Loyalty to tradition suffuses life in London, but a new norm is sprouting roots: one where vibey yoga studios stand commonplace with coffee bars offering almond milk for your flat white.
This young-but-thriving wellness scene is championed by ladies whose passion and provisions capture the lifestyle at its core. From the Hemsley sisters to former TCM Guest Editor, Deliciously Ella, these trailblazers are pushing boundaries of long-standing cultural convention and paving a path for clean eating, holistic healing and non-toxic self-care to be as easy to access as afternoon tea.
Even in hotspots not born targeting our plant-y predilections, the influence of a ‘live well’ ethos is impossible to miss. World-class restaurants like Ottolengi’s emphasize local sourcing and seasonal eating all while preserving an unmistakably modern-British identity. Selfridges, an ultra-classic London shopping experience, now houses a holistic day spa as well as a cafe offering as many vegan and gluten-free dishes as traditional ones.
Our London travel guide will point you in the direction of some healthy-minded highlights, but we think it’s also important to see a city for what it is beyond recent updates: in this case, a cosmopolitan icon shaped by history, texturized by tradition, elevated by luxury and enriched by an evolving wellness scene we can’t wait to watch grow. Scoop up a superfood salad between sights, down a matcha while browsing an outdoor market, or lose a few hours in the all-pink tearoom of our wildest design dreams. This is living well in London…
Where To Eat:
Detox Kitchen | Habit-forming healthy food is the specialty of Detox Kitchen, where you’ll find spiralized veggie bowls, Insta-worthy toasts and the greenest salads on this side of the Atlantic. The deli and delivery service, launched by Lily Simpson, offers Londoners – and those visiting – easy access to nutrient dense, delicious and well-balanced meals. LEARN MORE
The MaE Deli | London’s top clean food blogger, Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella, jumped into the IRL food scene last year with the opening of MaE Deli. Now with two locations, MaE’s menu of mostly plant-based, gluten-free dishes has become a staple for healthy locals. LEARN MORE
Anything Ottolenghi | If you’re obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean-inspired cookbooks (and who isn’t), you need to stop by one of his eponymous eateries, or for a fancier night out, Nopi in Soho. Brunch at Ottolengi’s is particularly noteworthy, featuring his famous shakshuka, picture-perfect porridge and other dreamy seasonal selects. LEARN MORE
Casita Andina | Fresh, flavorful and neon is the name of the game at this new Peruvian restaurant, which serves up superfood dishes and drinks that are almost too pretty to consume (but definitely do). LEARN MORE
Petersham Nurseries | This garden center and cafe offers a charming, rustic refuge from city life. Book a seat in their bloom-filled glasshouse, and be sure to take a stroll through their planty grounds while you’re there. The menu, which features many ingredients grown inside the nursery, is seasonal and beautifully celebratory of the slow food movement. LEARN MORE
Where to Tea:
Sketch | 18th-century townhouse on the outside, velvety pink design explosion on the inside. If the Insta-storm of Sketch’s interior isn’t enough to get you curious, a peek at their rose bud tea and 3-tiered pastry tower might spark a sense of urgency. Be sure to book well in advance! LEARN MORE
Aqua Shard | Perched atop the famous Shard Hotel, this sleek modern-British restaurant offers a stunning panoramic view of London in addition to one of the most luxe tea experiences in town. LEARN MORE
Brown’s Hotel | After teaming up with wellness blogger, Madeleine Shaw, Brown’s now serves one of the healthiest afternoon tea situations in London. Along with the obvious essentials – traditional teas and champagne – the “Tea-Tox” menu swaps out sugary cakes and cookies for fresh fruit, gluten-free mini toasts and raw, vegan pastries. LEARN MORE
Where To Shop:
The Classics | Some shopping spots just need to be seen: Harrods, Selfridges, Burlington Arcade and Harvey Nichols’ flagship are a few faves. If you’re looking to browse and actually buy, Covent Garden offers a variety of stylish (and accessible) stores. The gargantuan Top Shop at Oxford Circle is also a must-experience.
The Markets | Take a walk through any of London’s outdoor markets for a shopping excursion and city-touring activity wrapped into one. Check out Borough Market for food, Columbia Road Market for flowers, Camden Market for accessories and art, or Portobello Road Market for antiques.
Content Natural Beauty | Because we can’t go anywhere without seeking out a natural beauty store or two. This one features all the TCM faves, sourced from around the world, and a mini-salon where you can have a pro put the products to work. LEARN MORE
Where To Spa:
ESPA Life | Located inside the elegant Corinthia Hotel, this spa is a bonafide holistic health heaven. They offer traditional Chinese medicine, integrative medicine and other natural healing treatments in the most luxurious environment ever. The chlorine-free indoor pool is just icing on the cake. LEARN MORE
Cowshed Day Spa | This airy, light wood-lined farm-chic day spa is perfect for a pop-in after a day of walking and touring. Pick from a full range of quickie treatments, from facials to non-toxic mani-pedis, all of which incorporate their line of clean products made from premium, wildcrafted botanic extracts and oils. LEARN MORE
Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre | Hotel Cafe Royal’s luxurious spa boasts London’s first (and prettiest) Watsu pool for tailored hydro-therapies and a stunning interior, designed for extreme soothing. LEARN MORE
What To Do:
Neal’s Yard | Tucked into a colorful corner of Covent Garden, this collection of shops and restaurants forms a holistic health nut’s home away from home. Shop at Neal’s Yard Remedies’ flagship store, sip on a raspberry and rose petal latte from plant-based Pride Kitchen, get an essential oil-enhanced massage next door or grab a pretty porridge bowl at 26 Grains.
Art + Museums | No trip to London would be complete without a deep dive into the city’s incredible art offerings. Classic must-sees include the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Victoria and Albert and the British Museum. If contemporary is more your jive, there are tons of local galleries always updating their stock.
Shameless Tourist Stuff | In a city with a history as rich as this one, it’s perfectly okay to let your tourist flag fly. Be sure to see the essentials, from Big Ben to Buckingham. Maybe even hop on a tour bus to knock it all off your to-do list in one very efficient afternoon.
What are you loving from this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Would you do one on Amsterdam next?!