From its origins in 1994, World Vegan Day on 1 November is now a worldwide day of awareness celebrating all things plant-based, with Britain now ranking as one of the most vegan-friendly destinations in Europe.
For vegans travelling to the UK, there’s an ever-growing number of vegan eateries and accommodation on offer - from high-end ethical suites to healthy cuisine and jaw-dropping junk food.
Vegan places to eat
One of the best-loved vegan-friendly spots in London is Mildreds. Originally established in Soho in 1988, the restaurant now boasts branches in Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston. Airy, bright and stylish, the chain is known for its delicious warming winter dishes like smoked tofu, apple and white bean sausages and mash, and toffee apple crumble. Diners can also savour vegan cocktails including a gin-soaked cucumber smash, watermelon cooler and vegan beer.
Manna, Primrose Hill
Located in leafy north-west London, Manna is one of the capital’s most popular vegan restaurants. With a menu displaying influences as far flung as India, Mexico and Japan, this elegant restaurant prides itself on using sustainable produce throughout the year. Diners can choose from seasonal specials including roasted root vegetable masala or buffalo cauliflower tostada, enjoy protein-rich Sunday roasts or splash out and savour the chef’s special five-course custom menu.
Wulf & Lamb, Sloane Square
“Run with the wolves, eat with the lambs” is the mantra of Wulf & Lamb. Its 100% plant-based menu focuses heavily on comfort food, so expect fabulously filling dishes, including an open burrito with sautéed ackee, green coconut curry and the seitan Wulf Burger. Sweet-toothed diners can also choose from deliciously decadent desserts including Eton Mess or dairy-free mango and passionfruit cheesecake.
Celebrating 30 years of planet-based cuisine, The Gate serves up-market vegan and vegetarian food across four locations within the capital. In addition to the exciting a la carte menu which includes indulgent dishes such as aubergine teriyaki and wild mushroom risotto cake, The Gate also hosts monthly ‘secret vegan supper clubs’, offering a five-course tasting menu with paired wines. The two supper clubs closest to World Vegan Day are on 20 October and 17 November 2019, check the website for events thereafter.
We are Vegan Everything
Lovers of the plant-based lifestyle can relax in the bohemian Bali-inspired space of We Are Vegan Everything (WAVE) in the heart of Hackney. Expect soya ‘freakshakes’, juice shots, superfood lattes and vegan cakes, as well as brownies and croissants. For savoury vegan treats there is a ‘small’ menu, featuring a classic toastie, mushroom sausage roll and vegan salmon and cream cheese.
The Allotment, Lloyd Street
Named best vegetarian restaurant of 2018 by The Times, award-winning restaurant The Allotment offers three, seven and ten-course tasting menus in the heart of Manchester. All its dishes are also 100% gluten, dairy and egg free, making it perfect for coeliacs in addition to those following a plant-based diet. During the holiday season, visitors can tuck into its Christmas menu featuring festive delights including cranberry and red wine parfait and pan fried cauliflower roast with all the trimmings.
V-Rev Vegan Diner, Edge Street
A mecca for vegan junk food lovers, V-Rev offers gloriously greasy delights at a price that won’t break the budget. From loaded southwest fries with smashed avocado and southwest chipotle mayo to buffalo mac and cheez made with homemade cheez sauce, beacon and buffalo sauce, this is the perfect venue for post-party pick me ups and cheat days. Can’t decide between savoury and sweet? Look out for Donut Stop Me Now – a mouth-watering medley of buttermilk fried seitan chckn, cheez, baecon, maple syrup and crispy fried onions between two fried donuts, for a decadent burger experience with a difference.
Set up by Simon Connolly and Simon Rimmer, now one of the UK’s top TV chefs, Greens has been ‘terrifying carnivores’ since 1990 with its inspiring menu of delicious plant-based dishes. Influenced by cuisines from around the world, the menu features dishes including soba noodle salad, sweet potato katsu curry and handmade gnocchi. Greens also offer a three-course Sunday roast set menu for £17, which includes a soup starter, roast and dessert.
Holy Cow, Elder Street
Located in Edinburgh’s New Town, quirky independent café Holy Cow prides itself on using organic local produce to create its 100% vegan menu. Dishes change according to the season and you can expect tasty treats including spicy butternut squash soup, in addition to staples such as vegan burgers, open sandwiches and seasonal salads. Much loved for its cakes, the café has an ever-changing selection of sweet delights including chocolate and peanut butter cake, pumpkin pie and spiced pear and walnut cake.
The Ivy on the Square, St Andrew Square
The Ivy on the Square has swiftly become a staple on the Edinburgh dining scene. Its specially designed vegetarian menu features vegan-friendly options, while non-vegans can also choose from the à la carte menu. With delicious dishes including sweet potato Keralan curry, warm Asian salad and roasted butternut squash with grains, this chic and stylish restaurant is the ideal spot for vegan and vegetarian celebrations while in the Scottish capital.
The Auld Hoose, St Leonard’s Street
Home to some of the best rock, metal and punk music in Edinburgh via their legendary jukebox, The Auld Hoose is also one of the city’s best venues for vegans in search of a little comfort food. From huge plates of nachos dripping in vegan cheese to crunchy onions rings, vegan falafel burgers and even a vegan sorbet sundae, this is a must visit for meat-free visitors and music lovers alike.
Purezza, St James’s Street
The UK’s first vegan pizzeria, Purezza take animal-friendly Italian cuisine seriously. Having spent two years developing their dairy-free mozzarella (made from brown rice), the restaurant uses innovative recipes and ingredients to create delectable vegan pizzas, pastas and desserts – from meltingly moreish macaroni to cheesesteak calzone and vegan oreo pizza. With a second branch in London and many gluten-free options available, it’s the perfect pit-stop for vegans looking for a taste of Italy in the UK.
Food for Friends, Prince Albert Street
Established in 1981, the award-winning Food for Friends is one of Brighton’s longest-running vegetarian and vegan restaurants and a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Boasting a seasonal menu made with local and organic produce, diners can enjoy Middle Eastern, Japanese and British-inspired vegan dishes including courgette kofta and Inari tofu wraps in addition to a selection of mouth-watering desserts and vegan cocktails.
Terre à Terre, East Street
A haven of vegan indulgence, Terra à Terra prides itself on its marvellous meat-free creations made with ethically sourced ingredients. Playfully named dishes range from KFC, Korean fried cauliflower with sweet and sour sesame, to Snap, Crackle and Choc, a rich chocolate mousse with praline and chocolate shortbread. With a range of organic vegan wines, beers and ciders on offer as well as cocktails and non-alcoholic options, this is the perfect spot for special vegan suppers by the sea.
Vegan places to stay
2019 saw the opening of the world’s first vegan suite at the Hilton Bankside in London. Created in collaboration with the Vegan Society, this luxury hotel now offers five-star vegan accommodation in the capital. From ethical bedding to the faux leather seating, even the cleaning products used are cruelty-free and eco-friendly. The in-room menu and minibar offer a range of vegan options, such as avocado and scrambled Quorn for breakfast and cauliflower steak or five-bean dhal for lunch or dinner. Located in the heart of London, attractions including Borough Market, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern are all a short walk away. Advanced bookings from £432 per night.
Offering a cosy, family-run B&B with a fully-vegan philosophy, Bay Tree House in Hastings is a plant-based haven in the south of England. In addition to providing healthy, organic and eco-friendly food, including an all-vegan breakfast, Bay Tree House organises numerous wellness activities, such as yoga and tai chi, making this bed and breakfast holistically health-conscious. A classic example of a Victorian home, it has been remodelled to a high standard, with traditional hardwood flooring and plush furnishings adding to the tranquil atmosphere. An en-suite room starts from £90 per night, including breakfast.
Allowing guests to enjoy a slice of nature in an ethically focused environment, Saorse 1875 is a countryside hotel designed with vegans in mind. Set in two acres of woodland near the Scottish town of Pitlochry, it aims to champion ‘ethical luxury’. Slow-paced and thoughtfully designed, this 19th-century house offers a plant-based menu that uses seasonal, local and foraged produce, served by a cosy restaurant fire. As well as the food menu, each room includes vegan toiletries. Prices start from £100 per night, for a room for one guest, and £150 per night for two.