Saturday, 23 April 2011

“Sir, the noblest prospect that a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to London” (Samuel Johnson)

Well I didn't see much of the road that led me to London being that a) it was dark and b) I was trying to sleep.

Bf and I went to London for a 2 day sightseeing trip- got the overnight coach from Tuesday to Wednesday and boy it was rough! My blow-up cushion had a hole in it, the seat didn't recline and the bus was packed- we were lucky to even get seats next to each other. Plus it was noisy and the vibrations of the bus made it even more uncomfortable! So we got to London tired, sore neck-ed but nevertheless in one piece.

Eating vegan in London is easy, and everything I ate was delicious! But I forgot to take any photos of the food. Nevertheless, here is my London food diary:


Breakfast: C likes to eat healthy so at 7.10am on arrival in London we headed to Starbucks for some porridge. We also shared a large vanilla soya latte (C says he doesn't drink coffee but when I get one he'll always have some of mine). The porridge can be made with soya milk and comes with dried fruit:

It was delicious :) Got changed and brushed teeth in the starbucks toilet (which was a big disabled one so at least there was space!) how dignified! But we couldn't check into the hotel until 3.

At 8am we went and got Oyster cards (the special William and Kate edition):

Then we went to the bus stop for the Original Bus Tour and bought tickets using clubcard vouchers given to me by my mum (it's normally £52 for 2 tickets so we wouldn't have been able to afford it otherwise!) It was about 10 degrees by this point (8.30am) sunny and getting warmer, so we sat up on the open top, plugged in our audio guides, sat back and relaxed. The bus tour was an excellent way to see the sights away from all the crowds, it was an easy way to get photos, it wasn't as hot and stuffy as the streets seemed to feel, and the audio guide was really interesting. I now know the origins of the word 'Taxi' and the phrases 'one for the road' and 'falling off the wagon' (the latter two having to do with public executions!). C loved it, it was his favourite part of the whole trip as he hates heat and crowds.

I had quite an ambitious itinerary and had hoped to get to Buckingham Palace by 11.15am to see the Changing of the Guards but the bus got stuck in traffic and at 11.20am we got off near the Houses of Parliament and went to the palace on foot. We didn't get there til 11.40 and the crowds were too big to see much of the ceremony, so we sat on the grass near St James's park and put on some sun cream as it was getting really hot by that point! Then we decided to walk to Covent Garden as I wanted to get lunch from a vegetarian cafe there.

Lunch: The cafe was called Food For Thought:

The menu is only about half vegan and changes every day, and it wasn't that cheap (£4.80 for a pot of food). I chose the brocolli and coconut curry, (C already had a sandwich he bought earlier) and we went and sat in the main square of Covent Garden to eat. The curry wasn't enough so I had a pack of Nairn's chocolate chip oat biscuits which I had brought with me.

After lunch we got on the Museum tour bus (the Original tour has three routes) and went to the Natural History museum. This was a bit of a mistake as there was a huge queue, when we got in it was packed, we were hot, exhausted, and carrying heavy rucksacks. We left after 20 minutes and went back to the hotel

Dinner: After a shower and nap, we headed out for dinner and to see Blood Brothers the musical at the Phoenix theatre. However, I took a bit longer getting ready and the tube took a bit longer getting there than we'd thought, so we didn't really get time to get dinner. We ended up in Pret a Manger and C had a sandwich. I went for a hummus salad with roasted butternut squash that was delicious! (There appears to be feta cheese in that photo... what I had was almost exactly the same but was marked vegan and had no feta).

Then we got some water and grape pots for the theatre. I also visited Holland and Barrett on the way to the theatre (the shops stay open so late!) and got a cherry and coconut flapjack and chocolate soya milk.

Blood brothers was excellent, I had never seen it before and was really impressed, and thankfully C enjoyed it too.


Breakfast- we had breakfast in the hotel. They had soya milk and vegan margarine so I had rice crispies, toast, marg and jam, orange juice and tea.

We spent all morning at the Tower of London, which was amazing, this castle/ fortress/ prison in the centre of London which is home to the Crown jewels, royal armoury, and was the place of both the marriage and the death of Anne Boleyn. C loved seeing Henry VIII's armour and I liked the crown jewels. We used clubcard vouchers for the tickets but you have to pay extra for the audio guides, I would say these are a must though! We spent three hours there but there was a lot we didn't see, you could easily spend a whole day.

Lunch: After the tower we went to Soho, as I wanted to get lunch from a vegetarian cafe in soho called Beatroot:

It's a mix and match salads and hot foods place, and all the cakes are vegan. I had shepherds pie, bean stew, roasted veg and sosage rolls with a coconut chocolate krispie cake. It was all AMAZING, the best food I had while in London, and better value I'd say than Food for Thought. We took it out and found a little park near Leicester Square to eat and relax for an hour.

After sourcing some neck pillows at Boots, we chilled out at Costa with a vanilla soya latte (me) and innocent smoothie (C) for a while. My original plan was to do more sightseeing, but I had learnt my lesson by packing too much in the previous day and not having time for dinner, as well as leaving us tired and grumpy, so we took a chill-out approach. We were running low on funds (transport in London is so expensive) so we went to Pizza Hut for dinner as we had a 2-for-1. Then we headed to Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue and watched Your Highness, which is a bit too in your face but still very funny. Our final London experience was a pint of cider and a game of monopoly on Chris's ipad (we weren't allowed to continue on the bus because I was winning!) then we got the coach back. The return journey was much better as it was quieter, the seats reclined, and the neck pillows were amazing.

It was a fantastic two days, but there is still so much in London that I want to see! There's still lots of veg/ vegan restaurants to try out next time too!

Famous Vegan of the Post:

Kerry McCarthy- Labour MP for Bristol East

Kerry campaigns for animal welfare and has commented on Twitter about the health risks of cows milk.

I will be second voting Green on the upcoming 5 May Scottish Parliament elections, but I haven't quite decided which party will get my first vote yet.

Vegan Quote of the Post:

I chose this quote after hearing in London that 200,000 people used to show up to watch public executions. Death of people may no longer be a sport, but for those campaigning for fox hunting, death of animals still is:

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.
—James A. Froude, English historian (1818–1894)


  1. Hi Kirsti, thanks for the comment in my blog :)
    Loved to read about different places in London! They look amazing too. I think the best thing about cities like London is that there are so many options that's almost impossible to go to all them and every time you visit the city there's a new option ;-)

  2. Yep that's true, it just makes me more excited to go back there again! I am going to Dublin as well in late summer do you have any recommendations for vegan eating there?