The Most Vegan-Friendly Universities in the UK
Students in the UK are going vegan in huge numbers, and many universities are joining the plant-powered revolution. Find out which ones made it onto our list and what you can do to improve your institution’s vegan options.
These are the most vegan-friendly universities in the UK:
- Cardiff University
As part of its Sustainable Food Policy, the university is working towards a 50% reduction in meat and dairy options across campus by the end of 2023. The university has promoted World Vegan Month with events including cookery demonstrations, vegan food giveaways, and a three-course dinner. Meat-free eateries on campus include Green Shoots Café, bubble tea and dessert shop Boba Time, and The Falafel House, each of which has delicious vegan fare.
Goldsmiths, University of London
Goldsmiths’ decision in 2019 to remove all cow flesh from catering services across campus as part of its efforts to help the planet inspired other UK universities to cut the amount of meat they offer – and to up their vegan game! University eateries present vegan food first on their counters in an effort to help reduce meat consumption. Hot vegan lunches are available from The Balcony and sandwiches, cakes, and hot drinks from the Students’ Union Café.
Imperial College London
A survey showed that 85% of students at Imperial College London have considered the impact of their food on the environment. That’s why the college catering services provide a wide variety of vegan food. Its innovative café Plantworks is fully vegan, and plant-based eats are available across campus: try the nachos at The Works, a burger at The Foundry, or explore the vegan offerings at the SCR Restaurant or The Loud Bird. In its Sustainable Food and Drink Policy, the university has pledged to increase vegan options by at least 50% by 2024, make vegetarian the default option for event catering, and provide non-dairy milks at no extra charge by the end of 2023.
King’s College London
Roots Café in Bush House is fully vegan and serves Fairtrade coffee. It offers rotating menus of hot lunches inspired by cuisine from around the world. From West African Stew served with jollof rice and fried plantain to Oyster Mushroom Shawarma served with flatbread, pickled cabbage, crispy salad, and minted yoghurt, you’ll find new delights daily. The Shack, also in Bush House, offers vegan snacks. As part of the university’s Sustainable Food Policy, sandwiches at all meetings and hospitality events are vegan or vegetarian by default, at least one plant-based option is on the menu at eateries daily, hot food counters have one meat-free day per week, and cow flesh is not served at its restaurants and outlets.
- London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University
In the spring of 2023, the students’ union voted in favour of transitioning to a plant-based campus. The current target is for 60% of options to be vegan and for this to increase by 10% annually. The university recognises the health, environmental, and wellbeing benefits of eating less animal-derived food, and vegan choices are available by default at eateries and catered events across campus.
London School of Economics and Political Science
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) voted to ban beef on environmental and ethical grounds, thanks to the hard work of PETA campus rep Phoebe Woodruff. The university catering service is working to prioritise sustainability, and it aimed for 60% of its menu to be vegan by the 2021–2022 academic year. Campus restaurant The Garrick no longer serves beef or lamb, plant-based dishes are displayed first on serving counters, and the university promotes vegan eating via awareness campaigns. The meat-free Shaw Café offers a range of vegan soups, wraps, cakes, and smoothies, and plant-based milk is served as standard – you can choose from oat, almond, coconut, or soya milk for your ethically sourced coffee. At Café 54, try vegan gyoza followed by vegan slab cake, or at the Fourth Floor Restaurant, find a daily plant-based option inspired by dishes from around the world.
Nottingham Trent University
Students at Nottingham Trent University will find plenty of vegan options at campus eateries, and 55% of all freshly prepared dishes are vegetarian or vegan. Indulge in a full English breakfast at the Refectory, featuring Linda McCartney sausages, hash browns, herby potatoes, beans, tomatoes, and toast. Vegan mains include all your comfort food favourites like pies, Bolognaise, and bangers and mash. The university has regular vegan street food pop-ups on campus, and its Campaign for COP26 climate crisis event had fully vegan catering.
- Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London
The students’ union passed a motion that will see its catering transition to entirely plant-based by 2029. In the meantime, it is working towards 60% of food being vegan by the 2024–2025 academic year and then to increase this by a further 10% annually in subsequent years. The university provides a minimum of two plant-based options at lunch and dinner and sets out in its Sustainable Catering Policy that it will increase the availability of dishes made up of fruit, vegetables, pulses, and nuts while continuing to reduce the use of animal-derived foods.
At the students’ union shop, Root, you’ll find many delicious vegan dishes at the hot lunch counter and salad bar, including soups, chillies, and curries as well as sweet treats such as cakes. The zero-waste shop on Singleton Campus has refill stations where you can stock up on vegan essentials like pasta and pulses, and at bar Tafarn Tawe, you can grab a hot drink with dairy-free milk at no extra cost. In 2021, the students’ union ran its first-ever “Veganuary” campaign, with a line-up of activities including a talk by PETA.
University College London (UCL)
The students’ union passed a motion in May 2023, urging the university to transition to offering only vegan food on campus. The initial goal is for menus across the students’ union catering services to be 60% plant-based by the 2024–2025 academic year and to then increase this proportion by 10% in subsequent years. UCL has regular vegan street food pop-ups, a dedicated vegan hot food counter, and special World Vegan Month menus. As part of its university-wide Powered by Plants campaign to reduce its carbon footprint, as of 2022, its hospitality catering is vegan or vegetarian, and plant-based options are offered as standard for event catering. At least half of the food on campus is meat-free, vegan food is always offered at a cheaper price than meat, and oat milk is offered at the same price as dairy.
University of Aberdeen
Crisp, in the students’ union building, specialises in vegan and vegetarian food, and its evening menu is updated weekly. Across the four Aberbean Cafes, a wide variety of vegan delights are showcased and there is no extra cost for plant milk options. At RockSalt Food Court, over half of the dishes are vegan and vegetarian, and from April 2023, the university pledged to remove all red meat from Food Court menus and gradually increase the number of vegan and meat-free options.
University of Bath
Students can indulge in the many vegan options across campus, including at vegan café Parade, located at the centre of the campus, where you can enjoy stunning views across the lake while tucking into a hot lunch or a pastry or cake. The university aims to reduce meat consumption as part of its Sustainable Food Commitment, recognising that it is “the single largest action” the institution can take to reduce its carbon footprint.
- University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
As part of its Net Zero Carbon plan, the university has expanded its vegan options, aiming for menus to be 50% plant-based by 2024 and working towards dairy-free becoming “the norm” on campus – one initiative it trialled to encourage this was to serve oat milk by default at one of its cafés. In March 2023, the Guild of Students voted in favour of a transition to offering only vegan food at the university and are supporting an initial target of 60%, which it aims to increase annually by 10%.
University of Brighton
Plant-based meals are available as standard across the university’s Food Hubs. Try the vegan chicken katsu or a choice of burgers at Westlain, a grilled vegetable pizza at Mezz, or a vegan Cornish pasty at Megabytes. The university actively promotes the consumption of plant-based meals and the reduction of meat and dairy and supports students in making compassionate decisions by offering delicious and convenient choices, such as a hearty breakfast including vegan sausages, sandwiches for on-the-go lunches, and hot meals and dessert options at dinner service.
University of Bristol
Bristol is one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the UK, and the University of Bristol was the first in the country to declare a climate emergency. In its catered residences, the university runs Meat Free Mondays, is introducing Flexitarian Fridays, and holds a Plant-Based Week each year, and Senate House Marketplace offers several vegan meals. Since 2020, the university has removed cow flesh from its “Grab and Go” ranges across cafés on campus, and as of 2022, 66% of menus on campus are vegan.
University of Cambridge
In 2016, the university’s catering service significantly reduced its use of beef and lamb, replacing it with plant-based foods across its 14 outlets and 1,500 annual events. This has spared the lives of many cows and lambs and has also helped the university cut its food-related carbon emissions by one-third. In 2023, the students’ union voted to serve only vegan food across the university to help combat the climate and biodiversity crises, and Darwin College has become the first to adopt a vegan menu for its May Ball. The university also states in its Sustainable Food Policy that it is working to reduce the consumption of dairy products while promoting plant-based foods.
- University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
Currently, 50% of meal options in campus outlets are meat-free, and the university is working towards offering a greater variety of plant-based foods. It also has a dedicated vegan hotspot, Humpit, serving super salads, falafel, and heavenly houmous. Brücks Street Kitchen offers vegan delights on its weekly menu based on street food from around the world, and at Element, you can build a customised salad and top it with a plant-based protein.
- University of Huddersfield
University of Huddersfield
The University of Huddersfield opened its first vegetarian café in 2019, which quickly became a campus favourite. Most of the eateries across the university have gone beef-free, and all have expanded their vegan offerings. At Café Central, there is a delicious selection of vegan sandwiches, paninis, and toasties, and at International Kitchen, you’ll find homecooked plant-based fare and a salad bar. As part of its Sustainable Food Policy, the university is working to promote the consumption of plant-based foods and offer a greater variety of options.
University of Kent
In June 2023, students voted in favour of university catering outlets switching to fully plant-based menus, and the transformation is underway: the motion has now been passed and it is hoped that the transition will be complete by 2028. In the meantime, at Mungo’s, students can find yummy burgers and fries topped with vegan cheese and all its classic shakes can be made vegan on request – we recommend the Lotus Biscoff shake. At Origins, where you can play shuffleboard and darts for free, enjoy delicious vegan fare such as Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese, which you can top with Vegan Barbeque Chick’n, or try the Smokey Bean Chili Nachos. Stop by Hut 8 for a falafel or Dolche Vita for a jacket potato filled with vegan cheese, beans, or vegan chilli – or all three!
University of Leicester
Students, rejoice! There are two vegan cafés at the University of Leicester: Wholesome (located in Campus Kitchen) and The Pantry (located in Union St Food Market), serving flavourful dishes like curries, samosas, and Buddha bowls. Head to Queens Pizza and Pasta for one of its hand-stretched pizzas such as the Buffalo Chick’n, made with buffalo style chick’n strips and vegan mozzarella. If African- or Caribbean-inspired food is what you’re looking for, Soul offers Chickn Wings in Reggae Reggae sauce, a Jerk Chickn Flatbread, and Run Down Curry made with plantain and roasted veg stew.
University of Manchester
Not only can students at the University of Manchester enjoy studying in the music capital of the UK, they can also relish plenty of delicious plant-based goodness! Cafés across campus offer vegan options, including Change Café, The Place, Café at the Library Lounge, Lime Café, and The Hive, and the food-in-residence service runs Meat Free Mondays.
- University of Nottingham
University of Nottingham
In its Sustainable Living Guide, the university recommends that students eat less meat and dairy to help the planet, and it has launched a Campus Vegan Menu. At The Filthy Vegan in the Portland Building, you can try the Famous Filthy Kebab, Hangover Doner, or Side Chik Burger. There’s a range of breakfast items at the Club House, like the blueberry or raspberry filled croissant or the vegan bacon breakfast roll. Hops offers hearty dishes, including a three bean chilli and a butternut squash, spinach, and lentil curry. Or if you’re in the mood for Italian food, try the vegan pasta bake or the Vegan Stuffed Crust Bac’n and Mushroom pizza at Vesper.
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is working to expand its range of plant-based foods, and currently, the menus at most of its cafés managed by Compass (around three-quarters of the university’s food services) are 50% meat-free and vegan, and a plant-based option is offered daily at dinner service in the halls of residence. It has also committed to serving vegan or vegetarian food by default at catered events. The students’ union promotes plant-based eating: it runs an annual “Veggie Pledge”, encouraging students to ditch meat and/or all animal-derived products, and in 2020, it voted for a university-wide ban on cow and lamb flesh sales in order to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions.
University of Plymouth
A tranquil environment with impressive vegan options, the meat-free Reservoir Café is a top spot among students. There, you’ll find delicious salads, wraps, jacket potatoes, and bagels – everything needed to fuel students with vegan power. Head to Loafers Deli for a vegan sausage, caramelised onion, and rocket sandwich, Portland’s Pizzeria to try its Meatball Marinara pizza, or Library Café for a Vegan Red Thai Pasty. Across campus cafés, 50% of fare is vegan or vegetarian, and 75% of main dishes are now meat-free.
- University of Portsmouth
University of Portsmouth
The University of Portsmouth is expanding its vegan options on campus in response to demand from staff and students and to combat the climate catastrophe. About 40% of food served on campus is plant-based, which is often the cheaper option, and thanks to the university’s loyalty scheme, vegan eating is even more budget friendly: for every six vegan meals purchased, you’re entitled to a seventh on the house! The university has also switched to vegan mayonnaise, and all the salad counters are vegan.
University of Stirling
In another sterling example of students making a difference on campus, the students’ union voted to make its food offerings fully plant-based by 2025. Wow! In the meantime, the campus already offers wonderful vegan options, like those at SUP!’s V-go vegan deli bar. It has conquered the hearts and stomachs of Stirling students with its range of sweet treats, snacks, loaded baked potatoes, homemade soups, and grab-and-go items. You’ll find a hearty club sandwich at Nourish, or try a Vegano Pizza or a Beetroot and Quinoa Burger at Refresh Sports Bar.
University of the Arts London
Typo café, a vegan spot at the London College of Communication, serves an exciting range of sustainably sourced vegan pastries and snacks. The caterers at Central Saint Martins campus have removed red meat from the canteen and are increasing the amount of meat-free and plant-based dishes they offer. Across the university’s six colleges, 70% of food served is either vegan or vegetarian.
University of the West of England Bristol
Enjoy delicious, sustainable food on campus at Wild Kitchen, UWE Bristol’s first fully vegan café. Try the signature dish, the Iskender Kebab, made with “chicken” strips, served with rice, tomato sauce, garlic, and grilled peppers, or head to The Atrium for a Moving Mountains hot dog or a Vegan Cheese and Beans Jacket. The university has increased vegan options in line with its policy to reduce meat consumption. Currently, 30% of food offered on campus is plant-based, which it aims to increase to 40% by 2025 and 55% by 2030.
- University of Winchester
University of Winchester
In a first for a UK university, the University of Winchester marked World Vegan Day on 1 November 2019 by offering all-vegan food across campus. There’s always a variety of vegan options available across its outlets, such as Cyber Italia’s vegan salami pizza. Ethical Earth offers a variety of plant-based milks, sandwiches, paninis, and cakes, and you can build your own sandwich and choose a vegan protein at The Deli Bar. The university encourages people to eat compassionately and consider animals exploited on farms, the planet, and personal wellbeing when making food choices.
Want Your University to Serve More Vegan Options?
As more young people are going vegan than ever before, PETA has launched the “Vegan-Friendly Campus Catering” guide – an essential downloadable resource filled with advice, a sample menu, and a letter template to equip students with the tools they need to petition their institutions for better on-campus vegan dining options. Get a free copy now:
Want to Be a Vegan Activist on Campus?
The PETA UK Campus Rep Programme is designed to help student activists hold fun and effective animal rights outreach events and campaigns on campus. Campus reps will receive lots of free materials to put on eye-catching, exciting events that get other students interested in animal rights issues. They’ll also be paid for their work during the semester and get a certificate of completion to enhance their CVs.
Note: Please always be sure to double-check the ingredients before purchasing anything on this list, as manufacturers are at liberty to change them at any time.