By Esme Bourne|
September 28, 2021|
5 min read
Whether we want to shop till we drop or find the hottest rooftop bar, London is a one-stop wonder for all things adventure. In the capital, you are never too far from a one-of-a-kind experience. Yet while we begin to focus on our carbon footprint at home, we often forget about our impact when we leave the front door.
In the city that never sleeps, London is levelling up on its sustainability front. From vegan cooking to community focused theatres, London is now our eco-conscious playground.
To keep your day in the city as green as can be, here is our round-up of the best eco-friendly activities to do in London.
1. Sustainable Shopping
London has one of the best shopping scenes from iconic department stores, fashion weeks and contemporary, one of a kind designer pop-ups – the capital is known for its fashion take-over. Unfortunately, by now we are all aware of the negative impact fashion has on our environment. Luckily for us, London is setting the trend for sustainable shopping and our day out browsing the latest designs can be kinder to the planet.
From vintage stores, charity shops to dedicated sustainable fashion havens, the city is abundant in eco-friendly fashion.
Credit – @buckstreetmarket
These recycled shipping containers have set up shop in the heart of Camden Market. This is the UK’s first-ever eco-friendly shopping destination. Promoting sustainability at every corner, this market contains more than 80 vendors. From sustainable fashion and crafts to the best street food vendors, Buck Street Market is not to be missed.
Operating on a zero single-use plastic policy and using leftover food waste to generate electricity, this eco-conscious shopping destination is changing the game in how we shop. This ethical flagship store promotes conscious consumption and features local stalls that give back to the community.
After you’ve shopped till you dropped, find yourself in the exclusive Wildflower restaurant created by Adrian Martin, which immerses you into the world of foraged and zero-waste fine dining. Or for something on the go, why not try a delicious vegan pizza from Bad Vegan or a mouth-watering vegan burger from Clean Kitchen. For something fancier head upstairs to the Instagram-worthy millennial pink rooftop bar for a fun-loving cocktail.
Where: Located next to Camden Town Station
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 am-11 pm.
2. Vegan Cooking Classes
Learning how to cook food that’s kind to the planet and animals seems a great way to spend your day in the city. The capital is full of experienced chefs and communities that are welcoming you in with open arms to show you the ropes of healthy, vegan and sustainable cooking.
Credit – @madeinhackney
This plant-based community cookery school is a must-visit. Not only do you get to learn how to make delicious vegan food, but all the proceeds raised are used to fund free cooking classes for those in need across London.
Founded in 2012, this vegan community cookery school has seen recognition from the likes of Jamie Oliver. Made In Hackney teaches students how to cook sustainable and healthy meals, while also teaching them how to reduce waste and eat seasonally. The programme is run in their recycled, eco-friendly kitchen and dishes up food that’s good for the people and planet.
Why not check out a recorded online cookery class. From vegan carnival street food to steamed Baos and spring rolls, these plant-based cooking classes are not to be missed. Or try out their Wild Food Walks for an immersive foraging experience for a taster of what Made In Hackney is all about.
Where: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Southern Grove, Mile End, London E3
Credit – @cookeryschoollondon
Wanting to learn how to cook food that’s kinder to the planet? From buying organic and locally sourced produce to plastic-free and zero-waste initiatives, sustainability is at the heart of the Cookery School.
Why not try the Vegan Winter cooking class, where you’ll learn how to make delicious mushroom risotto, carrot and chickpea fritters and apple and quince crumble. Their vegan dessert classes are where you’ll learn how to make chocolate brownies, chocolate olive oil mousse and coconut vanilla ice cream, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
Where: 15b Little Portland Street, London, W1W 8BW
3. Pottery Classes
Be ready to get messy, its pottery fever in the city. Thanks to shows like The Great Pottery Throw Down – think the Great British Bake Off but for ceramics. Finding a moment of creative calm behind the wheel is now the popular way to spend your afternoon. With overalls and hands covered in clay, it’s time to let your creativity shine. Whether you are a complete novice or an expert, London has all the cool spots to find you your perfect pottery class.
Credit – @sakbehstudio
Nestled in Stoke Newington, Tessa Robinson has created this cosy pottery studio that is welcome to all. Sak Beh studio offers students an oasis of calm where small, intimate classes are designed for beginners or intermediate levels. The studio also recycles or re-uses clay wherever possible to ensure your pottery day is as eco-conscious as possible.
Why not try this two-hour Intensive Wheel Throwing Class for beginners or intermediate throwers.
Address: Hackney, 3 Garnham Street, Stoke Newington, N16 7JA, London
Other popular pottery classes can be found at beautiful and contemporary studios across London. Studios such as Skandihus offers six or 12-week intensive courses for those that want to delve into the world of ceramics. Turning Earth has studios in Haggerston and Leyton and The Kiln Rooms in Peckham offer great beginner classes. In London, you are never too far from an afternoon of being behind the wheel.
4. Walk around a London park
Credit – @timeoutlondon
Getting away from the hustle and bustle and grounding yourself in nature is a great eco-friendly activity to do in the city, and finding some green space in London is not as difficult as you might think. London is the worlds largest urban forest with an impressive 8.4 million trees! London’s royal parks are quite a tourist attraction from the beautiful St James’s Park with impressive views of Buckingham Palace to Holland Parks tranquil Kyoto Garden there’s a green space for everyone.
Why not set up a romantic picnic at Hampstead Heath and brave a swim in the ponds, or admire the golden hues of the autumnal leaves at Regent’s Park. Or venture further afield to Richmond Park and you might come across an antlered stag. Even in the busiest street of all, Oxford Circus, you are only moments away from the 350 acres sized Hyde Park.
Credit – @arcolatheatre
As many theatres begin to turn their lights back on, the city’s greatest shows are patiently waiting in the wings. The Arcola theatre is never more so a reflection of the cultural sector that the capital inspires. This pioneering theatre in Dalston is a socially engaged and sustainable playhouse that aims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre.
Championing diversity and sustainability, the Arcola Theatre is trailblazing the way for eco-friendly events. Using solar panels, solar thermal panels to heat its water, carbon-neutral heating and reusing the factory’s original timber joints, the Arcola Theatre is going above and beyond to ensure your experience is as eco-conscious as possible.
6. Visit an Eco-Art Exhibition
Credit – @sciencemuseum
The city is abundant in educational and cultural exhibitions offering prestigious and pioneering events that are not to be missed. It’s never been easier to get to the heart of peoples climate stories. Listening, watching or reading about first-hand experiences with the changing planet is a great way to educate yourself on how to reduce your impact. Through film, installations and interactive experiences, London has a lot to offer. Knowledge is power and use yours for the better.To find out more, click here and catch up on Wearth’s round-up of the best eco-art exhibitions to visit now.
Credit – @thelexicinema
Wanting to see the latest blockbuster films but worried about your carbon footprint? With the Lexi Cinema, you don’t need to worry. This volunteer-run cinema in Kensal Rise donates 100% of profits back to the Sustainability Institute charity project in South Africa. This community cinema holds space for a women’s-only refugee club and LGBTQ+ events. After a difficult year during the pandemic and hitting unlucky stumble blocks such as a fire, the second screen is finally available and was sustainably build from reclaimed bricks. This community-led cinema is the perfect place for cosy date nights or enjoying a bucket full of popcorn with friends while contributing kindness to the planet. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
Why not channel your energy into helping others and spend the day giving back to the community. Whether you’ve only got a few hours to spare, there’s no lack of opportunities to volunteer.
While London is classified as an urban forest there are still places that need some green space, and planting trees across London is a great way to spend your time in the city. Trees For Cities bring local communities together to revitalise forgotten spaces and bring nature back to life. Over a million trees have been planted already.
Grab your wellies and raincoat and help clean up your local riverbank. This charity organisation wishes to rebuild the communities relationship with rivers and restore water systems to health. Thames 21 regularly run litter-picking events and help collect environmental data to bring initiatives into place to reduce pollution entering our waterways.
Serving meals from surplus and reclaimed food to those in need, Foodcycle is a great way to give back to the community and reduce food waste. Serving over a thousand hungry and lonely people per week, volunteers have the opportunity to create real change in peoples lives and support local communities. With numerous locations across London, from North to South, it’s easy to volunteer at this food charity.