London city trip conscious guide

As you may or may not know, I’ve recently escaped to London for a much needed city trip with the boyfriend. I was thrilled as London is a place I spent quite some time when I was younger (family friends lived there and I would go for the summer) and always have had a huge soft spot for. The nature, the energy, the British way of thinking and the openness of its inhabitants have made it a place I hope to be able to live in someday.

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So I was definitely excited about going back there after a few years of not visiting! Especially when I realized how many vegan restaurants, eco friendly shops and brands and overall green conscious lifestyle options had been popping around the city recently!

Hence this post! I researched for quite a long time before my stay so I though I’d share the places I’ve been to and my favorites in case someone is going soon and is looking to spend a conscious week end! However, since 3 days is super short and we were not able/visit as much as we wanted to, I’ve also listed at the bottom some recommendations that were made to me but that I didn’t get to see. Just in case ;)

So: food first, shops, hotspots/neighborhood next and recommendations last. Sounds good? Here it is.

Vegan food

Club Mexicana

Located in Camden Market (touristy I know but always a good choice) where you’ll find PLENTY of vegan options, club mexicana offers simple but delicious mexican inspired food. Pretty hungry after the already long walk, I had the Nachos with Guacamole AND the BBQ Jackfruit burrito. I had been dreaming about trying jackfruit bbq but never had a chance (don’t think there’s any in Paris) and oh boy was it delicious… In Camden, you take your food away and seat somewhere around but I believe they have a physical restaurant somewhere else in the city.

http://www.clubmexicana.com/

Wulf and Lamb

Recently opened in a rather fancy area of the city (we just weren’t prepared for that haha), and recommended by Vogue, the motto here is “fiercly kind food”. We were surprised at first by the way it works (you order when you get in at the counter and then go seat), but found the place really cute and cozy for a date diner. I had the burger with sweet popatoe wedges and mac no cheese (stop judging I was only there for a week end) which were deliciously creamy but unfortunately my boyfriend wasn’t a big fan of the green curry which wasn’t as tasty as we would have hoped. 2/3, I’d say that’s a good score if you’re looking for something a bit fancier. (picture from Wulf and Lamb Instagram)

http://wulfandlamb.com/

Whole foods

Ok. You’re probably thinking BIG CLICHÉ right? And you’d be right. But for someone who had never stepped foot in a whole foods before, I felt like a 4 year old at Christmas (dam, they’re good at marketing). While we originally went to the Kensington one to shop a few gifts, we ended up having lunch as their big canteen on the first floor when you have plenty of options from vegan and non vegan pizza to making your own bowl, a juice bar (where they use recycled plastic and don’t use straws, how cool is that) and a buffet. The boyfriend was happy as he did not have to eat vegan again.

https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/kensington

Delicously Ella’s deli

Might have been a bit a groupie on that one…I’m a big, big, big fan of Deliciously Ella.I follow her on social media, cook her recipes and generally love the way she promotes a healthy plant based lifestyle. So I HAD to try out one of her 3 delies in London. While I didn’t have lunch or diner, I still got to try one of her individual apple pies along with my tea. The place is so cozy, the staff is ridiculously kind and the playlist is very good too. Kind of place where you would stay for hours if you didn’t only have 3 days in London.

https://deliciouslyella.com/2016/01/04/welcome-to-the-mae-deli/

Fed by Water

Probably my favorite of the trip. My mouth is still watering just by thinking about their carbonara. The only 100% plant based  Italian restaurant in London, it’s a must go if you’re a vegan foodie. We hadn’t booked and the place was full but the staff is super kind and found us a table in less than 20 mn. I went straight for the carbonara as I had read they were kind of amazing. AND THEY WERE. Creamy, full, rich, you could taste the non existent smoked ham. I finished my plate even though it was massive and felt like I had found vegan heaven. Didn’t go for deserts as I could already barely moved myself from the chair due to food coma but heard the couple next to us gushing about how good they were.

Didn’t take any photo as I was too busy eating my way up to happiness so these are not from me but from Happy COW.

http://fedbywater.co.uk/

Conscious shops/hotspots/neighborhoods

Didn’t get to do that much shopping as we only had 3 days and wanted to focus on discovering and walking around (and food…). But here a few shops/shopping areas I encountered and would recommend if you’re looking for eco friendliness, vintage etc.

Camden

Once again super touristy but you can definitely find some little gems there as there are still several high quality vintage shops, especially inside the stables. Avoid shops selling multi-series tee shirts and made in china objects and focus on vintage, authentic items such as records, shoes, design object etc.

Regent’s Park

Despite the zoo (never go to a zoo if you’re not a supporter of animal cruelty), it’s one of the prettierst park in London, epecially at fall. It has a small lake and plenty of greens to walk your dog or walk around.

Portobello Market and Nothing Hill

With its colorful streets and multicultural atmosphere, Nothing Hill is my dream neighborhood.  From Small cafes and cinemas to jamaican food store and its historical market, there truly is a bohemian/popular/artsy vibe to it that makes you feel at home (if that’s your kind of thing). But it’s also super famous for the almost 3km long market that takes place everyday but really gets crowded on Saturday.

You’ll be able to find pre-loved fashion and jewelry but also food and vintage furniture that no one else will have. Plus, it has several ethical fashion (pop up) shops along the way selling brands like Uma Bozai (craftsmanship) and Kowtow (organic cotton).

It does get really crowded, so I suggest going early to feel more comfortable and score the best deals.

Whole foods

Heaven for organic foodie, local products and vegan alternatives, it even has a book and cosmetics section. I literally had to refrain myself from spending all my money there by reminding myself that it has just been bought by Amazon. However, as I shared on Instagram, I really found the prices quite crazy for some fairly common commodities. And while it’s great to give organic and local a cool and mainstream image, shouldn’t healthy,eco friendly food be affordable to everyone?

Holland Park

Probably one of my favorite parks ever. Not only in London but ever. It’s smaller than most parks in the city but it has a really different feel to it. Maybe because it’s a littler wilder and it has some more secluded areas. Maybe it’s because it has squirrels literally everywhere or peacocks walking around freely. Or maybe it’s its Japanese garden with waterfalls and centuries old carps. Anyway, if you’re in the area, definitely worth a visit.

Shoreditch

I had heard so much about this neighborhood as the cool, artsy, hipster place to be. Maybe, it’s because we went on a Sunday, but we didn’t feel that vibe. It definitely has A  LOT of very cute cafes that are often organic and able to cater vegan diets and many vintage shops (all closed when we went) but other than that we missed what makes this neighborhood so hype right now. But that means we have to come again to see what all the fuss is about!

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Recommendations

Bulk Market

Recently opened, this shop is the first of its kind in London and was opened following the owner’s own struggle to find zero waste options in the city. It includes a bulk option, fresh wrap less fruits, veggies and bread, natural cleaning products and plenty of other necessities.

As in most zero waste shop, you either bring your own jars, bags or baskets or you can get some on the spot and when you pay, the weight of the containment are deducted from the total weight. Definitely wished I had been able to stop to support the project!

Farmacy London

THE vegan restaurant everybody is talking about. It’s in Nothing Hill, the design is gorgeous and the food includes some of the trendiest at the moment a.k.a avocado toast, super food bowls and juice shot. I’ve heard mixed reviews but if you’re in the area it might be worth a try… at least if you’re ready to wait in the line! Price of success (and a cool Instagram shot J)

The keep boutique

Located in the Brixton village, The keep showcases a curated selection of ethical fashion including  favorites like Armed Angels, Beaumont Organic and of course People Tree.

I was so bummed I couldn’t go as the shop itself looks super cute. But if you can’t make it, don’t worry, there’s also an online webshop! No excuse for fast fashion people!

 

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