Life in the British capital may be fast-paced, but a host of urban spas, green spaces and yoga studios means getting your wellness fix has never been so easy. From fatigue-fighting IV drips to subterranean hammams, here are six of the most restorative experiences in London.
Free from the crowds and city bustle, these Culture Trip-recommended spots will help stressed-out travellers and locals find their Zen.
ESPA at Corinthia
Spa, Health Spa
Unwind in the Jacuzzi at the Espa Corinthia | Courtesy Espa Life
Urban spas don’t get better than ESPA at the Corinthia Hotel. Spread across four floors, this wellness destination champions a holistic approach with 17 treatment rooms, an ambient-lit pool, an amphitheatre sauna, an ice fountain and private sleep pods. The spa menu makes for extensive reading – try the two-hour Sleep Ritual for total relaxation. For optimal wellbeing, a stellar team of herbalists, osteopaths, Chinese-medicine experts and personal trainers are also at your beck and call.
Learn how to roller-skate with professionals, then head along to an optional post-class roller disco to show off your skating tricks. Getting fit doesn’t have to mean a mundane gym routine: learning to skate means you can burn calories and learn a new, fun skill that you can take pretty much anywhere.
One of the world’s most extraordinary botanical gardens, Kew Gardens is a breath of fresh air in South West London. Whether for springtime blooms or autumnal hues, a visit spent exploring this vast three-hectare (seven-acre) space will restore city-weary souls. Highlights include Temperate House (the world’s largest ornamental glasshouse), a towering 10-storey Chinese pagoda and the jaw-dropping Treetop Walkway. Beat the queues with priority entrance tickets, which also include access to Kew’s art galleries and guided walking tours.
The capital’s financial district may not be the most obvious place to unwind, but the spa at The Ned, Soho House’s latest London outpost, is changing things. The 20-metre (66-foot) pool is the focal point of this labyrinthine space, but delve deeper and you’ll find a traditional Moroccan hammam, eight treatment rooms, marble-clad changing areas and a library-style Club Room. Thankfully, treatments are bookable for non-Ned members.
One of the capital’s best-kept secrets, this Victorian-inspired spa is perfect for unwinding pre- or post-Eurostar. A host of treatment packages and themed ‘journeys’ offer something for everyone, whether you’re after a jet-lag-busting massage or a pick-me-up facial. Got a little more time on your hands? Book in for the afternoon tea, a feast of sweet and savoury treats inspired by Europe’s finest delicacies.
It’s hard to believe this subterranean space, the definition of an urban retreat, lies under the bustle of Piccadilly Circus. An extensive spa menu has even the weariest of travellers sorted – expect traditional facials and massages as well as more unusual offerings, such as Japanese-inspired, energy-balancing treatments, reiki, acupuncture and hammam experiences. The recently launched Aromatherapy Associates massages, which combine physical and emotional healing, come highly recommended.