Make your next getaway in London a sustainable one with our round-up of the best places to go on an eco-friendly trip…
Here’s something good to know – getting the train generates an average of 66% less CO2 than travelling by car. And with 61 million people planning a leisure trip by car this autumn, we could save a collective 186,200 tCO2e of carbon emissions if we all switched just one journey to the train^. So if you’re planning a sustainable trip to London – the train is the way to go. And once you get down there, you’ll find loads of super sustainable shops, restaurants and attractions to keep your conscience clean.
In the market for a new handbag? Something that makes a statement, something with serious fashion clout and major sustainability creds? Get yourself down to Bottletop. This is a designer label with a difference. Their handbags and accessories are made with sustainable materials, like organic cotton and zero deforestation leather, but it’s their determination to up-cycle that sets them apart. Their signature look comes from a complex pattern of recycled ring pulls. It doesn’t end there, however. This was also the world’s first 3D-printed store made with recycled waste and they have their own charitable foundation.
Bottletop, 84 Regent Street, London, W1B 5RS. 15 minutes from Kings Cross on the Piccadilly Line.
Silo is the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. It was built on the idea that you can eliminate all waste by changing the way you operate – and that’s exactly what they did. They work directly with farmers, staying local wherever possible and buying products in their whole form, so nothing goes to waste. This is nose-to-tail dining and then some – they make their own bread, they churn their own butter, they roll their own oats. Heck, they even have their own on-site brewery. The food is done with such a slick creativity that fine dining doesn’t do it justice. And the restaurant itself? Upcycled all the way.
Silo, Unit 7, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick, London, E9 5EN. 25 minutes from Kings Cross on the Victoria Line and London Overground.
On 7th December 2006, a tornado tore through Kendal Rise in London. It wreaked havoc on buildings and trees, but it also brought the community together. And it was from this new-found togetherness that London’s only social enterprise cinema was born. They plough 100% of their profits into the Sustainability Institute in South Africa, and in return, the team has helped the Lexi Cinema become the city’s go-to green cinema. From retrofitting the Edwardian hall to installing solar panels, using energy efficient projectors and serving sweets in reusable jars, this is the movies with an eco twist.
Lexi Cinema, 194b Chamberlayne Rd, London, NW10 3JU. 39 minutes from Kings Cross on the Victoria Line and London Overground.
The Zetter Townhouse
The Zetter Townhouse is all luxury. The original is a 13-bedroom Georgian townhouse in Clerkenwell that simply oozes character, while their more recent addition in Marylebone offers the same big personality in a bigger, 24-bedroom townhouse from the same period. Their eco credentials are too long to list, but include an energy loop system to maximise efficiency, an occupancy detection system to minimise energy usage when you’re not in the room and an air-con system that turns off when the windows are opened. Plus, they use water from a 1,500-foot bore-hole beneath the building!
The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone, 28-30 Seymour Street, London, W1H 7JB. 20 minutes from Kings Cross on the Piccadilly and Central Lines. The Zetter Townhouse, 49-50 St John’s Square, London, EC1V 4JJ. 15 minutes from Kings Cross on the Metropolitan or Thameslink Lines.
Designed in the UK, but made by artisan crafters in Vietnam and Cambodia, Nom Living’s collections are beautiful, unique and good for the soul. They use traditional techniques, passed down through the generations, to hand-make each piece, so no two are the same. Coconut wood cutlery, wheel-thrown stoneware plates and marbled ceramic jugs are worthy, not just of your home, but also of the tables of Michelin-starred chefs. And sustainability is built into their core. Raw natural products are used wherever possible and new trees are planted to replace the ones felled to make their products.
Nom Living, 5 Durham Yard, London, E2 6QF. 30 minutes from Kings Cross on the Circle and Central Lines or the Metropolitan and Central Lines.
Ready for this? It’s a bit of a mouthful. Still London is a cruelty free, natural and vegan nail salon, treatment space and wellness store. Their treatments range from gel polishes to nail art, LED light therapy to sound healing – they even have their own infrared sauna. So what makes it so sustainable? Carefully chosen ingredients and packaging, for starters. Plus 10% off if you bring or send back your used bottles and jars. They’re also working with a carbon offsetting company to make the business carbon neutral and the B Corporation to create a new standard for businesses to follow.
Still London, 450 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AE. 18 minutes from Kings Cross on the Victoria Line and the London Overground.
Sustainable dining the kids will love? You got it! AT Feast is a family-friendly restaurant with a focus on simple, wholesome but ultimately really good, food. The day starts with shakshuka and spiced banana French toast before moving onto spaghetti pomodoro, lentil kofta and oven-baked dukkha-crusted Loch Duart salmon. Owner Maggie Bolger is passionate about the environment, so ingredients are sustainably sourced, locally where possible, and she’s already started the journey to a waste-free kitchen. They also have a botanical bar where you can indulge in truly creative cocktails.
AT Feast, 49-51 St John’s Wood High Street, London, NW8 7NJ. 26 minutes from Kings Cross on the Circle and Jubilee Lines.
It’s fair to say that 69b Boutique was ahead of its time. This super-sustainable store has been showcasing the best socially and environmentally responsible designers for over 20 years. It’s the eco equivalent of Aladdin’s cave, a wonderful mishmash of emerging brands. From RIYKA, a London-based zero waste label that makes its collections from upcycled, leftover and organic materials, to Papu, a Finnish brand that uses post-consumer waste to create a circular economy wherever possible, this is your portal to a whole world of slow fashion. Now you can feel as good as you look.
69b Boutique, 69b Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH. 38 minutes from Kings Cross on the Circle and Central Lines or the Metropolitan and Central Lines.
By golly, The Lanesborough is an absolute beauty of a hotel. This is everything you could want in a luxury London getaway – a grand mansion on the edge of Hyde Park that’s been decked out in decadent finery by famous interior designer Alberto Pinto. Each room is unique and they’ve predicted your every whim to make your stay as comfortable as possible. But that’s not all because The Lanesborough has its eco creds down too. From reducing plastic to using sustainable ingredients, eco-friendly products and renewable energy, they work hard to reduce the impact of your stay.
The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London, SW1X 7TA. 20 minutes from Kings Cross on the Circle Line.
Born in Los Angeles, but now with stores in Notting Hill and Shoreditch, Reformation is bringing sustainable fashion to the people. Their collection, which will take you from casual jean and T-shirt combos to stiletto heels and even wedding dresses, is made with low-impact materials, rescued deadstock fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing. They make it themselves, in their LA factory and at partner locations around the world, all of which boast a safe, healthy and fair working environment because they’re as passionate about people as they are about the environment.
Reformation, 186 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2RH. 31 minutes from Kings Cross on the Circle or Hammersmith and City Line. 19-29 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ. 26 minutes from Kings Cross on the Northern Line.
A trip to London might bring dreams of West End shows, but if you want to make your night at the theatre as sustainable as possible, you need to look elsewhere. Arcola Theatre wants to be the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre and they’re well on the way. They’ve reduced their carbon footprint by 25% since 2012 thanks to the installation of 24 solar panels, DC microgrids and a waste wood-fired heating system. Plus, 90% of the beer sold in the theatre comes from within a four-mile radius. So what can you watch? Original productions – daring plays, thought-provoking plays, thoughtful plays.
Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London, E8 3DL. 20 minutes from Kings Cross on the Victoria Line and London Overground.
The Third Estate
This one’s a little bit special because it started in Leeds. James and Angie Corcoran started their eco-centric shop here 2005 before relocating to London in 2012. Not only is everything they sell 100% vegan, but it also has to meet their exacting social, labour and environmental standards. They only stock brands who reduce the impact of their production processes, names like Komodo, Nae and Ecoalf. So what are you craving? New hoodie? Organic stretch leggings? Vegan leather moccasins? Whatever you’re looking for, their team will be only too happy to guide you in the right direction.
The Third Estate, 27 Brecknock Road, London, N7 0BT. 23 minutes from Kings Cross on the Northern Line.
The first UK restaurant to go carbon neutral, Jikoni is a conscience-pleasing restaurant with a creative menu that will open your eyes to new possibilities. It’s inspired by immigrant cuisine, which means you can get a taste of South Asia & the Far East, the Middle East, East Africa and Britain, all combined into one. Think lamb and harissa sausage rolls, prawn toast scotch eggs and butternut squash moilee. Ingredients are sourced locally, from sustainable neighbours like Waltham Place biodynamic farm, energy comes from green gas and non-recyclable waste is used to generate energy by First Mile.
Jikoni, 19-21 Blandford Street, London, W1U 3D. 18 minutes from Kings Cross on the Circle or Metropolitan Lines.
Aida is leading the movement away from fast-fashion towards a slower, more sustainability-conscious approach. Like your wardrobe, their range isn’t 100% sustainable – they’re on a journey with brands and customers, supporting their choices and helping to guide the way. It is, however, always a case of quality over quantity – which is why it’s a treasure trove of investment pieces. From brightly coloured Howlin jumpers to relaxed Kings of Indigo shirt-dresses and organic Thinking Mu jackets, they have something for everyone. You can even pick up sustainable homeware here.
Aida, 133 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JE. 24 minutes from Kings Cross on the on the Circle or Metropolitan Lines.
Cookery School brings the joy back into cooking. It’s simple and down-to-earth – they’ll teach you how to make home-cooked food you can quickly master and make. From French breakfast pastries to the perfect eggs, sausage making to the ultimate lesson in vegetarian cooking, each class will help you take your culinary skills to the next level. And the great thing is, they’re as passionate about the environment as you are. They use renewable energy, as well as organic, local and sustainably sourced produce, and operate a plastic-free, zero-waste, water-efficient cooking school.
Cookery School, 15b Little Portland Street, London, W1W 8BW. 16 minutes from Kings Cross on the Victoria Line.
There’s a lot to love about One Aldwych. It’s nestled in Covent Garden, right in the heart of the action, and promises a luxurious stay that stretches from the exquisitely lush suites to the state-of-the-art spa, which includes an 18-metre chlorine-free swimming pool, sauna and steam room. But that’s not even the best bit because One Aldwych has sustainability at its heart. Behind the scenes, innovative energy-saving technology, like the EVAC drainage system, glass crusher and water filtration and bottling plant, mean eco-living is built into your stay. They even have beehives on the roof!
One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BZ. 19 minutes from Kings Cross on the Piccadilly Line.
House of Green Beauty
If you want to look and feel your best, there’s only one place in London to go! House of Green Beauty is the real-world face of NINI Organics, a little store that’s jam-packed with a carefully curated collection of sustainable skincare and beauty products. Everything they sell here is made with 100% vegan, natural and organic ingredients. Co-founder Alex Nicolaou heads up the skincare side of things, while partner Nicole Stanton focuses on make-up. Not only do they offer friendly, one-to-one service, but you can also try their ‘Green Switch’, a dedicated session that will help you rethink your routines and rituals to get the best, most natural results.
House of Green Beauty, Blue House Yard, 5 River Park Rd, London, N22 7TB. 22 minutes from Kings Cross on the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines.
Once a tarmac wasteland behind Highgate High Street, Omved Gardens has been transformed into a lush natural wonderland that bridges the gap between growing and eating. It has a wildflower meadow, orchard and vegetable garden, all of which make the small journey from field to plate in their kitchen. The open kitchen, where they hold their supper clubs and events, makes you an active participant in the transformation, as Head Chef Arthur Potts-Dawson whips up delicious dishes inspired by the earth. They also reduce waste, cut energy consumption and limit the use of chemicals.
Omved Gardens, Townsend Yard Highgate, London, N6 5JF. Limited events over winter with a packed calendar to resume in spring. 29 minutes from Kings Cross on the Northern Line.
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