Edinburgh – a Vegan’s Paradise

Although I was born and raised in England, my heart has always been in Scotland. My dad’s family is Scottish and my parents and I always go up to visit every year. For a short break over the Christmas holidays, my boyfriend and I traveled up to Edinburgh to do some sightseeing. It. Was. Fantastic. I was shocked and overwhelmed by the amount of vegan food choices available – it was a pleasant change to be able to have a choice of places to eat out at. We even stumbled across places with mostly vegan food by accident! On the first night we went to a local cinema to watch a movie, and almost all of the food they served at the bar was suitable for vegans. Times are changing…

We were only there for four days, and in that time we ate out four times at three different restaurants. In no particular order, here they are:

Holy Cow

We went here on our first day after we got off the train in the city centre. We were so hungry and we found this place using the HappyCow app. It was 100% vegan and they served coffees, cakes, smoothies, burgers, salads and other things all made with seasonal produce. I had the Mexican burger and tried the chocolate and peanut butter cake for dessert. It was perfect!

Paradise Palms

This place was 100% vegetarian with lots of vegan options, all clearly labelled. The venue is definitely worth checking out as the decorations are so cool and wacky, they played good music and there are often events going on – from music to discussions, to parties! They served a variety of options but as I’m predictable and have a deep love for burgers, I opted for the black bean and seitan burger. Delicious!

Seitan burger with onion rings and rosemary fries

Seitan burger with onion rings and rosemary fries

The Auld Hoose

The Auld Hoose is home to Edinburgh’s largest nachos. Not a vegetarian establishment, but almost everything could have been veganised. We visited this place twice – once, to take on the biggest nachos (we shared the ‘smaller’ portion and it still filled us up!), and again on the last day to have a vegan cooked breakfast, which included vegan haggis. I’ve never tried haggis before vegan or otherwise but it was really tasty. I’d like to make it myself at some point! The staff here were so friendly, that even though it served meat options, I would recommend paying them a visit. Can you defeat Edinburgh’s biggest nachos?!

Edinburgh's biggest nachos - with bean chili, jalapenos, vegan cheese and tons of guacamole

Edinburgh’s biggest nachos – with bean chili, jalapenos, vegan cheese and tons of guacamole

Vegan cooked breakfast - hash browns, tomatoes, mushroooms, sausages, beans and vegan haggis

Vegan cooked breakfast – hash browns, tomatoes, mushroooms, sausages, beans and vegan haggis

We also went for hot chocolate at Henderson’s, which is a vegetarian/ vegan shop, cafe and restaurant in Edinburgh new town.  It had just been snowing outside and the windows were all steamed up, so it was lovely and cosy indoors. Last time I was in Edinburgh I ate lunch at Henderson’s and it was my first ever vegan meal out (I’d only been vegan two weeks!), so it was really nice to go back.

What’s your favourite vegan-friendly city? Have you ever eaten out in Edinburgh? Have you ever been to any of these places?  Let me know in the comments! 

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Veggin’ Out at London VegFest 2016

I was in vegan paradise on Saturday at London VegFest! The place was full of happy, enthusiastic, life-loving vegans from all walks of life. It seemed like almost everyone was wearing vegan themed t-shirts (myself included!) as we came together to celebrate an animal-free day.

I’m now kicking myself for not taking more photos, as there were so many great looking stalls…but at least that means that I was too busy to play photographer!

Where I bought my lunch - best hotdogs ever

Where I bought my lunch – best hotdogs ever

Attending VegFest has definitely inspired me to focus more on my activism, too. I have other vegan friends at university/living in Oxford, and we want to get more involved with protests and things like that. I’m talking more about veganism too, which is hopefully encouraging others to look at their own lifestyle choices!

I don’t normally like to buy things unless its absolutely necessary, but since its supporting good causes, I spent so much money at VegFest. I bought six packets of sheese (Bute Island Foods), which is by far my favourite type of vegan cheese. Their Greek-style sheese is simply the best.

My Sheese collection

My Sheese collection

To encourage me to get fitter, I impulsively signed up for the Vegan Runners membership. £4 for a student membership is a great deal, and after joining their group on Facebook, I’m pleased with my decision. The community on there is so welcoming, friendly, and helpful. And now I have to keep running, of course!

I bought three t-shirts, as well. One from Anticarnist, which is amazing because I’ve wanted one of their tees for ages. It’s a lovely fit, and I feel super great when I wear it. I’ve already received a number of compliments off friends around campus, too. I also got two more beautiful tees from Wear Your Voice.

anti-carnist

There were quite a few animal sanctuary stalls dotted around, too, which was really lovely. I bought a 2017 calendar from Hillside animal sanctuary, and I had a chat with one of the volunteers, who was really lovely. I’m super inspired by what they do!

My lunch was a  Vegusto hotdog, which was delicious. Since going vegan, it’s been the best hotdog I’ve ever had.

And of course, no trip to VegFest is complete without buying loads of Vegan Sidekick merchandise. Between my boyfriend and I, we bought a (hilarious) poster, a fridge magnet, and a whole bunch of stickers, which I plan on displaying everywhere!

Vegan Sidekick's poster

Vegan Sidekick’s poster

So, after a wonderful day (and I really did spend the whole day there), I headed home on the bus. Back to Oxford, back to the library, back to reality. I can’t wait for next year. Thanks, VegFest. You were awesome.

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