After a couple of visits to London I thought I’d write a little guide to London, and recommend some of my favorite things to do, places to see and places to eat. All the options can easily get overwhelming so here are my recommendation of places to eat great gluten-free food.
I usually stay in Paddington or Queensway, because it’s more quiet than in e.g. Soho. Last time I stayed at the Elysee Hotel (about 300m from Lancaster Gate underground station). Because I managed to catch an earlier bus I arrived at the hotel a little earlier than expected, but the staff was very nice and let me store my luggage in the reception while I went for lunch, waiting for my room to be prepared.
A compact single-room was £70 per night which is fairly reasonable for central London. The room was cozy and clean, and the bed was very comfortable so I really cannot complain. Although I wouldn’t stay there a whole week it was perfect for a weekend!
Doing + Shopping
This time I finally got to visit the Victoria & Albert museum, which I loved! The entrance was free (although donations are appreciated) and they had very interesting exhibitions about clothing history etc. The gift shop was also a huge plus (haha). I’d recommend getting there quite early to avoid the lines.
If you have the weather on your side, have a picnic in Hyde Park, my favorite spot is near Lancaster Gate. With all the fountains and nature it’s a beautiful, quiet spot in the middle of London.
Southbank Centre Book Market, under Waterloo Bridge (outdoors), is a cozy place to find second-hand books or lovely prints for a good price. According to the website it’s supposed to be open daily 10-19, but when I got there at 10.30 there wasn’t a soul there so I’d recommend getting there after lunch. But it’s totally worth a visit!
Even if you don’t plan on shopping, still take
a couple of minutes half an hour, at least, to look through the M&M Store because that thing is huge. One could easily spend the whole budget just on customized M&M’s. Also, you can choose your own mix of M&M’s; I went with a white-pink-purple combination.
And that takes us to my third (and favorite) part..
The last few years the knowledge about gluten and celiac disease has exploded, and especially in larger cities around Europe, almost everyone knows about gluten-free options on the menu. Most restaurants even have a special gluten-free menu (or has information about it in the ordinary one) which is great!
Bella Italia is an Italian food-chain that you’ll run into at a whole bunch of places in London. They have an incredible gluten-free pizza and the pasta is also fairly good! The pizza is ∼£8 depending on what toppings you get.
Ed’s Easy Diner and I have a love-at-first-sight story starting in 2013 when my mother and I accidentally ended up there when I was going through a little blood-sugar crash (I’m like the Snickers commercial..). The milkshake is to die for. To go gluten-free ask for the burger “Skinny” and without onion rings (and tell the waiter that you’ve got celiac disease so they know). My favorite is the Mayfair location, which isn’t always easy to find but very worth the effort!
Spaghetti House also offers gluten-free options, but when I was there I had to wait for over 45 minutes to get my food which felt kinda annoying. However the pasta was delicious so I guess it’s plus minus zero. If you aren’t in a rush I’d definitely stop by!
I was unsure whether to put this under the food or things to do heading because Borough Food Market is both. As a celiac there isn’t as much to try as others but the paella is a must. There’s a spice shop where you can buy great souvenirs (I bought a olive-tomato-basil-salt for my mom and Hungarian dried paprika for dad). For those who like oysters you have about 3 places to choose from.