My regular readers will remember me taking part in Veganuary. The month taught me such a lot and I was able to substitute a lot of products. Read about them here. The popularity of vegetarianism and veganism is rapidly growing, particularly in the UK, where vegetarians and vegans are set to make up a quarter of the total British population by 2025 according to Sainsbury’s Future of Food Report 2019. Long gone are the days of vegans only living on a diet of vegetables, chickpeas and lentils. Now, the supermarket shelves are stacked full with a variety of dairy-free and plant-based meat alternatives. Whilst maintaining a varied and balanced vegan diet at home is considerably easier than in the past, eating out is also an important factor to consider.
Since January, I have tried my best to remain vegan but often giving in to a vegetarian option if a vegan meal wasn’t available. World Vegan Day is on November 1st and 2019 marks 75 years since the foundation of The Vegan Society. This event will be celebrated by people all over the world and as mentioned above, often when travelling to new places it’s difficult to find vegan places to eat. Holidu have put together a ranking of the top 10 most vegan-friendly cities throughout the UK. They have used data from Happy Cow to find out which cities boast the greatest number of vegan-friendly restaurants and cafés in relation to the size of the population in each city.
The following cities made it into the top 10:
Our 2019 champion award goes to the cultural and hipster hub that is Brighton. Veganism has found itself as one of the top trends of 2019, but this southern city has been home to vegan restaurants for over 30 years now. A deserving winner, Brighton is frequently appearing at the top of rankings and recommendations and is often thought of as a mecca for vegans all over the UK.
Restaurant tip: Purezza – Not the first time it has appeared as a recommendation, but for obvious reasons. This family-run pizzeria was the first of its kind to open in the UK back in 2015. Head there for delicious vegan pizza, pastas and desserts. With a classic margarita only costing £8.95, there is no excuse for not paying this place a visit. You can even take your dog along too! (12 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1RE).
The second place crown goes to one of the oldest cities in the UK, Leicester. With a whopping 53 vegan and vegetarian restaurants available, there really is no shortage of options for non-meat eaters in this city. From Indian to American, Meditarian to Italian, you are seriously spoilt for choice here!
Restaurant tip: Healthy Lousia – Start your day right with a trip to this vegan deli where you can fuel up on fruity granola bowls, vegetable chicken shawarma and even a mouth watering chickpea curry. With every item on the menu under £10, this is the perfect spot for a tasty vegan refuel that won’t break the bank. (Unit 1, 63 Belgrave Gate, Leicester LE1 3HR).
Known as the UK’s most well preserved medieval city, the historic nature of Norwich doesn’t stop it from being a top player in the modern vegan world. There is even a popular group in the city, Norwich Vegans, which was founded in 2014 and has contributed to the fast-growing popularity of veganism across the city.
Restaurant tip: The Tipsy Vegan – As if the name wasn’t enough to make you want to visit, this fabulous restaurant offers a wide range of vegan versions of your favourite dishes. From traditional Spanish tapas to the beet burger. Indulge in a full three-course dinner whilst making your way through the cocktail menu, what’s not to love? (68-70 St Benedicts Street, Norwich, NR2 4AR).
The northern city of Newcastle just misses out on a spot in the top 3 this year, but still has a lot to shout about by coming 4th in the overall UK ranking. This Geordie city is the home to many vegan groups and hosts a number of events year round. Newcastle Vegan Festival is being held on Sunday 27th October 2019 and this is the 7th consecutive year of its running.
Restaurant tip: Junk it Up – Following a plant-based diet used to mean having to miss out on being able to indulge in some comfort food. Fear not, this fast food bar answers all of your prayers. Kebabs, burgers, pizzas, nachos and sides – all of your favourite junk food to cure even the worst of hangovers. (Unit 41, STACK Newcastle, Pilgrim St, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, NE1 6QE)
Long considered the vegan capital of the world, Bristol may not have come out on top in this study, but that does not take away from the credibility this city holds when looking at plant-based popularity. Bristol has a hugely popular vegan community, with the Vegan Bristol website listing over 300 vegan, vegetarian and vegan friendly cafés, restaurants and shops in and around the city.
Restaurant tip: Koocha Mezze Bar – This hip cocktail and mezze bar serves up a variety of Persian inspired cuisine. Treat yourself to a vibrant and colourful range of dishes and wash them down with a cocktail or two – their 2 for £10 deal makes it impossible to say no! (10 Zetland Rd, Bristol, England, BS6 7AD).
The only Welsh city to make the top 10, Cardiff offers a strong number of vegan-friendly options for its residents and tourists to enjoy. Many of these restaurants are located in the heart of the city, making hopping from one to another very easy. You can even enjoy vegan replicas of the traditional Welsh cakes at Cardiff indoor market!
Restaurant tip: Anna Loka – The first entirely vegan café to open in Cardiff, Anna Loka is the go-to location where you will find such a wide choice of vegan food. Visit at the end of the week for a traditional Sunday dinner (with a vegan twist, of course) and order the nut or seitan roast, complete with roasties, parsnips, carrots, seasonal vegetables and homemade gravy – yum! (114 Albany Rd, Cardiff, Wales).
The first Scottish city to appear on the list, this capital boasts a vibrant student life due to its four international universities and in turn offers a wide range of vegan-friendly places to eat. Edinburgh is also a consistently popular tourist location due to its incredible architecture and rich history, and has an impressive number of vegan-friendly eateries and shops to suit the requirements of all types of visitors.
Restaurant tip: Black Rabbit – The national dish of Scotland is haggis, but thankfully this café offers a vegan alternative in the form of a ‘toasted haggis and cheese sandwich’ for £4.50 or ‘haggis and bakon roll’ for £3. Perfect for a true guilt-free Scottish experience! (33 Brougham St, Edinburgh EH3 9JT).
The second city flying the flag for Scotland is Glasgow, following very closely behind its capital counterpart in our ranking. Home of international football and the famous Glasgow patter, this is the largest city in Scotland. Again, being another student-focused city has resulted in the rise in ever-growing popularity of veganism.
Restaurant tip: Suissi Vegan Asian Kitchen – This absolute gem only opened its doors this year but has already been dubbed the best vegan Asian restaurant in Glasgow. The menu features a range of dishes from Chinese to Thai, including spring rolls, gyozas, noodle soups and pad thai – all entirely vegan! The salt and chilli tofu dish sounds particularly tasty and only costs £6.50. (494 Dumbarton Rd, Patrick, Glasgow, Scotland, G11 6SL).
Well-known for its legendary music scene and world famous football teams, Manchester is also a good choice for vegans who wish to visit this city without the worry of being able to eat well. A quick Google search will provide you with an abundance of information about where you can satisfy your hunger with the tastiest of plant-based meals which will sort you out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Restaurant tip: Ice Shack – This quirky dessert parlour is another first of its kind in its city, bringing the residents and tourists of Manchester mouth-watering vegan desserts. A menu with the likes of gin & elderflower sorbet and chocolate orange cake, there is something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. (1c, 160-164 Wellington Road, Withington, Manchester, M20 3FU).
Home to over 20 vegan-friendly restaurants and a supermarket with one of the most extensive stockings of 100% vegan products in the UK, Sheffield definitely deserves the last place in the top 10. Being one of the greenest cities in Europe, based on the number of trees per person, it is only fitting that Sheffield is also an up-and-coming hub for those following a vegan lifestyle.
Restaurant tip: Just Falafs – Who doesn’t love falafel? The tasty Middle Eastern delight paired with some hummus is a match made in heaven. This eatery offers falafel, shawarma and tofu options (and more) served in either a pita, on a plate or as part of a hummus bowl. The most expensive items on the menu are a mere £6, meaning you can certainly fill your belly here without having to budget your money. (87 Chesterfield Road, Sheffield, S8 0RN).
Methodology: The data used was collected in October 2019 from Happy Cow, a website that specialises in vegan nutrition. To form the ranking, the number of vegan restaurants and the number of vegetarian restaurants with vegan options were weighed against the population size in each city.
How do you plan to celebrate the World Vegan Day?
Disclaimer: This post and recipe is written in collaboration with Holidu.