Do I have to Tip in London?!

Devo lasciare la Mancia a Londra?!in italiano

Tipping is not expected in the UK as you would do in the USA. Workers don’t have to live off their tips as in the UK they are paid at least the National minimum wage. Employers are not allowed to add tips to their wages to get to the total amount due to the employee, the total amount has to come from Employers money, not from tips.

Although it’s not necessary to tip, it’s always greatly appreciated.

The government has a Code of Best Practice on tips that says how the employer should handle tips, but it is just raccomendations, not a rule. However, how the tips get handled has to be in your contract or company polices.

So this is very important for whoever works in London, but how about if you are visiting London? Should you Tip ? When do you tip in London?

Tipping taxi drivers

In the UK it is quite normal to tip cab drivers and we usually round the total fare up to the nearest pound. If you choose to tip your taxi driver a 10-15 % tip is a nice gesture. 


At the end of a guided tour, it’s nice if you could give your guide a small tip for a job well done.

If you’ve had a good time and think the guide did a great job, you can tip 10 to 15 % of the cost of the tour. Consider a minimum of £3 if you travel by yourself, or £1 average per person if you are travelling with friends and family.

Restaurants, Bars, Pubs, Cafes & Delivery Guy!

Although you don’t need to tip a delivery guy when you get your order, an extra pound will always be appreciated. If you’re in a restaurant the service charge is sometimes added, and you are expected to pay. If they don’t add anything and you are pleased with the service received, you can tip them 10-15 %.woman preparing a food over the counter

Many restaurants add service charge to the bill, so do check before tipping. If you see the service charge in your total bill, there is no need to tip, but as I will explain down below, service charge does not always go to the employee, as it is often used for extra expenses to be covered by the restaurant.

In a Pub you’re not expected to tip. If you think the barman did a great job, giving you a very good service, well it is up to you and of course you can tip them. Usually we tip them (if we feel like it) the price of half a pint, and usually while tipping them, you can say “Have one for yourself!”.

If you find yourself in a Gastro-Pub, those new ones with some sort of restaurant embedded, well, again, it is up to you. However, they really work pretty much like a restaurant so you might want to tip the waiter.

If you want to make sure the tip goes to a specific staff member who helped you, do not include the tip with your card payment but leave a cash tip.

At Take Away Shops.

You might see a tip jar next to the till. There’s no rule that says you have to tip, but usually we leave the extra change if we have paid cash. Which is very rare nowadays actually.

In Hotel

If a porter takes your luggage to your room, it is customary to tip them approximately £2. If you decide to order room service you can leave a tip, but it is up to you. In London majority of hotel workers don’t expect to be tipped unless they go the extra mile for you.pillows againts wooden headboard

However, some hotels have started introducing an optional service charge that can be added to your stay bill. This is mainly in High End Hotels, where staff members must keep things top Quality. You can opt to have the charge removed from your final bill.

Housekeepers are not usually tipped, but you can leave a tip in the room before you check out, please leave the tip on the pillow because this usually means the money has been left as a tip, and not forgotten by the customers.


If you get a haircut while in London it’s good manner to tip the hairdresser 10%. Even to a junior member of the team, especially because they get paid very little since they are actually learning the job.

Service Charge?!

No, it is not the same thing as a Tip, although many think so.

This will generally be added to your bill and there are very few chances this will go to your waiter as a tip. So, if you want to make sure your waiter gets the tip, leave cash. Yes, you can refuse to pay it, but the reasons must be valid, as such as a very bad service or inconvenient. Usually you are expected to pay for it. Most of the time part of the service charge goes to the employees, but the owner can keep a part of it, thing is…we will never know how much they keep.

In the UK service charge is often 12.5% of the bill amount in London.

I must say though, that many restaurant/cafes nowasdays manage the service charge correctly and to manage them in order to be paid out to the employees as non-tip wages on their paylisp. So the amount of extra money a waiter gets is actually “legally registered”, not “cash-in-hand”, and it is not taxed.

Compulsory service charge

Some restaurants add a compulsory service charge to your bill, and others leave it to your discretion. In essence you have the right to refuse to pay the service charge in either circumstance if the service falls below a reasonable standard.

If a service charge is compulsory, the restaurant must let you know before you start your dinner, it can be stated on the menu, for instance, or the waiter can inform you about it.  If they do not inform you, you can argue the service charge once it will get added to your bill.


Can I leave a tip with my Card?
yes you can.

Many businesses nowadays manage this tip with a system called TRONC. How the Tronc is managed and by whom, is mentioned in the employee’s contract.

The person who is responsible for the Tips left via Card Payment, known as the Troncmaster, is not usually a member of management, but it could be a head waiter. Service Charge can be managed by Tronc as well, because as I mentioned before, even service charge goes to employees sometimes.

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