By Chere Di Boscio
It’s arguably London’s most fashionable neighbourhood, whose residents have included Kate Moss, Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani and Lily Allen. Currently, Eva Green, Daisy Lowe, Eliza Doolittle and Laura Stone live here, and even more celebs come to hang out in the many cafes, pubs, restaurants and chic boutiques in the quaint little village.
But Primrose Hill isn’t an area known only for its star-studded streets–it’s now becoming one of the ‘greenest’ areas in London, attracting tourists who want a slice of London life away from the overpopulated, highly polluted centre.
Maybe the old, thick trunked trees in the surrounding, hilly parkland inspired it. Or maybe health conscious stars, fresh off the plane from LA, have had some influence. But there can be no denying the proliferation of eco-friendliness here. Here’s a selection of the best stuff going on the London’s best barrio.
Manna: This old chestnut serves its conscious clientele seasonal, local produce cooked up into hearty meals. Spaghetti and ‘meat’ balls, home-made veggie ‘sausages’ and organic mash, spicy ginger pumpkin soup and a decadent chocolate fondant were just some of the recent menu offerings, which change every week. This place fills up days–if not weeks–in advance, so reservations are a must.
Cowshed Spa: The new kid on the block is a rustically decorated organic spa and restaurant. Stressed out locals take a break in one of the 7 treatment rooms here, where each ache is teased out via massages of various types. Later on, they head upstairs to beautify with an organic mani, pedi or blow dry, and then break for lunch–hard to resist when the menu includes fresh-made veggie juices, crushed avocado on toast, all-day breakfast burritos or homemade soups.
Mary’s Living & Giving Shop: Fancy donning a fringed leather vest that Ms Moss once wore to Glastonbury? Or maybe a pair of Chanel sunnies given to Lily Allen that didn’t suit her? Here, at this beautifully organised charity shop (run by Mary Portas, Queen of Shops), you can recycle treasures discarded by the glamorous locals. Not only is this an Earth-friendly way to shop, but all money raised goes to Save the Children too.
Fara Kids: Children go through clothing in, quite literally, months, meaning their parents are forced to buy new stuff all the time. But that’s not really eco-friendly, is it? Especially if you want your little ones to look as cool as you do (as is the case in NW1!). Farrah solves this problem by selling good-as-new pre-loved designer kids wear. Why not get the little ones loving vintage early? Every purchase helps disadvantaged children and teens in Romania.
Meg Matthews: Formerly Mrs Noel Gallagher, this longtime local resident and PETA supporter has just launched a vegan handbag line with Wilby. Available in black, pillar box red, mustard and electric blue, the aptly named Primrose Hill Set collection includes an oversize tote, a city bag, clutches and a backpack all made from eco-friendly cork and metal. A percentage of the sale from each bag will be donated to PETA. Well done, Meg!
Sadie Frost & Nourish: Mossy’s bestie is a vegetarian, yoga practitioner and eco-advocate who has just co-written a green guide to living called Nourish. In the book, she discusses tips for meditation, yoga and yogic breathing. Her co-authors, fellow NW3 residents Amber Rose and Holly Davidson, share delicious vegan recipes and gruelling workout tips, respectively. “For years I was considered a goody two-shoes for being a vegetarian and avoiding wheat. But I don’t do this for vanity, it’s to feel good,” says Sadie. “I don’t talk about it. I think it makes people feel rubbish if you constantly talk about your eating habits. I actually find it quite vulgar,” she sniffs.
Primrose Hill Candles: It was only a matter of time before Primrose Hill became a brand, and these all-natural soy based candles may as well be the first. Using natural oils whenever possible, the candles come in wonderful scents, ranging from Sandalwood Musk to Rose to Cranberry Lemon. Watch out for an Eluxe-created scent with notes of honey and sandalwood Delightful!
Mowgli Aveda Concept Salon: Possibly the greenest hair salon chain around, Aveda uses only natural products on your mane. Like how they feel? You can buy them in the salon to take home. Staff are well trained and experienced, with many having worked on runway shows and photo shoots, too.
Triyoga: Whether they like the label or not, this is yoga at its most ‘posh’. I mean, who else would think baby and toddler yoga was a good idea? Where else do you have to discard your shoes and mobiles before entering the sacred yoga studio space? In any case, Triyoga attracts the very best yoga teachers from around the world to train locals here to get in shape for their Ibiza holidays. There’s also an array of holistic therapies available, ranging from acupuncture and reflexology to Archangel Guidance (yes, really) and chavutti thirumal massage. As an added bonus, their vegan cafe sells some of the most delicious, freshest food I’ve ever tasted.
Places to Stay: Part of the charm of the area is that there are no hotels in Primrose Hill, really–it’s strictly for those in the know! But don’t despair, there are plenty of private rentals to be found. Just check places like Turnkey or Airbnb to rent of the sweetest little bijou apartments that will make you feel like a true local.