Idioma / Language: Spanish

Rouen and Bristol: looking for gluten free restaurants in these cities with so much history

This is the first publication on one of the Road Trips that I made in 2012, as solo traveler and by car. It was a 17-day trip crossing France, England and Scotland, passing through Rouen, Bristol, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Bath, Nottingham, Hadrian’s Wall, Glasgow, Isle of Skye, going around Loch Ness until Inverness, going to Aberdeen through the Whiskey route, visiting Stirling Castle before arriving in Edinburgh to spend 4 days at the August festivals and then return home stopping in York, Boulogne sur Mer and the Millau Bridge. Even though I drove more than 5,700km, it felt like a really short trip.

At that time I was living in Zaragoza and just finished reading for the fourth or fifth time my favorite book, “The Physician” by Noah Gordon, and also “One Day” by David Nichols. As they both end up in Scotland, I wanted to get to know that region, so I started planning the trip. Whenever it is possiblIe, I try to travel by car! The first stop I made was Rouen, 1,126km from Zaragoza. As I told you in this other post, the experience in France can be disastrous, so I didn’t really trust the service areas. Taking this into account, I prepared a sandwich for breakfast and took a pasta salad in a disposable tupperware to survive during the first day.

I arrived in Rouen around 4pm in the afternoon. It had spent almost 10 hours on the road and I was a bit tired, but I still had the whole afternoon ahead and, since I had been sitting all day, I wanted to walk a little and get to know The City of a Hundred Bell Tower, the capital of Normandy. Crossed by the river Seine, this city with its houses of the Middle Ages, countless churches and the Gold Clock in the center made you feel as if you had traveled back in time. Even in the center there were places like those seen in films like “A Knights Tale”, also my favorite.

When it was time for dinner, finding a gluten-free restaurant in Rouen was a challenge… I had not found any on the Internet (back in 2012 there were not so many gluten free apps available), so while I was walking, I took the opportunity to visit some restaurants and ask, together with the gluten-free travel card if they could adapt something for me. I didn’t find anything, so I chose a restaurant where I could eat half chicken with salad. That was a good dinner. This is the kind of situation where you just trust what the waiter/cook says. The next day, at the Hotel des 2 Rivieres, they prepared a gluten-free breakfast for me. Basically, they offered me some bread, cooked ham and a juice. Enough to charge batteries and go to the Eurotunnel, in Calais.

I was very excited because it was the first time I put the car on a train. The Eurotunnel is the fastest way to cross by car to England, as it only takes 25 minutes. The train has no seats! You’re sitting in the car! It’s great! Also, when I arrived in Folkestone, on the other side of the Eurotunnel, the GPS gave me a message that made me smile and shout a big “yooohoo”: “Alert, you are on a route where you drive on the other side of the road”. In addition, I was driving in England with a Spanish car, which made it more exciting as I was always in the other side.

I had 3 hours drive to get to Bristol, where I would meet Laia, a friend of another friend of mine who was working there. During these three hours I got used to the new way of driving. What was harder for me was to overtake cars, since I could not see anything because my steering wheel was on the left and I had to invade the entire lane to see if anyone was coming… with the passing of days, what I did was to get closer to the railcar to see if it was coming another car or not… and the roundabouts! I felt like I was doing them all counter direction!

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Arriving in Bristol, I headed to The Malago House, a B & B that was more or less near the center. I went to eat something fast at the McDonalds (the salad and fries are the wild card for all the trips almost anywhere in the world), I bought a SIM card with an English number to be able to make calls at a reasonable price while being there and went to meet Laia and her friends.

The plan was to go to the International Balloon Fiesta at the Ashton Court Estate, behind the Ashton Court Mansion. On the way there, we passed the Clyfton Suspension Bridge, one of the distinctive symbols of the city and widely used as a setting for films and advertisements. It was a magnificent day and not cold at all, so the streets were crowded. Since they normally have horrible weather, I completely understand why they were all in the streets with such great weather… when I went to Manchester (on another trip) I had fog, rain, snow, wind and sun on the same day! Crazy!

From there, we walked to the Ashton Court Estate park. Passing through streets full of graffiti with messages of love, social criticism or simply beautiful images. All very English of course. On the way, we met all kinds of people: punks, skaters, people in suits, hipsters… As we went through the different neighborhoods, the picture changed. A very interesting socio-cultural mix!

When we arrived at the park I was impressed. What an amazing place! Such large fields of green land in the middle of cities are missing in Spain… it was full of people doing sports, walking the dog, playing with their children… very beautiful atmosphere. Also, it took about 10 minutes to walk to get to the Mansion, which was huge. Just behind, the fairs began, full of games and food shops. As expected, there was nothing gluten free at any of them. I was prepared though, with some food in my backpack (I have it always in just in case for situations like that one). I don’t know if this has changed! If you plan to go this year, please, check it before hand or take some food with you. It is also a great place for picnic.

The show began at nine o’clock with the Night Glow, the most iconic part of this party where numerous air balloons illuminate the sky, already dark, while they throw the flames to fly away. It is very beautiful to see because they do it following the rhythm of the music and, as the flares are illuminating each balloon intermittently from the inside you hear the “oooh, how beautiful” of everyone looking at the event, especially the children.

After the party, we met with other friends of Laia and we spent a geat time talking in the park. That night was great because I met a lot of people. As some lived in the cities that I was planning to visit, we exchanged phones to meet when I’d be there.

The next day we went to see the Stonehenge, eat in Salisbury and visit Bath.

You can see the pictures of the trip here.

The gluten-free restaurants in Bristol are:

1) T.G.I. Fridays in The Cabot Circus de Gloucester St.

2) Bella Italia, a restaurant chain that you will find in:

  • Cabbot Circus
  • 8-10 of Baldwin Street.

3) Brasserie Blanc in Cabot Circus.

4) Pret a Manger, a fresh food restaurant chain giving all non-sold food to charity:

  • 95 of Broadmead Street.
  • 29-30 of Queens Road.

5) Carluccio’s, an italian restaurant in Quake Friars (Cabot Circus).


Other restaurants:

7) The Commercial Rooms at 43 of Corn Street.

8) The Knights Templar at 1 The Square, in Temple Quay.

9) V-Shed at The Waterfront in Canons Road.

10) Jamie’s Italian at 89 of Park Street (Close to the University).

11) La Tasca, at Glass House of Cabot Circus, also in Manchester.




P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!


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Me llamo Santi y actualmente vivo en la provincia de Barcelona. En 2001, me diagnosticaron de enfermedad celíaca… ¡por fin! Además, soy intolerante a la lactosa, la alergia al pescado me mata, ¡literalmente!, y también algunas frutas... Viajar sin gluten se ha convertido en mi mayor hobby y creé Gluten Free Adventures por esta razón. Desde los 8 años, he viajado y vivido en distintos países… ¡aquí comparto mis experiencias viajando para descubrir restaurantes sin gluten, pastelerías sin gluten y heladerías sin gluten por todo el mundo! ¡Espero que os gusten nuestros viajes sin gluten!