Even though we rented accommodation with kitchens and stayed with family, we ate out a fair bit while we were in the UK, particularly lunches and afternoon tea. The UK appears to have much stronger regulations regarding allergen information. Everywhere we went had allergen advice and staff had a good knowledge about what I could and couldn’t eat. They also seemed very on the ball regarding cross contamination.
With this in mind though, you should be aware that Coeliac UK consider oats to be gluten free, and the ‘gluten free’ products in stores and restaurants can contain oats!
We stayed at a beautiful cottage in the peak district in Chesterfield (where half of my family lives) for the first half of our time before heading south to Northampton to stay with my sister.
The North of England is home to the carvery. It seems to be available everywhere and to be honest, we got sick of it but they were gluten free. If you find yourself in a pub in northern England, there will be a carvery, talk to the staff and you’ll likely be able to eat it!
We got carvery at the Moorlands pub. This pub is situated in the middle of nowhere in the Peaks and it was a truly beautiful area. The staff were very friendly and accommodating despite the place being super busy and food was great value for money although the veggies were overdone.
We travelled and ate in and around Chesterfield. On a day trip to Eyam, known as the
Plague Village because it quarantined itself in 1665 following an outbreak of bubonic plague! Eyam is a lovely little village packed with plague history! I loved it, and I also loved the Eyam Tea Rooms where we had lunch. They had an extensive menu and the majority could be done gluten free. I opted for egg mayonnaise sandwiches while the rest of the family had the all-day breakfasts, and a ploughman’s lunch – both of which were available gluten free too. The food was good, the prices reasonable and the décor was lovely – think quaint English tea room.
Directly opposite our cottage, on the outskirts of Cutthorpe village, there was the Gate Inn. We ate there one night and while they had quite an extensive range of gluten free options, the food itself was average and overpriced. I had salmon on mashed potato, Michael had a horribly overcooked steak, and we got a side of veggies. The crème brulee was pretty good though.
We grabbed Sunday lunch at the Lock Keeper in Chesterfield. They are a part of a chain run by Brewers Fayre and do standard pub food. They had a gluten free carvery on offer, but I opted for the smoky paprika chicken. This was pretty average. The chicken was a little dry and they had missed the coleslaw.
Another thing we noticed while staying in Chesterfield was the desire to call every pub and restaurant ‘The Peacock’. We saw about 10 different places called the Peacock but we only visited one and it was the best place that we ate out.
The Peacock at Barlow (not the Peacock at Baslow!) was lovely – an old pub, beautifully renovated with rooms to rent. We sat in the dining room, looking out of the wall to wall window at the beautiful countryside (we were blessed with a rainbow too) and ate a delicious meal of gluten free oven baked fish pie, pan fried venison, and the Peacock’s Fishcakes for the baby. We followed this with gluten free white chocolate and raspberry crème brulee and the Peacock’s Eton Mess. It was good food, reasonably priced and in a lovely setting.
Another day trip we took was to Bakewell, famous for Bakewell pudding and tarts. Personally, I can’t stand Bakewell pudding (it tastes like greasy marzipan) but Bakewell tarts are a different thing for me. I love them. They are my go-to cake while in the UK and luckily you can get them gluten free in various places (which I’ll explain in part three).
Bakewell is another gorgeous looking village. Beautiful for walking around and shopping
for gifts. We got lunch there at a little place called Because I Like It. They were part tearoom, part gift shop, selling cool knick knacks. They had a huge range of gluten free options and I settled for a traditional cream tea. This was delicious – decaf earl grey, clotted cream, gluten free scones (with a choice of plain or fruit), and strawberry jam.
My only criticism for Bakewell was the lack of gluten free Bakewell tart. I asked at a number of bakeries, and eventually found a place selling what they said was gluten free tart. Byways were advertising gluten free Bakewell tart on their outdoor chalk board. I went in, asked for the gluten free Bakewell tart and was given something wrapped in a paper bag. I paid and excitedly left but when I checked inside the bag, what I found was the despised Bakewell pudding. I took a bite (because I am a food optimist) hoping that it wouldn’t be too greasy or marzipan–y but was disappointed. It was pretty gross.
It’s worth mentioning here that I managed to get tiny gluten free Bakewell tarts at Costa Coffee shops, as well as cortados – small coffees that are close to an Australian flat white and aren’t terrible English coffee! So-called ‘flat whites’ in the UK are the size (and taste) of a bucket.
Eventually our time in the North came to an end and we had to head to Grenoble in France. I’ll go into that in part three but when we returned to the UK, the second half of our trip was spent in East Anglia – Northampton, my hometown.
While we were in Northampton, we spent a few days at the Premier Inn before moving to stay with my sister. Again, we had access to the kitchen and we used it a lot however, we did grab food out a few times.
The first few days in Northampton, we stayed at the Premier Inn Northampton Town Centre. It was comfortable and the rooms were pretty big. They also did breakfast that was gluten free which included hash browns! The breakfast was good and the staff were friendly.
We visited the Zapato Lounge twice for lunch. The décor was trendy and retro inspired and the food was reasonable. The staff had a weird attitude though – they acted a bit like I wasn’t cool enough to be there and I was wasting their time rather than being a paying customer. The gluten free options were good though – they had separate gluten free and vegan menus – and the they were well priced. The first time there I had a chicken, bacon and avocado salad which was ok, and the second time I ordered lounge burger which was a bit dry.
My dad, sister and her family live in Northampton as well as all my extended family. We decided we should all catch up so we arranged for 27 of us to get lunch at Poppy Field Farm. In the interest of full disclosure, my nephew works here and we were able to use his staff discount on the food but it would have been a lovely lunch either way! They had a few gluten free options and I had the salmon fillet. This was reasonably priced (even without the discount) and there was a lot of it. Poppy Field also had a great children’s play area.
We did a few day trips while we were in Northampton including one to Salcey Forest. Salcey Forest is a small forest that was used for hunting in medieval times. Today though it’s for walking and enjoying. There is a tree top walk and various activities throughout the year including the Gruffalo Spotter trail which we did.
They also have a lovely little café where they had another good range of gluten free options, including sandwiches and cakes. I enjoyed a chicken and bacon sandwich for lunch and a slice of Victoria sponge for afternoon tea. The food was good and the staff were friendly. It’s well worth a visit!
One afternoon we found ourselves restless but without much to do. We headed out for some afternoon tea and shopping at the Heart of the Shires shopping village. In the complex, we headed to Darlingtons Tea Room for a snack. It looked lovely, but the food was pretty average. Michael had the Devonshire tea and I ordered the apple and caramel tart. Unfortunately, this was basically very dry apple pie. I couldn’t taste any caramel and it was a bit of a letdown.
As I mentioned, we split our time in the UK into two halves in the North and South of England, however we took four days out to whiz across the Channel and celebrate the marriage of one of my amazing friends in France! Check in for part three for a review of my coeliac adventures in Grenoble, a rundown of the groceries we found in the UK and France, and my top three recommendations for travelling as a coeliac!
Owler Bar, Baslow Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S17 3BQ
01142 620 189
Eyam Tea Rooms
The Square, Eyam, Peak District National Park S32 5RB
01433 631 274
The Gate Inn
Overgreen, Cutthorpe, Chesterfield S42 7BA
01246 276 923
Tapton Lock Hill, Off Rotherway, Chesterfield S41 7NJ
The Peacock at Barlow
Hackney Lane, Barlow, Nr. Chesterfield S18 7TD
01142 890 340
Because I Like It
Diamond Court off Water Street, Bakewell DE45 1EW
01629 813 749
3 Water Lane, Bakewell DE45 1EU
Premier Inn Northampton Town Centre
Swan Street, Northampton NN1 1FA
0871 527 9590
2 Newland Walk, Northampton NN1 2EB
01604 602 226
Poppy Field Farm
1 Telstar Way, Duston, Northampton NN5 6GT
01604 587 050
The Forest Café
Quinton Road, Salcey Forest Northampton NN7 2HX
01604 861 234
Darlingtons Tea Room
Heart of the Shires Village, Watling Street, Northampton NN7 4LB
01327 342 284