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A Guide To Tipping

Tipping is a strange system to understand in the UK. Where and when you should feel obliged to tip varies so much it’s hard to know what you should so. We devised a guide to tipping.

A Guide To Tipping – Hotels

In the UK, most hotel workers don’t expect tips to come their way unless they do something special for you. The pricier hotels may see you expected to tip as standard for the smallest of tasks.  Some hotels have started instituting an optional service charge that they add to your bill. Often this is at hotels with spa and gym facilities. Here, many staff members know it is their duty to to keep things in tip-top shape. If you’d rather have more say in how much you tip, you can opt to have the charge removed from your bill. A bellhop helping you with bags should see you tip them. It is up to you to decide how much. Often a couple of pounds is sufficient. Five pounds or more perhaps at top-end hotels. Other reasons to tip may be a doorman calling you a taxi, though personally i think that is part of their job

Restaurants and Bars

When dining out,  restaurants may add a service charge of 12-15 percent to your bill, but the practice is not universal in U.K. If it is included, there is no reason to tip. You may wish to though if you considered the service of top quality. Again it is open to your discretion. With no charge included, a 10% tip is standard and what i always adhere to. I may go over slightly, but i try never to go under. I would not tip for an awful experience, but i have been lucky on that front. Personally i can count the number of times i have not tipped on one hand.  


With pubs, it is rather dependent on price. At my cheap local, i am happy to tip every round i buy. But in other pubs, where a pint is double the price, i simply cannot afford to be so generous. The price of alcohol has really shot up in recent times.

A Guide To Tipping – Transport

In the U.K., it’s typical to tip your cab driver. Usually, it’s customary to round up to the nearest pound, but for a metered taxi ride, tipping 10 percent of the total fare would be fine. Truth is, any tip is great, as not everyone will tip a driver.


At the end of a guided tour, it’s customary to give your guide a small tip for a job well done. This is especially true of a free tour, where income is made from tips at the end. It is only fair you contribute to their time and expertise.  It is for you to decide what is appropriate.

Spas and Salons

Tipping at spas is not common practice in the United Kingdom, but if you get your hair cut or your nails done, you should tip the stylist. At a hair salon, tip your stylist at 10 percent of the total bill. Manicurists too should be tipped at 10 percent of the total bill. My barbers charges £9 for a cut, so i always pay a round ten pounds.

What happens to tip money?

This depends on the company and its own internal policy. Some companies let staff pocket their own tips directly, whereas others distribute a pot of tips at the end of a shift equally among all staff, including chefs and kitchen porters.

This can cause problems because some waiters claim they should get to keep the money when it’s their good service being tipped. 

Other companies offer a “tronc” system for tips paid on card. The company appoints someone called a troncmaster who is responsible for distributing tips to staff. This representative can be appointed internally or externally but again, this can sometimes causes problems where representatives take a cut of the tips for running the tronc. 

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