Celebrate World Vegan Day in Scotland this year, there’s so much going on! It is estimated that a quarter of the British population will be vegan or vegetarian by 2025, with flexitarians making up almost half of all UK consumers. Luckily Scotland has lots to offer those that want to embrace a sustainable lifestyle and eat more veggies.
Ahead of World Vegan Day on 1 November, VisitScotland has some top tips for vegan experiences with a Scottish flavour, from dairy-free hot chocolates and specialist cakes, to live music with a side order of the best natural produce.
And it isn’t just about the food! Wrap up in a cosy fleece, breathe in the crisp autumn air and savour the crunch of leaves beneath your feet whilst you pick up natural, fresh Scottish produce for a vegan feast…
Veganism celebrates nature, get immersed in Scotland’s engaging landscapes and source vegan treats by foraging with the experts. Crab apples, brambles, mushrooms and plums are all ripe for the picking, so when the leaves change colour there is no better place to source Scotland’s best produce than in its characterful forests. Galloway Wild Foods offer foraging courses across Scotland throughout the year, visitors can learn what is safe to eat and use their findings to create vegan feasts at home. Kinloch Lodge in Skye offers bespoke foraging experiences with their expert guide, from brewing bog myrtle tea on an open fire to harvesting the local fauna for unique evening cocktails.
It’s spa treatments and plant-based therapies are also sustainably-sourced and environmentally friendly. Those looking to connect with like-minded individuals or find out more about sustainable living, then pop along to The Scottish Vegan Festival which is taking place in Edinburgh on 20 October 2019 or the first Arran Vegfest on the Isle of Arran in March 2020.
Find the perfect post-foraging cuppa in one of Scotland’s thriving vegan cafés, serving warming soups, dairy-free coffees and indulgent homemade goodies. In Inverness, social enterprise Velocity Café has a full vegan menu as well as handily running a bike workshop on the premises, so cycle over after exploring the Highland countryside. For those looking to adventure around some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes such as Ben Nevis or Glen Coe, stop off at The Wildcat Café in Fort William. Perfectly situated close to the waterfront, this café has a zero-waste shop tucked away in the back of its bustling eatery, with refill stations and plastic-free produce available. They also offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable cup – ideal for a takeaway matcha latte.
For the vegan city experience, head up to the north east and try Bonobo in Aberdeen, whose workers’ coop status demonstrates their ethical and vegan-friendly ethos, or try Dundee for a trip to Marwick’s Vegan Café, which specialise in tasty vegan breakfast alternatives. 269 Vegan in Perth is also worth a trip – the first ever vegan café in the area which also welcomes doggy visitors. Take a trip out of the city and visit Kirkcaldy, home of multi-award-winning café, The Baker’s Field. A scrumptious bakery full of delicious cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth, they also cook up a storm at the weekends doubling as a cocktail and tapas bar.
Sit back, enjoy some evening entertainment and indulge in two of the top 10 vegan friendly cities in the UK, according to a recent report! Edinburgh boasts the second highest number of people per vegan or veggie restaurants in the city so there’s lots to choose from, but why not start at NovaPizza in Stockbridge, Harmonium in Leith or Seeds for the Soul in Bruntsfield amongst others. Established in 1962, Hendersons is the longest running UK vegan restaurant and has become an Edinburgh institution. Everyday it serves freshly prepared vegetarian and vegan dishes made from the best seasonal organic ingredients. Holy Cow, also tucked in the centre of the city, serves delicious 100% vegan burgers, sandwiches and cakes and is open until 10pm everyday so a great spot for a late-night snack!
Closely following Edinburgh, is Glasgow with plenty of choice for street food, bakeries, bars, eateries and vegan-friendly music venues. Soul Food Kitchen holds the first ever 100% plant-based Taste our Best Award and aims to make wellbeing more accessible for the masses with its award-winning dishes at its base in the foody district of Finnieston. The Durty Vegan Burger Club pop up serves delicious, mouth-watering vegan burgers and sides. Glasgow has a thriving music scene with more and more venues joining the vegan cause to offer the very best in food, drink and entertainment: The 13th Note has an exhibition space as well as live music; The Hug and Pint is a quirky eatery with a strong Asian flavour and The 78 combines jazz evenings and creative vegan desserts.
Rawnchy Cakes in Glasgow and Naked Bakery in Edinburgh also have perfected the art of vegan baking, so you can also pick up a bespoke cake to celebrate World Vegan Day!
Wash it down
Find the perfect tipple to wash down your meal, with Scottish breweries BrewDog, Cromarty, Cross Borders Brewing, Cuillin, Fyne Ales, Inveralmond Brewery, Islay Ales and William Bros all producing vegan craft beers. Check out their websites for more information or pop into one of their stockists to give them a try.
Visitors exploring Scotland’s best foraging spots will also need somewhere to rest and soak up the experience. Saorsa 1875 in Pitlochry is a fully vegan hotel, nestled in 2 acres of natural woodlands and oozing ‘ethical luxury’. Finish off the day by dining on regional produce and local craft beers whilst relaxing by their open fire. Also set in a beautiful location is Field Shelter in Perthshire which uses environmentally friendly materials and products in its new vegan B&B – make sure to try the Scottish breakfast to start your day right! Those wanting the best of the west should try the Kings Reach in Argyll; a 100% vegan B&B with plenty of space to switch off and relax and which also has small self-catering cottages with vegan products. If an island retreat takes your fancy, The Old Croft House on Skye, Arle Lodge on the Isle of Mull and The Stonewater House on the Isle of Arran all offer their own unique experiences with the beautiful backdrop to match.
Making a difference
With animal welfare, health and the environment also high on the agenda there are a growing number of businesses helping those wanting to make a difference. The Refillery in Edinburgh and Sea No Waste in Arbroath are plastic-free grocery and ethical food stores where you can bring your own containers and stock up on plenty of household goods, as well as vegan-friendly cleaning products. The award-winning Stirling Health Food Store also runs a vegan shop as well as a convenient online version. Scotland also boasts many local designers and makers who are leading the way in combatting fast fashion, such as Borders-basedCollingwood Norris whose collection of modern knitwear utilises sustainable materials and is perfect for keeping cosy during an autumnal foraging trip.