Gluten-Free London, England

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Updated in January 2024, first published in February 2023

London, the city of opportunities

Things happen for a reason and we meet the people we’re supposed to meet in order to achieve a greater goal that may reveal itself at a later time. I say this to myself when looking back at how I visited London for the first time in 2012. There, I met a boy, then visited again a few times, decided to move to London but ended up in Cardiff only to meet the love of my life. Now, I love visiting London. Only recently through my gluten-free eyes, it feels like discovering everything again for the first time.

Some facts about London’s food scene

Did you know that London has the largest concentration of food markets in Europe? This includes the famous and lively Borough Market near London Bridge and Camden Market near the canals at Camden Lock.
The city is home to some of the oldest restaurants in the world. For example, Rules, that was established in 1798 serving traditional British food ever since.
UK’s first vegan restaurant, The Gate, was opened in London in 1989. They have some gluten free options on the menu so worth a try. In 1991, the first gastropub in London, The Eagle, was opened.

London was one of the first cities in the world to embrace everything gluten-free. It is now boasting a wide variety of gluten-free restaurants and cafes as we are about to find out.

In addition to traditional gluten-free options, London is also home to a number of specialty food stores and bakeries that specialise in gluten-free products.

What to expect from this guide?

There’s abundance of choice for gluten-free food in London, the capital of England and largest city in the United Kingdom. There are plenty of things to see and a lot to admire – for example the underground train system, once the world’s first underground passenger railway. This guide is perfect for someone visiting London on a gluten-free diet for the first time when you have a few days to spend there. But even if you’ve seen all of the sights already, there’s still so much more to discover about London.

Day one

After arriving in London one late afternoon in the Liverpool Street Station area, we went for a browse at the vibrant Old Spitalfields Market. After seeing great reviews online, we were after the 100% gluten-free Guasa stand serving delicious Venezuelan arepas. Tasty, but also perfect for a snack to keep you going. Apparently there’s an Antiques Market every Thursday, an Urban Makers Market on the last weekend of each month, and a Vinyl Market every other Friday, so you might want to keep an eye out for those when visiting the area.

Venezuelan arepa
Venezuelan arepa at Guasa

We explored the Tower of London and Borough Market area with the evening lights. Our dinner for four was booked at the picturesque Casa do Frango near London Bridge. It’s a traditional Portuguese restaurant with quite a few gluten-free options on the menu. I went for two starters and shared the half chicken with my fiancé which was all very delicious. By the time our food arrived, I had become extremely hungry and forgot to take photos so I guess I have to go back.

The hotel with gluten-free options

We stayed at the The Corner Hotel (they claim they’re the greenest hotel in London and I think they might be right) with a lot of unique character. Before booking, I was inclined to stay at my safe choice, the Premier Inn but decided to step out of my comfort zone and give The Corner Hotel a chance. They didn’t disappoint, as after requesting info about gluten-free options at the breakfast buffet, they said there should be some options. But they had plenty of choice for anyone avoiding gluten, plus a separate basket with gluten-free bread without having to ask. It is a little bit pricier than Premier Inn breakfast but very enjoyable. The last morning, we decided to go for breakfast to the Bar & Block (Premier Inn) in Aldgate just to spice things up. But I was lucky to get the last piece of gluten-free bread. Also, somebody decided to start a fire with a pain au chocolat in the toaster so we had enough excitement for the day early on.

Day two

The second day was all about showing my friends the major tourist attractions of London: London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. We dotted a lunch at Pho (Covent Garden) and dinner at Masala Zone (Bayswater) in between a lot of walking that proved to be a bit too much for one day for some people (not naming any names). Interestingly, I forgot to take photos of my food again but both my meals were delicious. Pho is one of my favourite places in hometown Cardiff. If interested, you can read about my gluten-free recommendations for Cardiff here. Also, it was great to find another Indian chain with gluten-free options on the menu as Dishoom was fully booked.

Day three

On day three we shopped until we dropped. Okay, not really, just until it was time to go to the Madame Tussauds Museum. We went for lunch at Honest Burger just off Oxford Street. Honest Burger is a favourite of probably every gluten-avoiding person living in the UK. Their special Oxford Circus burger with smoked British mozzarella, honey and British nduja mayo, shoestring fries, rocket and pickles is something I still drool over. After getting lost at the museum and almost missing half of the exhibits, we went to Ugly Dumpling for dinner. The food was very good and the knowledge about gluten and cross-contamination of staff sky high. I can wholeheartedly recommended.

Options in White City

On another occasion, we were in the Westfield Shopping Centre area in White City. We enjoyed the amazing tacos at Wahaca and some Greek food at The Real Greek where they have an extensive and very informative allergen menu.

Options in Kensington

In January 2024, I spent a few hours in London in the Kensington area and had a quick lunch at Los Mochis as well as a take away snack from the gluten free bakery Dendara. Los Mochis is an amazing place, where Mexican meets Japanese, and where everything is gluten free. They have won some prestigious awards and they do quite a lot of work with charities to make the world a better place. It’s actually making me sad that there isn’t a restaurant in Cardiff. Dendara is an artisan wholefood bakery and deli, where everyone avoiding gluten and dairy can have a bite. I bought some snacks for the bus home and they were absolutely delicious.

My wish list

I have always planned to go but haven’t had the chance yet, to visit Libby’s Sugar & Gluten Free Bakery. I have also heard great things about other exciting places like the Holy Carrot and Paladar.

In conclusion

As one of the biggest European capitals you’d rightfully expect plenty of choice for gluten-free food in London. In addition to the major shops, you’ll find gluten-free food options in health shops for example Whole Foods Market which are located in quite a few areas of London. There’s a good amount of information out there and hopefully this guide has been helpful too. That’s all for now, I’ll keep updating this page after any new discoveries. Thank you for reading!