Recently, while traveling in the UK, I decided to take an informal survey on tipping/gratuity customs in the 21st century. My research is based on interviews with restaurant and pub patrons as well as the wait staff, bartenders, and pub owners. To get a perspective on the entire UK, I surveyed folks in London, Bristol, Bath (England) and Edinburgh, Oban, and St. Andrews (Scotland). The results were quite a surprise and have prompted me to modify the information I give to my tour members. Here is how it all stacks up:
A tip is not really expected at pubs or restaurants. If you feel the service has been exceptional, then a small tip will certainly be appreciated.
Personally, I tip about 10% in restaurants. Nothing when having a drink in the pubs.
I’ve not done the research in Northern Ireland, but will have an opportunity in a few weeks.