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Best / Worst Breakfasts in Britain?

I've been watching the posting for Hotels in Edinburgh and have felt so sorry for the people who have actually had a bad breakfast in Edinburgh. So, I ask where have you had your best or worst breakfast in Britain? What it made it great? Was it a good fry up? Was it available early? Did it have health food? Did it have gourmet eggs? Was it the coffee? Those of us who traveled UK in the dark ages of the 70's can remember when Nescafe was the only option and you had canned stewed tomatoes. Thankfully, I've not seen much of that since the 70's. What about about the rest of you?

Posted by
101 posts

Best breakfast will be the one I have the first morning I wake up at my mums in Nottinghamshire! after 4 years away. Real Bacon [not that fatty stuff with no meat that we call bacon over here and probably wouldnt even pass for Streaky Bacon in the UK] and proper plump meaty sausages [preferabably Lincolnshire or Cumberland].
Worst breakfast, probably the one I have the day I have to fly back home!
All I can say is thank goodness for Peameal Bacon.

Posted by
800 posts

First trip to UK with my husband - we stayed at Borthwick Castle outside of Edinburgh. Breakfast was the most wonderful oatmeal I had ever had. I know, how wonderful can oatmeal be? But it was great - wonderful nutty flavor, brown sugar and and real cream on top. It was also a welcome change after many breakfasts of eggs, bacon, saugsage!

Posted by
220 posts

My vote for best British breakfast is the hearty English fry breakfast, also known to some as "heart attack on a plate." Others hate it.

Posted by
13035 posts

Worst UK breakfast many years ago at a large London hotel.

I go down to the restaurant for my included breakfast. I'm a news junkie so I have four newspapers in tow (London's a great town for newspaper lovers.)

The breakfast is buffet and the waitress comes and ask is I want tea or coffee. I say coffee and she brings in promptly.

I get up to hit the buffet, and when I get back find people have been seated at my table. I collect my newspapers, walk over to the hostess, who apologizes and seats me somewhere else.

Coffee is brought. I get up to go the buffett and when I get back, people are seated at my table. I pick up my papers, see the hostess, she apologizes and seats me somewhere else.

Round 3...I try again. Same result. This time standing next to the hostess is a young woman who identifies herself as the manager on duty. She says she's been watching my dilemna for the past 10 minutes (but didn't do anything.)

When I asked how this could happen, she said," This hotel has terrible service. You shouldn't stay here. the XXX hotel is much better. I know, I used to work there." (wow, a really loyal employee.)

That was day one. I did go down again the rest of my stay and never once had to change seats. This time, I left my newspapers on the table rather than on the seat next to me.

But that's okay...I was only supposed to have a "continental breakfast" but helped myself to whatever I wanted. I figured, that's the least they owed me.

Posted by
643 posts

We're staying in a newer hotel in London with no included breakfast, and no cafe. We're planning to just buy some breakfast items at the store and heat them up in our room in the morning. Either that or we'll venture out to have breakfast somewhere. I'd read too many reviews of poor quality included breakfasts and the idea of having a microwave and refridge in our room was too good to pass up. We can't wait. In fact I had a dream last night that I was in the cockpit of a 747 flying to London and the view out the side window was amazing. The flight was smooth and calm and I was loving it!!

Posted by
864 posts

The joke used to be (in the 70's) that prison food was better than anything to be eaten in the U.K. My how times have changed! Some of the best food I've ever had (and I'm a real dyed in the wool foodie) has been consumed in rural British Inns (duck comfit anyone?) I had a bowl of oatmeal in Scotland that was pure bliss. Nutty with a bit of heather honey and something else I couldn't identify. The something else was a spoon of single malt wiskey - well, it is cold in Scotland....

Posted by
157 posts

I recently had a fine breakfast...nothing remarkable one way or the other for food quality/selection but the hotel tried to bill me 25 pounds for each person each day! Now that is a bad breakfast.

Posted by
993 posts

Well now. The best breakfast I ever had in the UK was actually in the Rebuplic of Ireland...does that count? It was at Mrs O'Learys farm B&B just outside Rosslare. The best porridge in my life! That and toasted soda bread. I'm with Robin. I don't think I've ever had a bad breakfast in the UK...except for Wheeta-bix. Now that's nasty. But, Pamela, at my favourite horrible little cafe a few blocks from The Travel Inn Co.Hall, on Warder street (?) they served tinned tomatoes with the full breakfast. And, beans and eggs and chips and mushrooms and toast and fried bread and bacon and sausage... I'm hungry

Posted by
6898 posts

Pete, could we get the address to your mum's house? And, how far ahead do we have to book?

Posted by
291 posts

Turning the question around slightly as a Brit, I never really undertand what is a 'good' breakfast in US culture, to the visitor Americans seem to like low quality, quantity rather than quality for their breakfast

When I'm in US the mass market benchmark seems to be something like the breakfast menu of somewhere like Denny's, equivalent to the Little Chef in UK - kind of place nobody would admit to frequenting.
Hotels seems heavy on pastries/cakes and low cost sugary cereals and poor quality coffee with just the token fruit and yoghurt options - I can't believe people would eat at home day in day out what is offered commercially ???

Posted by
643 posts

I grew up on 'English Muffins' and still have one every morning during the week. No idea if they really are English though! My wife is from Japan and she has 'Shoku pan' which is a thick toast. Here in the US, Safeway has it on the shelf and calls it 'Texas Toast' and it's used for French Toast but we just toast it and spread marmalade, jam or butter on it.

For a fancy breakfast on the weekend, we'll fry some eggs sunny side up over bacon, leaving the lid on for a slightly steamed egg.

We go out to breakfast maybe a few times a year, and my favorite is Chicken Fried Steak and eggs. This is a variation on the heart-attack on a plate. Rather than describe it to you, here is a photo:

Posted by
2349 posts

To Bob from London: Well, if you've been eating at Denny's in America, you could do better. Not healthier, but better. We never eat healthy for breakfast at a restaurant because it's a treat or indulgence. Find a "greasy spoon" or diner. It varies by region, but in the Midwest we like eggs, any style, choice of bacon, sausage, or ham, fried potatoes or hash browns, toast and coffee. Or corned beef hash. Or biscuits (not cookies) and sausage gravy. You will NEVER find a tomato. The hallmark of the indulgent breakfast, tho, is the All You Can Eat Sunday Brunch Buffet. This can be of poor quality, with greenish eggs, or a high end with standing rib roasts, ham, omelettes, crepes, etc. And even real fruit, if you want to get a tad nutritious.

Hotels with included breakfast don't try to give you good quality, just coffee and something in the belly. Next time leave the hotel and find a diner. You'll find out why so many of us waddle.

Posted by
252 posts

To Bob from London... It's not quantity that Americans like, it's variety. The result of that leads to lower quality food since a restaurant has to stock all sorts of different stuff (mostly frozen) or buy in pre-prepared foods. The quantity is just to make up for the lack of quality.

I think the typical American enjoys their British breakfast the first couple days. After that, we complain about getting the same thing over and over and over. I admit, I was guilty of that on my last trip to the UK, I eventually ended up skipping the free breakfast altogether or just had toast. Couldn't stand the sight of, yet another, egg & bacon breakfast.

Posted by
5675 posts

It's been interesting to see the replies to my post. I didn't expect the negativity despite my best / worst heading. I've had so many fantastic breakfasts in the UK from the toasty oatmeal someone mentioned, to the yogurt and fruit, to kippers, to of course the typical eggs, sausage and bacon. Sure it's more than I usually have at home, but I find that if I have that wonderful breakfast, my lunch is much lighter and at times skipped completely giving me more time to do things.

I think that the best breakfast was in Dunkeld at the Bridge B&B. Here's the web site. Check out the breakfast under rooms tab. Don't forget to click on the full menu. Set this one as your standard. ; )

Posted by
473 posts

This doesn't exactly fall under the best vs. worst discussion, but more under the topic of how the breakfasts can differ. While in Kenya, we were talking to a young man from England and commented about how the breakfasts all seemed to be "full English breakfasts", complete with the fried tomato and baked beans. We said how in America, one would never have beans with breakfast and how they were something to be eaten with lunch or dinner, such as with hamburgers or hot dogs. He was mortified, which left us puzzled. A few weeks later, after the trip, we found out from my wife's cousin in Manchester, that in England, only very poor people ate beans for lunch or dinner. This poor guy must have thought that half the people in America were just barely making ends meet.

Posted by
20 posts

I got hooked on Weetabix when I was in the UK...fortunately the local groceries carry it!