Gluten free in Carnoustie

Carnoustie looking out to sea

Last week me and Neil took ourselves off for a little break, to stay at very wonderful Carnoustie Golf Hotel and Spa. We were originally planning to visit Arran.  But Neil spotted this hotel in Carnoustie, and we got side tracked. Hopefully we will make it to Arran one day. 

I truly love Scotland. A love that was founded when, as a young child I was lucky enough to live at the very top of this beautiful country for a couple of years, in a place called Thurso. It was back in the 70’s and my friend Susan lived next door. We would knock on our bedroom walls to each other at night and our mums used to bake together. I remember feeling so sad when we moved away. We left behind, Thurso’s chilliness and huge, rock hard hailstone showers. But took with us the eternal warmth, from the people we had shared our daily lives with and a deep love for being by the sea. So of course, pulling up at Carnoustie, situated right on the coastline was sheer heaven for me and I knew we would be happy in our temporary home.

Our Journey

We packed up butties for our road trip (and gf snacks). Neil had proper ‘butty envy’ over my gluten free M&S white rolls as he was on ‘standard sliced’ instead of my super soft rolls!

Egg and bacon on M&S gluten free white rolls

Anyway, our butties filled with bacon and egg were just the ticket to enjoy in the car as the rain bounced down at Tebay services. The rain was so bad we didn’t venture out for a coffee, but did grab one a bit further along, just off the M74 at Cairn Lodge Services. It’s part of Westmorland like Tebay and Gloucester services. I’ve mentioned before about these fab services. I love them for many reasons; they are clean bright and modern, there is no outer door on the toilet blocks (so no freaking out about opening another door to get out, once you have washed your hands – is that just me?!), they sell the most fabulous tasty Piper crisps – they are marked up as gf on the pack too, and they have lovely bits and bobs to buy in their shops! Look what I picked up on the way home… found me!!

Handmade petal and mortar

Carnoustie golf and spa hotel facilities

We got a great room when we arrived at the hotel. One that looked out onto the golf course. But, on our second night we had heavy rain and were bothered with a noisy gutter. The hotel staff were amazing, moving us in the middle of the night into a junior suite which had a sea view. This remained our room for the rest of our stay and I was delighted!

The hotel has an indoor pool and gym. You can also book yourself into the spa for treatments, if you fancy a spot of pampering. Although my plan was to have a dip in the pool, we filled our time nicely with other things, so unfortunately a swim didn’t happen!

There’s a great bar and reception area in the hotel with nice comfy seats, so if the weather is a bit rubbish, you are able to make yourself cosy and settle down with a good book or simply have a moment to daydream – my ultimate pastime – whilst looking out onto the golf course. Oh yes, and there is also a huge patio area with lots of seats too. We were so lucky to have a bit of sunshine, so I did manage to sit out in this spot!


There are some fabulous walks around Carnoustie, and you can really do as much or as little as you fancy. Me and Neil both really enjoy walking and took advantage of the fabulous network of paths around the area. It’s amazing for cycling too, if that’s your thing.

Liz Rimmer in Carnoustie

A lovely local lady tipped us off about Easthaven – a very cute village, all kept in tip-top condition by the local residents. They even clean the public loos and have fresh flowers and art on the wall in the ladies! And for passing walkers and cyclist they provide a welcome refreshment of juice – loved this!

Orange juice for walkers and cyclists Easthaven

From Easthaven we headed about a mile up the road (the only bit of this walk that has no path) to grab a coffee and a punnet of Scottish strawberries from East Scryne Fruit farm shop.

Coffee and fresh Scottish strawberries

East Scryne Fruit farm shop
What a place this is. Open between May and September. They do offer ice cream that is made in an instant, using fresh fruit of your choice from their farm, but unfortunately, it’s not gluten free so couldn’t check it out. Think we clocked up about 9 miles walking this day!

We took the train one day to Arbroath grabbed a coffee and then walked 7 miles, mostly along the coast back to our hotel. This was a fabulous walk.
Neil made friends along the way with this beautiful horse called Bruno.

Stroking a horse near Easthaven

Another day we headed out to Broughty Ferry on the train and walked back to Carnoustie, much of the way along the coast.

Bench looking out to sea near Carnoustie
Broughty Ferry is such a lovely little town with lots of coffee shops, we didn’t get to hang around here as long as I would have liked though, so unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample any gluten free goodies. However, I have got a recommendation of a place nearby (thanks to lovely Lauren at The Rookery) that is on my wish list to visit sometime – it’s called Jessies Kitchen. I have just given them a call to check if they are able to cater for coeliac’s, and they are and can even offer a gluten free afternoon tea. However, as it’s a shared kitchen give them advance notice should you want to book in for an afternoon tea and they will then ensure everything is done separately to prevent any risk of cross contamination. Likewise advise them when you visit and place your order that you are coeliac and again, they will take the same precautions.

Felt like we got lots into our short stay at Carnoustie. We even managed to drop into St Andrews one day. We took the train then bus in.

The beach at St Andrews
No lunch stops in St Andrews but did pick up a yummy slab of gluten free millionaire shortbread from gorgeous –  a quirky café that has gluten free offering to eat in or take away, and although  it’s a shared kitchen here, they told me they take all the necessary precautions to minimise any risk of cross contamination by using separate chopping boards, utensils etc.

Gorgeous cafe in St Andrews

Gluten free millionaire shortbread

Gluten free millionaire shortbread

Gluten free eats

Carnoustie golf and spa hotel Restaurant – Absolutely delighted how accommodating the hotel were for my gluten free diet. We ate in the restaurant 4 out our 6 night stay and I was able to choose something different for each of my evening meals. It’s a shared kitchen here, but they have a dedicated gluten free menu and even when ordering from this, everything was still double checked by the waiting on staff with the kitchen. I think my favourite meal had to be the ribeye steak with peppercorn sauce and chips. I even managed to squeeze in gluten free sticky toffee pudding one night!

Gluten free steak and chips

Gluten free sticky toffee pudding

Breakfast at the hotel was spot on. Me and Neil would start the day with a massive bowl of freshly prepared fruit salad, before generally moving on to a hot breakfast and then rounding off with toast and fresh coffee. No separate gluten free menu at breakfast time, but the chef only sent out things on my cooked breakfast that were gluten free and what had been prepared appropriately in the kitchen. They of course toasted my gluten free bread separately too, and there was individually wrapped butter pats and jars of jam. I get quite giddy about breakfast when I’m away, and sort of want night time to be all done and dusted, so I can get up and go and sit down in the restaurant and tuck in. My gluten free breakfast here was perfect and definitely worth looking forward to each morning!

Breakfast at Carnoustie golf and spa hotel

Cooked breakfast
I did also pack up some gluten free cereal to take with me as quite often hotels don’t have this on offer. I didn’t check if it was available here, but only ended up using what I brought twice as there was plenty of other things to choose from.

The Rookery – a fabulous independent restaurant that overlooks Carnoustie golf course

Inside The Rookery at Carnoustie

We pre-booked for a Sunday roast at The Rookery and after our first visit could not get enough of this place. There is no separate gluten free menu, but the staff know their stuff here and helped me pick out safe options explaining how the meal would be prepared and presented to ensure it remained gluten free.

Our Roast was fabulous – a generous slice of sirloin beef perfectly cooked, with the most gorgeous fluffy roasties, veggies and simply delicious gravy! They just missed the Yorkshire pud off my plate, which was fine, as it left the perfect gap to allow me to enjoy my panna cotta infused with basil and a side of peppered poached strawberries!

Roast Sirloin dinner at The Rookery

Panna Cotta with strawberries
On the final day of our hols, we headed over here for a light lunch – chips, gluten free bread, olives and a gluten free beer………

Gluten free chips, bread, olives and beer

…… then again for our evening meal – delicious perfectly spiced, chicken Goan curry, with braised rice…….. 

Chicken Goan curry in The Rookery
………and my pudding, rhubarb pavlova with custard – I tell you; this is probably one of the nicest puds I have ever eaten!

Seasonal fruit pavlova with custard
If only The Rookery was a little nearer to home, it would certainly be a regular haunt for us. If it’s on your doorstep you must book yourself in. As, if like me you love your food, you will just love it!!

So, there we go that was our little escape up to Carnoustie. Do hope I get to return again someday! If you get there before me, please send my love to the North Sea!

Thanks for reading!

Liz x

Liz Rimmer - looking out to sea at Carnoustie

P.S Don’t forget to always do your usual checks when eating out to make sure all is well for you. My gluten free guide for eating out may help with this. x

4 thoughts on “Gluten free in Carnoustie

  1. Carol Carpenter says:

    Sounds lovely Liz. So glad you enjoyed your stay. I love Scotland, too. It reminds me of my home country Wales, but on a much bigger scale !! 😂😂

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