Where are the UK’s cleanest (and dirtiest) restaurants?

Diners have more choice than ever before when eating out. This, combined with the rising cost of living making people more cautious when spending money, means competition for restaurants is at an all-time high.

As well as delicious food and attentive service, customers want to feel confident that the restaurant they choose will be meeting the highest standards when it comes to hygiene. But how does this vary from one part of the country to another?

We analysed the Food Standards Agency hygiene rating data for almost 600,000 businesses from 376 local authorities (varying between urban areas, country regions and counties) across the UK, to uncover which regions have the cleanest (and dirtiest) restaurants.

UK Map Graphic

Where are the cleanest restaurants in England?

England Cleanest Graphic

So, where should you head for the cleanest restaurants in England? Our research shows that Bassetlaw, in the East Midlands, takes the top spot, with restaurants boasting an average hygiene rating of 4.94 out of 5. The local authority areas of Ipswich, Dorset, Stockton on Tees, and Rossendale also impress, all scoring an average of 4.91 - well above the English average of 4.66.

England Dirtiest Graphic

At the other end of the scale, Waltham Forest, in London, has the lowest score. Restaurants in this North East London borough have an average hygiene rating of just 3.9 out of 5, making it the only location in the UK with an average rating of less than 4.

London fares poorly overall, with 12 of the 20 lowest-scoring areas in England located in the capital. The North West and West Midlands also have their fair share of low-scoring restaurants, with four of the bottom 20 regions being in the North West and three being in the West Midlands.

Where are the cleanest restaurants in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland Graphic

Moving on to Northern Ireland, restaurants in Mid and East Antrim take the top spot with an impressive 4.87 hygiene rating, closely followed by a four-way tie between Mid Ulster, Lisburn and Castlereagh City, Fermanagh and Omagh, and Newry, Mourne, and Down, all scoring 4.84.

Meanwhile, the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, came in last place, with restaurants here having an average hygiene rating of just 4.65.

Where are the cleanest restaurants in Wales?

Wales Graphic

Wales also boasts some impressive hygiene ratings, with Wrexham coming out on top with a score of 4.88, followed closely by Gwynedd with 4.86 and Anglesey with 4.81.

At the other end of the scale, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent share the bottom spot, with restaurants in both locations having an average hygiene rating of just 4.17.

Where are the cleanest restaurants in Scotland?

Scotland Graphic

Finally, Scotland has a slightly different hygiene rating system, with businesses being awarded a "Pass" or "Needs Improvement" rating, rather than a score.

South Ayrshire is the clear winner in Scotland, with a staggering 99.79% of restaurants achieving a "Pass" rating. The Shetland Islands, however, bring up the rear, with just 83.04% of restaurants achieving a "Pass" rating.

Get the right business insurance for your restaurant

Maintaining the highest standards of hygiene is an essential part of running a restaurant. Not only does it ensure you’re giving your customers the best possible experience, making them more likely to come back, it also protects you from complaints, loss of business and other potential issues that can come from a poor rating.

There are many day-to-day challenges that come with running a business, so the more you can do to minimise risk, the better. At Towergate Insurance, we offer a wide range of different small business insurance products to suit all types of businesses, including restaurants.

Our business insurance policies can be tailored to suit your business, including popular covers such as public liability insurance, employers’ liability insurance, and business interruption insurance, as well as product liability, cyber insurance, buildings and contents insurance, and D&O cover. Our trained advisors are on hand, not only to build your policy with you, but also to amend as your business grows.

Methodology & Sources

We collected the Food Standards Agency hygiene rating data for 594,516 businesses from 376 local authorities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. We then used these to calculate the average hygiene rating for businesses in each local authority, as well as national and regional averages. While the ratings for England, Northern Ireland, and Wales are out of 5, Scotland has a different rating system, awarding businesses a "Pass" or "Needs Improvement". To calculate our Scotland figures, we took the percentage of businesses which achieved a "Pass" rating. All data accurate as of April 2023.

Explore the Food Standards Agency hygiene ratings data in full.

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