Britain: Still the best in Europe for veggies

Press Release - 21st April 2006

Britain still leads Europe as the best place to eat out as a vegetarian, says specialist travel guide publisher Alex Bourke as he launches the third edition of his best selling guide to eating and staying vegetarian in Britain – Vegetarian Britain 2006.

Britain compares well with other European countries in its provision for veggies. Bourke notes:

“There are around 400 exclusively vegetarian restaurants and 170 places for vegetarians to stay listed in the new edition of ‘Vegetarian Britain’. Other European countries rather lag behind Britain with France and Spain having around only 100 restaurants.”

Liz O’Neill, Head of Communications at The Vegetarian Society, agrees with Bourke:

“Britain has always led the way for vegetarians in Europe. The first Vegetarian Society was founded in Britain in 1847 and it inspired the formation of vegetarian societies around the world. Not only does Britain have many exclusively vegetarian places to eat and sleep but vegetarianism is understood and catered for by the majority of restaurants and hotels throughout the nation. Provision could always be better however and we welcome guides such as ‘Vegetarian Britain’ that help vegetarians to find the best places to eat and stay.”

Vegetarian Guides, an independent publisher, was founded in 1997 by Alex Bourke, who previously worked for a major travel publisher, to produce well-researched guides for vegetarians. Bourke, 44, understands his market well: a vegetarian for 30 years and a member of the Vegan Society’s national council, he has travelled extensively in Europe, is multi-lingual and has many contacts in the vegetarian movement around the UK and abroad who help him to monitor the growth of vegetarian businesses in their area. Bourke knows only too well the problems faced by travelling vegetarians:

“All too often vegetarians are faced with little choice on a menu and in some places no vegetarian alternative at all. There may be a great veggie restaurant around the corner but without an appropriate travel guide you won’t know where to look for it. There are 100 vegetarian restaurants in London alone but most travel guides will list only a handful. For less than the price of a decent main course dish Vegetarian Britain will ensure that you’ll never again be reduced to accepting the ubiquitous vegetarian lasagne or, worse still, cheese sandwich.”

The new edition of Vegetarian Britain 2006 contains many new and expanded features including:
  • 1270 places to eat, sleep and shop vegetarian
  • Full page descriptions of 100 vegetarian guest houses
  • Increased coverage of top destinations such as Brighton, Edinburgh, Cornwall and Cumbria
  • Top 10 restaurants
  • Special interest holidays such as canal boat cruising with a veggie chef
  • Listings that show which places welcome children or dogs

Vegetarian Britain 2006 by Alex Bourke is published by Vegetarian Guides, 528pp, price £9.95, ISBN 1-902259-06-8, and is available from all good bookshops throughout Britain and Ireland. Also available online, direct from the publisher, at

Alex Bourke is available for interviews

For more information, to arrange an interview with Alex Bourke or to receive a review copy of Vegetarian Britain, please call Vegetarian Guides direct on 020 3239 8433
Mobile 07726 51 81 02 (press only)

Notes to editors
  • National Vegetarian Week in May is promoted by The Vegetarian Society, a national registered educational charity. For more information visit or call the press office at the Society on 0161 925 2012.
  • 7.6% of UK adults consider themselves to be vegetarian (BMRB Access Panel research for Key Note May 2004, UK wide panel survey of 1,018 adults aged 15 and over).
  • 5.7% of the UK population is vegetarian. (Mintel Dec 2001, The fastest growing trend in the UK foodmarket is meat reducing with 26% of the UK population stating that they are actively cutting down on meat in their diet. (NOP March 2001)
  • The meat free foods market in 2004 is estimated at £626m, which is a 38% rise on the 1999 level (Mintel Meat Free Foods Report Dec 2004) and is predicted to grow to £779m in 2008-9 (Taylor Nelson Sofres Feb 2004).