There’s no better way to start the day than with a full English breakfast.
One of the staples of British cuisine, the full breakfast started in the decadent dining rooms of Victorian Britain and was cemented in contemporary culture by 1950s workers looking for a filling meal to get them through the day.
The version we know today comes from Edwardian England, and traditionally comprises bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, baked beans, grilled tomatoes and toast, although of course, variations abound.
Visitors to London can sample this British classic in many venues around the city, from upscale restaurants to retro greasy spoons. Wherever you find yourself in the city, these are some of the best English breakfasts in London for a stellar start to the day.
1. Westminster: Regency Cafe
Often referred to as one of the best breakfast spots in London, Regency Cafe has been serving up the full English breakfast since 1946. The no-frills cafe has retained its post-war charm with red-checkered curtains and Formica tables, and its retro look has attracted filmmakers—it’s been featured in movies like “Layer Cake,” “Brighton Rock,” and “Pride,” as well as TV shows like “Judge John Deed” and “Rescue Me.”
Its English breakfast includes egg, bacon, sausage, and beans or tomato, but diners can add on black pudding, hash browns or bubble and squeak for a little extra. Pick between tea or coffee, and bread or toast to complete the set for a satisfying start to the day.
2. City of London: Hawksmoor Guildhall
A bonafide meat feast, Hawkwmoor Guildhall serves up one of the most epic full English breakfasts across London, in a prime location in the heart of the city. Dark paneled wood gives this place a classic feel, and the English breakfast here is authentic to Britain’s passion for quality meat.
Grab a friend and get the sharing plate: served in a cast-iron pan, chow down on pork, beef, and mutton sausages, a smoked bacon chop, black pudding, short-rib bubble and squeak, baked beans, fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, roast tomatoes and the unique highlight, melt-in-the-mouth grilled bone marrow. This enormous meal comes with unlimited toast, so you’re unlikely to leave hungry.
3. Greenwich: Heap’s Sausages
As the name suggests, the star of the show at Heap’s is the sausages. Chef Martin Heap makes mouthwatering gourmet bangers in a variety of flavors, made with top-quality meat and natural casings. Diners can choose from the classic Smithfield Breakfast Sausage to exciting seasonal ingredients like the festive Pork Chestnut and Bacon Sausage, or flavors from further afield like the South African “Boerewors” Sausage with pork and beef.
In addition to the made-on-site sausages, the full English “Breakfast Plate” comes with bacon, beans, mushroom, eggs and toast.
4. Hackney: E. Pellicci
Said to be London’s oldest family-run cafe, this East London eatery opened its doors in 1900. While the menu has Italian influences, breakfast—which is served all day—takes on a distinctly English flare.
Pellici’s full English breakfast uses Cumberland sausages with all the trimmings, and there’s a veggie breakfast too for vegetarians looking to try one of London’s best English breakfast experiences meat-free. You’ll be in good company at this greasy spoon, too: over the years, it’s hosted A-list celebrities including “Friends” star David Schwimmer, Irish actor Colin Farrell, and English actor Tom Hardy.
5. Islington: Dishoom King’s Cross
Dishoom is already regarded as one of London’s top Indian restaurants, but it’s also home to one of London’s top full English breakfasts, with an Indian-fusion twist.
The Big Bombay breakfast plate includes streaky bacon, Shropshire pork sausages, tofu akuri (similar to scrambled eggs), masala beans, grilled tomato and mushrooms, and homemade buns. There are five locations around the city, but the King’s Cross venue transports you back in time to a chic 20th-century railway bar—and it’s perfect for those passing through the city, too.
6. Camden: Aprés Food Co.
If you think that “full English” equals “unhealthy,” think again. This trendy Camden cafe is run by nutritional therapist Catherine and hospitality expert and entrepreneur Danny, and uses nutritional science to deliver high-quality, nutrient-dense delicious plates.
The Aprés Full English includes over 30 ingredients: from the free-range bacon and pork sausage, to the roasted mushroom and tomato, to fresh homemade bread, everything here is consciously plated for an extra feel-good factor.
7. Kensington & Chelsea: The Ivy
A chic flower-filled brasserie in the heart of Kensington, The Ivy always feels like spring, and with an al fresco terrace, you can start your morning with vitamin D and a stellar fry up: smokey bacon, Cumberland sausage, fried eggs, black pudding, roasted plum tomatoes, grilled mushroom and baked beans, all served with toast. Plus, there’s a veggie option for those looking to skip the meat, served with halloumi, avocado, and potato hash instead. This picture-perfect venue is just as ideal for a classy Saturday brunch with friends as it is for solo mornings with a book and cuppa.
8. Southwark: Maria’s Market Cafe
It doesn’t get more old-school than Maria’s Market Cafe, where owner Maria Moruzzi has been serving up a no-frills English breakfast for over 55 years after taking over the cafe from her parents. Located in the legendary Borough Market, one of London’s oldest and largest food markets, Maria’s is an essential part of any foodie itinerary here. Diners can choose different combinations of egg, bacon, tomato, sausage, black pudding, and the cafe’s famous bubble and squeak for a customized full English.
9. Tower Hamlets: Duck & Waffle
For an upmarket twist on the full English breakfast, don’t miss out on Duck & Waffle’s brunch offerings with spectacular views across the city, from the famous Gherkin to the River Thames. The 40th-floor, 24-hour restaurant in London’s business district serves up breakfast from 6 a.m., perfect for early risers and morning meetings. The full English includes Lincolnshire sausages, dry-cured bacon, eggs, tomato, mushroom, hash browns and a cheddar and buttermilk scone.
10. Wandsworth: The Breakfast Club
As you’d perhaps expect from somewhere called The Breakfast Club, breakfast is kind of their thing, and they do one of the best English breakfasts in London. With multiple locations around the city, you’re never far from a fry-up, be it morning, noon or night, but the Battersea Rise location is home to the brand’s—and maybe the world’s—first “Breakfast Pub.”
The Full Monty is a glorious plate of bacon, sausage, black pudding, potatoes, mushrooms, tomato, beans, eggs and toast. Make it a boozy brunch, and grab a Bloody Mary cocktail or a pint of Camden Pale Ale to wash it down.
Hungry for more insights into British food and where it comes from? Join Shabby to Discover England’s History Through 10 Dishes on our brand new live experience. You’ll hear about more than 2,000 years of history: royalty and peasants, palaces and slums, empires and invasions… and a whole lot of mouthwatering cuisine. You’ll never look at British food in the same way again!
Rebecca is a writer and editor who covers all things travel. An avid foodie and runner, she splits her time between seeking out the best eats and exploring offbeat trails, which she writes about on her blog JetSetCreate. Whenever she’s in London, you can find her jogging in Hyde Park or relaxing with a book in a Soho coffee shop.