The ultimate trip planning BLOG

Plan & book your dream trip

A Culinary Tour of Northern England

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

England, once known for its bland and dull dishes, has undergone a significant culinary transformation. Today, foodies will find a diverse array of fine local and traditional dishes, alongside a plethora of international cuisine options brought by the many immigrants who have settled in England over the past 60 years, particularly post-WWII.

Historically, the English were mostly farmers until the 19th-century industrial revolution, leading to the development of market towns in rural areas across the country. These market towns, chartered by the king, held designated market days where local farmers could showcase and sell their produce. Many of these market towns continue to host markets today, offering a delightful opportunity to find locally sourced fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat products, and a variety of street food stalls.

Our journey begins in London, exploring some of its renowned food markets, and extends northward to the Scottish border, concluding in Newcastle.

Popular itinerary for A Culinary Tour of Northern England:

Day 1: London

The largest and most renowned food market in London is Borough Market, situated in the Southwark area on the south banks of the River Thames. With a history dating back to the 13th century, the market offers a diverse selection of the best British products and international cuisine stalls.

While in the area, consider visiting the Tate Modern to explore modern and contemporary art, housed in the former Bankside Power Station. Additional options within a short walking distance from Borough Market include the battleship HMS Belfast and London’s iconic landmark, the Tower Bridge, where you can walk the glass walkway or explore the engine room.

To conclude the evening, unwind and savor the experience at one of the restaurants and bars in The Shard, London’s tallest tower. Early reservations are recommended.

Spend the night in London.

Day 2: The East Side of London

London’s East Side is home to the Broadway Market, with a legacy spanning 1000 years. Originating along a bustling cart-track dating back to Roman times, this vibrant market has evolved into a lively hub featuring a diverse array of shops. On Saturdays, more than 100 street stalls come to life, offering a spectrum of goods, including fresh produce, international street food, clothing, and housewares. Throughout the week, various cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and fresh product shops contribute to the market’s dynamic atmosphere. On sunny days, take the opportunity to pick up something delicious and enjoy a picnic along the banks of the Regent Canal.

An assortment of berliners, on display at Broadway Market in East London

While exploring the area, consider participating in a walking tour of the Shoreditch neighborhood, renowned for its street art, numerous art galleries, and youthful vibe. Shoreditch, once a residence for textile workers and immigrants, has transformed into a lively and bustling neighborhood. Taking a guided walking tour provides insights into the area’s history and offers a glimpse into the art created by the talented local artists.

Spend the night in London.

Day 3: London, continued

As a melting pot of cultures, London caters to every culinary preference and mood. One of the city’s most ethnically diverse markets is Brixton Village and Market, situated in the South-East. Boasting over 100 traders from around the globe, this market offers a culinary journey that spans China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Africa, France, and beyond. Prepare to indulge your taste buds with a variety of international flavors in a single day.

For an elevated food shopping experience, consider a visit to Eataly—a comprehensive Italian one-stop-shop offering a range of Italian products, sweets, wines, dairy, meat, as well as restaurants and cooking classes.

Another must-visit is the Harrods food emporium for delicacies and rare products like exotic fruits, caviar, seafood, wines, and spirits

Spend the night in London.

Brixton Village and Market, London.

Day 4: Stratford-Upon-Avon

Head north from London today in the direction of Ludlow (about 158 miles). Along the way, consider a delightful stop in Stratford-Upon-Avon, renowned as William Shakespeare’s birthplace and hometown. The small town center is easily navigable on foot, and there’s a charming park on the banks of the River Avon.

Start your visit with a tour of Shakespeare’s birth home, where, during the summer, you can enjoy live performances of Shakespeare’s works in the garden. Take a leisurely stroll to the riverside park and explore Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare’s final resting place lies.

Indulge in a traditional meal and savor a pint of ale or lager at one of the many welcoming pubs for lunch. Just beyond the town, make a stop at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, once the residence of Anne Hathaway’s family, Shakespeare’s wife. Occupied by family members until the early 20th century, the cottage is surrounded by lovely gardens.

Spend the night in Ludlow.

Day 5: Ludlow

Ludlow, located in the Shropshire region, is an historic market town on the Welsh border. Although it might be considered off the typical tourist path, Ludlow has earned its reputation as a culinary hub, second only to London. How did this quaint town become a haven for food enthusiasts?

Ludlow’s significance in the culinary world is rooted in its agricultural surroundings, where local small farms flourish. The town hosts bi-weekly markets and bi-monthly farmers’ markets, drawing farmers from the region to showcase and sell their produce. Notably, seven restaurants in Ludlow are featured in the Michelin guide.

Adding to Ludlow’s gastronomic allure are its three annual food festivals. The festivities kick off with a three-day event in November, setting the mood for Christmas. The spring festival, usually held in May, offers a blend of live music performances and local culinary delights. The main food festival spans three days in September, presenting a showcase of the region’s delectable and fresh produce. For those seeking a unique culinary experience, the Magnalonga Food and Drink Walk takes place in August. This event involves a scenic walk around Ludlow, featuring designated stops for refreshments and visits to local farms, distilleries, and breweries.

The backdrop for Ludlow’s vibrant food festivals is the historic Ludlow Castle, a structure dating back to the 12th century that welcomes visitors to explore its rich history.

Spend the night in Ludlow.

Ludlow Castle and the River Teme, Shropshire, UK.

Day 6: Stroke-On-Trent and Sheffield

Heading north towards York, we suggest making two noteworthy stops along the way. First up is Stoke-On-Trent, renowned as the pottery industry capital of England. This town served as the starting point for major fine English pottery brands. A visit to the captivating World of Wedgwood, the prestigious brand of pottery, is highly recommended. At the Wedgwood visitor center, you can explore the brand’s evolution, try your hand at crafting a unique piece in the Creative Studios, and acquire a kitchenware or tableware item as a souvenir. Take a moment to relax with a snack or coffee break at one of the eateries or bars on-site.

Next on the route is Sheffield, situated in the Yorkshire region. Originally a historic market town, Sheffield transformed into an industrial city specializing in steelworks during the 19th century. Today, the city is undergoing revitalization, with numerous new breweries and restaurants opening their doors in recent years. Emerging as a burgeoning hotspot for food enthusiasts, Sheffield invites you to explore its trendy restaurants for a delightful meal and drink.

Continue about 59 miles to York to spend the night.

Day 7: York

Northern England has a culinary tradition rooted in the hearty and comforting dishes prepared by the region’s working-class communities to warm their evenings and fuel their bodies. Yorkshire, in particular, is renowned for its signature dish—the Yorkshire pudding, a type of pastry that can be served as part of the first course or as a side in the main course, often complemented with gravy. Other notable dishes from the northern culinary repertoire include black pudding- a breakfast staple, sticky toffee pudding, and butter pie.

The city of York is a jewel in the north and holds significant historical importance in England. Originally a Roman settlement, York also served as a Viking stronghold during their invasion and occupation of England, referring to the town as Jorvik. The city is intricately linked to the House of York, a branch of the English royal family that played a role in the 15th century War of Roses.

Today, York is a major tourist destination in the north, surrounded by intact walls that offer visitors the opportunity to stroll above and enjoy an elevated view of the city. The iconic York Minster, showcasing magnificent English Gothic architecture, graces the cityscape. The Shambles, once a medieval butcher’s street, has transformed into a bustling shopping district with charming shops. Not far away, Clifford Tower is a remnant of York Castle, bearing witness to a gruesome massacre in the 12th century. Additionally, the Jorvik Viking Centre invites visitors to step back in time and experience life in a Viking town.

The York Minster, York, United Kingdom.

York boasts an impressive array of over 100 pubs in the city center, many of which have stood for centuries. A remarkable discovery reveals that more than 328 unique real ales are served across over 200 pubs in York. Undoubtedly, York is a culinary haven in the north, offering a delightful array of traditional northern English dishes alongside a fascinating selection of ales and lagers in every pub.

York is home to an annual food festival that takes place in September as well as a chocolate festival in March.

Spend the night in York.

Day 8: Heading to Newcastle upon Tyne

Embark on your journey by traveling approximately 87 miles north toward your final destination, Newcastle upon Tyne. Opt for the scenic route along the northeastern coast of England, passing through Robin Hood Bay and the picturesque coastal town of Whitby. The haunting ruins of Whitby Abbey, known to have inspired Bram Stoker’s creation of “Dracula,” are located here. Notably, Whitby was once home to Captain Thomas Cook, and his former residence has been transformed into a museum dedicated to his legacy.

Alternatively, you can choose a route that takes you through Durham, an ancient cathedral town in the north. Durham’s city center, surrounded by the lovely River Wear on three sides, forms a natural peninsula that provided protection in ancient times. The Gothic splendor of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, now part of the university buildings, are perched majestically atop the hill and offer fascinating visits.

Spend the night in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Day 9: Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne, traditionally known as a major hub of heavy industry in the north, surprisingly boasts a vibrant street food scene that has flourished in the city. The historic Grainger Market, centrally located, is recognized as one of the finest indoor markets in all of England with stalls offering fresh produce, arts and crafts, vintage items, souvenirs, and, of course, a variety of street food options. For a diverse culinary experience with an array of tastes and aromas, Hawker Market under the iconic Tyne Bridge on Gateshead Quayside is a must-visit.

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

For those seeking international flavors, additional markets to explore include the Quayside Market on Sundays, Tynemouth Market on Saturdays and Sundays, and Jesmond Food Market occurring on the third Saturday of every month. Each of these markets provides a delightful opportunity to savor a wide range of global cuisines.

Sleep in Newcastle upon Tyne.

For your return trip back home, Newcastle has an international airport with flights to US destinations.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Routeperfect Blog Worldwide

Routeperfect is the ultimate trip-planning tool. We help you create your dream trip based on your travel preferences, budget and style.

Recent Posts



subscribe to our newsletter