Vegan In Scotland

In this blog series I review vegan/vegetarian restaurants, cafés and shops in Scotland. Ever since I moved here, I noticed it is noticeably harder to eat out and stick to a plant-based diet in Scotland than it was when I lived in London. After several months of frustration, I am making it my mission to suss out vegan/vegetarian places to eat all over Scotland — if it takes me all the way out to the Hebrides! (But hopefully not.)

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Stereo, Glasgow

David Bann, Edinburgh

Henderson’s Restaurant, Edinburgh

19 thoughts on “Vegan In Scotland

  1. Hello! I’m not vegan proper, more veggie but trying to avoid dairy stuff too .you can never be too sure what’s hidden in dishes moo-wise when you are eating out so always good to find places that do vegan stuff, just makes it all easier! I have always loved the Roseleaf in Edinburgh (cocktails in teapots!) but love it all the more now I have discovered they have a separate vegan menu, you just need to ask for it. Actual choices. on a menu… who knew! Just came across your blog via the FInding Vegan site and hoping it will inspire me to make the move from just drooling over recipes to actually making something! Will keep you updated if i have any success… x

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    • Hiya! Thanks for the tip, I will definitely go visit the Roseleaf! I haven’t been able to go do a lot of restaurant reviews in the last few months, I’ve been so busy with graduating and job hunting, but I’m looking forward to picking up this series again in the New Year.
      I’m glad my blog can be of help to you — don’t hesitate to email if you’ve any questions! xoxo

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  2. I am planning a trip during World Cup Rugby Sept. 2015 to the UK and we will spend a week visiting Scotland. I’m vegan, of course, so any new places you’ve discovered that are a “must visit” for a foodie like me?

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    • Hi! Firstly, WELCOME TO SCOTLAND! It’s the most beautiful and magical place on Earth, you won’t want to leave 🙂

      Ok, here’s what ye have to do:

      Places to eat:
      STEREO in Glasgow, on Renfield Lane. It looks like a dodgy side alley, but I swear it’s heaven on earth. Go and be amazed.
      David Bann in Edinburgh. Off the Royal Mile, in the Cowgate area. AMAZING food.
      Henderson’s restaurant, bistro and shop in Edinburgh are also great for simple but tasty food.
      I’ve heard good things about Mono in Glasgow but haven’t had a chance to go yet.
      I have also been to the Flying Duck vegan pub in Glasgow — I honestly thought the pub itself was minging, BUT they will be able to serve you a vegan dish of haggis, neeps & tatties, and you really should eat that while you’re here. You can also buy McSweeney’s vegan haggis in supermarkets.
      Pizza Express do a vegan pizza, Las Iguanas is a restaurant chain that has a separate vegan menu (ask for it), and Wagamama also has vegan options on their menu. In Edinburgh and Glasgow you’ll find Prêt à Manger (shortened to Pret), which is a chain of healthy sandwich shops. They have a vegan sandwich, a vegan wrap, and plenty of smoothies and juices.
      There is a vegan chocolate shop in Inverness and a vegetarian shop in Nairn (in the Highlands), but sadly they were closed when I was there over New Year’s last year.
      If you’re going on a road trip, BE PREPARED. In most pubs and restaurants you can find veggie options but they are loaded with cheese, butter and eggs. Go to a supermarket and load up on fresh fruit, hummus, falafels, and make your own sandwiches. Especially if you’re going to the Highlands. Even in the Central Belt I can get stuck for options if I’m not careful. Morrocan and Indian restaurants will usually have more options for vegans, but you will only find them in the big cities.

      Shops:
      Holland & Barrett is a chain of health food stores in the UK, they usually have good deals on and carry a varied stock of nuts, dried fruit, vitamins and supplements, plus sweet treats (a lot of them vegan, but read the package or just ask someone in the store, their staff are super friendly), snacks on the go and basics. Their frozen section carries a good range of vegan microwave meals and faux meats and cheeses.
      Tesco is a supermarket chain, on the cheaper side, and is starting to carry a lot of vegan foods. Buy nondairy milks in the long-life milk aisle, and look in their fresh dairy aisle for vegan cheese, yogurt, milk and other puddings.
      Sainsbury’s, especially the larger ones, have a big range of ‘free from’ foods, i.e. foods good for allergies, including a lot of vegan foods. Again, read the packages!
      There is a wonderful pub in Stirling called THE CURLY COO. The landlady, Mandy, is the kindest and sassiest woman in the world, and knows her whisky better than a Highlander born and raised. Tell her what you like and she’ll serve you the best whisky. My personal favourites are Bunnahahbain (boo – nah – hah – van), Talisker and Deanston. DON’T ADD MIXERS TO YOUR SINGLE MALT.
      As for coffee shops, all the chains (Costa, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Pret, AMT) stock soya milk. Some of the hot chocolate powders may contain whey powder, so do ask!

      Places to visit:
      STIRLING (duh). The castle is amazing and you get a free guided tour. I recommend you ask when Stuart Campbell is doing a guided tour because I usually luck out and get on his tours, and he is amazing. Love that guy. Walk around the city, it’s so lovely, and if you can meet someone who’s happy to go hillwalking with you, I recommend climbing to the top of Dumyat, near the university and the Wallace Monument, the view is breath-taking. Also visit the Wallace Monument, and listen to the dressed-up guy doing the talk about William Wallace and the Battle of Bannockburn + Stirling Bridge. Go visit the Bannockburn museum (there are buses going there, it’s a mile out of Stirling). The Church of the Holy Rude is a must. It is the most beautiful church in the entire world (+ Mary Queen of Scots worshipped there).
      Tour of the Trossachs National Park, with Loch Lomond, Katrine, Ard and basically ALL OF THEM. If you can, hire a car, and drive around all day, and stop whenever you see something beautiful, which is every ten minutes.
      EDINBURGH. Take two days, and just walk. Everywhere. Go see the port of Leith, it’s picturesque, walk up the Royal Mile, go see Mary King Close and the Dungeon for a good scare, the castle if you fancy (but it’s expensive). Go climb Arthur’s Seat, it’s worth it! Get lost in wee closes (small lanes that were rather dodgy in Victorian times, but totally safe these days).
      INVERNESS. + Loch Ness and Urquhart castle. I would go to Urquhart first thing in the morning, before all the tourists come. The view is splendid. While you’re up there, go to visit Culloden. Stop in Nairn for a break by the seaside.
      GLASGOW. Fab for the art scene and going out! The university, Kelvingrove Park and generally the West End are beautiful.
      Other favourite places: Linlithgow castle, Doune castle (they filmed Monty Python and the Holy Grail there, scenes from Game of Thrones and Outlander), the Isle of Skye (SO GORGEOUS), Deanston Distillery in Doune, Eilean Donan (just before Skye). If you get the chance, go to the Outer Hebrides.

      Music:
      If you rent a car (as I suggest you do), make a playlist containing songs by Runrig, Dougie MacLean, Manran, Skerryvore, Amy MacDonald, The Proclaimers, Julie Fowlis and the Paul McKenna Band.

      Other fun things you should do when you come over is go to a ceilidh, a traditional Scottish folk dance. I hear they’re a cracker in the Highlands, but you can find them anywhere in Scotland; look up the Edinburgh Ceilidh Club.

      I know you said you’re coming for a week, but I would urge you to extend that to two if you can because there is so much to see. If you like scenery, you’ll love it here. Even when the weather’s shite, it’s beautiful. Watch a sunrise over the hills, it’ll take your breath away. If there’s one thing I wish for, it’s that I could experience Scotland again for the first time, because that was the best feeling: falling in love with this place. I was sixteen and I was sold from the minute I set foot in Edinburgh. And here I am six years later 🙂 I know you only wanted food recommendations, but I can’t shut up about Scotland.

      And lastly… ENJOY YOUR STAY! 🙂

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  3. You are incredible! Thank you for your extremely thorough information about your fave places in Scotland! I’m adding them into my trip planner for future reference! Merry Christmas Cookiefairy!!!

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  4. I just had to write (from ireland) to say I used to be in all of these places for weeks at a time (Scottish father). So loved camping in Stirling, Nessie hunting, curry in Glasgow, picnics in the park and walking the castle way in Edinburgh. Stopping with beloved aunt in East kilbride…. Up to the trossachs….. You chose one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit then.
    Oh, if I had a punt for every time I saw doggie Maclean, a wonderful fellah and followed his concerts for decades!
    Must awY for lurking hubby with VERY sweet tooth thinks he is owed slutty brownies for a good start to the new year (I blame you of course!). You know I will dip in (testing for poison…I am very conscientious) and I have just lost half stone. Have you no shame at all woman?

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  5. Pingback: Easy Vegan Cranachan In Only 5 Ingredients | The Vegan Cookie Fairy

    • Vegetarian haggis is vegan by default, you’ve got to try it! You can buy it in most large supermarkets or in any Scottish souvenir shop (it’ll be more expensive but at least you’ll be able to find it easily). Have a wonderful trip xx

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    • Hi Sophie,

      It’s getting easier all the time! In Edinburgh and Glasgow there are lots of specifically vegan and vegetarian places to eat and shop, and even in smaller cities and towns like Falkirk, Stirling, Dundee, new places and businesses are popping up. Zizzi’s, La Favorita and Pizza Express now all offer vegan items on their menus. In larger and central supermarkets you’ll find vegan options for lunch and takeaway food (though I still struggle in smaller shops). Compared to when I moved to Stirling in September 2013, things have dramatically improved, but there’s still some way to go. In the Highlands and the Hebrides, for example, it can be hard to have a good range of options if you’re not prepared. In other words, travel with a fridge box!

      Clem x

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  6. What a wonderfully positive site this is! Dear Cookie Fairy, will you be our tour guide when my family and I come in October?? I am sure this is wishful thinking as I expect that you are working full-time by now.

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    • What a sweet comment, Donna! Unfortunately I am working full-time and really am not qualified to be a tour guide, but if you’re looking for an air BnB I do have a 1 bedroom (that comes with a cat) in the West End of Edinburgh.

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