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Travelling to London with Food Allergies

Travelling to London with Food Allergies

traveling to london with food allergies

Are you travelling to London with food allergies?

Good news, you’ve got a lot of options! London only seems to be getting better and better for food allergy folks. I’ve lived in London for 10 months, and have since visited four times since moving away. Every time I go back, more places have allergy-friendly options, clearer allergy policies and ingredient lists, and are more open to discussing my dietary needs. 

Allergy Friendly Grocery Shopping in London

traveling to london with food allergies

traveling to london with food allergies

traveling to london with food allergies

I will admit I am a total grocery snob and LOVE Waitrose! When people go to London they want to visit Buckingham Palace or the National Museum, I’m like drop me off at the closest Waitrose, and I’ll see you in a few hours! Since moving away from London, the selection of ‘free from’ foods has doubled! I found most packaging well marked with the top 14 allergens bolded.

Another change I saw in London in the last few years was all the health food stores popping up. What I was surprised by was how many dairy alternatives are now available. All of the food stores I visited with ready-made food had the allergens marked, but the cross-contact still made me a little nervous. The amount of allergy-friendly snacks I saw at each place was mind-boggling!

traveling to london with food allergies

Allergy Friendly Restaurants in London

We only had a few opportunities to eat out this time. Each place we went to

Allergies are no joke in London, a common sign they are taking allergies seriously is at most places they come back with questions from the kitchen. Thumbs up!!

A pub – The Grenadier

This place is a haunted pub with delicious grub! I had fish with mashed potatoes. I couldn’t have the sauce they typically served with the dish, so they improvised and provided me with lemon and clarified butter. We called ahead about my allergies, and they had their allergy menu ready.

I would 100% recommend this place. After looking through their menu, with a few minor modifications, I am pretty sure there is something for everyone. The best part about this place is, it’s super hard to find, so it’s like you have found a hidden gem (even though it’s pretty famous).

Allergy-Friendly Pizza in London

Pizza Pilgrims

traveling to london with food allergies

I ate here once with Emma (the blogger behind Free From Farmhouse) and once with the entire Allergy Travels team. If they can make all of us a safe meal, well then I can definitely recommend it.  

There are multiple locations of Pizza Pilgrims, I have been to two. They only use olive oil and were very good ensuring my meal would be allergy-friendly. I cannot speak to a dairy allergy and I do not think it is a place for someone with a wheat allergy.

Pizza Express

I know lots of food allergy families love this place. I think the food is ok. They do use sunflower oil. It’s a good place for kids.

See Also
creamy bean dip

Allergy-Aware Italian Restaurants in London

Cafe Caldesi 

My favourite place! I ate here whenever my parents visited me in London. The food is super good and the atmosphere suits any occasion, if you are looking for a bistro experience stay on the ground floor or if you are feeling a little fancy head upstairs for a white table cloth kind of experience.

Locanda Locatelli

Super fancy Italian food. A starred (Michelin) restaurant famous in allergy circles because the chef’s daughter has multiple allergies. I felt like I was in safe hands. Guys, I ate bread and I never get to eat the bread!!

Overall London is a great city for managing food allergies. Allergies do not feel foreign to the service industry, and for the most part, you are treated very pleasantly.

Other notable places I’ve eaten at in London include:

Honourable mention – Potbelly

traveling to london with food allergies

I flipping love Potbelly; it is pretty much what I survived on as a college student. So when we saw Potbelly, we just knew we had to eat there. They have a nice big allergy warning as you walk in and they dedicate one staff member to handle your order and go through all the ingredients with you. They changed their gloves and even used fresh ingredients to avoid cross-contact. The milk products and eggs are kept in the same area as the other ingredients, but all nuts are in a separate area and sealed.

Overall London is a great city for managing food allergies. Allergies do not feel foreign to the service industry, and for the most part, you are treated very pleasantly.

Share your favourite London eateries in the comments below!

View Comments (19)
  • Thank you Kortney for this great write up- this gives me hope about traveling to London someday with my girls. My husband just came back and echoed much of what you have written about especially when dining out. He was so impressed with their clear labeling & servers asking upfront if anyone had dietary requirements or food allergies.

    • London is a great city for allergies! Glad that your husband had a similar experience – it’s always good to hear this because I may have just lucked out the whole time 😉

  • I love that there are now so many great food options when traveling for those who have allergies. I’ve been seeing more and more places popping up all over the world. Hooray for that!

  • I wish I was traveling to London! Looks like you had a fabulous trip and so nice to hear there are more options for those with food allergies there.

  • I bet these posts are so helpful to the FA community. One of these days when I can travel–I will be looking these back up!

    • Hi Meghan,
      The cronuts were at Harrods. I chose not to eat them due to, however they did have the ingredients listed.

  • Hi Kortney- my son with shellfish/crustacean allergies will be travelling with my wife and I to UK and France at the end of September. It’s the second UK trip for my wife and I, and we’re looking forward to being temporary Londoner’s again! I’m encouraged by what I’ve found on line, especially the allergygirleats sites, and thank you for your contributions. We’ll of course avoid seafood restaurants, but so many others, including a couple on you recommend, have offenders such as a calamari appetizer. Any advice you have on avoiding cross-contamination is greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Greg,
      My two big tipsy would be to travel with an allergy card. This is such a helpful tool when it comes to making sure you can tell the kitchen your exact needs. I also like to call ahead and warn them I am coming to eat – and I tell them I will be bringing my card.
      The other thing I do is to chose a meal that requires the least amount of prep and has the least amount of ingredients. This way the kitchen should have an easier time preparing something safe.
      Last thing, I never eat anything that is cooked in a fryer due to cross contact.
      I hope this helps. How old is your son? I may be able to give you a few more appropriate recommendations. Also, where in France will you be headed?

  • Thanks for the info! We’re in Edinburgh right now and doing much of what you suggest. We drop in when we see a place we’d like to try, and call first when searching online. Everyone seems very aware and are up front regarding cross-contamination. We’ll be in London Wednesday, then over to Normandy on October 10. Any recommendations? Trip Adviisor lists lots of cafe’s under “cheap eats ” & we plan on scouring menus before we arrive, hoping to find safe places.

    My son is 30 and is not taking any risks. As you say nothing fried, & super vigilant. We printed UK & France (English/French) allergy cards, &we’ve seen the UK food safety logo at several places in Edinburgh.

    Thanks again,

    • Hi Greg!
      I’m so glad to hear that your trip is going well so far! London is a great city to eat out in with regards to managing allergies. I have a list of some of my favourite London eats, The Grenadier is particularly fun.
      I’ve never been to Normandy- there is a Facebook Travel Group I manage if you want to ask for any recommendations this may be a good start. Having an allergy card will be very helpful in France.
      Happy rest of your travels!
      – Kortney

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