Traveling to the UK? The UK is a proud nation and even though they are not always offended easily it’s good to adhere to certain rules for tipping and etiquette.
Tipping in the United Kingdom can be embarrassing and awkward, like in many other places, if it’s not done correctly. However, persons are not always expected to tip in the UK as they would in Canada and the United States.
It is not common for dine in restaurants to add a 10% or 12.5% charge automatically to their bills. Even if this is not done, a tip of about 10% is probably expected. This expectation will vary in the fine dining restaurants, whereas tipping is not a general practice in most casual establishments.
You are definitely not expected to tip when meals and drinks are ordered at the counter. This includes places such as fast food, coffee shops, cafeterias, clubs, pubs or bars.
You are not required to tip in the taxis. It is customary for persons in metered taxis to round up the fare to the nearest pound, as a convenience to driver and passenger. It would not be inappropriate to add a couple extra on top.
Porters expect to get a cash tip and a reasonable amount would be about £2. You are not required to tip room service for drinks/food or the chambermaid for cleaning your room. However, it would be considerate to have a few coins to leave as tips for these persons.
Hair, massage and other related services
Spas charge all-inclusive rates for treatments so you are not expected to tip for these services.
You should always use the right nationality whenever you are referring to a UK resident. Remember that the country comprises of the English, Northern Irish, Welsh and Scottish.
Giving someone a limp handshake in the UK is perceived as insincere and rude. In fact, it’s usually the norm to shake hand only in business settings. You can observe and take the lead from others in an informal setting. Leading with a very strong handshake might seem over familiar.
Always avoid the controversial lines during conversation, especially if you are not familiar with the people you are talking to. Avoid topics relating to racism, religion, criticism of government, homophobia and so on.
Avoid using the reverse peace sign or your middle finger. These are very insulting and you could get in serious trouble if they are used incorrectly.
It’s good to make eye contact when listening or talking to someone. This shows sincerity and interest. Try not to stare as this is considered very rude.
You should not talk loudly while on your cellphone/mobile as this is considered very ill-mannered.
Avoid excessive kissing and hugging in public. It is fine to give someone close to you a small peck on the lips or cheek and an embrace when saying hello or even goodbye.
These are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when it comes to UK tipping and etiquette.