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Wellbeing guide to London

Sally Lovett's favourite London wellbeing hotspots

Wellbeing guide to London

By Sally Lovett

We've got two copies of The Wellbeing Guide to London to give away to UK readers and for your chance of winning, simply leave a comment below revealing your favourite wellbeing London hotspot.

Competition closes on April 30th

Congratulations to Green Duck and Chocolate.

In the name of researching, writing and compiling my book, The Wellbeing Guide to London, myself and book's photographer, Olivia Payne spent the summer of 2012 hanging out in London's healthiest and most holistic places. Here's my top five favourite healthy London haunts to unwind, nourish and revive.

The Wild Food Cafe, Covent Garden

Neal's Yard's raw-centric vegetarian and vegan cafe provides such delicious raw dinners and superfood smoothies, I asked them to host The Wellbeing Guide to London book launch party. Bedecked with fluttering Himalayan prayer flags and abuzz with passionately vegetarian staff working from the open-plan kitchen,  Wild Food Cafe is the perfect spot to refuel and escape the chaos of Covent Garden.

Frame, Shoreditch

Keeping the East London hipsters fitting into their skinny jeans since 2009, Frame is a dance, fitness, Pilates and holistic studio. Nestled under the arches of the East London railway line, Frame oozes signature Shoreditch style with exposed brickwork, rocking playlists and infectiously enthusiastic instructors filling the five studio spaces. 

Castle Climbing Centre, Stoke Newington

North London's Castle Climbing Centre resides in a majestic building resembling a medieval castle. Spread over two floors, the centre houses over 450 routes, plenty of bouldering surfaces to play with and a 100ft tower (originally the castle’s boiler chimney) to abseil down. For those completely new to climbing, the £20 taster session is the perfect opportunity to be guided through your first climbing experience and if all goes well on the taster, there are further courses, masterclasses and climbing holidays for registered climbers.

Ayurveda Pura, Greenwich

An academy, spa and yoga studio all in one, Ayurveda Pura is founded on Ayurveda - the 5,000 year old Indian holistic health system of physical, mental and emotional health. Depending on their aims or ailments, clients can chose from an abundance of treatments to balance their dosha (body type) back to full health, be it with a bespoke massage, facial, herbal remedy, a diet and lifestyle consultation or a 9 day long detoxing ‘Panchakarma’ treatment. They make their fantastic own ayurvedic products in house too.

Evolve Wellness Centre, Kensington

Tucked in the corner of a cobbled mews a few minutes walk from South Kensington tube station, Evolve Wellness is a centre that nourishes the soul, strengthens the body and inspires the mind. Whilst yoga is a dominant fixture on Evolve’s timetable, it’s their emphasis on other holistic and self-developmental practices, talks and workshops, as well as their community spirit and ecological endeavours which ensures that Evolve is by no means just another yoga studio.

Not based in London? Not to worry. Whether you live in a bustling metropolis, or a the roaming countryside, here are some simple ways to weave some wellbeing into every day:
- Try out your local vegetarian cafe, or experiment with whole foods in the kitchen. Buy some cocao powder and butter from your local health food shop and rustle up some raw chocolates - so easy to make and bursting with goodness, you may find you never want your usual sugar-laden chocolate again.
- Try out some online meditation apps, such as 'Headspace' or 'Buddhify'.

- Bring a little yoga into your day: Try gentle neck rolls throughout the day to release headache-causing tension in your neck, consciously breathe using the full capacity of your lungs for enhanced energy and include a few stretches into your morning routine to keep the body mobile and limber.
- Forget the monotony of pounding the treadmill and check out running clubs, dance studios and outdoor pools for a more sociable and invigorating way to get sweaty.
- Treat yourself to a holistic therapy at home… If you have trouble sleeping, massage the soles of your feet before bed, either ‘dry’ or with oil (a drop or two of diluted lavender oil or warm sesame oil can be lovely) until they are warm and tingly.  Focus on the point about a third of the way from the toes to the heel. As well as making your feet nice and warm, this helps to draws the excess energy down from the head and over-active mind, and lets you nod off peacefully.

- Try out this technique from meditation teacher, Jillian Lavender to arrive at a place of simply 'being': ‘being’:A few seconds activating each of your senses is all it takes. Sit comfortably and put your attention on the sounds around you. After 20 seconds begin to notice the smells in the air. Next, take 20 seconds to note the tastes in your mouth. Another 20 seconds on the feel on your skin and end with 20 seconds looking at your immediate environment. In less than two minutes your mind and body are settled and you are back to the present moment - available, calm and connected.


My favourite spot in London would have to be wanstead park. Once you get in to the park you forget you are in London or that it is even a park. There is so much space and dense woodland along with some of the most amazing pond/lake networks and hidden grottos and little bridges. I love it! I take my music and grab my latest cross-stitch project and chill out on the grass in good weather or one of the sheltered benches when I need some time and head space.
My favourite spot is Vauxhall city farm, they have allotments, a small garden and lots of furry animals. I don't have any outdoor living space or pets so it's nice to spend the time outside in the fresh air.
The Thames Path. Its were I go to exercise and clear my mind. The part of around Hampton Court is my favourite - especially in the spring. Its a lovely mix of nature, history and peace.

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