Five eco-friendly activities to enjoy in London
London is quickly rising to the top of everyone’s bucket list as a must-see city post-pandemic. Whether for die-hard fans of Netflix’s The Crown itching to take in some of that royal history, or a TikToker following the London content making once-secret city hotspots into viral attractions, London has something for everyone – and sometimes in the most unexpected of places.
As popular attractions such as Buckingham Palace and busy Hyde Park begin to fill up once again, it might be time to take a step back and take a new approach to exploring London post-pandemic. Currently, mass tourism to popular destinations is ruining the environment, from destroying important ecosystems as we continue to overpopulate green spaces to investing money into high street fast fashion brands along popular Oxford Street. As travelling begins to heat up once again, it has never been more important to start travelling sustainably instead.
Fear not, it’s possible to both enjoy London’s beauty and contribute to the city’s environment and economy at the same time, for an eco-friendly twist on classic city tourism. Here are five eco-friendly activities to enjoy in London for half the cost and double the fun, away from the busy hustle and bustle of the city centre.
One of the best ways to take in London’s vibrant culture is to visit the city’s many markets. Not only does this take travellers away from the high street giants, but each stall is independently owned and operated by small businesses that promote small eco-friendly production practices and create handcrafted goods and fresh produce that high street stores can’t beat.
One of the city’s top picks is the popular Buck Street Market in Camden, known as London’s first sustainably focused shopping hub. This impeccable food court and culturally vibrant market scene houses a number of sustainable collectives and organic food stalls, bursting with eco-friendly energy. Better still, the complex itself is actually built out of 88 recycled shipping containers for a true zero-waste twist.
Enjoy a plastic-free environment and an impressive compost driven eco-energy system that converts any leftover market food waste back into electricity to power the site. Although, with the countless vegetarian, vegan and world food options, there probably won’t be any food left over!
Closer to nature
It’s a great idea to head out of the city centre and venture to one of London’s insta-famous green spaces in order to get closer to nature. Many of the big London parks such and Greenwich and Richmond offer great routes for cyclists and even better spots for wildlife watching. Richmond Park even has some deer!
Better still, why not visit one of the city’s urban growing spaces? The city is home to a plethora of new growing green hubs, city gardens and a range of cityscape farms too.
Dalston Eastern Curve Community garden is a beautiful destination for a sustainable day trip. This aesthetically pretty place has an onsite cafe surrounded by herb and veg planters, ready to be used in their organically sourced dishes. Whether visitors just pop by or choose to get involved, this green spot is no place to miss on an eco-friendly tour of London.
For those in London for an extended period of time and bored of the city sights, it could be time to try something new. Finding hidden gems across the wide urban landscape can be hard, but for the keen chefs and budding bakers, it might be an idea to try out a sustainable cooking class.
The Cookery School on Little Portland Street, Marylebone is an eco-friendly venture to add to the list. Not only are they lightyears ahead of the sustainability game, having banned single-use plastics from their kitchen, they have even attained the highest rating possible from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
From baking bonanzas to world food cooking, both children and adults can enjoy this eco-friendly day out. The school ensures that their equipment is made to the highest quality from sustainably sourced collectives and each ingredient is organic and cruelty-free – perfect for a tasty meal that screams zero waste.
Giving the high street a miss
One of the largest contributors to the globe’s carbon footprint is the rise of fast fashion. As the second biggest polluter after the oil industry, fast fashion accounts for a whopping 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Shoppers on the London high street will see Primark and H&M, but it’s never been more important to avoid them for anyone trying to live sustainably. Instead, there is a range of hot new sustainable collectives hitting some of the busiest streets in London.
A brilliant eco-friendly shopping destination is Pop London, the rising sustainable fashion boutique in Wood Green. Selling ethically sourced and produced clothes and accessories, there’s everything here, from natural fibre jumpers to planet-friendly shades for the beach (all available at this link).
As tourism spikes once again, transport is filling up. From tubes to buses to private taxis, carbon emissions are nothing to joke about when travelling around in London. Why not jump on a classic Santander bike and head into the city on two wheels?
Better still, why not take pedal power one step further and head to the Southbank for one of the city’s Electric Pedals Events. Hosting live music, concerts and DJ setups, Electric Pedals want visitors to create the power themselves. Audiences can being a part of the performance as they pedal to power the musicians, making for a great alternative and eco-friendly power source to mains electricity!
Travelling around the city sustainably has never been easier and is one of the best ways to remain eco-friendly when visiting the capital. Staying on foot, enjoying the cycle paths and taking in the nature will put a completely different spin on the experience. London may be known as the Urban Jungle, but those who look in the right places will find sustainable beauty right under their noses.
The editorial unit