London has been named the most vegan-friendly city in the world. It’s home to vegan speed dating, vegan pubs and even the UK’s first vegan cheese shop. There are over 150 vegan restaurants in a 5 mile radius and even dozens of non-vegan restaurants are taking part in Veganuary 2020 with dedicated vegan dishes and/or full vegan menus.
But there are far more ways to explore London’s vegan culture than just visiting restaurants. There are plenty of events and classes to go to, tours to take and workshops to attend!
Read on for 10 alternative ways to celebrate veganuary – and veganism all year round – in London.
1. Explore Vegan Wines From Around The World At Humble Grape
Wine is made from grapes, so it can be a bit surprising to learn that wine isn’t always vegan – or even vegetarian – as standard. This is all down to the process of ‘fining’: making the wine less cloudy by filtering it through agents such as egg whites or gelatin.
Luckily, this process can also be done with vegan-friendly agents like activated charcoal or clay, so there are lots of plant-based options available if you know where to look.
If you’re not sure where to begin, London wine chain Humble Grape has made it easy with their 100% vegan wine tasting events.
Enjoy six types of vegan wine from around the world whilst learning about each selection from Humble Grape’s in-house experts.
📍 Canary Wharf / Islington
2. Meet Amazing New People At A Vegan Supper Club
Perhaps it’s cheating a little to consider supper clubs outside of the ‘restaurant’ category, but the concept is really pretty different to a regular restaurant.
Supper clubs involve eating in a social setting and deliberately dining with people you’ve not met before. Thanks to this, they’re great opportunities to make new friends and enjoy a lively buzz whilst also enjoying some incredible new food. And now there are vegan options too!
The Little Cooking Pot is one supper club that takes place every two weeks. For an affordable price, you get three courses and the cuisine is different every time.
💰 £22 (BYOB)
📍 Stoke Newington
Another option is Brixton’s Jump To The Beet, a monthly supper club for £25 that aims to show how versatile and exciting plant-based cooking can be. They have themed nights and you can check out the menu before you book on their website.
Hungry Vegan In London – No More! is another fun choice. At this East London supper club, you’ll find plenty of vegan junk foods, like dairy-free milkshakes and vegan burgers.
3. Learn Plant-Based Latte Art
In 2020, we might finally have more plant options in most London cafes (10 years ago you’d be lucky to find anything other than soy), and even the London Coffee Festival showcased bespoke new plant-based barista milks last year. So maybe it’s surprising that it’s taken such a long time for a barista school to offer a class exploring vegan latte art.
Our list of places to learn latte art in London features the only class to fully explore plant-based milks alongside the usual dairy choices.
Plant-based milks behave differently to regular milk, interacting with the beans to produce unique flavour profiles, so if you’ve never tried swapping your milk for plant-based before, you might be pleasantly surprised!
4. … Or Take A Vegan Sushi Class
If you thought that sushi is all about raw fish, think again – vegan sushi is increasingly popular and big brands like Yo!Sushi and Itsu are responding.
Check out this list of sushi classes in London, which includes plenty of 100% vegan options!
5. Browse A Vegan Market Together
London’s markets are legendary, but did you know that many of them now have dedicated vegan days and vegan events?
These tend not to run all the time, so it does require a bit of planning ahead to know when they’re taking place, but it’ll be worth it for the time you’ll save on double-checking ingredients at a regular market.
Check out this map to find your nearest vegan Market.
6. Volunteer To Help Animals
Want to do something proactive that isn’t focused on food? Why not help animals by volunteering your time for an animal welfare charity?
The RSPCA has plenty of volunteering opportunities – you can fundraise, campaign, sponsor an animal, or foster one.
You can also volunteer with the Blue Cross to walk dogs, do reception work or even knit toys for cats!
If you don’t have time to volunteer, you could also donate some items to a local charity shop.
7. Learn How To Make Vegan Cocktails
Like wine, cocktails aren’t necessarily vegan. Mixers can contain hidden animal products and avoiding dairy means that classic creamy cocktails like white Russians and espresso martinis are difficult to come by in vegan-friendly versions.
Luckily, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives to classic cocktail ingredients, plus some inventive new drinks you might not have tried before.
There aren’t many specifically vegan classes in London (Las Iguanas does mention vegan options in their mixology masterclass, but not completely vegan classes), but a little searching reveals a few choices:
100% vegan bar Redemption sometimes runs vegan cocktail making classes (keep an eye on their website for news).
The Avenue Cookery School’s vegan cocktail and sushi making class will teach you two skills at once. Along with vegan sushi, the class covers making two cocktails: the sake-based Japanese Spritz and Spiced Lady (a sweeter twist on a gin and tonic). They also have tons of other vegan cooking classes.
If you don’t want to splash the cash on a class, why not learn at home? Check out this list of vegan variations on classic cocktails.
8. Explore London With A Vegan Street Food Tour
Ready to get walking? Put some sturdy boots on and head down to Shoreditch for Vegan Food Tours‘ 2km tour of East London’s best plant-based restaurants.
You’ll spend 3 hours getting to know the area (famous for its colourful murals and street art by graffiti artists such as Banksy) and visiting four plant-based restaurants where you’ll enjoy generous samples.
The tour runs every day and is rated Europe’s #1 Vegan Food Tour!
They also run a slightly shorter – and cheaper – Camden version of this tour, so you can take in even more street art and explore the market together afterwards.
9. Brush Up Your Culinary Skills At A Vegan Cooking Class
A cooking class is an easy way to meet new people in London whilst learning a valuable new skill. If you’ve never tried cooking vegan food before and have no idea where to begin, a class is the perfect option!
There are so many plant-based cooking workshops in London that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Here are just a few:
Made In Hackney Masterclasses
A 100% vegan cooking school, covering subjects like plant-based baking, one pot meals and cuisines from around the world, as well as more niche vegan themes like making nut cheeses, cooking with aquafaba and even creating vegan ‘fish’!
London Vegetarian School
This one is more pricey, but also more specialist. If you really want to get stuck in with multiple recipes covered in one session, put aside a morning, afternoon or full day and take one of these courses.
Most classes focus on different cuisines from around the world, but there are also themes like seasonal cooking and everyday dishes.
The Avenue Cookery School
If you want to learn vegan versions of everyday classics like curries, puddings and pasta dishes, The Avenue Cookery School runs a variety of shorter classes (usually around 2 hours) for simple comfort foods and classic favourites.
10. Make Your Own Vegan Cosmetics
Veganism goes beyond food, and cosmetics are another area where plant-based and cruelty-free choices are getting more popular. The best part? Since many of these are also made of natural and sustainable ingredients, you can easily make your own cosmetics!
Here are a couple of upcoming workshops where you can learn how:
Zero Waste Mindset and Paddington Central are running a workshop this January where you can learn to make your own vegan and zero waste skincare products.
Award-winning vegan chef Carol Fraser is running a FREE vegan skincare workshop at Kensington Central Library on January 20th. Topics covered include the controversy of natural vs. chemical skincare and you’ll get to go away with a free sample.