With a little thought, you can plan a whole day full of activities in a big city like London without harming the planet – or your bank balance. Come along and spend one with me in my neighbourhood, Notting Hill. Feel free to just pick out your favourite spots and structure them however you like.
Daylesford Organic, 208-212 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RH London.
Photo Credit: Lisa Pham
Right in the heart of Westbourne Grove, you will find this organic heaven on earth. They offer breakfast through to supper in their spacious café, but I’d get a piece of the freshly produced bread or pastries from their farm shop. The banana-muffin with seed butter and an Americano for £3.50 each is an unbeatable pairing. Daylesford Organic aims for zero-waste: they reduce, reuse, recycle and compost everything they can.
Local Vintage Shops, e.g. Ragyard, Lovers Lane, Lime Green Bow Vintage, Liberté Chérie, The Cloth Shop, Sirplus, Under the Westway Vintage Market, FARA, Book and Comic Exchange
New isn’t always better. By buying used clothing, we all make a small contribution to protecting the environment. According to the World Bank, the dyeing of clothes alone is responsible for about 20% of global water pollution. The production of a single pair of jeans consumes around 10,000 litres of water, so why not buy a pre-owned pair instead?
So, go and find your new-old treasure at Portobello Road Markets or shop (consciously!) at the numerous vintage outlets in Notting Hill – just a five-minute walk away from our brekkie spot.
In my home country Germany, according to the National Federal Environment Agency, 535kg of municipal waste was generated per inhabitant in 2018. That’s why we have these small grocery shops called “Unverpackt” (translation: “unpackaged”) where you bring your own containers to refill ingredients like pasta, rice or nuts.
This waste-free concept can also be found in the UK: “Unpackaged” at Planet Organic, about 10 minutes by foot from the market’s hustle and bustle. With that you not only save money, but also reduce food waste by buying just the amount you need and avoid unnecessary single-use packaging.
An escape to nature in the middle of the city? No problem in London. About a 10-minute walk away from Planet Organic are the Kensington Gardens. It offers a mix of old and new park pastimes and green space. Did you know that you can pick up tips for growing fruit and vegetables from the park’s very own allotment, where you can learn more about sustainability and organic growing? Channel your inner gardener, your dying plants at home will thank you.
The Shed, 122 Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington, W8 4RT, London.
I know you are all getting hangry now. Time for lunch! Close by to Kensington Gardens, there’s a farm-to-fork restaurant, The Shed, bringing some Sussex country vibes to the area.
It specialises in hyper-seasonal produce: a concept that allows the restaurant to avoid climate-damaging emissions by dispensing with long transport routes and storage facilities since they can make up over 60% of CO2-emissions in the world. Get the set lunch for £18 for a two-course meal from their daily-changing menu.
Let’s get active! Santander Cycles, London’s public bicycle hire scheme, are a great way to travel around the city in cheap and sustainable fashion. The first 30 minutes only costs £1.65. Just use your bank card at the docking station and you’re ready to go!
If you’re in need of a destination, the Natural History Museum is only a 10-minute ride away. It’s the first in the world to set a science-based carbon reduction target. According to their website, they operate a trigeneration energy centre that generates most of the energy that the Museum uses, which has saved more than 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide since its installation in 2016.
Everyone knows that learning makes you hungry, and now you’ve got a taste for cycling through Notting Hill, you’ll enjoy a 12-minute ride to our dinner spot even more. Farmacy not only uses recyclable or compostable packaging, in keeping with their “root to fruit” philosophy, but is also plant-based only.
A report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that switching to a plant-based diet results in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to current dietary patterns in most developed countries. Warm yourself up with the “super green soup” for only £9 – you can get hotter, the earth may not.
Perfect ending of a day: a cosy movie night at Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise. To be fair, you’ll probably need a 30-minute bus ride from our last stop if you don’t want to cycle. But as we live in car-dominated cities and private transport is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases, using public transport causes only half of the carbon dioxide emissions of a car for the same distance.
Back to Lexi: besides the paperless billing and snacks being served in refillable glass jars, it’s also the only cinema in London to give 100% of its profits to a charity, the Sustainability Institute in South Africa.
Article written by Lisa Pham (@lisphm)
Here's the map to enjoy that day yourself: