Skip to Content

10 British comfort foods for England in winter

Like it? Share it!

Being born and raised in England – and being someone who really likes their food! – I know a thing or two about British comfort foods. The weather in England is, shall we say, on the chillier side most of the year (summer is usually about a week and a half long) and if more than a few days go by without it pouring with rain, everyone starts to panic about a drought.

So if you’re visiting England in January (or July, for that matter), you might be looking for some good old fashioned comfort food to warm you up so you can get back out to exploring this amazing country.

I was so glad of some of these dishes on our latest trip to England in the winter and they’d be great to try on a layover in London or a day trip from London and I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

These are 10 British comfort foods for England in winter that I grew up eating when it was cold and wet outside, and they are guaranteed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy!

1. Fish and chips

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

This is the ultimate in classic British comfort foods! Just as it sounds, fish and chips is…well…fish and chips! The fish is usually either cod or haddock, lightly battered and fried, served with piles of piping hot chips (thick cut fries, to those across the pond) smothered in salt and malt vinegar.

They’re best eaten out of newspaper or grease proof paper with a little wooden fork, and don’t forget to accompany them with a tub of mushy peas, and a pickled egg if you’re feeling brave! You could even try a chip butty (chips sandwiched between two slices of bread and butter!)

Where can I find it?

You can get fish and chips literally anywhere in England! You’ll find the most authentic in proper fish and chip shops, where you can also find such English delicacies as battered sausages, chicken and mushroom pies, and tubs of curry sauce to dip your chips into.

Pubs will also have fish and chips, usually served with peas, and some restaurants have gotten super fancy with their fish and chip dishes.

For me though, fish and chips always taste best eaten out of paper on a bench at the seaside!

2. Bangers and mash

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

Bangers and mash are basically pork sausages served with mashed potatoes and onion gravy. Pork sausages seem to be rarity where I live now (in Florida) but you really need proper pork sausages to make this dish authentic. This is such a great dish if it’s cold and rainy outside, it’s hearty and filling and everything you want from comfort food.

Where can I find it?

This is another dish you can find in a lot of different places in England, but I quite like it in nicer restaurants where you can find really good quality sausages and homemade onion gravy. You can get it in a pub, where it will often be served with peas, but I do think having a really good quality sausage makes a difference here!

3. Sticky toffee pudding

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

Sticky toffee pudding is a steamed sponge pudding served warm, topped with an ooey gooey toffee sauce, best served slathered in hot custard. It’s often served as dessert to follow a traditional Sunday roast dinner, and is very rich and filling.

Where can I find it?

Sticky toffee pudding can often be found in pubs dotted around the country, and you might find a version of it in more upscale restaurants.

4. Potato and leek soup

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

I know potato and leek soup is traditionally a French dish, but hearty soups are a staple of British comfort foods, and potato and leek is a classic.

This is a great dish to have as a light lunch with some nice crusty French bread, or as a side with a traditional Ploughmans lunch (a salad served with ham, cheese, and a big dollop of Branston pickle!) The soup should be rich and creamy, perfect for warming you up on a chilly English day!

Where can I find it?

While soups can be found all over the place, a good quality potato and leek soup can be a bit tricky to make. Finer English restaurants would be a good place to start, but if you do see it on the menu of a pub in England, definitely give it a try!

5. Traditional Sunday roast

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

I grew up having a proper Sunday roast every single Sunday, and it’s honestly one of the things I miss most about living in England. It’s the one meal a week where most families will all gather around the table together and between dinner and dessert, it’s often a somewhat lengthy meal.

Roast dinners comprise of some form of roast meat (often roast beef, lamb, chicken, or pork), Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, veggies, and lots of hot gravy. There are other traditional accompaniments, such as mint sauce with roast lamb, or horseradish sauce with roast beef.

Where can I find it?

Any pub in England worth its salt will serve a roast dinner; most will serve them during the week as well, but all of them will serve it on a Sunday!

6. Jam roly poly 

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

A jam roly poly is a warm suet pudding that is rolled up, filled with strawberry jam, and then steamed. It can be served plain or with hot custard, but I’ve always liked it served with cream. It is quite a stodgy, heavy dessert, but extremely warming on a cold English day.

Where can I find it?

This is considered a bit more of an old-fashioned pudding, and can be quite tricky to find, but a good pub is your best bet.

7. Shepherds pie

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

I’ve found that outside of England, people seem to get shepherds pie completely wrong. Shepherds pie is traditionally made with ground lamb (hence the shepherd part!) whereas cottage pie is made with ground beef. I’ve found that here in America, the dish is made with ground beef instead of lamb, and it always drives me nuts!

The ground beef is mixed with diced tomatoes, onion, carrots and peas, then topped with mashed potatoes and grated sharp cheddar cheese, finished with gravy poured all over the top.

It covers all the major food groups, meaning you don’t need a side of vegetables, and I always like a comfort food that can be cooked all in one pot!

Where can I find it?

Shepherds pie can be found all over the place in one form or another. This is a great option for a pub lunch, but it might be nice to try in a more upscale restaurant as well.

8. Steak and kidney pie

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

Just as it sounds, a steak and kidney pie is a savory pie filled with diced steak and kidneys, as well as fried onions and gravy.

If the idea of eating kidneys horrifies you (it doesn’t exactly sound appealing, I must admit) then try a steak and ale pie instead, which skips the kidneys and adds in ale to give the gravy a bit more flavor.

Steak pies are a staple in England in the winter; they are hearty and filling, doing a great job of keeping you nice and toasty.

Where can I find it?

Steak and kidney pies can usually be found in pubs, but another place to get them is a fish and chip shop. This is a great place to try one since you can get them with a side of chips and a tub of mushy peas!

9. Bread and butter pudding

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

Known as bread pudding over here in America, bread and butter pudding is made from layering slices of bread and butter in a dish, sometimes adding raisins or sultanas, pouring vanilla custard over the top, and then baking in the oven.

The bread absorbs the custard and you end up with a warm, rich, creamy dessert that is so perfect for the cold weather!

Where can I find it?

You can find bread and butter pudding anywhere from country pubs to nicer quality restaurants. I like the classic bread and butter pudding, but on my last trip across the pond I tried a chocolate bread and butter pudding that was out of this world!

10. Blackberry and apple crumble  

British comfort foods for England in winter

What is it?

Crumbles are a big thing in England, and my very favorite type of crumble is blackberry and apple. It is a warm mixture of blackberries and stewed apples, cooked together with a little sugar, then topped with a combined mix of flour, butter, and sugar all crumbled together (hence the name!)

I don’t usually think blackberries have much flavor on their own, but cooked down with the apples and sugar, they have the perfect sweet and tart combination. The crumble topping is rich and buttery, soaking up all the juices from the fruit, and the whole lot is delicious topped off with hot custard.

Where can I find it?

Any form of crumble can pretty much always be found in any pub, and it’s the perfect way to end a meal!

7 things to do at the International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot with kids
← Previous
Family travel resolutions for the new year
Next →

Anisa

Sunday 17th of December 2017

I just recently moved to England, so thanks for this list. I haven't tried the jam roly poly yet. One of my favorite British comfort foods is fish pie!

Kate

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

Oh I love a good fish pie! Jam roly poly is fantastic; there are some good recipes online if you want to try baking it for yourself!

Gina

Sunday 17th of December 2017

Sticky toffee pudding was my FAVORITE when I studied over there in college. I've never been able to find it as good where I live!

Kate

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

No the only place I can find it here in Central Florida is in the UK Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World! It's a tough dish to find outside of the UK!

Sapna

Sunday 17th of December 2017

I love to have this food throughout the year but Sunday roast dinner and sticky toffee pie are my favorite. Good compilation.

Kate

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

Thank you! A roast dinner with sticky toffee pudding for dessert might just be the best meal ever!

Carmelatte

Saturday 16th of December 2017

I actually like Decembe rin the UK (foodvise) :)

Carmelatte

Kate

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

I love December in the UK too! January is a different story, when it's just cold and wet without all the Christmas festivities, but December is wonderful!

Vrithi Pushkar

Saturday 16th of December 2017

OMG I am In foodie heaven!! Just reading your post made me so hungry and makes me want to catch the next flight to England! I am saving this for when I visit! Thanks a lot!

Kate

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

Lol thank you so much! I must admit that as I was making this list, I was looking at flights to England because it was making me so hungry!

Comments are closed.