Tipping in the UK: Complete & Foolproof Guide

Made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the UK is a fascinating place for visitors.

You can look forward to diverse landscapes, attractions, sights, and cultures when you pay a visit to the UK.

No matter which part of the UK you visit, you will find plenty to see and do. Britain has a rich heritage and proud traditions.

When it comes to tipping in the UK, there can be slight variations depending on which part of Great Britain you visit. However, in general, tipping is the same across the board.

In this guide, we will look at the tipping in the UK, enabling you to be better prepared for your trip.

Do You Tip in the UK?

Tipping is not mandatory or automatically expected, but the gesture is welcomed.

No matter where you go in the UK, there is no obligation for you to tip. However, for staff in some service and hospitality industries, the gesture is welcomed and appreciated.

Of course, you do not have to tip for all services you receive. In addition, the amount you tip should be based on the type and level of service you get.

Tipping Customs to Keep in Mind

Service and hospitality staff appreciate tips from customers, but they are not expected or mandatory.

While tipping is not expected or mandatory in the UK, it is well worth remembering these points: 

  • A tip in the service and hospitality industry is generally always appreciated
  • Tips can be given in case or added on machines if you pay by card
  • While tips are generally 10-15%, you can tip more for great service if you wish

Tipping Restaurants in the UK

You can base your tip on how good the service was when you dine at restaurants in the UK.

If you dine out at a sit-down restaurant in the UK, you will normally be presented with your bill at the end. You then have the option to pay a tip – but make sure a service charge has not already been included.

Some points to remember are: 

  • Service charges may be added already, particularly in larger cities like London
  • If there is no service charge, aim to tip around 10-15%
  • You can tip more than this if you feel the service was exceptional
  • If you receive bad service and a service charge has been added already, you can ask for it to be removed

Tipping Tour Guides in the UK

Often, people on the tour will have a whip-round for tours and drivers.

tipping in the UK

There are many wonderful places you can visit across the UK. Taking a group or private tour is a great way to explore these areas. Some things to remember are: 

  • Those on a group tour often have a whip-round at the end of the tour for both the guide and the driver
  • If this does not happen, you can offer your own tip of 10% of the tour price for a group tour
  • For a private tour, you should consider paying 15% of the price of the tour

Suggested: How to Spend a 3-Day Stopover in London

Tipping in Hotels or Guesthouses in the UK

You can tip for certain services in hotels and guesthouses should you wish.

There are many different types of accommodation in the UK, from quaint bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels. You can tip for certain services in hotels and guesthouses if you wish to. Here are some points to keep in mind: 

  • You can tip the luggage porter a small amount for carrying your bags
  • If you eat at the hotel restaurant, normal restaurant tipping applies
  • If you order room service, you can tip the employee that brings your food/drink a few pounds

Tipping Taxis, Shuttles and Coaches in the UK

Tipping taxi drivers is a common occurrence in the UK.

When it comes to tipping drivers, it depends on the mode of transport you use.

This could include using shuttles to and from the airport, coaches for excursions, and taxis to get around. Some points to keep in mind are: 

  • If your shuttle driver helps with baggage, tipping a couple of pounds is acceptable
  • For coach drivers taking you on group excursions, a whip-round is often arranged, or you can just leave a few pounds for the driver
  • With taxis, you can round up the fare, tell the driver to keep the change or give them a few pounds on top of the fare by way of a tip. The amount will depend on the length and cost of your journey

Tipping in Bars and Pubs in the UK

Many people buy the bartender a drink or use a tip jar in the UK.

Tipping is not expected in bars and pubs, and many people do not tip when buying drinks at the bar. However, there are ways to give a tip if you wish to. This includes: 

  • You can offer to buy the bartender a drink
  • You can tell them to keep the change
  • There may be a tip jar you can put some change into
  • If you have a bar tab, you can tip 10% of the total

Many pubs and bars in the UK offer food and casual dining. In this instance, you can pay a 10-15% tip once you receive the bill for your food and drinks.

Tipping Barbers, Spas and Hair Salons in the UK

Many people leave a 10% tip for salons and spa professionals.

While you are visiting the UK, you may want to spoil yourself with a new haircut, a massage, or other spa treatments. The amount you tip in these places will depend on the type of treatment and service you receive. However, there is no obligation to tip. 

In terms of tipping, here are a few pointers to help you: 

  • For hairdressers, aim to tip 10% of the total cost
  • Leave a couple of pounds tip for the hair washer if you wish
  • For spa services such as massage, budget for around 10% of the cost