Allergy-Friendly Study Abroad Guide: London, England

Brooke studied abroad in London, England while managing celiac and an oat allergy. She is currently a senior Northeastern University, where she’s majoring in Graphic & Information Design. You can find her on Spokin @celiactivist and on Instagram @celiactivist.

Planning + Tips | Getting There | Favorite Eats | Places Visited | Attractions

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Where did you study abroad?

I studied in London, England because of the academic program my school offered there and the fact that English is the main language.

Had you been out of the country before and did you speak the local language?

Yes, I had been out of the country before this trip and yes, I speak English!

Did you plan anything ahead of time?

I researched a lot! I followed gluten-free bloggers from London, looked at European travel guides, and read a lot of information online!

What are your best tips for studying abroad with celiac?

Go to the grocery stores! They have an amazing gluten-free section at the stores in London. Marks and Spencer was one of my favorites!

Did you have any concerns about traveling with celiac?

Yes! I was especially worried about sharing a kitchen with 7 other people, as well as traveling.

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

I flew United. They provided a great gluten-free meal. I also found a gluten-free turkey sandwich at the Newark airport at a newsstand!

Where did you live and how were meals handled?

I lived in a dorm with a kitchen that I shared with 8 other people. I cooked all the food for myself, but ate out as well.

What were your 3 favorite places to eat in London?

Honest BurgersHonest Burgers is the BEST for eating gluten-free. Everything is gluten-free except the burger buns. Even the onion rings are gluten-free!

Leon: Leon has DELICIOUS gluten-free chicken nuggets. They’re so good!

Pho: This chain has a lot of gluten-free options. They label everything on their menu and sooo much is available gluten-free! I loved ordering this when I was sick while abroad.

Is there any food your study abroad location is known for that you were able to have safely?

Yes! I got to have fish & chips at the Mayfair Chippy. They’re the BEST gluten-free fish & chips in London. It’s such a gorgeous restaurant and they’re very aware of celiac. They have a separate fryer for gluten-free orders. And the sauces were delish!

What other places have you visited so far?

I visited Bath in England, Lisbon in Portugal, Barcelona in Spain, Dublin and Howth in Ireland, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I found some great restaurants during my travels. 

In Amsterdam, I ate at Manneken Pis. They only make fries, so all of the fryers are safe. They had an allergy chart at the counter for the sauces so the staff could tell me which ones were gluten-free.

PÖTSTOT in Barcelona is a totally gluten-free and vegan restaurant. Everything was INCREDIBLE and the service was amazing. Highly, highly recommend!

Beshoff Bros in Dublin has some of the best gluten-free fish and chips I’ve ever had. AND they have a separate fryer and allergy protocols!

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

So many! I’ve loved visiting art museums, the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Sky Garden (which has an amazing view of London), and taking a sunset cruise in Lisbon.

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