Kin Cafe, London, featured on ZERRIN's London travel guide for conscious living

Conscious Travel Guide: Where to shop, eat and hang in London

by MJ Contreras July 23, 2018

Ever since moving to London last summer, this city has never failed to impress me with its offer of eco-friendly options. I’ve learnt a lot about how to make a more positive impact while shopping for groceries or clothes, while heading out for lunch, or even drinking coffee on the street.

The secret is, you just need to know where to look. Falling into tourist traps is easy when you’re visiting a new place - that's why I’m thrilled to be able to share this guide to London for the conscious minded. Read on for a round-up of my favourite sustainable spots in the city.

Green Bites

Despite England’s terrible reputation when it comes to food (at least it is in Spain, anyway!), I have to admit I’ve had some delicious, healthy meals since I moved here.

For those who like their food both insta-worthy and tasty, cafes Farmacy and Farm Girl in Notting Hill (update: Farm Girl has a new outlet in Chelsea) will delight you with their range of plant-based dishes and colorful coffees. Ever tasted a pink coffee with an aromatic scattering of rose petals? Here’s the place to do it!

 

Pretty pink artisanal coffee at Farm Girl, Portobello Road.Credit: Farm Girl

 

If you want to impress a lunchtime date, book a table at The Petersham or La Goccia. Both are elegant, quiet restaurants have a slow food philosophy we can get behind. Located in the heart of Covent Garden, they create all their dishes using tasty, quality seasonal ingredients.

Now the city has finally gotten a good run of summer weather, I suggest pinning the address for La Gelatiera on your google maps. It’s a family-run business that aims to preserve the Italian tradition of hand crafted artisan gelato.

If ice cream isn’t your thing and you’re more of a coffee lover at heart, Kin Cafe is the place to head. A supporter of local producers and roasters, Kin counts transparency and sustainability amongst its core values (and they have the most delicious selection of cakes in London!)

 

We love hanging out with a cuppa outside vegetarian/vegan restaurant KIN cafeCredit: Kin Cafe


If you’re meeting your friends after work, you might want to head for a few cocktails. And I couldn’t think of a better option for the occasion than Tell Your Friends, the latest hip vegan-friendly spot in Fulham, which offers a menu tasty enough both vegans and non-vegans will enjoy.


Thoughtful Shopping

In London, It’s easier than you think to stay stylish while still being a conscious shopper

If you’re looking to score some vintage deals, the East is the place to go. I’ll never forget the the day when I stumbled across Brick Lane Vintage for the first time. It was a cold wintery day and I found a Maxmara dress for $40 in the basement, as well as an entire section with second hand Burberry coats upstairs. The rest is history!

For pre-loved bargains, head to the charity shops around North and South Kensington. There’s an army of them on that side of the city; I’ve found up to three in a row on a tiny hidden street. From a See by Chloé skirt, to La Perla lingerie, or a pair of Prada shoes, anything is possible!

If you’re looking to treat yourself to something brand new, there’s plenty of pop up stores that have just opened their doors. Pay a visit to The Conscious Pop Up (Notting Hill), which has put together a cool curation of ethical brands under one roof, L’Estrange (Soho), a menswear brand driven by the sustainable principle #WithLessDoMore, and The Basics Store (Covent Garden), a concept store curated by Marina London.


If you're travelling to London and looking for sustainable fashion, you must check out The Basics Store
Credit: The Basics Store

It’s not just temporary venues that will satisfy the shopping bug. The Acey Apartment opened its doors in Shoreditch in late June to showcase the ethos of conscious living through beautifully designed brands, like Sunad’s shirts (all made in Spain) or Kings of Indigo jeans, made using sustainable production techniques and fabrics.

Another gem is The Keep, located in Brixton and opened in 2012. Here you’ll find a curation of brands with integrity, such as vegan bags from Matt & Natt, candles from Honest and Skandinavisk, or jewellery by Wolf & Moon.

Conscious Connections

It doesn’t matter what reasons brought you on your travels to London, there’s always time for meeting new people and doing a bit of networking - especially when it’s at cool events with individuals who care about doing good in the world.

For panels, workshops and awesome talks on conscious living, shopping and working, make sure to follow the awesome individuals behind What’s Your Legacy, Lone Design Club, Stories Behind Things, and Vevolution to find out if they've got any events on.


Vevolution's awesome events bring together like-minded individuals. Credit: Vevolution 

Tips for Adventurers

If you have time to spare, take a stroll around Chiswick, one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in West London. Head to Turnham Green Terrace to do some zero-waste shopping at The Source Bulk Foods or Bayley & Sage, then take a blanket and have a picnic afterwards with friends.

 
Credit: Source Bulk Foods UK

If you prefer to take the Overground and ride towards the East instead, you shouldn’t miss Rehab (Hackney), which is without a doubt my favorite vegan restaurant in the city.


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MJ Contreras
MJ Contreras

Author

MJ is a London-based creative currently researching branding strategies for sustainable fashion at the University of the Arts London. When she’s not behind her laptop writing her thesis or running errands for a fashion PR agency she works at, you can spot her sneaking around in second hand shops in West London.



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