Nestled into a cozy armchair, sipping a glass of bubbly, I was in the midst of the massage portion of my pedicure at the Cowshed Spa just off of Carnaby Street. And I was in self-care heaven.
The visit to Cowshed Spa was just one of the spots on my itinerary for a weekend of wellness that centred around London’s Soho and Seven Dials areas.
In recent years, these neighbourhoods have become hot spots for the latest beauty treatments, healthy food options, and fitness concepts. Read on for my wellness must-includes the next time London is calling to you.
Ride to the rhythm at SoulCycle.
Start day one off strong with an indoor cycling class at the UK’s first outpost of the American indoor cycling phenomenon, SoulCycle. Arrive early enough to order your post-class smoothie and rent your reusable water bottle. Then, head downstairs to the studio for SoulCycle’s signature 45-minute workout. It the best of both worlds – one of my favourite workouts from the States with a British accent cheering me along. Brilliant!
Refuel at Farm Girl.
Just a short shuffle away from SoulCycle on Carnaby Street, you’ll find Farm Girl. This is the flagship location
of the spot that’s known for its smoothies and bowls, so I decided to order the River Bowl, which was a colourful blend of flaked salmon, toasted tamari seeds, and various veggies. Since the rain was holding off, I enjoyed my bowl on the patio. But, when the damp stuff inevitably started to fall, I slipped inside to a table and ordered a blue Butterfly Matcha latte to sip until it stopped.
Treat your feet at Cowshed Spa.
On the opposite end of Carnaby, I found Cowshed, a brand that describes this location of the UK spa staple as being a “little piece of country heaven in the center of London.” Cowshed offers a full menu of treatments ranging from massages to manicures.
But, given the amount of walking that was included in my schedule, I opted to treat my feet with a 60-minute pedicure. The earlier description pretty much sums up the experience. From the comfy chair to the skilled paint job that resulted in sleek, burgundy-shaded toenails, my time here truly was a little slice of self-care heaven.
Tantalize the taste buds with a healthy tea.
When in London, afternoon tea is a must. And I was intrigued when I learned that Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel offers healthy tea options ranging from vegan to reduced sugar.
After ordering my pot of tea, the tray of tea sandwiches, scones, and slightly sweet treats like berries and a chia seed pudding arrived. (I typically find all of the goodies that come with afternoon tea to be too sweet, so this was an ideal option for me.)
And BTW, before I left the hotel, I also checked out its Soholistic Spa, which is a whimsically chic spot (complete with a steam room and one of the most calming relaxation rooms I’ve visited) that recently opened a nail bar. Although I’d just had a pedicure, I made a mental note to return for a treatment in the future.
Say “Om” at Another_Space.
Day two of my London wellness weekend kicked off with a peaceful, but challenging, hot yoga flow at Another_Space. (The workout spot in Seven Dials also offers cycling and HIIT class options.)
After putting in an order for my post-class smoothie (I love that both studios offered this option), I headed down to the studio where my mat and yoga block were already set up.
For the next 60 minutes, our teacher guided us through an all-level flow that included some arm balances and inversions and ended with a Shavasana that started the day off right.
Put your best face forward at Caudalie.
Since I’d pampered my feet, I decided to visit the Caudalie boutique spa for some facial love. The neat thing is that this brand’s products are inspired by grape seeds and the antioxidants found in them. And given my love for drinking wine, I was intrigued.
First, I was offered a consultation to determine which products should be used during my 50-minute treatment. Then, I was escorted to my treatment room downstairs where my esthetician applied various potions and lotions from Caudalie’s Vine[Activ] line (which is meant to protect against the hazards of city life). It was exactly what my skin needed before the next day’s flight back across the pond.
Finish the day with bites and sips at Tredwells.
As I enjoyed my glass of red wine and looked out at the rain falling on Upper St Martin’s Lane from my second-floor seat, I had a feeling that Tredwells was the perfect spot to finish out my last night in London.
Every bit of food that followed proved that I was right. The menu changes seasonally, and during my fall visit, I sampled tastes like duck confit ravioli, heirloom tomatoes, Scottish sea trout, and truffled macaroni and cheese. Beautiful food and drink make me happy.
(That is, I don’t want to live a life without butter, cheese, pasta, and wine.) And happiness is key to my wellness strategy. So, to me, this indulgence was the perfect end to a fit and well day.
Where to Stay
Location is everything. That’s the lesson my godmother taught me decades ago when it comes to choosing a hotel. This is why The Bloomsbury Hotel has become a go-to for me when visiting London for wellness.
It’s a chic, yet historic, hotel that offers wellness options such as The Juicery fresh juice and smoothie program and a well-appointed gym. But, it’s also centrally located between both Seven Dials and Soho, so all of the spots I’ve described are a 15-minute or less walk away.
Amelia Pavlik is a freelance journalist based in Atlanta, GA.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia and has written for publications including Fitness Magazine, American Fitness Magazine, ShermansTravel.com, The Atlantan, and American Spa.
Amelia is also the creator of FRESHJUICE + bubbly LLC, a boutique business focused on connecting clients to wellness splurges to suit budgets big and small.