Allergy-Friendly Study Abroad Guide: Oxford, United Kingdom

Amanda is studying abroad in Oxford, United Kingdom while managing peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, fish, and shellfish allergies. She is currently a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, where she’s majoring in history and educational studies. You can find her on Spokin @amandayoung03 and on Instagram @youngnwanderlust.

app storeqr 1

Tell us about you!

Where are you studying abroad?
Oxford, UK

How did you choose your study abroad location?
I wanted to be somewhere that felt different from home but didn’t have a significant language barrier so that I would feel safe and comfortable with my allergies. I was also excited about the opportunity to have a rigorous academic experience and to be integrated with a university. My mom went to Oxford, so I thought it would be special to have a taste of it!

Had you been out of the country before studying abroad?

Did you plan anything ahead of time?

I met with the administrators of my program and requested accommodations (single room and access to the staff kitchen, so I could prepare my meals with less chance of cross-contamination). I also made sure I had updated EpiPens and enough Zyrtec to last me the whole semester!

What airline did you fly? How did you handle accommodations and airplane food?

I flew on United Airlines. I requested vegan meals and brought my own snacks (GoMacro bars, MadeGood granola minis). Every meal came with a Blake’s chocolate granola bar!

Where did you live and how were meals handled?

I stayed in a dorm and purchased food at the grocery store to cook in the staff kitchen. I also went to the Keble College dining hall a few times (for formal dinners and other meals)—when booking my spot, there was a spot to list all food allergies and dietary restrictions, and the staff had them printed when I arrived in the dining hall.

What are your 3 favorite places to eat at in Oxford?

Handlebar Cafe and Kitchen
One of my favorite restaurants in Oxford so far! The menu is well-labeled and when I asked about nuts other than almonds (which were listed), the staff went to the back to check — they came back and let me know that the bread they use is processed in a facility that also has hazelnuts. I was so impressed with their care and attention!

Coconut Tree Oxford
I had such an amazing experience here with my friends! When I made the reservation, I was able to note that I had food allergies, and they had an allergy menu at the table ready for me. The menu itself is very well-labeled, and the allergy menu is even better! The staff also came out and circled everything I could eat and explained all the dishes, and when the food came (family-style), they put dishes I could eat in white bowls and dishes I couldn’t eat in black bowls. I definitely recommend and can’t wait to go back! They also have a student discount and lots of special offers throughout the week.

Za’atar Bake
One of my favorite meals in Oxford—everything was so tasty! The menu is well-labeled (vegan, vegetarian, contains sesame, contains nuts, etc.).

If there’s a food your study abroad location is known for that you were able to have safely, what was it and where did you try it?

I was able to safely enjoy Fish and Chips at No Catch and a traditional English Breakfast in my dining hall!

Any special sweet finds like bakeries or ice cream shops?

Margo’s in Amsterdam, Saint-Jean in Amsterdam, Backstube in Oslo/Tromsø, and Bubblewrap Dessert Shop Chinatown in London.

What other places have you visited?

Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tromsø and Oslo, Norway; Brighton, U.K.; London, U.K.; Stratford-upon-Avon, U.K. I loved eating at Flower Burger and Vegan Sushi Bar in Amsterdam; and Dishoom, Mildred’s, La Fauxmagerie, and Imad’s Syrian Kitchen in London.

Besides the food, were there any fun experiences or favorite things you did?

I visited Oxford Outdoor Market, went to formal dinners and a ball, and took a trip to Blenheim Palace (40 mins away by bus in Oxfordshire)!

Get the Spokin word in your inbox!
Be the first to get the latest updates and exclusive content sent to your email.