Seek out spa treatments, swimming spots and restorative restaurants with this laid-back guide to the British capital‘s calmer corners.
Tired of London, tired of life? No – sometimes we’re just tired and in need of some serious self-care. The English capital may be known as the playground for those with a “work hard, play hard” mentality, but it’s also a surprisingly effective place to chill – hard. Ready to find respite from the frantic speed of everyday life? Slow down, take a breath, and relax into our wellness-minded guide to London.
This underground spa near Covent Garden will transport you to another era, thanks to its antiquity-inspired architecture and strict no-phones policy. The baths may not be truly ancient, but the relaxation is real. Soak away your stresses in seven candle-lit baths, ranging from a cool 10C (50F) to a toasty 36C (97F), float in a pool with the same salinity as the Dead Sea, or treat yourself to an antioxidant-rich red-wine bath and grapeseed-oil massage.
With an infrared sauna, Peloton bike and daily schedule of yoga and mindfulness classes, this budget-friendly hotel is a dose of much-needed calm, especially given its busy location between Paddington Station and Edgware Road. Start your day with a cold-pressed juice and a dish from the intention-setting breakfast menu, such as Love (smashed avo) or Happiness (homemade granola), before pausing to breathe at the meditation station or losing yourself in a book at the pin-drop quiet library.
Vegan restaurants aren’t just about chopped kale salads and spirulina smoothies, as the menu at Farmacy in Notting Hill demonstrates. Alongside the aforementioned greenery – much of which is grown on the restaurant’s biodynamic farm in Kent – you’ll also find a slew of comforting plant-based plates, including lasagne, (no) beef burgers and warm choc-chip cookies. It’s a pretty venue, too – think brushed brass, bare wood and house plants galore.
Staying sober? No need to stick to soft drinks and water all night. The Lyaness drinking den at the Sea Containers hotel on the South Bank regularly ranks among the 50 best bars in the world, thanks to its fabulous Thames-front location, spiffy decor and thoughtfully crafted cocktails. Bartenders will happily create a teetotal tipple just for you. Ask for an alcohol-free Second Prelude, which features vegan honey and the non-alcoholic aperitif, Aecorn Dry. Gaze out across the river, taking in London’s matchstick skyline, for a moment of calm.
Looking for more relaxed and stylish hotels in London? Check out our guide to the best hotels in Notting Hill, or the best hotels in Paddington, London, all bookable with Culture Trip. Heading to Eltham Palace? Check out these hotels nearby.
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