Editor’s Note: We met Dee at a vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Dee is originally from London, England but has lived in Chiang Mai for several years. Her fifteen years of being vegan certainly makes her an expert on the subject and helps her to sniff out the vegan options at any location. Dee has decided to share her knowledge of the wealth of vegan locales in Chiang Mai through her recently launched website: Vegan and Vegetarian in Chiang Mai – Guide
England is a great place to visit because of the stunning countryside and environment, which varies from the rolling downs in Southern England, more rugged hills and moorland in the South West, moorland in the North, and rugged fells in North West England, (and Wales and Scotland). The coastline varies from sandy or pebblybeaches to sheer cliffs and everything in between. Another reason is for the historical architecture, including Norman castles, Saxon churches, Roman villas, various types of modern architecture, Victorian Gothic, Georgian, Queen Anne. There is also a vibrant art scene with galleries such as the Tate Modern and a particularly lively theatre scene across the whole country with options ranging across pantomimes, musicals, fringe theatre venues and Shakespearean playhouses. Whether exploring the English countryside, visiting historical locations or taking in some theatre, you will be happy to know that when meal time comes around, there are vegan options virtually everywhere.
Becoming Vegan in England
I was vegetarian for almost my whole life and then became vegan when I was living in a small town called Totnes, in Devon, SouthWest England where I was studying for my degree. In this particular town, it was more unusual for people to eat meat than to be vegetarian. Our university canteen provided an abundance of vegetarian and vegan options and the main town boasted a number of vegetarian-only restaurants and organic shops. All of this, along with meeting vegan friends who made me realise how easy it was to convert, encouraged me to make the change.
Norman Coach and Horses
Being a vegetarian is easy in England. Every pub and restaurant will provide at least a few vegetarian options and this is quite widely accepted. Veganism, however, is not as easy, but is gradually becoming more and more recognised. I find it increasingly easier to be a vegan in England. I don’t even have problems in pubs anymore; since many of the big chains, such as Wetherspoons, clearly indicate which options can be made vegan.
Traditional British Dishes
Traditional British food is typically not vegan and the vegetarian options can be dairy heavy and not easily adaptable. However, some classic dishes that that can be found are vegetable burgers or jacket potato with baked beans. With meat-eating friends, I have even been to carveries for roast dinners, as I find that all the vegetables and roast potatoes are a meal enough.
Recommendations for Vegan Visitors
England is a hub of international food. Italian and Indian restaurants are usually the best to be able to accommodate. I have recently discovered that Middle Eastern restaurants also have a number of excellent vegan choices. A particular favourite of mine is a Turkish restaurant called Uskadar, that I highly recommend including on your next trip to London.
As a vegan, you might be better off looking for Italian, Indian or Mediterranean rather than traditional British restaurants, which you would have no problem doing in England.
You will also not be short of finding vegetarian-only restaurants, which will always offer a host of vegan dishes, especially in London where there are lots. My personal favourite is Norman’s Coach and Horses in London’s famous Soho.
So enjoy your trip knowing that there are many cruelty-free options for you to experience.