24 Hour Guide to Wellness in London
London has many claims to fame but it has never really been considered a wellness destination like Los Angeles, Cape Town and Sydney. Londoners love to drink and eat out. When the weather is grey and damp for weeks on end, all you want to do is curl up by a fire and eat cake. But things are changing and health-conscious visitors now have a plethora of amazing wellness spots to add to their list of London hotspots.
Early Morning Jaunt through Hyde Park
Wake up early and head down to Hyde Park for a walk, jog, or bike ride. This beautiful green space is shared with horse riders, dog walkers, swans and squirrels. Once deep into the park, you no longer feel like you are in a big, noisy city. Take a coffee break at Benugo and sit outside on the edge of the Serpentine to watch the ducks and swans experience the beautiful peace of the early mornings.
Breakfast at The Good Life Eatery
After your morning walk, you’ll be craving sustenance. Navigate your way across the park to one of London’s newest and healthiest eating spots: The Good Life Eatery. If a traditional “full English breakfast” (fried eggs, baked beans, white toast, sausages and bacon) is not your thing, The Good Life Eatery will spoil you with a variety of delicious light and healthy breakfast fare. There are lots of scrumptious vegetarian options, gluten free pastries, spelt croissants, green juices, and insanely delicious smoothies. Plus, it is a short walk to our next stop…
The Science Museum
The Science Museum is one of my favourite museums in London. And, as with all London museums and galleries, entry is free. The museum has several exhibitions dedicated to health and medicine with displays that include artifacts such as the world’s oldest surviving medical chest, a Chinese acupuncture model, and one of the first implantable pacemakers. Many of the exhibits are interactive meaning you can spend hours experimenting and learning!
Lunch at Ottolenghi
A morning of serious scientific study can work up an appetite! Jump on a bus towards Knightsbridge to visit at Ottolenghi for lunch. This deli is tiny so get there earlier or later than the normal lunch hour and if the weather is good, grab a seat outside. Even if you have to wait, it is worth it! Inside, you’ll find a counter piled with salads from one of Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipe books. Delectable options like sweet potato salads, hummus, and roasted vegetables make up a satisfying, heavenly lunch. You can choose a selection of two, three, or four salads or order a protein (meat/fish) combined with salads. Just make sure to avert your gaze from the tempting window that displays the not so healthy, but ridiculously yummy cakes and desserts!
Afternoon Stroll down Sloane Street
In the afternoon, walk the popular shopping route from Sloane Street to the Kings Road, and pay a visit to my two favourite British natural cosmetic brands: Liz Earle and Neal’s Yard Remedies. Liz Earle make plant based, alcohol-free cosmetic products (for men and women) that nourish skin and hair. In-store, they offer free hand and arm massages (book in advance) and skin care consultations. There are also therapy rooms if you fancy treating yourself to a facial or massage. Neal’s Yard Remedies have a spa where you can pamper yourself to a detox sauna followed by an aromatherapy massage. Make sure to pick up some natural, organic oils or scented candles from the store on your way out.
Thai Dinner at Blue Elephant
To maintain your post-massage bliss, avoid the Central London crowds and choose Blue Elephant at Imperial Wharf for dinner. Situated on the river in Chelsea, this is one of London’s best kept secrets. Upon entering, you feel as though you have walked into an exotic paradise filled with plants, water features, and beautiful wooden furniture. The menu is packed with fresh, fragrant curries, and stir fries and there is even a special à la carte vegetarian menu. After dinner, opt for a herbal tea which comes in an elephant tea pot. On the way out, if you time it right, the host may give you a beautiful orchid flower as a souvenir. After a full day of activity, food, and inspiration, you can be sure to expect a good night’s sleep!
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Kathleen is a contributing editor to En Route Traveler. From a young age, Her parents took her and her sister on many adventures all over the world. Kathleen has lived in South Africa, London, and Paris. After five years of being a stressed corporate lawyer, she gave it all up to move to Nicaragua where she trained as a yoga teacher, learned to surf, and worked at the eco-lodge, Buena Vista Surf Club. Kathleen loves fitness, vegetarian cooking, contributing to the wellness blog, Hip and Healthy, and managing her own sites Yum Yoga and Super Fit and Super Food.
What are your favorite health or wellness spots in London? Share your reply in the comments section.