A blog about life in London

London Tap Water Is Poisonous

London Tap Water Is Poisonous

I don’t mean to be alarmist or anything like that, but I have come to the conclusion that London tap water is something that should be avoided at all costs. In fact I will go as far as saying that the filthy stuff is poisonous and a downright danger to your health. London tap water is unsafe to drink and I will take it one step further and  say  that it isn’t even a good idea to wash in the stuff.

It is a fact that 80% of London’s drinking water comes from storage reservoirs connected to the River Thames and the River Lee. I’m sure that anybody that has ever been to London, couldn’t help but notice the filthy colour of the water in the Thames and it is obvious that a lot of chemicals go into turning that into the stuff that flows out of the tap.

I’m basing my assumption that London tap water is a danger to your health from my own findings. When I first arrived here, I did a wee bit of research and found that the tap water was safe to drink, it maybe tastes disgusting but it was safe to drink. Not been one to waste money on something, which I could get for free and I thought I may eventually get accustomed to the taste, so I drank it.

However during my first 3 months living in London I had a constant sore throat, which just wouldn’t go away. It was round about then that I discovered where the water I was drinking originated from and I thought holy f**k. I instantly put a halt to local tap water going down my sensitive throat. And believe it or not within a couple of days my throat was back to normal and it hasn’t bothered me since.


I can personally understand why Londoners are far more likely than those elsewhere in the country to drink bottled water more than once a day, they  have got taste buds and care about their  health. Do you really think the authorities would tell us the truth and that we shouldn’t be drinking London tap water because it is a danger to our health’s, think about it! I bet you good old Boris never touches the stuff, he knows better!

I also cant help but notice that in London the amount of people going around with bad skin, it is unbelievable. I was sitting on a crowed tube the other day and I swear virtually every single person on it had bad and spotty skin on their faces. I have never seen anything like it in my life, for a horrible second, I thought I was in second rate horror film. In fact, even my own face is not looking as clear as it once was. I know the answer and you have probably guessed it too, it is London tap water, the stuff is poisonous!

For me the taste of London tap water is absolutely disgusting, I can’t understand why anybody would drink the stuff. The only reason I can think of is because it is free, and the English try and call the Scottish mean with money, give me a break.

I read somewhere that in blind tests that most people couldn’t tell the difference between chilled bottled water and chilled London tap water, all I have to say about that one, is that they must have used people without taste buds for the test. I have just came back from Barbados and for that matter the tap water back home in Aberdeen is like Perrier compared to the stuff that comes out of the taps in London.


Thankfully my local Sainsbury’s sells a litre bottle of Scottish mineral water for 35 pence called Caledonian. The water is sourced from the Caledonian Spring, which is located on the Eastern edge of the Campsie Fells and is in a beautiful and pollution free part of Scotland. This a much better choice for my health than drinking tap water that tastes like it has came straight out of the filthy Thames.


  1. I was always fascinated with London and it’s pretty cool to read a whole new perspective. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Your right in your observation, the water here is disgusting and undrinkable, YUCK! I don’t even let my dog drink it, thats how bad it is.

  3. I must agree with your comments on Thames water. I have been suffering with constant mouth ulcers for twenty years. I tried everything to alleviate the symptoms.
    I then omitted tap water from my diet and over night my painful ulcers disappeared never to return again. I feel it may be the high Chlorine content which was the culprit.

  4. It’s true that the Thames water is disgusting, but that doesn’t go straight into the drinking water system. This might scare you even more, but London water is actually recycled by a system that is studied by other countries who also suffer from scarcity of water.

  5. Rachella
    That’s intersting can you expand on this fact as my drinks Thames Water.

  6. I don’t care what anybody says the tap water in London tastes like it has came straight out of the Thames, its disusting

  7. When I was living with my sister in London, I drank the tap water almost everyday. However, since I moved to Basingstoke (an hour away from London), I have stopped drinking tap water because the water here is too ‘hard’.

  8. Not sure about how toxic London’s tap water is. The previous Mayor did start a drive to encourage people asking for tapwater, which is free, instead of order bottled water that can cost a couple of quid.

    For me, I need no encouragement. I figure that the high calcium in London’s water might actually do me some good as I hate milk! lol

    C K

  9. Propaganda? Yes… after all, the article ends with an ad for a brand of water. All I can say is LOL.

    I have noticed nothing wrong with the tap water in London. No sore throats, not ulcers, nothing. It doesn’t taste any different to bottled water. The only thing I can see is that the calcium content is higher than in Finland, but otherwise, nothing wrong with it. All the other articles seem to state that London tap water is drinkable.

  10. I get it Sainsbury’s are paying me to advertise some water, give me a fucking break! If something is good I will say so. Anyway for the record I really hate fucking Sainsburys, but alas they are the only big supermarket around here.

    I know plenty of Londoners that agree with me that the tap water here tastes disgusting . I personally can easily tell the difference between tap water in London and tap water back home in Aberdeen, it tastes good back home.

    Do you actually know how dirty and filthy the water you drink out of a tap in London is before it is treated to make it drinkable? I guess some peoples taste buds are fucked up from too much alcohol , sugar or caffeine and as a result they would think cats piss would taste good if they were to be served it chilled.

    You maybe need to take a trip down to the Thames and see all the motor oil floating around in it. I don’t care what the water board or Baffoon Boris tell us about how good and safe it is. What cant be disputed is that the water coming out the tap in London has been treated with more chemicals than Pete Docherty has in his body. Now take a trip up to Scotland and see where the Tap water comes from and you might just see the difference.

    I suppose the fact that bottled water sales are unbelievable high in London, especially amongst British people is an indication as to what people think about tap water in this city. I think many foreigners’ are deluding themselves because they are use to decent tasting water back home and are I suppose too cheap to spend 37 pence on 2 litres! I will personally continue to drink bottled water because it tastes better and that’s a personal choice.

    I think from the comments I have recieved so far there are a few people that actually agree with me!

  11. Absolutely right! London tap water is totally disgusting and I NEVER drink it. I’ve lived in London for over 20 years and I even use bottled water to make my tea and coffee! You’re absolutely right not to touch the stuff. Great blog!

  12. I wish I had seen this blog sooner … I have been living in London for 5 months now and found it surprising when after 3 months I started getting hives all over my body just after having a shower !! I went to a doctor who told me that I was certainly reactive to something in the water as my skin is sensitive. I bought a water softener and things have improved but my skin is still extremely dry… This blog is very helpful, I really wish I had seen it before coming to London, I would have paid more attention to that !

  13. I stopped drinking the tap water because a friend’s mother who lives in the States said she read an article in the NYT that said that English water has more estrogen than a lot of other waters. With my hormones already going berserk, I started on bottled water, and I swear it has helped my monthlies.

    As for bad complexions in the UK population, I recall when I first arrived here 15 years ago, everyone looked quite unhealthy – pale and grey…I put it down to bad diet, but who knows if it is the water.

    My own complexion has improved, as has my husbands since I put us on bottled water..

    Taste – well, I also prefer the bottled water. Ever since the water came out of the tap mirky and foggy, I just don’t use the stuff.

  14. This is undeniable truth. I have observed many times and felt that there is something wrong with tap water. But based on informations from different sources I felt that London tap water is good and kept on using. But believe me for last few months I am using bottled water(not bother about any brands) but I can notice a real differnce. I feel more healthy. No sore throats, no stomach upsets, no headaches for no reasons, and I can see predominant change in appearance of my skin! I am not stating all these here, not to just blandly believe in what I am saying. This is merely my observations and experinces… So i am not here to recommend any body for bottled water. But give a try using for around 2-3 months and see hows it going!… if you think you can see some positive difference.. do shift to bottles or else there is no point spending money for bottles, instead use tap water. Thanks

  15. I totally agree with you. However some people don’t have a problem drinking London Tap water and they have done so all their lifes, but I also know plenty of people that can’t stand stuff and wont even brush their teeth in it, which is a wee bit extreme even for me. I truly hate the stuff…its not good for my health either and it tastes disgusting…

  16. http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/bottle.html
    very interesting article with opposit opinion. I’m just researching into drinking or no tap water so all opinionsmattwr and after reading for an hour instill don t know what is actually better for us and which opinions are propaganda … Most likely as with everything truth is somewhere in the middle a d it is our personal choice. I drink boilled tap water and it works for me.

  17. I never understood the point in bottled water until I visited London today. I’ve always just refilled a bottle with water from any tap wherever (mostly Yorkshire and Lancashire) – always drinkable stuff. The water I saw today in London was yellow and tasted a bit metallic. I admit this could have been the particular area/building/tap I used. Soap didn’t seem to lather properly either.

  18. OK I live in Luton and I agree with you!! we have the river lee on our taps and I get ill when I drink it, I start to throw up and get a really bad belly I am going stop drinking it does anyone know how I can test my water ???????

  19. Your alarmist piece includes no research, no hard facts and sadly no validity. Municipal water services in the developed world are generally extremely safe and London is no exception. Despite the pretty labels, bottled water does not come from some magical underground reservoir or hidden waterfall untouched by human hands. It is, like all water, constantly recycled, having passed through numerous organisms, mammals and – like it or not – humans before it reaches your glass. Don’t be led to believe that bottled water is somehow ‘purer’ – all it comes down to is how the water has been treated. And, as numerous studies show, the water in London is perfectly safe, drinkable and the equal of any bottled brand. Of course, your highly scientific observations of people’s complexions on the tube are no doubt groundbreaking in their own way.

  20. Whatever…but you can’t deny that London tap water is full of chemicals and that it tastes like crap!

    I have personally lived in quite a few different countries and as well as cities in the UK and this is the first time in my life I have never drank tap water and spent my good hard earned money on bottled water on a daily basis…you go figure that one out!

  21. Funnily enough I can deny that, having lived in countries where the tap water genuinely is foul. The chemical levels in London are no higher than in other UK cities and the water tastes absolutely fine. Because it is absolutely fine.

    But if you enjoy spending your money on identical water (it really is the same stuff, with the same levels of chemicals) but in bottled form, fair enough, whatever, go figure, etc.

  22. I prefer tap over bottled water!! it’s cheaper and better for the environment… and above all: bottled water mostly tastes just like PLASTC because of the bottles…

  23. I just moved to London from Sydney a couple of month ago and the tap water here in London tastes perfectly fine and exactly the same as in Sydney. It’s clean and fresh, if not a little ‘hard’.
    If you want some bad water then go to Canberra where the tap water has so much chlorine in it that it tastes like it’s from a swimming pool. And Adelaide water is brown, so London you have no reason to complain, your water it treated before it reaches your glass and it perfectly fine.

    I fill up a litre glass bottle on my desk from the tap and get through a couple of litres every day. I use the glass bottle as drinking water from plastic bottles is extremely dangerous. Water from plastic bottles contains toxins which can mess with your bodies hormones. I’ve never liked the taste of bottled water simply because it always tastes like plastic.

    For those who said they re-use plastic water bottles; this is extremely, extremely bad for you. As the plastic ages it released even more chemicals. I strongly encourage you to do your own research and then change your plastic drinking habits.

  24. Well, I moved to London from Edinburgh about 2 months ago for uni. (I was born in Budapest but spent majority of my life in Oslo, Norway.)
    I have to say that the water here makes me sick. Even when you have a shower or a bath, its a different feeling but actually my teeth became way more sensitive than they used to be. I’m just changing the tap water to the bottle, big time! (Even the smell and the color of my pee has changed, my skin dries and since the move, I have to wash my hair every second day instead of every forth day!)

    Let’s face it: Over 10 million people are living in London. I cannot believe if somebody says that the water is fine here just because EU or whatever standards. Anybody can cheat on the testing, they must have been do it all the time. I do believe that it is impossible to clean the amount of water properly that London requires on a daily basis. 80% comes from the Thames, one of the filthiest rivers on Earth and constantly getting the sewage into it! I mean NO WAY the water is clean here!

  25. You can buy a 2 litre bottle of water from Tesco for 17p, best thing ever because London water is foul! Just make sure you recycle your plastic bottles!

  26. H, I have to agree bit time with you on the recycling of the plastic bottles.

  27. illuminati world depopulation plan

  28. Every time I drink tap water I feel dizzy some times I feel like I’m going to die. Now I drink evian i feel fine

  29. I lived in various places in Europe & never had any problems with my throat. Thirty years ago I moved to Bristol & noticed that as soon as I drank water from the tap I would get a sore throat. So I only drank it after it had been boiled & that was ok. When a few years later I moved to London & lived in Kensington & Kilburn, I noticed that, again, tap water gave me a sore throat. After 20 years I moved in with my girlfriend in South London, who advised me to try her tap water: it tasted good & didn’t give me a sore throat.
    I have since found out from a doctor friend who is a consultant in one of the local hospitals that tap water north of the Thames comes from the huge sewage filters at Staines [which would explain the pervading stench in that area], whereas South of the Thames it comes from artesian wells.
    Now, although back in the North, whenever I have to go south of the river I always take at least a litre bottle [empty] with me and fill it up in the South, even in a pub, and bring it back home. Never have any problems with my throat. Think: Stockwell, Southwell Rd in Camberwell……Tap water doesn’t cross the Thames.
    PS: I must admit I haven’t yet had the bottle to try the tap water in Clerkenwell….

  30. Thanks. Interesting blog.
    I come and go between North Spain and South London. Whenever in London I’m more likely to go down with indigestion problems, really quite serious bouts which the doc gave me some pills for but still risk reocurring when I’m over here.
    I noticed the water comes out my tap very cloudy and has to be run off to clear so now I’m being careful with the water and drinking as little as poss. The poster alleging lack of science in your blog could have a point but I wouldn’t trust science sponsored by privatised utilities to give me an impartial account of water quality.
    If I stop getting ill here I’ll put it down to the water – my own little “experiment” lets say.
    I reckon the skin problems are down to bad air quality though.
    London’s marvellous, but I don’t think it’s very healthy.

  31. Just a follow up to my last. I continue not drinking tap water and not taking the indigestion pills and not one serious attack of indigestion since I started the experiment. Unboiled tap water has been replaced by orange juice.
    By the way, I’ve rebooted the computer since Christmas so I may not show as the same Arthur here, but it is still me.
    If I have an indigestion attack I’ll come back to tell you.

  32. London tap water is something that is best not drank! I would say it effect some people more than others, that’s for sure. I have made vow never to drink it again.

  33. I should agree with you, coming from the South East of Europe and having lived in Edinburgh and Nottingham (quality of the water in Scotland is superb whereas in Ngham you can feel is getting worse). I am disgusted by the taste of water here but was thinking to tackle the problem with filters installed on each tap, dunno whether it helps though…

  34. The taste of London tap water is indeed disgusting, and that is what truly puts me off it. I have thought about going down the filters root, but not sure how much of difference it would make to the taste.

  35. I was living in Scotland, and I found the tap water in London tastes different from the tap water in Scotland, and surely different from bottled spring water. I can not tell if it is poisonous or not, but I believe water can get bad in the pipes. And obviously, it is worse in a huge city than a small scale city like Glasgow or Edinburgh…

  36. Well that’s the whole of January without a single attack from my indigestion since I stopped drinking the tap water cold. I used to have a glass with every meal so that was quite a lot. Now I have orange juice or wine and I feel as a fit as a fiddle. Either I needed more fruit juice or London tap water is not fit to drink.

  37. Arthur, having more fruit juice can only be a good thing, and the same goes with not drinking the London tap water. The thing with the London tap water is that it seems to effect some people quite badly and others not at all.

  38. I’ve got to agree, there is something wrong with London water. My skin was pretty healthy until I lived down there for a year. I had horribly huge spots that were really painful and the problem persisted until I moved out of London. Now I get the odd pimple here and there but my skin has really improved and thats all the proof i need

  39. I have a similar problem with my scalp. Spots have been appearing on my head and I have never had this problem before in my life, until I moved to London.

  40. Nonsensical article, no evidence just a random “opinion”.

    Hundreds of scientists and the millions of pounds spend on research and making tap water in London drinkable, his opinion is what’s right?


  41. Don’t believe everything the Government tells you. Stop being a brain washed puppet! The evidence is the effect it has on my health and it tastes absolutely disgusting! London tap water is the worst tap water I have tasted in any city in the world, in fact this is the first city I have ever lived where I have bought drinking water, as opposed to drinking it straight out of the tap!

  42. Oh here we ago, another government conspiracy cover up, look, I too have lived in many city’s around the world, in Europe, USA and I currently reside in London…. London water tastes FINE, it is FINE. People don’t look different because of the water…..

    The fact that you say London water is absolutely disgusting make your “article” nonsensical to the point of cringe/embarrassing.

    I drink it all the time and I am fit as a fiddle, play sport at a high level and can’t remember the last time I had a cough, bad skin or what ever you claim London water does to you.

    I feel that people need to know your article if WRONG and just an opinion of ONE person who doesn’t seem to have a clue what he is talking about. …….

    brainwashed puppet….

    You seem to think that ONLY the government has tested London tap water…..

  43. I get paralysing stomach craps from drinking the tap water in London, even the ice will set me off. its horrible.

  44. Absolutely spot on! This is EXACTLY my experience with london water. I, too, thought I would just get used to that horrible taste (bear in mind I come from Egypt, so ‘horrible’ isn’t a word I use lightly). After a couple of months I realised that my mouth would always be dry during the day and my throat would be sore more than usual, and the water just didn’t act like water.. it didn’t hydrate me at all. Upon drinking bottled water I immediately realised how disgusting the tap water is, not only taste wise.. but there is something about the composition as well.. I just can’t put my finger on it.

    Everything mentioned in the text is exactly true, even the fact that they would lie and say “London water is safe of course”. Would you imagine Boris coming out and saying that the London tap water isn’t safe to drink?!

  45. the spots and pimples are probably from the polluted air in London – I only developed skin problems in the tender age of 34, when I moved to London form Germany

    What worries me more is the fact that the water has added fluorid in UK; that’s reason enough to not drink it. In most other countries it is forbidden to add fluorid to water as it is concidered toxic

  46. London Tap water is not fit for human consumption. Just because the men and woman in cheap suits tell us so it doesn’t mean it is true!

  47. Agree with Hobgoblin, the article belongs on Facebook, into your own notebook or maybe printed on toilet paper. One extreme opinion can only feed the mind of feeble yet zealous METRO readers. Lots of rubbish. Oh yes, for my plants and for washing my bottom I only use Lauquen Natural Artesian Mineral Water. Get real, people. If you don’t like the taste, buy drinking water (i.e. filtered tap water), if you got heath issues get checked up and analyse your nutrition and life style, don’t blame it on the water..

  48. Hey Dex, I and many others just happen to dissagree with you and Hobgoblin…

  49. Are you American?
    Stop being so damned precious and drink the stuff. I’ve lived in London for the last 10 years and drank nothing but tap water. It has no effect on my skin, never given me a sore throat, tastes the same and does exactly what bottled water does – hydrates me. Did you know that London tap water has been analysed under the microscope by students at Imperial University, and they found no difference between many bottled brands and the stuff that comes out of the tap. I don’t mean there was no distinguishable difference, I mean THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE! Stop spreading this rubbish. Bottled water has a HUGE detrimental effect on the environment. The carbon footprint of making the bottles, shipping them, filling them then shipping them around the world is massive. The bottles which are not recycled (and that’s a large number) are then put into landfill and take around 400 years to decompose. The companies that sell bottled water do so at a HUGE profit. Know why? Because they are selling tap water. It’s all about the money. Also think about the millions of people who have lived long and healthy lives without ever touching a drop of bottled water.

    So forget your precious skin for a moment and think about the environment, and how ridiculous you are being made to look by water bottling companies. They are taking your money and laughing at you.

  50. PS – Guaranteed Boris drinks tap. I’d bet my house on it.