The past few weeks I have been traveling around England, Wales, and Scotland with my boyfriend, Tommy. It’s always very special for me to visit because I was born in England and all of my mom’s side of the family lives there. We spent the first part of our trip in the Liverpool area of England and had one day in Conwy, Wales.
I was honestly surprised at how easy it was to eat gluten-free everywhere we traveled while in the United Kingdom. Almost every restaurant had "Please let us know about any food allergies when ordering" on the bottom of the menu. Many places even had all the allergens for each dish noted on the menu, which I always appreciate. My family told me that restaurants have become much better at accommodating food allergies in the last few years.
The first week of our travels we did not eat out as much. We stayed with my cousin and his wife, so we had access to a kitchen and were able to have many meals at home. They were so accommodating and made sure we always had eggs, bacon, and some gluten-free snacks! My cousin’s wife cooked for us most nights, completely paleo and gluten-free! We are so appreciative of their efforts to make us feel at home (Thanks Ryan and Leanne!!).
Below are some of the delicious, gluten-free friendly restaurants we found on our travels.
Liverpool is across the water from where my family lives in Birkenhead. It is a really great city with so much history. We spent the whole day here exploring Albert Dock, Liverpool One, Bold St., Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool Cathedral, and museums. Also, The Beatles are from Liverpool!
Leaf - Liverpool, England
After a long day of exploring Liverpool we got dinner at Leaf on Bold Street. All the gluten-free dishes were marked on the menu and they had a lot of options to choose from. I got an iced matcha with almond milk and we both ordered the salmon special. Their food is locally sourced, which I always appreciate! Everything was delicious and I highly recommend if you're in Liverpool.
Liv - Liverpool, England
Liv is a natural foods grocery store on Bold Street. Liv sold freshly made gluten-free and vegan desserts. We picked up a peanut butter chocolate and chocolate torte dessert to share. I also found some coconut yogurt (made with only coconut), kombucha, and ghee. It was an awesome grocery store, very similar to Whole Foods.
Amelies Cafe - Conwy, Wales
Conwy is a really cute town in Wales. It is a walled city and there is a beautiful, old castle you can walk around. After exploring the castle we found Amelies Cafe, a short walk from the castle, to have lunch. The menu was small but we had no problems eating gluten-free here. The ladies working in the cafe were able to tell us everything on the menu that was gluten-free and they even had gluten-free bread! I got the chicken liver and bacon pâté with gluten-free toast and salad. My boyfriend got the burger on a gluten-free bun with sauteed potatoes. It surprised me that even the small cafes in the small towns were so knowledgeable about food allergens, and even had gluten-free bread. The food was delicious here and I highly recommend this cafe if you visit Conwy, Wales!
Villa Venezia - Birkenhead, England
The day before we left for Scotland, my cousins took us to Villa Venezia. It’s a really nice Italian restaurant in Birkenhead, close to where we were staying for the week. My cousins researched this place for us and knew there would be a lot of gluten-free options for us! Our waiter was able to tell us which items on the menu were gluten-free. We started with the prosciutto and melon. For my main dish I got the grilled lamb cutlets with rosemary. My boyfriend was very excited that they had gluten-free pasta, so he had that very not paleo option, but he loved it! We really enjoyed our dinner here!
Sun Lounge Cafe - Port Sunlight, England
Port Sunlight is a small village near where my family lives in Birkenhead. If you're going to be in the Liverpool area it is definitely worth a visit. It has a beautiful church, the Lady Lever Art Gallery, and so much history. We looked at many of the cafes in Port Sunlight and they all had gluten-free options. Many even had gluten-free desserts. We ate at the Sun Lounge Cafe, which was tucked away in a garden store. We only knew about this place because my aunt told us about it! Many items on the menu can be made gluten-free, we just had to ask and the cashier verified with the chef. We both got the Maple, Mustard, and Apple glazed ham with local eggs and gluten-free bread. The portions were huge and everything was delicious!
I wish the restaurants here in America mentioned food allergies on the menu as well and were as accommodating as I experienced in the UK. A lot of restaurants here are knowledgeable about food allergies, but they don’t advertise as much, so people can feel uncomfortable asking or simply don’t bother asking because they don’t think anything will be available.
As you can see I don’t always eat completely paleo while on vacation. I always eat gluten-free, but sometimes it’s better for my health to not stress about my food so much. I discuss how I make my dietary choices more in my post: 6 Ways to Maintain a Paleo Lifestyle. While on vacation it’s important to make the best decisions for your health while also having fun and enjoying the place you’re visiting. So when gluten-free bread is offered by a restaurant, I usually have a piece!
Have you visited any of these places? I’d love to know if you have any other recommendations for eating gluten-free in England or Wales. Let me know in the comments!
Stay tuned for our experience in Edinburgh, Scotland!