Though being active is, of course, important, nobody wants to spend their whole trip to luxury hotels for families on a treadmill. Finding unique ways to be healthy on holiday so that you can guiltlessly indulge in all the afternoon tea in the city of London has to offer is what it is all about. In fact, if you get the balance just right, almost all of these tips double up as great travel attractions.
Yoga is an excellent way to keep healthy – in general life and when travelling. However, when travelling, it is important to spice things up a bit so you aren’t just exploring the inside of a studio rather than the different tourist destinations that London has to offer.
Every Sunday morning from 10-11.30am, Yoke in London’s east side’s Dalston offers an organic yoga brunch in partnership with Brunswick East Cafe that really crushes the “healthy but on holiday” feel. It is 90 minutes of Vinyasa yoga followed by a healthy but tasty brunch with a freshly squeezed juice oozing with nutrients.
Yoga & light brunch – £18 (90-minute class reduced from £14 to £12 + £6 brunch)
Yoga & brunch – £23.50 (90-minute class reduced from £14 to £12 + £9 brunch)
Mindful Movements Yoga is one of London’s favourite yoga studios, who offer yoga sessions in the outdoors in Finsbury Park. It is a great park to visit while travelling in London anyway, but on the weekends, engaging in a peaceful Vinyasa yoga class in this luscious green space in north London gives it that extra edge to make it a proper travel-friendly activity.
Walking in London comes with the territory – keep your step-counter on from the moment you leave your room at Montcalm Hotel London City until when you get back for dinner after a day of touring the city and you will be amazed at the distance you cover, even when using public transport. However, a lot of that walking ends up being through cityscapes or underground networks, which, when you consider how many beautiful, green, healthy walking trails there are around the city, seems like a wasted opportunity!
The Regent’s Canal Towpath links two of London’s most visitor-friendly areas – it runs from Camden Market to King’s Cross’ Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard. These are two places you can’t miss when you are exploring London. Best yet, they are linked by a towpath that runs uninterrupted along Regent’s Canal, meaning just 20 minutes of your time and you have not only visited these two travel-worthy destinations, but you have gone about it in a fun and healthy way. Along the way, you can enjoy views of the water, the birds bobbing alongside you and the floating gardens and houseboats. On either side, you can tuck into market street food, shop around boutique stores and enjoy the historical significance of both of these London locations.
Parkland Walk is short but lovely. It is a 2.5-mile walk from Finsbury Park to Highgate. It was once the railway track from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace, through Stroud Green, Crouch End, Highgate and Muswell Hill, whereas now it has been grown over and converted into a green pedestrian and cycle route. With greenery all around, the only reminder that you are in the middle of a big metropolitan city comes when you reach bits of the walk that were once train platforms, but are now overgrown features of your gentle mosey through London. If you wanted to have a particularly healthy day while travelling, you could do this walk straight after your Finsbury Park yoga session.
Given the sheer size of Hyde Park, it should come as no surprise that it doubles up as an unmissable visitors’ attraction as well as a great spot to walk and be active. The joys of walking along any of the paths through Hyde Park is that it is kind of like walking through an open-air museum given how many monuments, statues and memorials are scattered throughout. There are numerous travel-focused pit stops you could make throughout the walk, from a meander through the Serpentine Gallery for a swim in the Serpentine Lido. Finish it off with a coffee and cake at the Serpentine Café and you have got yourself a day perfectly suited to those looking for a hybrid of health and exploration.
Visit juice bars
While afternoon tea is a quintessential London experience, exploring the city can be thirsty work, and there is no reason that can’t be dealt with in a healthy way without compromising on enjoyment. London is teeming with juice bars, offering immune-boosting, mouthwatering smoothies and juices with loads of flavours to choose from. Cold-pressed, organic, healthy and delicious, a juice bar crawl is all the rage in London.
If there is one thing that Soho has plenty of, it is juice bars – the area is speckled with them. In and of itself, Soho is an unmissable part of London packed with energy, culture, dining options and nightlife, not to mention being a shopping district for the record books. To add to that list of accolades is how many juice bars there are to be found.
The Detox Kitchen on London’s iconic, glittery Carnaby Street packs a punch – or rather, a juice – like no other. When somewhere is able to make your green vegetables taste like a travelling-treat, you know you are in the right place. Alternatively, there is Joe & The Juice, who are trying to kick-start a health revolution one kale juice at a time, with locations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Press Juice Bar is yet another of Soho’s prime juice locations, with this flagship “office” store offering drink options. There is also a Press in Selfridges food hall, giving you the perfect excuse to interject your travel-shopping with a healthy kick!
Book spa treatments
Sometimes, people forget that maintaining your health while travelling includes your mental health and overall relaxation, too. Yes, a holiday spent bustling around the city and upping your heart rate on sprawling walks is a sure way of keeping active, but so is getting that heart rate right down through relaxation and some good old fashioned pampering.
Thankfully, the Montcalm hoteliers know a thing or two (or three, or four…) about that. Just an hour or two (or three… or four…) in Montcalm Hotel London City spa will make that abundantly clear.
Between the deep-tissue massages on offer, the steaming aromatherapy sessions and the luxurious facilities that are available from within the walls of the hotel, a healthy body and mind are a given. This holistic experience will have you feeling healthy and ready to take on all the exciting challenges that a full day of exploring demands. With a clear mind (and clear pores), you can do anything! You are on holiday, after all.
Eating out and dining are both key features on most travellers’ agendas. Travelling on a “diet” is just no way to enjoy yourself. However, eating healthily really doesn’t have to feel like an enforced diet – just as a sip of the previously mentioned juices will show you. London has no shortage of delectable food options, which you can learn just by perusing the hotel’s menu of afternoon tea in the City of London. So, it goes without saying then that with an abundance of restaurants comes a similarly abundant list of health-orientated options. Obviously, you don’t have to pick something healthy for every meal. However, when choosing any of these restaurants, you hardly feel like a sacrifice is being made.
There are three branches of Mildred’s around London, one in Dalston, one in Camden, one in Soho and one in King’s Cross – the closest to the Montcalm being either Soho or King’s Cross. Though known across the city as the place to go if you are vegetarian or vegan, it is becoming increasingly known more as the place to go if you enjoy eating food. Period. The cuisine is internationally inspired, with Mexican flavours appearing on the menu alongside Italian ones. It is a melting pot of all things delicious and plant-based. It is edgy, sustainable and really, really tasty – three things that arguably always need checking when travelling in London.
Farmacy in Notting Hill prescribes plant-based, healthy food for all travellers in London – and who’s to argue with the professionals? They remind us that being healthy is not synonymous with eating boring salads or missing out – their black bean and mushroom burger with goji ketchup, carrot and celeriac remoulade and sweet potato fries make a point of proving that! There is no compromise on experience or flavour at Farmacy, only a focus on sustainability, bodily health and conscious eating.
Just a 10-minute walk from The Montcalm at The Brewery is Ceviche on Old Street. This Peruvian restaurant serves up light but inspired dishes influenced by the coast of Peru. Every meal is punchy, including ingredients like palm hearts and passion fruit, and fresh fish. There are dairy-free menus and most dishes can be made to accommodate vegans and vegetarians – just ask!
Nothing screams “HOLIDAY” like a good dance. Dancing is a really great way to be both active and healthy, while still having a blast. The best way to get your dancing fix is by exploring some of the variously themed nightlife spots of London – there is by no means a limited supply.
Salsa! Is a short walk from Temple Station – a necessary distance once your legs have turned to jelly after dancing the night away in this South American themed nightclub. Apart from the Latin party atmosphere which will inspire your hips to sway as soon as you enter the building, the club also hosts salsa class events that pair remarkably well with their signature cocktails.
Now swing (and a dosey-doe) into another direction, towards the fun dancing genre of country. Head to West London’s Nashville Nights, London’s only country music club. Get involved with this fun, different nightclub experience to a DJ set of contemporary country. If you were looking for something slightly more structured than freestyling to this club music, however, you could head to Jean’s Line Dancing in Waterloo’s Paris Rock Club and join a beginners class for line dancing. It is fun but challenging, engaging and rewarding.
Jhankaar nightclub in London is the UK’s longest established Asian dance club, open every night from 10pm to 4.30am. Unwind and dance freely to Bollywood and Lollywood music, or get involved with DJ event nights. If you would prefer to learn actual moves, rather than just grooving to the music, Absolute Bollywood Ltd, The Bollywood Co. and Bollywood Vibes are all excellent places to learn from professionals, ready to introduce the style to eager beginners.
If you are more interested in the bar at the Montcalm Hotel London City in the evenings than visiting a nightclub, but still have a hankering for dancing, then find a Zumba class nearby. They are everywhere – it is an ever-growing movement of movement. Through its constant expansion, Zumba branded classes are now offering regular Zumba, Hula Fit, Dance Fitness, Trampoline Fit and Street Dance – as well as a fair few hybrids. It is a great activity to do while travelling because although there are packages and memberships available, it is also welcoming to newcomers and once-off visitors given its magnitude and spread across the city. In most cases, the ethos is of the “more the merrier” variety, but try book ahead to ensure you get a space and avoid disappointment. Find a class and experience level for you, near you on Zumba’s website.
Keeping active and healthy while travelling does not need to be a strain or limitation on your adventures and experience. In fact, as shown here, healthy inclusions are most often an enhancing feature of the trip, rather than a chore.
Given that just staying at the Montcalm is an overall relaxing experience that does wonders for your state of mind (especially once you have checked out the spa), these tips will ensure you have a happy, healthy time travelling around London.