Emily Rekstis is a freelance writer who has worked at Harper’s Bazaar, Self, And UsWeekly. Her bylines appear in Healthline, Byrdie, Women’s Health, MyDomaine, BuzzFeed, The Cut, Allure and many more.
Image by Mauro Grigollo / Stocksy
November 2, 2022
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Travel can restore your well-being. We’re here to help you on that journey with Well-Traveled, a go-to destination for travel recommendations and tips. Our Well Traveled series is sponsored by Delta Air Lines, the airline that prioritizes your well-being with personalized and health-conscious moments from check-in to arrival.
London is so much more than England’s largest city. It is a bustling metropolis where culture and history meet, creating a unique and interesting combination of modern tastes and classical traditions.
This juxtaposition can also be seen within London’s thriving wellness community. The old-school British sensibilities bring a luxurious poshness while still delivering functional necessities. From plant-based restaurants filled with seasonal ingredients to wellness clubs that mimic the sophisticated social clubs still sprinkled throughout the magical city today, wellness culture has inserted itself into London’s identity in the most seamless and intriguing manner.
And you won’t want to miss out.
With so many great places to stay in London, we have a few favorites that combine old-school luxury with modern convenience and comfort.
This adults-only hotel is one of the coolest luxury boutique hotels we’ve come across. More than just a comfortable place to crash out, the Mandrake is an experience thanks to its decadent, original artwork and wellness concierge. The wellness concierge can offer guests a variety of holistic experiences such as shamanic healing sessions, alchemy crystal singing bowl meditations, gong baths, energy cleansing, and cacao ceremonies.
- Price point: $$$
- Area: Fitzrovia (near the West End)
- Amenities: Rooftop lounge, cocktail bars, South American restaurant, complimentary Sunday morning yoga, and holistic services such as shamanic healing sessions, alchemy crystal singing bowl meditations, and energy cleansing
- Book now: https://www.themandrake.com/
If you’re ready to splash on true London luxury, look no further than The Berkeley. It’s got that classic London feel thanks to its rich history (The Berkeley started as a coffee shop on the corner of Piccadilly and Berkeley Street 300 years ago!) and afternoon tea service with a modern twist courtesy of the soothing neutral décor and comfortable amenities. Not to mention, they have The Bamford Wellness Spa, featuring holistic treatments inspired by the Cotswolds to revitalize your mind as much as your body using all-natural products.
Housed in a historic building just five minutes from Buckingham Palace, Duke’s is filled with old England glamour. Between the afternoon tea, the Great British Restaurant, and their classic styled bedrooms, Duke’s offers an old-school London experience. With that being said, its mentality when it comes to sustainability is quite modern. The restaurant serves a locally sourced seasonal menu, while the hotel uses biodegradable cleaning products, energy-efficient boilers, and eco-friendly dispenser bottles in the bathrooms.
There are a few must-hit items to add to any London travel itinerary, then there are also some seriously cool activities that any wellness lover has to check out while in London Town:
Spend the day at a wellness club.
The city is filled with all kinds of social clubs from back in the day. Now there’s also a new wave of chic wellness clubs geared toward different demands within one’s wellness routine. There’s Urban Retreat, which offers day passes for guests to enjoy a facial, manicure, brow thread, and a sauna all while sipping on prosecco. (You can even get a tattoo or piercing here!) Then there’s Linnaean: an organic plant-forward café, restaurant, spa, and apothecary. If you’re a regular visitor to London, the South Kensington Club is a health club, spa, and luxury gym housed in a stylish members-only establishment.
Enjoy a traditional spa day.
If you’re looking for a more traditional spa experience filled with massages and baths rather than the posh wellness clubs, the iconic Aire Ancient Baths has a London location right in the heart of Covent Garden—and it is a real treat. Enjoy the thermal baths between indulgent massages or holistic rituals for an undeniably relaxing experience. If you want to go all out, the unique Signature Wine Experience includes a 30-minute soak in red wine for guests to soak up the antioxidant properties of the Spanish Ribera del Duero red grapes.
Zen out at Re:Mind Studio.
Just like any other modern-day metropolis, London is certainly not without its fair share of wellness studios. One of our favorites to check out for a little reset is Re:Mind. The sound work, breathwork, and energy healing studio offers a variety of classes alongside plant-covered walls for an undeniably calming experience. Whatever it is you need to help unwind, reset, and just relax, Re:Mind is the place to help.
See the sights on a bike tour.
Check out all of London’s most famous sights on a bike! As much as we enjoy a casual walk, especially while on vacation, biking around is that little bit faster, allowing you to hit more sights in a shorter amount of time. If you’re on a tight timeline, there’s no denying that this is the way to go. You can opt for your classic sights such as Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden via a landmarks tour, or try something a little more cultural-focused with an e-bike tour through the artsy West End with Love London’s Bike Tour.
Head to the seaside for a refreshing hike.
Head to the coast for a bit of fresh sea air and exercise. The Seven Sisters and Beachy Head hike feature stunning chalk cliff formations that were formed over 66 million years ago. Situated in South Downs National Park near Eastbourne, you can take a two and a half hour drive south or hop on a train at Victoria Station for a little over two hours. Either way, the countryside views will be amazing.
There are so many delicious places to eat in London, but if you’re looking for a plant-focused menu that’s guaranteed to deliver, there are a couple of can’t-miss hot spots:
If you’re craving a thoughtful plant-based meal that isn’t just a quick stop, then you have to check out this Notting Hill favorite. The vegan menu consists of seasonal plant-based dishes that support local, organic, and biodynamic farming. Start off with a CBD-infused cocktail, and wrap up the meal with a dairy-free “nice cream” brownie sundae.
- Price point: $$
- Area: Notting Hill
- Dietary consideration options: Vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, organic
- Setting: Elevated casual
- Menu & info: https://farmacylondon.com/
There are tons (we mean, like tons!) of great Indian food restaurants to choose from in London. For a great meal and lively atmosphere, Michelin-starred chef Peter Joseph’s Chelsea outpost serves up both. Seasonal British ingredients are used alongside traditional Indian spices and cooking techniques for a tasty one-of-a-kind experience.
- Price point: $$$
- Area: Chelsea
- Dietary consideration options: Vegetarian-friendly, vegan, gluten-free
- Setting: Smart casual, meaning no flip-flops, no hats, and no shorts
- Menu & info: https://www.kahanilondon.com
This Mediterranean menu is completely made up of seasonal vegetables cooked over a live fire or carefully fermented for a delicious culinary experience courtesy of chef Yotam Ottolenghi. While the cocktails are made up of rotating spices and house shrubs, the low-intervention wine list comes from a variety of small producers.
Bundle up and prepare for a bit of rainy weather with the help of sustainable must-have items all made in the United Kingdom.
- 14 colorways
- Vegan fabrics
Whether you’re running from a museum to make a lunch reservation or going out for a nice jog along the Thames, these vegan sneakers are as comfortable as they are stylish. The London-based company offers a variety of colors, but they only come in one style, making shopping for them all the easier!
- Ethically made in the UK with 100% superfine lambswool
- Comes in white & black
There’s nothing like wearing a beautifully made sweater in a European city like London. This organic cable knit is a favorite from the UK brand. Ethically made from 100% lambswool, the soft jumper is the cozy addition you didn’t know you needed in your London wardrobe. Wear it over workout gear, a dress, or with jeans for a laid-back look that’s so very English.
- Fragranced with light orange and geranium notes
- Subtle peach pigment that’s universally flattering
The harsh winds and chilly weather can wreak havoc on your lips. So, to keep them hydrated and happy, don’t forget to pack a lip balm like this probiotic must-have. Enjoy a light orange and geranium scent while mongongo oil, Kalahari melon seed oil, and rich shea butter soothe and heal lips while also protecting them against harsh elements. All ingredients from this award-winning London brand are ethically sourced and housed in sustainable packaging, so if you need to stock up on any skin care goodies, we recommend checking them out.
London may be best known for pub culture or posh society social clubs, but their wellness scene is fast catching up. Of course, there’s lots to see in London outside of wellness (museums, landmarks, palaces—to name a few), but be sure to take a moment to care for yourself while you’re exploring.