Summer is coming and that means days out in the sunshine! (*fingers crossed*)
Over the last few months many of you in the Eat Allergy Safe Community have been emailing asking how to stay allergy safe this summer. One particular email asked specifically about Liverpool. (It is also around this time I started writing my Travelling with Allergies Guide – published soon!) A couple weeks later I was asked by the lovely people at Groupon whether I would write about things to do in Liverpool, the stars felt like they were aligning!
Liverpool is one of my favourite cities in England so I thought this was a great opportunity to talk about how I go about planning an allergy safe day out and some of the fun things you can do in Liverpool.
So lets get on with…
Part 1: How to Plan an Allergy Safe Day Out
- Research where you are going
Seems obvious, but it really is the first place to start. If you’re going to a new place don’t assume it will be the same as home. Depending on your allergies you may not find safe foods at take aways or restaurants, unless you know where to look!
Doing some research will also give you a feel for the place and give you an idea of not only what foods you want to try but also what sites you want to see. The docks and museums are my favourite place.
- Make a list of all the things you want to do, places you want to see and restaurants you want to eat at
You probably have a limited amount of time so you will want to fit in as much as possible. Making a list will help you decide the places you most want to visit, and also give you a handy quick reference of where you need to do some allergen menu checking.
When you make your list, remember to note down an email address and or telephone number too.
- Call or email ahead
Remember that list you just made and the contact details noted? Set aside 30 minutes to 1 hour to go through the list calling any of the places you think you may want to eat at.
When you call, you are calling for information first. Tell them you are coming on holiday and doing some research on where might be safe to eat with your allergies and can you just ask them about their allergy policy. This is also the time you can tell them about your specific allergy needs and find out whether they could cater for you or not.
If they say no, don’t be disheartened! It is better for them to be honest with you rather than you have a reaction because they lied!!
- Have a schedule/itinerary (optional)
If you want to see lots and lots, having an itinerary listing out how to get places, what time to leave/arrive, where to get tickets, where to eat, along with contact numbers, can be incredibly handy! It takes some of the stress out the day because you know what to do when, and most importantly where you can eat! This means you have more time to relax and enjoy your day out on holiday.
- Double check allergen information with manager/caterer
As you do at home, when eating out or buying food, always double and triple check the allergen and ingredients labelling. This might mean reading a product packet or emailing a restaurant, and talking to the restaurant manager and your server when you arrive.
In the EU, all food whether packaged or open must be able to give ingredients and allergy information, and we have the top 14 allergens.
- Pack safe snacks
Like you do at home, have an allergy safe snack in your bag. You never know if something unexpected will come up (that’s why its unexpected…) so its best to be prepared. I know I don’t think straight nor am I reasonable when I’m hungry, so having something I can nibble on and keep the hunger pangs at bay really does help keep me calm and meet a challenge head on.
Part 2: Things to Do in Liverpool
Now that you know how to plan a day out, here are some recommendations for restaurants and fun things to do in Liverpool!
For dairy and egg allergy sufferers, there are now lots of vegan food offerings all over the city from small cafes to big chain restaurants. Nuts on the whole aren’t used in typical British food, but could be found in the ‘health’ food salads, and of course desserts are still a mine field.
Red’s True BBQ – many of the menu items don’t contain gluten, and none of the mains items contain nuts (as of when I last went).
Trattoria 51 – said to be incredibly allergy friendly with understanding staff (that’s half the battle!) and a gluten and dairy free menu.
Leaf – really good labelling of gluten free, contains nuts and vegan options. The menu looks delicious and I’ve heard some great recommendations!
Nation-wide Chains: Carluccio’s, Pizza Express, Bella Italia all have a gluten free menu and understanding when I say I have a nut allergy. Many have dairy free options too!
Food on the Go
There isn’t a one shop sells everything that is suitable for allergy sufferers unfortunately, not when you are in a hurry. So food on the go is picnic style. My standard way is grab some cold meats, cheese (there are many dairy free options now too), a take away salad or gluten free sandwich and some fruit and thats lunch. I usually have some leftover, so that’s the afternoon’s snack too. Here’s where I shop:
Marks & Spencers supermarket have without a doubt the best food-on-the-go selection! Their aim is the gluten free market however, their sandwiches don’t have nut warnings, nor do most of the cold meat selections. For nut allergy sufferers, items are clearly marked when they are not suitable.
Tesco supermarket is the next on the list of allergy friendly food on the go. Again, primarily targeted at the gluten free market, but they are starting to add in more dairy and egg free options for desserts and savoury crackers.
Places to Visit
The docks are on the water front and you can see the old industrial architecture has been preserve. The buildings are now how to museums such as the Tate, Beetles Museum and the Maritime Museum. You could easily spend a day just on the Albert Dock and a picnic (if the sun’s shining) overlooking the water is wonderful!
Liverpool is a metropolitan city with a great night life. Part of that night life is the theatres. Many of the big London shows will tour to Liverpool on their way round the country and you have everything from Shakespeare to Pantomime, Ballet to Opera, and comedy!
If you, or your kids, want a bit more adventure on their holiday, you will find something for even the pickiest! Get involved with activities such as paint-balling, bowling, funfairs, trampolining, treasure hunts and open air bus tours. Groupon on always has some fantastic deals for things to do in Liverpool so make sure click on the “Things to do” title above!
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