A must-see tourist destination, just a stone’s throw from most European cities, London is an ideal getaway for a city break or a weekend.
In our city guide of the day, we’re heading to the british capital, and share ideas with you to explore the city and discover all it has to offer, the eco-friendly way.
Getting there and going around
Getting to London with a limited footprint is easy if you’re in Europe: start by taking the train. Thanks to the Eurostar, London is connected directly from the largest cities : Amsterdam, Rotterdam Paris, and Brussels.
Ferry + train options also exist from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.
Prefer walking or cycling
Once you’re there, plenty of options besides driving exist.
London was one of the first major cities to introduce an urban toll aka the congestion fee in 2005. It will cost you about £8 to drive into the heart of the city every day of the week.
Immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of the city by visiting it on foot. The many pedestrian areas and walking routes encourage this mode of travel.
You can also enjoy the most beautiful panoramic views from the bridges. The emblematic sites are relatively close to each other. For example, Covent Garden and Leicester Square are only a 5-minute walk away.
To reach a remote area quickly, the London Underground, also known as the Tube, is an excellent alternative. Its 12 lines serve Greater London. To benefit from the best rates, opt for an Oyster and/or Travelcard that you can order online and receive before departure.
Cycling fans will be happy to know there’s a shared bicycle system to visit the city.
Whether you’re visiting on foot, by bike or by subway, you can plan all your trips easily with the London Transport’s trip planner.
And in the event, that you’re not in the mood to bike or walk, call a green tomato car, london’s eco-friendly car service that runs with low or zero emission cars and double offsets all their carbon emissions.
Visit London From Another Perspective
Guided tours on foot or on two wheels
We have found you more friendly and fun options than the double-decker bus visit option.
To explore london while discovering its secrets, opt for a guided bike tour. These tours will let you discover London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Palace, Buckinghman Palace, Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden, London’s most iconic districts and popular sites.
If you are more interested in walking tours, take part in an alternative guided tour, such as the one of Unseen Tours, a social enterprise, whose guides are former homeless people.
Rich in contrast, this tour of the city will introduce you to the most famous districts with a historical perspective. You’ll learn about history of the area and its secret stories, and have the choice of 5 different tours within the city.
Cruise the Thames
Crossed by the Thames, London can also be discovered from another perspective.
Rent an electric boat to explore Little Venice, an oasis of water and greenery in the heart of the British capital. A true haven of peace, this vast network of canals promises you a timeless moment, far from the tourist attractions. During the cruise, you’ll be amazed by the Victorian houses and colourful barges that line the basin. And don’t forget your picnic.
For a more sporting experience, take a stand up paddle lesson on the thames for a few hours. One of our favorite options : the eco-tour, where in addition of sliding on the water, you will learn more about the ecosystem of the river.
Head to a green patch
With a third of the city covered with green spaces, London is one of the greenest cities in the world.
London’s parks contribute significantly to the city’s charm.
Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a stroll in one of these green spaces. Whether on the lookout for deer in Richmond Park or around an outdoor theatre show in Regent’s Park, there are many possibilities of eco-friendly activities in these beautiful places.
Don’t miss Hyde Park, the most famous and largest of the royal parks. You can stroll through its peaceful green alleys on foot or on horseback or rent sun loungers to rest in the sun on one of its lawns. In the summer, rent a boat to sail on the artificial lake Serpentine and discover its varied aquatic fauna. Roller skates, tennis or football, the most active can enjoy a multitude of activities in this green setting.
In addition to its parks and green spaces, England has several nature reserves. Just 15 minutes from London, lose yourself in the birch-lined alleys of the Gunnersbury Triangle. Accessible by subway! Birds, amphibians, insects and other wild animals, it is home to a variety of wildlife and many plant species. A real paradise for biodiversity!
Your green eating options
Some will prefer to sleep in an eco-friendly hotel, others to rent a place of their own.
Whether you must cook in your rental or dine outdoors you’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat local and sustainably sourced food.
Visit farmers’ markets to stock up on fresh and seasonal produce. Far from the main roads and popular covered markets, they unveil their colourful stalls throughout the city. Borough Market, Brixton, and Broadway Market, are the most famous.
To find a farmers’ market near your accommodation, head to the farmers markets website listing all the ones you can find in the city.
Treat yourself to an organic gastro-pub break
Looking for a gourmet break or an aperitivo with friends? Dining out in a pub here is part of the culture.
The farm-to-table and organic dining scene is very dynamic in London.
Many places promote organic, local and fair-trade products, while reducing food waste on a daily basis. There is even a certified organic pub, the Duke of Cambridge.
Final zero-waste travel tip
For all our fellow zero-waste travellers, who can’t travel without their re-usable water bottle, download the Refill App to find the nearest place you can refill your bottle to stay hydrated.
How about you, what are your favourite eco-friendly things to do in London? Share your experience in comments