5 Traditional British Foods You Have to Try

While visiting Cambridge, you simply must sample some traditional British food! British people love to eat, whether sweet treats or hearty meals, and there are many shops and restaurants in Cambridge where you can sample typical British cuisine at its best.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea has been a British tradition since 1840. It was originally conceived as a ‘mini meal’ to stave off hunger pangs before dinner. Afternoon tea comprises little ‘finger sandwiches,’ scones with jam and cream, and small cakes, all washed down with a pot of tea. Read our Afternoon Tea blog post.

Where to have afternoon tea in Cambridge:
Orchard Tea Garden
Varsity Hotel
The Tamburlaine

Fish & Chips

British people love going to the seaside – even if the weather is often a little cold and grey! No trip to the seaside is complete without a hearty portion of fish and chips. The fish must be fried and battered, and the whole dish should be drenched in vinegar and sprinkled liberally with salt. This traditional British food is also a popular takeaway option – particularly as a Friday night treat.

Did you know? The slang term for a fish and chip shop is ‘the chippy.’

Where to have fish and chips in Cambridge:
The Viking
The Codfather
Sea Tree

Chelsea Bun

The Chelsea bun was first created around 1700 at the Old Chelsea Bun House in London. Reportedly, on the first day of sale, 50,000 people queued up to buy one! We’re not surprised, as these sweet, sticky treats are quite delicious! The indulgent bun is made from egg-enriched yeast dough flavoured with lemon peel, cinnamon or mixed spice, containing a mixture of currants, brown sugar and butter. Chelsea buns are a true English institution, having featured in works by famous authors Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll.

Where to have Chelsea buns in Cambridge:

Chelsea buns - a traditional British food

Fitzbillies’ famous Chelsea buns

Sunday Roast

A Sunday roast, or ‘roast dinner,’ is traditionally served on Sunday (hence the name!) at lunchtime. The meal comprises a roasted meat accompanied by roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Yorkshire puddings are often included – these are savoury baked batter puddings which are excellent for mopping up the gravy! The Sunday roast originated in England as a meal to be eaten after church. Nowadays, most English pubs will offer a roast dinner every Sunday.

Where to have a Sunday roast in Cambridge:
St. John’s Chophouse
Clarendon Arms
Pint Shop

The ‘Full English’ Breakfast

Perhaps the most famous traditional British food of them all, the full English breakfast (often shortened to just ‘full English,’ or ‘fry-up’) is the only way to start your day – although contrary to popular belief, most British people do not eat this every morning, instead saving it for a weekend treat. Essential components of a fry-up are sausages, bacon, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms and fried bread or toast with butter. Black pudding, baked beans, bubble and squeak and hash browns may also be included. A cup of tea is the perfect beverage to accompany this substantial meal.

Where to have a full English breakfast in Cambridge:
Broadway Buttery
Harriet’s Tea Rooms
The Copper Kettle


Have you tried any of these traditional British foods?