Why I chose to go to London in the longest winter they’ve had in years I do not know. I showed up in March in a snowstorm and there was another one a couple of weeks later. Even when the weather is shit you want to have a life and get out to explore. It can be rather uncomfortable so I made a list of things to do if you happen to visit London during horrible weather or you plan to stay there anytime between October and March. If you want to do anything touristy or outdoors I beg of you to visit London between April and September (but not in a heat wave because then you’ll be miserable too).
Most of this has to do with food and being inside because eating around new cities is my favorite thing to do no matter what the weather. London (and the UK as a whole) is hands-down the most vegan-friendly place I have ever been with ample choices all around town. By all means you can do outdoor stuff when you visit just be prepared with the right clothing and attitude! Otherwise, just bring your stretchy pants and gorge yourself on amazing vegan food.
Have afternoon tea
There are a number of places in London where you can have vegan afternoon tea. This tea-related ritual actually comes with a ton of food so it’s not just about the tea. Traditionally taken between 4 and 7pm as a precursor to dinner, I recommend going at a proper meal time like brunch or lunch.
Caitlin and I went to tea at La Suite West who offers a vegan tea 7 days a week. Their lovely and ample spread included five delightful tea sandwiches (my faves being the caramelized onion with vegan cheese and the falafel), scones with coconut whip and strawberries, and a selection of desserts. It was so much food and I loved the free non-alcoholic fizzy drink that comes with it along with your choice of tea. They have a lovely patio so if you have a chance to visit when the weather is actually good you’ll love it for afternoon tea. Their rooms look lovely too, though I didn’t get a chance to stay there.
Lele’s only does a tea once a month and it’s booked out in advance. I’m bummed I wasn’t able to check theirs out because it’s one of my favorite little vegan cafes in town!
Have Sunday roast
Just like afternoon tea is the quintessential English thing having roast on Sunday is next on the list. And thankfully for you there are TONS of places in town that do Sunday roast vegan style. I only got to try the one at Cafe Van Gogh, which I know doesn’t look so great from the photo but it was tasty. If you take a look at this list you’ll be overwhelmed with choices.
Eat Fish and Chips
While we are talking about uber English foodie things, having fish and chips is like going to New York and having pizza. So you can find a number of places that do vegan fish n’ chips. This is usually tofu covered in nori then battered and deep fried. There is one place that uses banana flower instead of tofu and all the vegans were raving about it. I went and it was nasty. Do not go to Sutton and Sons for their fish and chips. Just gross. But by all means try some other places like Norman’s Coach & Horses, The Brook, Loving Hut, The Canvas Cafe, The Dove, Simpsons and more.
Get happy hour drinks and tapas at The Brook
I went to The Brook twice over a two week period, which is saying a lot because it was my goal to try all new vegan places each time I went out to eat. It’s just that good! I love me some tapas (little shareable plates of deliciousness) and everything I tried was superb. The nachos were this Texas girl’s dream pairing bbq jackfruit with nacho cheese and guacamole. The buffalo cauliflower is also heavenly. You can’t go wrong just bring another person so you can try many things. Pro tip: Wednesday night is 5£ cocktails so if you plan to drink visit on Wednesdays!
There are a number of great vegan donut options in London. Be careful or you might gain five pounds! Dough Society in Hackney is my favorite for ample tables for working on your computer or chatting with friends. My favorite donuts are at Crosstown, which are sourdough donuts and a bit healthier. They don’t soak up as much oil as traditional donuts but are still light and fluffy. Visit their 100% vegan branch in Marylebone for donuts on the go (no tables inside for seating). Their flavors are all good! There’s also Doughnut Time (which I didn’t try but I heard isn’t great).
Have a proper English breakfast
If you are into breakfast food as much as I am, you’ll want to try a traditional English breakfast vegan-style. I went to a number of places like the Gallery, Kin, and another place I can’t remember. My favorite was at Kin Cafe.
Go to a boozer for a beer
I had a lovely local explain to me what a proper boozer is and take me to one for a beer. It’s not just a pub and it’s crucial that they have a wood fire going inside for you to snuggle up to. A boozer shouldn’t have real food, definitely not one of these fancy expensive menus you see at so many pubs in London. In a real boozer you are going to find lively locals and very few hipsters; no screens of football should be seen. You might just find a cat chilling with the patrons though.
Go to a musical
I had the pleasure of seeing 42nd Street at Theatre Royal and it was phenomenal! We bought the cheapest balcony seats but since we went on a slow day they moved us down into way better seats. I’ve only been to a couple of musicals in my life and this one blew me away with the dancing, singing, stage design, and costumes. It’s a bit weird because it takes place in the 1930’s and is sexist in many ways. Once you get over that it’s pretty awesome.
Hit up the Tate Modern and Victoria & Albert Museum
If you like museums you’ll be set in London. There are a ton to choose from along with many smaller galleries. Most museums are free, which is awesome and so rare. You’ll have to pay extra to see the special exhibits but the permanent collections are vast and will keep you entertained for a couple of hours at least. My favorite two are Tate Modern, who does a really cool event the last Friday of the month, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
What are your favorite crap weather activities? Share with us in the comments!