The North London Guide
Many would describe London as a series of villages, each with its own architecture, mom and pop shops, and quirky characters, and nowhere is that more true than in North London. The villagers of Hampstead and Primrose Hill are lucky to live near two of the most gorgeous parks with beautiful views of the city below, while Islington’s charm lies in its quiet, tree-lined streets, which house many of London’s politicians—Brexit Boris included—and classic, old-school gastropubs. Meanwhile, King’s Cross and punk-ish Camden are both undergoing a major revamp, leaving their village roots behind with glitzy restaurants, shops, and theaters moving in and luring the tourists along with them.
Triyoga57 Jamestown Rd., Camden | +44.20.7483.3344
We were sad to see Triyoga's beautiful, Primrose Hill location go but are more than satisfied with its new airy, Camden replacement. Beyond the well-known yoga and Pilates classes—by far, some of the best the city has to offer—it's also worth checking out the infrared sauna sessions, craniosacral massage, intuitive readings, and nutritional, EFT, and CBT therapy (depending on what you're after). Additional services are offered at Triyoga locations in Covent Garden, Soho, and Chelsea.
The Life Centre1 Britannia Row, Islington | +44.20.7704.0919
A haven for serious and amateur yogis alike—just check into the packed Islington Saturday morning Jivamukti classes for a taste—both Life Centre locations are also hubs for some of London's best alternative therapies: craniosacral therapy, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, Reiki, and more. While the therapy rooms are not what you get at a glitzy hotel spa, the therapists are incredible healers. The Islington location also opened up a yoga therapy clinic, where personalized yoga sessions look to address a suite of maladies from digestive to emotional. There's an additional location in Notting Hill.
Gowri Motha, M.D.The Kailash Centre, 7 Newcourt St., St. John's Wood | +44.20.8530.1146
Trained as a traditional obstetrician, Dr. Gowri became frustrated with conventional birth methods and has developed her own technique called "The Gentle Birth Method" which incorporates traditional Ayurveda among other modalities. She insists the entire process needn't be as painful and fraught with stress as it has become for many women. Her method is all-encompassing: Through a mix of private consultations and group sessions she helps women with infertility issues to become pregnant, and assists pregnant women through the process into birth and care-giving.
Chantal Freegard31 Claremont Rd., Barnet | +44.79.3905.8961
The trek out to Barnet to see reflexologist Chantal Freegard (she makes North London home visits upon request) is a worthwhile exercise for anyone dealing with stress, insomnia, back problems, and infertility. Some say the energy changes in a room the minute she walks in. Part of her success comes from her long-standing practice in reflexology, and part comes from her foray into crystal healing. At the end of each session, she incorporates sound therapy using vibrating crystals from her personal collection, which she chooses intuitively for each client.