If you’re anything like me, then an abundance of good vegan food is reason enough to visit somewhere! While it’s by no means a given that you’ll find vegan options everywhere, there are plenty of destinations that are perfect for a weekend break in the UK and Ireland. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that some of the cities are amongst the most vegan-friendly in the world (strong words, I know!).
With a little forward planning, eating out in UK and Irish cities is easy. In more rural places, you might have to dig a bit deeper to find options or contact pubs and restaurants ahead of time so they can modify dishes for you. Alternatively, accommodation with its own kitchen to cook for yourself is always a good back-up plan.
Here are some of my top vegan-friendly weekend breaks in the UK and Ireland – I’d love to know where you’d add to the list so let me know in the comments!
I adore Dublin as a city and usually visit a couple of times a year when I’m visiting family over in Ireland. It is without a double the most vegan-friendly place in Ireland and more options are popping up all the time. If you are flying to Dublin, American readers will be pleased to know that Aer Lingus Airlines offer vegan in-flight options on transatlantic flights (no such luck on Ryanair!). Once you’ve landed in Dublin and made the short journey into town, it’s time to start exploring the restaurants and cafés!
Dublin isn’t somewhere you stumble across vegan options too often, but with a bit of forward planning, you’ll feel spoilt for choice. For brunch, head to Sova Vegan Butcher for their vegan pancakes or “pulled porc” bap, pop into to Blazing Salads on Drury Street mid-afternoon for takeaway treats then grab dinner at the vegan-friendly Yamamori (and definitely head to The Comedy Crunch just around the corner afterwards).
Top pick: Aperitivo gets my vote. Not only do they have vegan pizzas (with the option of vegan cheese, vegan bacon, vegan sausage…), but they also do an incredible vegan tiramisu!
Down on the South West Coast of England, Cornwall it is a great place to go for a getaway. There are plenty of small towns to explore like Land’s End, Polperro, and Looe, with a surprising number of vegan-friendly places throughout Cornwall and a wide range of accommodation options for self-catering. There’s an abundance of natural beauty too, whether you prefer relaxing on the beach or trekking on all of the lovely trails in the area.
Top resource: Check out Vegan Cornwall who have a comprehensive guide and map of vegan options across Cornwall.
Glasgow has been voted the number one city in the UK for vegan food so it’s probably no coincidence that I have a trip there planned! I’ll report back on this one…!
Top pick: Saramago comes highly recommended for vegan dinners.
The Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds, spanning parts of 6 counties from Gloucestershire to Oxfordshire, is probably one of the most quintessentially “English” areas in the country. I can’t think of a better spot to rent a cottage for the weekend and shop at the local greengrocers for fresh organic produce. You can also explore the many villages and small towns that have reinvented themselves as tourist destinations. You can visit roman ruins, have picnics in the park, and visit ancient churches and other historical buildings. There are lots of pubs and restaurants to eat in that you can get bean dishes, salads, vegetable soups, fresh bread without eggs or dairy.
Top pick: Stow-on-the-Wold is probably the most vegan-friendly town in The Cotswolds; The Hive, in particular, gets rave reviews for their vegan options!
Belfast, Northern Ireland
On the coastline alone, Northern Ireland packs a lot of natural beauty and heritage into a small space. Vegan options can be scarce in smaller town (especially since local bread often has milk in it), but Belfast more than makes up for it. In between food stops, I’d highly recommend taking a black cab tour around this fascinating city and booking a visit to former prison Crumlin Road Gaol.
Top pick: The benchmark of a good restaurant for me is whether or not I wish it existed in my hometown – Home Restaurant in central Belfast is one of those. They have plenty of clearly marked vegan options so it’s perfect to visit if you’re travelling with non-vegans. The Honest Vegan on Lisburn Road, which opened after I’d been to Belfast, is on my list for next time!
No list of vegan-friendly spots in the UK is complete without Brighton. There are so many options it’s hard to know where to begin but some places are unmissable: vegan fish ‘n’ chips at Loving Hut, vegan sushi bar Happy Maki and an exceptional selection of vegan ice cream at Boho Gelato. You could say Brighton has it all.
Top Resource: Check out the fab blog Vegan in Brighton for the full lowdown on all things vegan in Brighton!
I’m definitely biased here and Leeds is by no means perfect, but it has come a long way since I first moved here six years ago (you could say it still has a long way to go!). Hyde Park Corner, with its huge student population, is leading the way; almost everywhere I can think of in this area has clearly labelled vegan options. The menus in Mardin, Oranaise and La Cafetiere are virtually 50% vegan. Chapel Allerton has a good range of options too, including my favourite Pinche Pinche who serve Mexican street food in a cosy little restaurant.
Living in Leeds, I do notice that a lot of new places open up without vegan dishes on their menu – which seems mad given how much veganism is growing and how easy it is to offer vegan options – but I’m sure the same could be said for most places!
Watch this space: I have a little something in the pipeline that involves vegan food in Leeds so watch this space and save the date for February 3rd 2018!
Which of these cities would you most like to visit?
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