Things to see and do | Food & drink | Top 10 regional foods

Top 10 regional foods

Britain's bountiful larder

From the swollen sweetness of Scottish raspberries to simple crab sandwiches on a Devon quayside, fresh British food is back on the map. Our top 10 local dishes represent only the tiniest taster of our islands' bountiful larder so get an appetite, get touring and get tasting.

Arbroath Smokies, Arbroath, Scotland

An Arbroath Smokie is a haddock that has been salted and smoked over hardwood to produce a fish with an intense, rich smoky flavour and burnished copper colouring. The fish are now protected by the European Commission in the same way as Champagne – only haddock smoked in the traditional manner within an 8km radius of Arbroath are considered the genuine article. These days they’re exported all over the world and few producers rival Iain Spink.

Gower Salt Marsh Lamb, Gower Peninsula, Wales

These lambs graze on Llanrhidian Marsh, part of the National Trust's Weobley Castle Farm on the Gower Peninsula. This tidal marsh supports the salt-tolerant grasses and herbs of samphire, sorrel, sea lavender and thrift that the lambs feed on. This gives Gower Salt Marsh Lamb its distinct, rich flavour sought after by top chefs and restaurateurs the world over.

Laverbread, South Wales

The quintessential South Wales ingredient is made from Laver seaweed boiled for several hours to form a black, mineral-rich puree. This can be then used as a rich base for stock or sauce or added to oatmeal and fried into cakes as part of a traditional Welsh breakfast. Try Laverbread at Swansea Market or buy online at the dedicated Laverbread website.

Haggis, Scotland

We all know haggis. Or do we? This Chieftain O’ The Puddin’ Race, as described by Robert Burns, is an allusive little critter, which is strange considering its supposed ubiquity north of the border. So what actually is it? Well, recipes vary, but generally, haggis is the minced offal of a sheep, pig or cow mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, spices and seasoning boiled in the stomach of the animal (or more contemporary synthetic equivalent). Not for the squeamish, then, but if you hunt down good quality haggis you’d be surprised how delicious it is.

Pie and mash and jellied eels, London

These traditional working class staples were once sold throughout East and South London and still survive if you know where to look. Simple meat pies are served with a scoop of mash and green liquor sauce made from parsley. If you’re feeling brave you can also try eels boiled in gelatine, a tradition that remains from the days when eels where the only fish hardy enough to survive in the polluted River Thames. Traditional pie and mash shops are worth a visit for their traditional decor alone. Manze's in Tower Bridge Road is a splendid example as is F Cooke on Broadway Market in Hackney.

Pork pies, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

There are pork pies and then there are golden, hand-crimped pastry treasure chests encasing the best cuts of pork and the richest jelly. And the place to unearth these nuggets of perfection? Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. Visit the Dickinson and Morris pie shop in the centre of town to find the original and best pies and to try your hand at making your own.

Colchester Oysters, Essex

The Romans first popularised these tangy molluscs found off the Essex coast. And Colchester Natives are considered some of the world’s best. Flatter and rounder than the more common "rock" or "gigas" oyster, they are also sweeter, creamier and much more delicate. One of the most famous suppliers is Richard Haward based in Mersea Island where the oysters were famously dubbed by the Romans as “the only good thing to come out of Britain”.

British Cheese

We’ve cheated a wee bit here and included cheese in general. It’s a nationwide obsession that comes in a bewildering array of styles and flavours. Try tangy blue Stilton, made by law at only 6 dairies worldwide, tasty, nettle-wrapped Yarg from Cornwall or the original and best Cheddar from the West Country. Or seek out cheeses like the squishy Stinking Bishop renowned for its outrageous pong, crumbly Caerphilly, a favourite of Welsh miners or Caboc a cheese from the Scottish Highlands served on a bed of toasted oats.

Venison, Scotland

Venison, along with other types of Scottish game is one of Scotland's most famous products with a robust, rich flavour. Prime cuts such as the haunch or saddle are most often roasted, medallion steaks can be pan-fried while less tender cuts can be stewed or used for mince, burgers or sausages. Venison is best paired with strongly flavoured sauces and fruit like redcurrants and sloes.

Cornish Pasty, Cornwall

Another local legend that has been tainted by mass production is the Cornish pasty. The Cornish Pasty Association states that “a genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive 'D' shape and is crimped on one side, never on top. The texture of the filling for the pasty is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede or turnip, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning”. So, there you have it. Accept no imitations, head to Cornwall and track down the real thing.

Learn more about Britain’s regional foods:

England | Wales | Scotland

DiscountsAnd Deals

Save time and money before you travel!

We have over 150 Britain products in our online shop. From transport tickets to popular attractions and sightseeing passes, we have everything in store.

View all products
BritRail GB Flexi Pass

SPECIAL OFFER - Unlimited rail travel in England, Scotland and Wales.

BritRail GB Flexi Pass
From £159
BritRail GB Consecutive Pass

SPECIAL OFFER - Unlimited rail travel in England, Scotland and Wales.

BritRail GB Consecutive Pass
From £125
  • City breaks
    • Giants Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland Source:Andras Jancsik
      Belfast travel guide

      Learn everything about Belfast from its historic landmarks like Belfast Castle and Belfast City Hall to its unique blend of traditional and...

    • View of the City from banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow, Scotland Source:© Britainonview / - Britain on View

      Known as Scotland's style capital with its art deco brasseries, stylish shops and cultural centres, Glasgow boasts more than 30 museums and...

    • Wales Millennium Centre Source:© Britainonview / David Angel

      Cardiff, vibrant capital city of Wales offers visitors fantastic shopping, lively nightlife, a thriving arts and culture scene and history dating...

    • Tate Liverpool Source:© e-peps (Flickr)

      Fall in love with Liverpool, with its charming locals, world-famous music scene, and amazing shopping. The perfect blend of old and new, this...

    • Views to Tower Bridge from the south side of the River Thames at night, London, England Source:© Britainonview / James McCormick
      London City Guide

      This isn’t just another capital city, it’s a thriving metropolis with a unique personality formed by its iconic landmarks, centuries...

  • Discover the outdoors
    • Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Source:© Shadowgate (Flickr)

      The Orkney archipelago is an opportunity to explore prehistory, wildlife and seascapes, while enjoying the relaxed pace of life and genuine...

    • Sunset in Cornwall Source:© midlander1231 (Flickr)

      Covering the furthest South West toe of the country, Cornwall has diverse terrain of coast, moors, and countryside. The landscape lends itself to...

    • Royal Pavilion at night, Brighton Source:© Britainonview / - Britain on View

      England’s favourite seaside city, Brighton is historic, elegant and offbeat and the perfect place for a break.

    • Mountain Y Garn in Snowdonia Source:© Richard0 (Flickr)

      Snowdonia is one of Wales’ most famous regions, known for its craggy mountains, brooding natural landscapes, rugged coastline and Wales and...

    • The Cotswolds Source:© Christopher Chan (Flickr)
      The Cotswolds

      The Cotswolds is an area of gentle hills lying between the enticing cities of Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, and Oxford.

  • History and heritage
    • Thermae Bath Spa is Britain's original and only thermal bath spa set in the busy city of Bath, England © Britainonview / Jon Spaull Source:VBimages - 21974131

      Superb Roman remains, glorious Georgian architecture, spring water spas, and first-class shopping – the golden city of Bath has it all. The...

    • Shakespeares birthplace © floato (Flickr)
      Stratford-upon-Avon: Shakespeare's...

      East Gate Clock Tower, Chester Source:© Britainonview / Ingrid Rasmussen


      Ancient, dynamic, traditional, exciting, Chester is one of Britain's best breaks. The city offers classy architecture, world class heritage,...

    • Windsor

      Windsor, a short break destination combining history, fine shopping and dining, sports, leisure activities and events. Home to 13 attractions...

    • York Minster Source:© Nick Garrod

      Step inside the medieval walls of York and experience one of Britain’s most impressive city. Home to over 2000 years of colourful history,...