At first glance, London may not scream “wellness,” but the health-focused scene here has been steadily growing for the last five years or so. You’ll find boutique fitness studios promulgating the latest workouts, health-minded restaurants, wellness clubs, urban spas and pockets of solace in the most unexpected of places.
The directory below is proof that you can artfully combine health with hedonism in Britain’s capital.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TREATMENTS
A name synonymous with holistic wellness and luxury medispas, Lanserhof has clinics in Austria and Germany that are go-to destinations for those who want a health overhaul. In London, you can dip your toe in its Mayfair outpost.
While the gym and fitness classes are for members only, you can book a cryotherapy session or one of the other state-of-the-art wellness treatments. Spending just three minutes in a chilly chamber kept at -166 degrees Fahrenheit is believed to boost metabolism, tighten skin, improve circulation and promote muscle recovery. Alternatively, melt away your jet lag in the vitamin infusion lounge.
This trendy spot is an infrared sauna studio, a superfood café and a natural beauty boutique all rolled into one photogenic package. Reserve a 45-minute sweat sitting (head-to-toe benefits include pain relief, glowing skin, higher energy, improved circulation and a strengthened immune system) and enjoy an adaptogen-spiked moon milk (warm almond milk infused with ashwagandha and other herbs, like lavender or blue pea flower) upstairs when you’re done.
Be sure to block out a few hours to visit this five-story wellness emporium. Top-notch facialists, expert health practitioners, shamans, breathwork specialists and hair gurus can all be found under one roof, and there’s also a restaurant where you can try delicious, healthy bites post-treatment.
If your hotel gym doesn’t cut it, there are some running routes that’ll allow you to take in gorgeous scenery while working up a sweat. Head down to South Bank and run along the River Thames to see some of the city’s most famous sights, like the London Eye. If you’d rather avoid having to swerve through tourists, venture over to Hyde Park, Regent’s Park or Hampstead Heath for some peace, quiet and plenty of greenery.
This is London’s most popular spin studio, and for good reason. These 45-, 60- or 90-minute classes are fun, challenging and will flood you with endorphins. There are four studios across the city, and they have in-house cafés serving up satisfying smoothies and snacks. You don’t need a membership, but it’s well worth booking in advance as classes fill up fast.
Barre, strength and yoga sessions are also available for those who would rather not hop in the saddle.
One of L.A.’s favorite sculpting workouts made its way to London in 2015. The 50-minute class uses a custom piece of equipment called a Megaformer that works muscles you didn’t even know existed in tandem with a combination of resistance, endurance and cardio exercises.
This studio puts a twist on the traditional barre workout. Beginner and mixed-level classes are available for purists, or try out tough options such as Define Glide (a 50-minute session incorporating a glider for extra glute work) or Define Barre Balance (challenge your stability on a half-moon-shaped Bosu Ball).
Located in the subterranean levels of its eponymous hotel, this Roman-inspired Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star facility offers more than 18,000 square feet of space to relax and unwind. Services like the exfoliating Swiss Age Perfecting Jewel facial featuring a bamboo-infused scrub from skincare expert Dr Burgener and Alpine bee serum are must-tries.
Housed within Five-Star Bulgari Hotel London, this serene spa is not only one of the city’s largest (21,527 square feet), it’s also one of its most spectacular to the eye. On the menu you’ll find a blend of high-tech facials and ayurvedic-inspired rituals, providing the best of both worlds under one roof. For a luxe experience, book a bespoke treatment for two in The Onyx Spa Suite.
London’s oldest hotel, Four-Star Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel is also home to this intimate three-room retreat that’s great for a refresh. Treat yourself with a 90-minute Body Ritual that begins with a relaxing foot soak, followed by a full-body scrub and massage using oils from hotel wellness director Irene Forte’s handmade Italian product line.
This salon’s signature hair removal technique has been gaining popularity thanks to its 100 percent natural and vegan ingredients — it also doesn’t hurt that the process is much less painful than regular waxing. Visit the Notting Hill or Shoreditch locations for a treatment that feels just as pampering as any other beauty service.
This one-stop shop in Battersea’s Embassy Gardens is a gorgeous place to spoil yourself for a few hours. Have your hair done at the vegan salon, treat yourself to a cruelty-free manicure, savor a sustainable lunch and pick up a few beauty buys on your way out.
Be sure to save time for a couple of fabulous selfies — the botanical-inspired interiors from Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki are particularly Instagram-worthy.
You can find one of London’s most sought-after skin experts (or at least her products) at the flagship store just off Sloane Square. Shop some of the brand’s popular beauty goods or treat yourself to one of her luxurious facials. Using Chapman’s “gymnastics” massage techniques, the service delivers immediate results. It’s no wonder her client book is filled with A-listers like Meghan Markle.
When a health-focused eatery promises to deliver a Life-Changing Chocolate Chip Cookie, people tend to take notice. When said mouthwatering dessert is also gluten-, dairy- and refined-sugar-free, it’s even better. In addition to bountiful baked goods, this Notting Hill café serves up a whole menu of organic, paleo, vegan and vegetarian fare.
Known for its healthy meal-delivery service, this trendy brand also has two centrally located delis on Mortimer and Kingly streets. Dishes are curated by chefs and nutritionists and don’t have wheat, dairy or refined sugar. Serving up the most satisfying salads in London, the Mortimer Street location also recently launched a weekend brunch menu that includes banana pancakes with coconut yogurt and berry compote.
This all-day eatery is a bright and airy Notting Hill spot where you can sample everything from plant-based brunch to CBD-infused cocktails. The dairy-free “nice cream” brownie sundae is a must if you have a sweet tooth.
It may have started out as an organic fruit and veg supplier, but Natoora’s first London café, just off Portobello Road, has proved a hit with locals. The seasonal, plant-forward menu in this cozy deli is ever changing, and the coffee is consistently great.
This drop-in art studio in Eccleston Yards lets you leave your worries at the door and immerse yourself in creativity for a few hours. The painting class begins with a short meditation, and snacks and drinks are included.
Find your Zen at this meditation, healing and breathwork studio, also in Eccleston Yards. If your trip happens to coincide with one of the venue’s sound baths, it’s worth booking to experience the unique power of sound waves and how the vibrations make you feel.