Gluten-Free Travel Experience: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Edinburgh is a beautiful city to visit. For anyone visiting the UK I highly recommend fitting Edinburgh into your itinerary – you won’t regret it! I’m lucky enough to live close by – so read below for my GF tips based on my last trip to Edinburgh in February.

Restaurants

  • Mammas American Pizza, Grassmarket – the menu is clearly marked with what is and isn’t suitable, they do a special GF dough and most of the toppings (minus the haggis and sausage!) were GF. I’m pretty sure all of the fries are GF too. The pizza here is by far the best GF pizza I’ve eaten! Also the portion sizes are huge so we took our leftovers away and ate them for lunch the following day.
  • Hard Rock Cafe – I definitely recommend eating here, especially as they’re GF accredited by Coeliac UK so there’s extra reassurance about cross contamination. I found staff to be really accommodating, they have a special GF menu and your food comes with a little GF flag. I had pork ribs, and because it’s the HRC – the portion sizes are massive! Happy days.
  • Dishoom – I’ve heard amazing reviews of Dishoom from non-GF friends. When I found out they have a GF menu I was crazy excited about eating there. Unfortunately you can’t book tables for evening meals and when we arrived there was a 45 minute wait to be seated! So we decided to go somewhere else. Watch this space as we will definitely go back next time!!

Activities

  • Arthur’s Seat – a trip to Edinburgh is incomplete if you don’t venture up here. The hike is fairly steep and took us about 35 minutes but the views of Edinburgh once you reach the top are definitely worth it!! Proper footwear and a woolly hat are definitely recommended.
  • Camera Obscura – a multi-storey museum full of optical illusions, with excellent rooftop views of the castle and surrounding city. We found it lots of fun, and it’s definitely not just for kids!
  • Harry Potter Tour – you can pay to go on a guided walking tour or you can just go visit everywhere by yourself; the Elephant House Cafe, Greyfriar’s churchyard and of course Museum Context on Victoria St which sells lots of HP merchandise (it’s location was the inspiration for diagon alley).
  • Surgeon’s Hall Museum – this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but we found the exhibits really interesting and we were here for almost 2 hours! Ticket prices are fairly cheap and even less if you work for the NHS. There is a quiet cafe right beside the museum entrance where I got a jacket potato with cheese – because what coeliac-friendly city trip would be complete without a trusty JP?!
  • Botanical Gardens – you should visit here if you’re fortunate enough to have good weather when you’re in Edinburgh. It’s quite a trek from the city centre (we walked, but I’m sure you can get public transport). The best thing about the gardens is the proximity to a COMPLETELY 100% GLUTEN FREE BAKERY. Yes you heard correctly. SugarDaddys bakes completely GF goods, and some are DF/vegan too. I limited myself to just buying three goodies but I seriously could have purchased everything in the whole bakery, it was coeliac heaven. We went to SugarDaddy’s first and then sat down in the Botanical Gardens to eat our goodies. 😍 Some good news is that they’re planning on opening a second bakery in Edinburgh very soon!

Eating out in the UK is fairly easy if you stick to GF accredited chain restaurants but the fact that Edinburgh has a bunch of different places to eat that are suitable for coeliacs makes it extra special. I really think Edinburgh is a great place to visit and the fact that it’s so coeliac-friendly makes it even better.

 

Have you been to Edinburgh? Do you have any other recommendations? I’d like to hear them!

Hannah

The Lunch-time Learning Curve

In the first few months of being diagnosed with coeliac disease, I can think of a handful of times where I found myself panicking because hadn’t thought about where I’d be able to find anything I could safely eat for lunch, or anxiously analysing the ingredients of pre-packaged salads during the busy lunchtime rush (“is cous-cous the gluten-free one, or am I getting it mixed up with quinoa*?! I give up!!”).

I quickly learned that eating lunch when following a gluten-free diet often comes down to one important thing – planning ahead!
When working, I try to prepare a packed lunch – particularly if I’m working somewhere that isn’t within walking distance of any of my favourite coeliac-friendly lunch spots.

For me, a simple packed lunch usually consists of;

  • a sandwich: I use Genius Triple Seeded Farmhouse bread (which is definitely my favourite of all the available GF breads) filled with either chicken or cheese and GF salad cream
  • a pack of GF crisp: Seabrook crisps don’t break the bank at £1 for a pack of six, Canadian Ham is my current favourite flavour but they offer lots of different flavours and all of them are gluten-free!
  • a stick of cheese
  • a yoghurt
  • perhaps a bar of chocolate

If I’m feeling super prepared at the beginning of the week, I’ll make a pancetta and veg frittata and take two slices for lunch each day.

Try as I might, preparing a packed lunch for work doesn’t always work out as planned – I sometimes oversleep in the morning, I might run out of bread, or maybe I just can’t be bothered to prepare food. In which case, here are my favourite places to grab a quick GF lunch:

#1 Boots
Gluten-free options galore. They sometimes have GF sandwiches, but 99% of the time I will opt for the salmon and prawn sushi or a sushi salad. All of the GF options are included in the meal deal, which means you don’t have to pay more for lunch than your gluten-consuming friends. Bonus!

#2 M&S
The sandwiches in the Made Without Wheat range at M&S are really delicious, my favourite is the chicken and bacon one. However, they are pretty expensive (£3.50 for one sandwich, come on?!) and they are rarely included in the meal deal.

#3 Costa Coffee
Who doesn’t love a latte at lunchtime?? Costa sell GF chicken caesar wraps, but once it’s gone it’s gone! I also recommend the Rhythm 108 GF (and DF!) chocolate and hazelnut tea biscuits.

I’ve never had any luck in finding GF lunches in my local Tesco, Sainsbury’s or Waitrose. I also don’t visit Starbucks anymore because I’m conscious of cross-contamination issues as they offer the option of oat milk in their drinks.

Where do you find has the best GF lunchtime options? What do you include in your packed lunches? How do you think I could easily make my packed lunch more exciting? I’d love to hear 🙂

Hannah

*Cous-cous definitely isn’t gluten free.