Food Glorious Food
London has always been a favourite city for tourists thanks to its history, famous sights and vibrant culture. Now it's celebrated among foodies as a gastronomic capital too.
Since the late 1990s London has steadily climbed up the list of global gourmet destinations and is now one of the most dynamic, diverse restaurant cultures in the world.
International chefs have chosen London as their base, world-class restaurants have opened and the city's street food scene is among the most cosmopolitan in Europe.
Gone are the days of being best known for signature dishes like fish and chips, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and sausage and mash!
This turnaround is also reflected in the rising number of food festivals staged in the capital and around the country throughout the year. Summer and the festive season are the most popular times, so check out the ones below and join London's foodie revolution. If you miss one, search the internet for others.
The London Restaurant Festival is held throughout June and again in October. Across these months, restaurants and cafes play host to a variety of events and tastings to suit every palate.
Local Accommodation: Luxurious Mayfair Home by Hyde Park
The Taste of London Festival, is held across five days in Regent's Park (June 15th - 19th). Here you can sample signature dishes from London's best restaurants, peruse stalls from artisan producers and watch cooking demonstrations and masterclasses. The city's multicultural restaurant scene really comes together at this annual Festival so it's well worth a visit with a Festive edition too.
Local Accommodation: Classic home and garden in Bloomsbury
At Hampton Court Palace, there is a three-day food festival over August Bank Holiday weekend with street food, pop-up bars, artisan producers plus face painting and a children's trail.
Local Accommodation: Modern Kingston Home close to Hampton Court Palace
If combining history with a special dining experience is your thing try The Glass Rooms on the wharf at The Tower of London. Until September, twelve glass pods with panoramic views of the River Thames, Tower Bridge and The Shard have pride of place with a menu inspired by British growers and farmers.
Local Accommodation: Charming home with roof terrace in East London
The Food Forever Summer Festival at Kew Gardens weaves together art, sustainability and food. The aim of the programme is to ask visitors to reflect on how they can eat to transform the planet positively.
Local Accommodation: Traditional Richmond Home by Twickenham Green
Attractions include art installations, including two giant trolls made from scrap wood and guest menus devised by chefs with the emphasis on sustainable food production. The Festival runs at Kew until mid September.
The National Geographic Traveller Food Festival is back in mid-July at the London Business Design Centre. It's described as a 'culinary adventure' where you can sample food and drink from around the world and watch demonstrations from world-class chefs.
Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge created the Pub In The Park food and music festival tour and it's now the biggest in the UK. The event brings together world cuisine and music performances. Catch it at Dulwich Park (June 24th-26th) or Chiswick House & Gardens (September 2nd-4th).
Another food festival taking place at the same time is Meatopia at London's Tobacco Dock (September 2nd - 4th). Founded in the US, each year the world's best 'live-fire' chefs cook an exclusive dish over sustainably-sourced wood and charcoal.
British beer fans shouldn't miss the Great British Beer Festival (August 2nd - 6th) at Olympia where visitors can taste real ales and international beers alongside street food and live entertainment. There's also the chance to take part in traditional pub games!
Oktoberfest is a traditional German celebration of beer, bratwurst and other Bavarian dishes that originated in 1810 and since 2011 London has got in on the act. This year it will take place in October and early November in various London locations.
The Just V Show at the ExCeL (July 1st - 3rd) is a summer celebration of vegan, vegetarian and plant-based living. It's the ideal place to taste and buy the best in plant-based foods. Another vegan lifestyle show, Vegfest UK, takes place at Olympia (November 12th-13th).
Hopefully this has given you food for thought in planning your next trip to London. According to the famous cook Julia Child "People who love to eat are always the best people."