Five eco-friendly activities in London
July 19, 2021
London is quickly rising to the top of every bucket list as a must-see post-pandemic city. Whether it’s for die-hard fans of Netflix’s The Crown who are itching to record some of this royal story, or a TikToker following the London content that turns once secret city hotspots into viral attractions, London has something for everyone – and sometimes sets in the most unexpected cases.
As popular attractions like Buckingham Palace and bustling Hyde Park fill up again, it may be time to step back and take a fresh approach to exploring London after the pandemic. Right now, mass tourism to popular destinations is ruining the environment, from destroying critical ecosystems as we continue to overpopulate green spaces, to investing in high street fast fashion brands along popular Oxford Street. With travel getting hotter again, it has never been more important to travel sustainably instead.
Don’t worry, it is possible to enjoy London’s beauty and at the same time make a contribution to the city’s environment and economy in order to make classic city tourism environmentally friendly. Here are five eco-friendly activities to do in London for half the price and twice the fun, away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
One of the best ways to experience London’s vibrant culture is to visit the city’s many markets. Not only does this remove travelers from the giants of the high street, but each stall is owned and operated by small businesses that promote small-scale eco-friendly manufacturing practices and produce handcrafted and fresh produce that high street stores don’t to beat.
One of the city’s top picks is Camden’s popular Buck Street Market, known as London’s first sustainable mall. This impeccable food court and culturally vibrant market scene is home to a number of sustainable collectives and organic food stalls bursting with eco-friendly energy. Better still, the complex itself actually consists of 88 recycled shipping containers for a true zero-waste variant.
Enjoy a plastic-free environment and an impressive compost-powered eco-energy system that converts any leftover food waste from the market back into electricity to power the site. Although there is probably no food left with the myriad of vegetarian, vegan and world food options!
Closer to nature
Getting out of the city center and venturing into one of London’s insta-famous green spaces to get closer to nature is a great idea. Many of London’s great parks, such as Greenwich and Richmond, have great cycling routes and even better places for wildlife viewing. Richmond Park even has some deer!
Better still, why not visit one of the city’s urban growth areas? The city is home to a multitude of new green centers, city gardens and a number of farms in the cityscape.
The Dalston Eastern Curve Community garden is a beautiful destination for a sustainable day trip. This aesthetically pleasing place has an on-site coffee shop surrounded by herb and vegetable planters ready to be used in their organic dishes. Whether visitors just stop by or want to get involved, this green speck is not a place to miss on an eco-friendly tour of London.
For those who are in London for an extended period of time and are bored of the city’s sights, it might be time to try something new. It can be difficult to find hidden gems in the vast urban landscape, but for the avid chefs and budding bakers, it might be an idea to try a sustainable cooking class.
Little Portland Street, Marylebone Cooking School is an eco-friendly business that should be added to the list. Not only are they light years ahead of the sustainability game by banning single-use plastics from their kitchen, but they have even received the highest possible rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
From baking bonanzas to cooking world dishes, both children and adults can enjoy this eco-friendly day. The school ensures that their gear is made to the highest quality by sustainably sourced collectives and that every ingredient is organic and cruelty free – perfect for a delicious meal that doesn’t scream waste.
Miss the high street
One of the biggest contributors to the world’s carbon footprint is the rise of fast fashion. As the second largest polluter after the oil industry, fast fashion causes a whopping 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Shoppers on Central London will see Primark and H&M, but avoiding them has never been more important for anyone trying to live sustainably. Instead, there are a number of hot new sustainable collectives hitting some of London’s busiest streets.
A brilliant eco-friendly shopping destination is Pop London, Wood Green’s up-and-coming sustainable fashion boutique. Selling clothing and accessories from ethically sound sources and production, everything from natural fiber sweaters to eco-friendly sunglasses for the beach (all available at this link) is available here.
As tourism has skyrocketed again, traffic fills up. From subways to buses to private taxis, carbon emissions are no joke when you’re out and about in London. Why not hop on a classic Santander bike and ride two wheels into town?
Better still, why not take it a step further and head to the Southbank for one of the city’s Electric Pedals events. Offering live music, concerts, and DJ setups, Electric Pedals wants visitors to create the performance themselves. The audience can be part of the performance while it powers the musicians, making a great alternative and environmentally friendly power source to the mains!
Traveling around the city sustainably has never been easier and is one of the best ways to stay eco-friendly when visiting the capital. Staying on foot, enjoying the bike paths and enjoying nature will make the experience very different. London may be known as the urban jungle, but if you look in the right places, you will find sustainable beauty right under your nose.
The editorial office