I have been thinking about writing this post for a very, very long time but it always seemed such a beastly task to bite into. But, in the last few weeks as I have been packing up Rob’s and my room in London I thought I really must write about all the places I love in London once and for all, for you! London is such a giant city and it can be a little tricky to navigate as a vegan until you find your bearings, especially if you struggle with gluten as well. The city really has a lot to offer though and I hope this post can inspire you on your visit. And if you live there I really hope I can add to your collection of treasures. If you have any favourites that I’ve missed please share with us in the comments!
To make this guide a little easier to follow I have made sections based on where the places are located. We often speak about ‘central’, ‘east’, ‘west’ et cetera in London so that’s the way you can navigate below. There are mainly eateries as that is my top hobby but I have also added a couple of shops worth visiting and a few places where I like to practice yoga.
But before you dig into the all that London has offered me, here are some things to make your visit more fun (and easy):
- Take the bus sometimes to enjoy the views, and in general try not to travel during rush hour.
- All museums are free in London, take advantage!
- Some health food chains: Planet Organic, Whole Foods, Holland and Barrett.
- Some chains offering descent options for desperate times: Busaba Eathai, Nando’s, Leon, Pret A Manger, Crussh, Pizza Express (gf and vegan option).
Now that you know what’s up, let’s get going and enjoy the wonderful and historical (and very smoggy) city that is London!
1, Taking photos in my local neighbourhood. 2, A bus ride in east London.
I start in the east because that was my home and my base. I ironically lived on Bacon Street in Shoreditch, which is just off the very busy one way street; Brick Lane where you will find a very popular vintage and food market each Sunday. The east is in general rather hip and trendy. In Shoreditch you will find a lot of shopping opportunities and pretty good people watching. Don’t simply get stuck in Shoreditch though, most of the east is rapidly changing and there’s always interesting events and pop ups coming and going all around.
EAT AND DRINK
33 Broadway Market.
If you read this blog frequently you will have heard of this place before as I did a whole post about it here. This place is my favourite lunch spot with nourishing salads, homemade vegan patties, soups and delicious grilled portobello mushrooms on toast with tahini and avocado. They don’t only make mouthwatering food but also serve some of the finest tea in London which they brew for you with care and precision, if you’re not so much into tea try their matcha or chai latte!
The Hive Wellbeing
286-290 Cambridge Heath Road.
This place offers good juices and smoothies and a completely vegan lunch and evening tapas menu (except for the fact that their concept is based on honey which they serve, I find this a little odd). It is a great space with a lot of light and good but light meals and nice muffins and cakes for dessert or a sweet treat with your tea.
Otto Lenghi Spitalfields
50 Artillery Lane.
This is not somewhere you’d go every day, unless you have a lot of pounds in your pocket that is. But it is one of the homes of chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s deliciously inspired food. Enjoy well seasoned and balanced vegetable and pulse dishes and if you do eat bread they serve the most amazing bread here. Unfortunately none of the famous pastries are vegan but at least have a look at them – they are lovely looking!
91 Whitechapel High Street.
This Vietnamese restaurant is quite small but offers a delicious vegan Pho as well as a very good curry with tofu and vegetables. I myself have only had takeaway from this place but it looks like a sweet place with helpful staff. I highly recommend this place if you enjoy Vietnamese food.
528 Kingsland Road.
Love Ethiopian food? Me too! This is a small place which has seen better days but the food is all vegan, delicious and served with traditional injera flatbread. Great value for money and a seat by the window will offer some good people watching.
1-3, Tiosk. 4-6, The Hive Wellbeing. 7, Andu Cafe. 8, Harvest E8.
Franze and Evans
101 Redchurch Street.
This place is not the most vegan friendly as a whole but a great option if your looking for a good salad. Choose between an array of grain, pulse, vegetable and fruit concoctions to fill your plate. Do ask which salads are vegan before ordering though, don’t want to end up with something you will not eat!
Arepa & Co.
58A De Beauvoir Crescent.
Find this Venezuelan restaurant right on Regent’s Canal, close to Haggerston overground station. This is another place I’ve written a whole blog post about here. Enjoy their arepa with roasted vegetables or black beans and plantains along with some cassave/yuca chips. It’s a delicious meal in a lovely location!
The Stringray Globe Cafe
109 Columbia Road.
This is a pub come restaurant serving up gluten free pizza and pasta on demand with various toppings. I love the pasta arrabiata here more than the pizza but this place is a people pleaser where (more or less) everyone can be content no matter their choice of diet. It is dark and cosy which is perfect for the winter months, with decent outside seating perfect for the warmer parts of the year.
Rochelle School in Arnold Circus, Shoreditch.
This place is almost as secret as it gets. You have to know it’s there or you’re never going to guess it is. Ring the bell of the Rochelle School at Arnold Circus in Shoreditch and enjoy a lovely seasonal meal. They do not always have vegan options although they usually do, either way they are very accommodating so just let them know and they’ll fix something up for you. If you’re coming towards the end of the week definitely make a reservation!
FED by Water
64 Kingsland High Street.
Gotta love pasta and these guys don’t mess around! I really enjoy their mushroom, sundried tomato and walnut pasta. They offer rice and quinoa pasta at an extra charge, just let them know. They also make pizza with vegan cheese, as well as salads and a bunch of other things. This is not a vegetarian/vegan restaurant but has lots of options for us whilst they keep our non-vegan friends and family happy in other ways.
1, Shot taken on Hackney Road. 2-3, Rochelle Canteen. 4-5, FED by Water. 6, Arepa & Co.
10C Bradbury Street.
Offering up traditional vegetarian Gujarati dishes with many vegan options this is a place I wish I had visited more during my time in London. Great for an involved family meal or dinner out with friends where you can share the different curries and various street food inspired dishes like chaat. It has a lovely local atmosphere and friendly staff. Highly recommended!
The Gallery Cafe
21 Old Ford Road.
If you are after a typically English experience made vegan this is your place. They offer vegan fry ups for breakfast as well as other dishes of course, all vegetarian and some vegan. I enjoy their scrambled tofu with mushrooms and spinach. There are also various lunch dishes on the menu and cakes for your tea.
2-10 Bethnal Green Road.
Box Park is a great place to meet up with friends who might not share your idea of what good food is as it is more or less like an open air (with covered spaces too) food court where some of the most appreciated fast food places in Lodnon have gathered to satisfy hungry Londoners. I recommend grabbing a fresh juice from East London Juice Company downstairs and bringing it upstairs for some delicious noodle soup at Cook Daily, an all vegan shop with lots of different curries, or a heaped salad bowl and gluten free falafel from Falafelicious. Also check out the pop up shops, my favourite is Decorum.
100 Shoreditch High Street.
This is the resident restaurant of the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, it’s open all day long. The staff are very helpful and the restaurant happily help you find a vegan dish on the menu even though there are very few or none written in the card. I love their buckwheat risotto as well as the garlic kale side dish. If you visit before 5 pm you can enjoy fresh cold pressed juice from the sister store Lovage.
Beyond Retro Cafe Dalston
92-100 Stoke Newington Road.
I enjoyed visiting this cafe for some tea after my Saturday visit to Growing Communities Farmer’s Market in Stoke Newington. They serve tasty salads for lunch with usually 2-3 vegan options. A great place to have a pit stop if you’re in the area. Rob has approved the coffee here as well.
Box Park with food from Cook Daily and juice by East London Juice Company.
DO AND SEE
The Geffrye Museum of the Home
136 Kingsland Road.
This museum is great if you enjoy home decor, design and history as it takes you through a few hundred years of British homes. You can see items from various eras and there are periodically furnished sitting/living rooms as well with descriptions of what might have gone on there back in the day. It is a reasonably sized exhibition which brings me a lot of joy.
35-47 Bethnal Green Road.
Rich Mix is a live events and a movie theatre. It’s conveniently located just a stone’s throw from Shoreditch High Street with lots of things happening each week; dance, performance, music and of course film screenings.
77-82 Whitechapel High Street.
A big gallery with lots of interesting exhibitions each year! They also have a restaurant, cafe and arts book store.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Each Sunday you will find a bustling flower market on Columbia Road. There are not only lots of flowers but lots of people too so if you’re not a fan of crowds visit early in the morning.
Victoria Park and Regent’s Canal
If you enjoy some greenery on your city visits I would recommend a walk, or if you’re perky a run, in Victoria Park. I like to visit the park and after head up Regent’s Canal towards Islington for the lovely scenery. There are also quite a few nice cafes on the canal and you can reach Arepa and Co. on that walk close to the Kingsland lock.
1-5, Regent’s Canal between Victoria Park and Broadway Maket with canal vendor. 6-8, Columbia Road Flower Market.
59 Columbia Road (and 6 Ada Street).
I enjoyed visiting the Stretch studio on Columbia Road, never actually made it to the one on Ada Street. The intimacy of the Columbia Road studio made me feel very comfortable and I always felt relaxed in the classes. The instructors/teachers are professional and inspiring at the same time as they give you space to do what you need to do. My favourite classes are with Carl Faure and Steffy White.
Yoga on the Lane
105 Shacklewell Lane.
This studio is lovely and I can’t recommend a visit more. The look and vibe is great, very welcoming. I enjoyed practising with Naomi Reynolds on a Friday evening which is a semi-restorative class as well as the dynamic classes with Clare Dobson.
14 Collent Street.
The Refinery is quite a new space with a few studios and many different types of classes, both yoga and others. I myself enjoyed the Jivamukti class with Luis Valentine but have heard good things about the Yoga Nidra as well. It is a trendy place but don’t be scared off, the staff and instructors are very friendly and inviting.
1-4, Yoga on the Lane. 5, The Refinery.
The core of London with lots of busy shops, and busy people. If you enjoy feeling the pulse of a city you need to go to the centre of course, as well as if you want to see some of the main tourist attractions. Personally I enjoy experiencing this area in the morning before the main bulk of tourists get up and out with a clear plan in mind, but if you’re a bit more chilled out you will have a blast exploring and people watching!
EAT AND DRINK
45 Lexington Street.
Close to popular Carnaby street you will find this equally popular vegetarian restaurant. They have quite a few vegan options but my recommendation would be the Sri Lankan curry. They serve a variety of common dishes like burgers and sausages but also offer a salad bar and more exotic dishes like the curry. I’d say this is a place most people would enjoy.
Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden.
A porridge cafe in the vegan’s heart of Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard. It is not a vegetarian/vegan cafe but they have a handful of vegan and veganisable dishes all based on various grains. I’ve only been for breakfast which was yummy, I had pistachio, coyo and caramel pear topped oats cooked in coconut milk. They do have savoury variations served from noon though which sounded very promising.
The Wild Food Cafe
Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden.
Another Neal’s Yard gem serving an array of raw food dishes, smoothies and juices. I love their raw pizza and there are other people pleasers like the raw burger and ‘BLT’ but they do more inventive specials every week. Their raw cakes are also something you mustn’t miss!
58 Neal Street.
A small and rather clinical juice bar which I’d recommend as a grab and go kind of place. They offer a wide variety of juices and nut milks made daily along with little pots of salads and treats already packaged for a convenient take away snack or lunch.
48 Eastcastle Street.
I’ve written a complete post about this place here and would recommend it for a lunch break spot. Choose from the cold and hot dish buffet and pay by weight before grabbing a seat in the Scandinavian inspired restaurant. You can definitely find some really tasty salads and warm complimentary dishes to fill your plate with but I’d recommend being aware of how much you plate up as it can get expensive.
12-14 Heddon Street.
Another pay by weight restaurant conveniently located close to Oxford street, Oxford Circus and Regent Street where all the tourist gather each day to shop until they drop. It is a vegetarian place with many vegan and gluten free options; both salads and cold food as well as warm dishes. A good mix between grains, pulses and vegetables but they also offer some more fast food looking items which I find less appetising. I think they have something to please most people’s palate though!
17-18 Took’s Court.
This is for the fine diner in you and it’s all vegetarian with a separate vegan menu. The dishes are creative and look pretty amazing when they’re put in front of you. It is not my personal London favourite but if you are celebrating an occasion or enjoy a fine dining experience this is the place to go.
1, Wild Food Cafe. 2, Victoria Park. 3-5, 26 Grains. 6-7, Vanilla Black.
DO AND SEE
The British Museum
Great Russell Street.
A giant museum with a beautiful glass ceiling in the court yard. This is the place for the history lovers but there really is something for everyone to enjoy here with items and stories from almost any place and time period you can imagine.
As you take the beautiful walk up the mall to the queen’s home you mustn’t miss topping by the Institue of Contemporary Arts. It’s a very light and bright space with various exhibitions and fares throughout the year. They also have a movie theatre screening fringe cinema for the curious.
The Royal Academy of the Arts
Burlington House, Picadilly.
Looking for a heavy weight exhibition this is a place to keep on your radar (along with Tate Modern of course). I enjoyed the Ai Weiwei exhibition here this year and it is a lovely exhibition space with a lot on offer.
Rob at the British Museum.
Like any other part of London the north has a very varied demographic but I’d say it’s a little bit more grown-up and with that comes higher prices too, of course. Camden is maybe a little bit of an exception though and I enjoy spending time in Stoke Newington too where you’ll find my former local farmer’s market.
EAT AND DRINK
4 Erskine Road.
I think this is probably a bit of an institution for vegetarians/vegans in London and it’s definitely worth a visit. Set in rather posh Primrose Hill it’s great for a dinner and a stroll around the area before/after.
139 King’s Cross Road.
This is a place I wish I had discovered much earlier as it ticked all of my boxes for a good lunch. They serve dinner as well and I’m bummed I didn’t manage to try it before moving, but on my return I will definitely be back at this place. Enjoy this completely vegan and organic Japanese restaurant a little extra when you visit for me!
250 Camden High Street.
Lots of juices, smoothies, veggie food and raw cakes right in the middle of Camden. Set right next to the canal it’s a nice place to stop for lunch or dinner after a day exploring in Camden, the former home of Amy Winehouse and many other musicians.
370 St John Street.
This restaurant is vegetarian but has various vegan options. It has a cosy and almost a ‘pubby’ feel but definitely don’t serve pub food. I’d recommend coming here before/after a visit to dance stage Sadler’s Wells.
1-4, Itadaki Zen. 5 and 7, Inspiral Lounge. 6, Wild flowers at Columbia Road Flower Market.
55 Stoke Newington Church Street.
In Stoke Newington you’ll find this all vegetarian Indian restaurant which has had quite a lot of good press in its day. It is a very pink experience which I enjoy in a usually quite grey London, and the south east Indian food is very yummy.
50 Allen Road.
This cafe is a little off the beaten track but that’s part of its charm as you feel very undisturbed by the bustle of the city. It is hidden away on a residential road in Stoke Newington and serves only vegan food except for some croissants. Enjoy simple lunch dishes like sandwiches (on amazing looking sourdough), salads, soups and stews along with smoothis, juices, teas and according to Rob good coffee.
Growing Communities Farmers’ Market
St Pauls Church, Stoke Newington.
This was my closest farmer’s market and it never disappoints. If you’re staying in an AirBnb during your visit somewhere in the area you should grab your vegetables here on Saturdays between 10 am and 2 pm. They also offer a vegan fry up breakfast or Turkish Gozleme – just order it without the cheese.
1-2, Rasa. 3-6, Bodega 50.
DO AND SEE
A great dance venue with many world famous choreographer’s work on every month. I love a little bit of cultural flare and this is my favourite place to get that box ticked. Enjoy!
The Third Estate
27 Brecknock Road.
This is a completely vegan and ethically aware fashion store with lots and lots of shoes. You will also find both men’s and women’s clothes as well as accessories like hand bags and wallets. It’s a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit for the dedicated vegan.
Made in Hackney Comunity Kitchen
3 Cazenove Road.
I did a six week course at this community kitchen which I wrote all about here but I’m mentioning it in this guide as they also offer many cooking workshops that just stretch a couple of hours to a day. Many of them are vegan and I was sad to leave before I could do more classes here, maybe when I visit next!
The Third Estate.
The home of the richies. Well not only but the central parts of the west are very posh. If you like to stroll around looking at beautiful houses you can do that in some of the West and if you enjoy luxury shopping than Knightsbridge is awaiting you. My favourite raw food restaurant is located in Notting Hill which is a very popular area with tourists and locals alike with a well known market and many boutiques.
EAT AND DRINK
Nama Artisan Raw Food
110 Talbot Road.
Enjoy this lovely raw food restaurant, it’s my favourite in London. Friendly staff and yummy food. Try the fermented blueberry cheesecake, it’s delicious! Find a complete post about Nama here.
The Good Earth
233 Brompton Road.
I didn’t know this place existed until Rob’s family brought me for dinner one night. It’s a very fancy Chinese restaurants with the best faux ‘chicken’ I’ve ever had! I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I get it, it’s not usually my thing either. But! Good Earth is worth it. Try their carrot juice too, I think they must pick their carrots very carefully because it’s delicious. And one more thing, bring a sleeve because for some reason the AC in there is like the arctic winds.
Nama Artisan Raw Food.
DO AND SEE
Victoria and Albert Museum
This museum is very well known as quite a few I’ve mentioned so far but this is another one definitely worth your time and the seasonal exhibitions worth your money. If you are interested in fashion you should keep your eye on the programme as the V&A in the last couple of years have hosted quite a few exhibitions focussing on iconic fashion designers.
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road, Notting Hill.
A fun market with lots of antiques and vintage. It’s in quite a picturesque part of London, and a little grand too in some places. My visitors always enjoyed coming on a sunny afternoon.
Readers, meet the direction where my London journey began! The dance university that brought me to London is situated right in between two very different areas; Greenwich and Deptford. Both with their own and rather different charms. The areas south of the river are on the up but still get quite a bad rep, I always loved it though. It is however not the most vegan friendly but I look forward to sharing what I know with you below.
EAT AND DRINK
8 Southwark Street.
Just South of the river you’ll find this very well known market amongst London foodies. Although I don’t necessarily think it’s the best food market in London I do recommend it to visitors as it has a lovely location and a lot on offer. Try Total Organics juices, smoothies and salads or Gujarati Rasoi’s yummy thali box (yes it’s the same caterers as the restaurant mentioned in the east London section). I always bring home some olives from Borough Olives, try the garlic stuffed for a little punch.
The Waiting Room
142 Deptford High Street.
I used to work at this vegetarian cafe and I loved the community spirit it brought to my life. Deptford might not be on your top places to visit in Lodnon but it is quite a lovely place on a Friday afternoon when the markets on and this place is in full swing. If you enjoy vegan fast food this place is for you! A little disclaimer though, there are almost no gluten free options so be aware.
132 Southwark Street.
On top of the multi-story car park in Peckham you’ll find this bar/cafe. I’ve only been the one time but it is fantastic in the summer months to catch some rays.
Ganapati South Indian Kitchen
38 Holly Grove.
I visited this restaurant with some friends who recently moved to this part of the city. It is not vegetarian/vegan but offer some delicious options. I loved their dosa!
Another place I hold close to my heart as I used to work in another coffee shops in one of the alleys leading into this very market. It’s called Red Door and you should stop by for a mean coffee if you decide to visit. In the market you’ll find a great and completely vegan Ethiopian food stall and on some days there are other vegan options too. Try the sushi it’s another favourite of mine.
1-5, Borough Market. 6, The Thames.
DO AND SEE
The Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Park
Greenwich is a lovely place to visit full stop with the covered market offering yummy food and fun arts and crafts. The river side is also great for a nice stroll and the park is great too. In the park you will find the Meridian line and at night you can walk up the hill and see the lazer beam showing you exactly where it runs. Great for a lazy (and quite romantic I think) Sunday.
Deptford High Street.
This is a flea market with gusto. I loved coming here on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning for a rummage when I lived in the area. This is not for everyone I know, and neither is the area in general but my heart beats for it and maybe yours will too. It’s on every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with Saturday being the most spectacular.
Laban Dance Centre
The last place I will mention in this very long guide is the one place that brought me to London. I spent a lot of hours sweating in this architecturally interesting (but not very practical) building. It is open to the public as a dance venue and has some great choreographer’s sharing their work there every year. If you’re a hardcore dance lover you can also see student shows here or even sign up for classes.