If you close your eyes, think of the United Kingdom, and imagine the sound of trumpets playing music, you can hear the song, right? It’s royal fanfare, and brings to mind the Union Jack, guards in red coats and big hats, and royalty. The reality is that there’s way more to the U.K. than the monarchy – despite the country’s name – and Britain’s long-held reputation as a bad food destination is completely wrong.
Anthony Bourdain visited the United Kingdom many times during his career, at least once during each of his four main shows. I’m sure he visited other times off-screen, since he regularly references other trips and places he loves. While we can’t know the full list of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in the United Kingdom, there are plenty we do know and that you can easily visit.
Across the U.K., you can find incredible restaurants and awesome dishes; some are traditional British options, and others showcase the many cultures of those who have come to call the country home. Anthony Bourdain loved and appreciated this diversity as he explored throughout the U.K., and took special care to disabuse viewers of their ideas that “British food is bad.”
If you’re planning a trip to the U.K. and want to eat at some of the same places visited by Anthony Bourdain in the United Kingdom, you’ve come to the right place. This article covers everywhere that Tony ate in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – and discusses the sad fact that he never visited Wales. You’ll also find links to more in-depth guides that can help you plan a delicious trip, no matter what part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland you’re planning to visit. (Yep, that’s the full name of the U.K.!)
Ready to sink your teeth into it? Read on for a country-by-country breakdown of everywhere Anthony Bourdain ate in the U.K.
As the largest country in the U.K. and home to the most populous city, it’s no surprise that Anthony Bourdain visits more places in England than elsewhere in the country. Below you’ll find a short recap of Tony’s many London adventures as well as a few other places he visited in England over the course of his career.
London is one of the cities that Anthony Bourdain visied more than many; he filmed four episodes there – one in each of his major shows. As such, he ate a lot of places in London! Even better, most of these places are still open today, even 20+ years on from his visits.
Rather than inculde the entire list of places he ate, here are some highlights:
- St. John Restaurant was hands down Anthony Bourdain’s favorite place to eat in London. He visits a St. John’s outpost in every single episode filmed there.
- Borough Market is a must-visit for anyone who considers themselves a foodie – and those who look down on the term with disdain, as Bourdain did. Food vendors here will impress both types.
- Smith’s of Smithfield for a perfect full English breakfast.
- Rochelle Canteen is owned by Margot Henderson – wife of St. John’s Chef Fergus Henderson – and another spot for fantastic food.
- Finally, Tony always loves a good pub, and visits Princess Victoria, The Two Chairman, and The Hunter S..
If you want to see the entire list of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in London, be sure to check out my guide.
To share the other places visited by Anthony Bourdain in England, I have organized them out of order – but you’ll see why as you read them.
Yew Tree Inn (Highclere, CLOSED)
First, I want to highlight the Yew Tree Inn, even though it’s closed, as it was the first place that Anthony Bourdain met with Chef Marco Pierre White. This traditional-style pub had an elevated food menu thanks to White’s style and Michelin-starred reputation. There, Bourdain tries a number of traditional English meals, including quails eggs with hollandaise sauce, roast venison, Omelette Arnold Bennett, and roast partridge a la Anglaise with English sausage, chestnuts, Brussel sprouts, pate mousse crouton, and bread sauce.
The Rudloe Arms (Bath)
Tony’s next visit and meal with Chef Marco Pierre White at his estate, The Rudloe Arms. The two chefs reconnect during a walk around the estate’s grounds, and then sit down to enjoy a meal including pan roasted beef filet with escargot and pig’s trotter a la Pierre Koffmann. Bourdain is still impressed and I might even say awestruck by White, and the two continue their friendship on-screen and off.
The Marlboro (Weymouth)
Speaking of that friendship, another place that Bourdain and White eat – which isn’t owned by White – is The Marlboro in Weymouth near the coast. After heading out on the water together, the chefs tuck into warming comfort food including fish and Chips and a self-made “Chip Buttie” with mushy peas.
The Chequers Inn (Kent)
The final place that Anthony Bourdain eats in England outside of London is The Chequers Inn in Smarden, Kent. There he meets with artist Ralph Steadman, who did work for Hunter S. Thompson (tying into his Parts Unknown visit to London. In addition to the requisite pints that one must always drink in a good English pub, the two artists enjoy runny egg in parma ham fried in breadcrumbs, prawn cocktail, fish and chips with mushy peas, and steak and stilton pie
Next up, let’s jump across the Irish sea to Northern Ireland. While Northern Ireland is often overlooked by visitors in the U.K. and/or lumped in when people are planning trips to Ireland, ther are a few places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Northern Ireland, specifically in the capital city of Belfast.
Of the three places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Belfast, only two are still open today:
Read my complete guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Belfast, and what he ate at each spot.
Additionally, Bourdain enjoys a full (Northern) Irish breakfast on the train from Belfast to Dublin during his Ireland trip. It includes all the basics (bacon rashers, sausage, black and white pudding, eggs, hashbrowns, and toast) as well as Ulster-fried potato bread, which is the Northern Irish take. I didn’t even know there was a train to Belfast, but it looks like a great train ride!
While Anthony Bourdain loved London, I think his heart was truly in Scotland, and he visited it almost as often. While he does spend time in Edinburgh, it’s clear he prefers Glasgow and plans two specific trips to the Highlands for rugged hunting adventures. If you want a more complete recap of the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Scotland, I have a guide for it.
Of all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Edinburgh, there’s only one still open today: The Oxford Bar. This watering hole is famous from author Ian Rankin’s detective thriller series, and in fact Bourdain meets Rankin there to discuss Edinburgh’s non-touristy side and explore after a pint of Guinness.
Tony also spends time in Leith, which is technically part of Edinburgh though many will clarify that it is clearly a separate community. The only place in Leith that’s still open today is The Kitchin, a long-time one-star Michelin restaurant. This restaurant focuses on showing off Scottish food made to French cuisine standards, and Tony greatly enjoys his meal here.
As I mentioned, Anthony Bourdain states several times how much he loves Glasgow, Scotland’s second city and much overlooked by travelers for Edinburgh.
Glasgow is well worth a visit if you’re planning to explore Scotland and follow Bourdain’s advice. Here are the places he visited in Glasgow.
- Jinty McGuinty’s Pub (29 Ashton Lane)
- Mother India (28 Westminster Terrace)
- Rogano (11 Exchange Place)
- University Cafe (87 Byres Road)
Be sure to read my complete guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow if you want to know what he ate and other details.
No trip to Scotland is complete without a journey up into the Highlands; Anthony Bourdain says it, and my friends and I obviously agree as we too made the trek from Edinburgh to Loch Lomond during our short Scotland trip a few years ago.
During his Highland adventures, Bourdain visits two unique properties that include accommodations and meals:
- He visits Drynachan Lodge for a hunting holiday; the chef there makes locally-oriented dishes like nettle soup, poached salmon with whiskey cream, and Poacher’s Stew of wine-marinated rabbit, venison, mushrooms, leeks, cabbage, and herbs.
- Later, he stays at Letterewe Estate. This private rental comes with full staff, and Tony and the staff enjoy some incredible meals here – including from the stag he takes and field dresses on a Highlands hunt.
I wanted to include Wales as I’m a completionist and it didn’t seem fair to leave out one of the four countries within the U.K., even though Anthony Bourdain never visited Wales (on screen anyway). Wales is one of the most surprising places Tony never visited, in my opinion, and I would have really loved to hear his thoughts on Cardiff, Welsh food, and the unique aspects of Welsh culture and language within the U.K.
Have any questions about these places visited (and not visited) by Anthony Bourdain in the United Kingdom? Let me know in the comments!