: in luxury hotels. In these types of places, it’s more customary to tip from everything from bellhop to bartender to room service to a helpful concierge. 

Some very high-end hotels include a service charge and do not allow you to tip staff directly, so check with the hotel to see what is appropriate. 

Tipping in England: Other Services 

What about tipping for other services like haircuts, manicures, food delivery, and valet parking? Let’s get into it.

tipping in the uk for services: illustrated diagram of how much to tip for food delivery, valet parking, beauty services like manicures and haircuts, and tour guides.

Food Delivery 

When Using Deliveroo, Uber Eats, etc. it’s nice to tip a few quid – these people zoom all over London at all hours to get you your hot meal! 

Barbers, Hairdressers & Beauty Services 

Tipping around 10%  for beauty services is a common practice in the UK, especially if you’re happy with the result. 

Guided Tours

If you’re on a group guided tour and are pleased with the guide’s service, a tip of £2-£5 is generally appreciated.

Specialized or Private Tours

For more specialized or private tours, especially those that offer an in-depth experience, a tip of 10-15% of the tour cost is considered generous and polite.

Valet Parking

If you’re using a valet parking service at a hotel or restaurant, a tip of £2-£5 when your car is returned to you is customary.

Tipping in the UK: Final Advice

My general rule of thumb is: tip less than you would in America, but if you’re feeling very generous, have at it!

People here are way more grateful for tips because it’s not as commonly done. And when it doubt, go for the middle ground like 10%.

But above all else, don’t worry about it. If you don’t have the right change, or didn’t get a chance to tip, don’t stress. Tipping culture is not as important here as in the US. No one will get mad at you or think poorly of you for not leaving a tip.

Have fun on your travels, and don’t stress about if you’re doing the right or wrong thing!

More on Visiting London & The UK

Everything You Need to Know About Public Toilets in London (& Find one ASAP)

What NOT to do in London: The Truth About these 15 Tiring Tourist Traps

Ultimate Guide: 49 Brilliant London Apps Everyone Should Know

Your Ultimate Guide to a Family Trip to London on a Budget

33 Best Non-Touristy Things to Do in London

Itinerary for 3 Epic Days in London: An Insider’s Guide

How to Get Cheap Train Tickets to and From London

Where to Stay your First time in London

31 Exclusive & Unusual Things to Buy in London, and 15 Things to Avoid

Best Free Museums in London

Weekend in London like a local 

The Best Viewpoints in London

Similar Posts