If you’re anything like us eating out is definitely on your top ten list of things to do. But eating out isn’t always that simple when you’re both vegan. For us it usually involves quite a lot of planning. Hunting down websites, poring over allergen menus, and ringing up restaurants to see if there’s anything that you can eat. But imagine a place where not only is there vegan food, there’s an amazing choice of it. Imagine no longer, because it exists and its called The Oak Tree.
Based on the Leigh Road, Leigh on Sea in sunny Essex, this place is an absolute gem. Nestled alongside the eclectic shops that make up this wonderful street, The Oak Tree has a warm and welcoming vibe. With seating inside and out, we chose indoors as I was beginning to melt in the heat that day!
The menu is a breeze to navigate with vegan, vegan options and gluten free choices clearly labelled. Our only dilemma was what to have! I am so used to eating the same meal, over and over again in our usual haunts, so this was quite the challenge. I chose the Roast Vegetable Tart, whilst B chose the burger. Both looked and tasted amazing, with B declaring the burger being the “best he’d ever had”.
Once you’ve sampled your meal, you can tell that this is a place where the vegan food has been carefully created. This has been made by someone who wants you to enjoy the food; the flavours complement each other and offer a truly satisfying experience. In fact my mouth is watering as I write this!
As soon as we’d finished we were planning our return. The menu has so many choices, we can’t wait to come back and try them all. I’ve got my eye on the Chilli Mac n Cheese, and those gorgeous sounding desserts for my next visit, which I’m certain will be soon!
- We were kindly treated to lunch by The Oak Tree, but all views are our own
I can’t believe it was only last month that we were getting ready to board the Caledonian Sleeper up to Fort William (read about that here) but now we are home and back to normality we’ve had time to time to think about our favourite places to visit all over Scotland and here they are:
- Tobermory – If you a get a chance to visit this picture-postcard town when you are in Scotland it’s a must. Instantly recognisable from the children’s show Balamory, watch your kids faces light up as they realise its an actual REAL place. We took the Caledonian ferry from Oban to Mull and drove across this beautiful island for a day. Next time I’m stopping for longer, there is so much more to see here.
- John O’Groats – Our household is split on this one! I loved it here, B not so much to say the least. It was pretty blustery, as you’d expect and he was convinced he might blow into the sea. The drive up is amazing, and some of the most amazing views you’re ever going to get here in the UK. If you’re nearby, do it. Definitely one to tick off the list.
- Edinburgh Castle – I could write pages about Edinburgh, but you can’t visit without a trip to the infamous castle. I love how it dominates the skyline and can’t help but think back to how it would have been in years gone by.
- Urquhart Castle – Whilst we are on castles, this is one of my favourites. Steeped in history Urquhart is one of Scotland’s most iconic castles. I visited when I was pregnant, and to be able to bring B back here was lovely. He spent ages playing make believe in the ruins of the kitchen offering strangers ice cream – as you do.
- Loch Ness – It’s a must on everyone’s list! No trip to Scotland would be complete without a search for Nessie. There are plenty of boat trips to choose from to go on the hunt. I must admit, I shamelessly do this every time I come to Scotland, and have been on several of the boat trips available and each one has been brilliant. I am yet to spot Nessie though. Maybe next time.
- The Jacobite Steam Train – This is an absolutely magical steam train journey, considered one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. It does get booked up well in advance so I’d recommend booking before you go. It’s not open all year either, so check here before you go.
- Glenfinnan – Harry Potter fans will be in their element as they spot the famous viaduct from the films. If you’ve been on the train, its great to then see your journey from another perspective. Take a walk around the monument and admire the spectacular views of the loch.
- Nevis Range Gondola – Unless you’re a seasoned climber, a trip up Ben Nevis is ill advised, but you can take advantage of the Nevis Range Gondola to experience the mountain heights. Aonach Mor, is the eighth highest mountain in the UK and offers views for miles. The restaurant at the top offers a great range and even has vegan options which pleased us no end.
- Glencoe – With some of the most breath taking scenery in Scotland, Glencoe has so much to offer. I first drove through here in a thunderstorm which was exceptionally dramatic and rather scary. This vast sweeping pass has a host of activities. From the beautiful waterfalls and hikes to inner tubing and mountain biking for the more adventurous.
- Neptune’s Staircase at Banavie – If you’ve a budding engineer in the family this is the one for you. Neptune’s Staircase is a dramatic eight lock flight at Banavie near Fort William. If you get to catch a boat passing through its amazing to see. We were lucky enough to stay near by and used to watch as the last boats of the day all came through. It’s an amazing feat of engineering and the longest staircase lock in Britain.
I’m now busy compiling my list for what to see on our visit for next year. Watch this space!