In a capital that hustles and bustles to the heavy thunder of the underground and chugs to the traffic lines of cars, what eco-friendly ideas on what to see and do in London are out there for the green-conscious traveler?
One half of DontFlyGo.com’s editorial team, having spent a fair few years in the British metropolis (and a few summers too), takes a look.
With the ferocity of the world’s gaze downcast upon London this summer, one thing remains firmly on the mind of the average traveler: “visit the capital for the Olympics”.
And where the greatest of the world’s sporting events will undoubtedly prove unmissable, there’s still plenty of stuff to find around town to keep you occupied that’s not only fun and interesting but eco-friendly too.
Hyde Park Fun and Games
If I tried to tell you all face-to-face how much I love Hyde Park, guaranteed I’d well up crying (I’m actually shedding a tear just thinking about it). London’s best known park is heaving in the summer months as the whole of the city heads there for picnics, sports games and milling around attractions like the Serpentine Gallery and Speakers Corner.
Stay close to Hyde Park this summer and you’ll be within easy walking distance of all other goings on in the city meaning you can cut down on carbon emissions by reducing your use of public transport.
My favourite eco-friendly activity in Hyde Park? Taking a dip in the lido or rowing on the lake. Gorgeous.
Open Garden Squares Weekend
An annual event which you might not have heard all that much of, the Open Garden Squares Weekend is the greenest of green ideas when it comes to attracting the eco-conscious traveler.
Comprising of 200 communal gardens, most private and off access to the public, the weekend continues as these gardens open their gates and let the crowds trickle in.
With this years weekend running in association with the National Trust, you’ll be able to enjoy guided tours (both walking and by bike), question and answer sessions with city gardeners and even the chance to visit allotments and roofs of places like Wormwood Scrubs prison (eerie) and the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden at the Southbank, specially designed for the Jubilee.
Greenwich and Docklands Festival
It might be a bit away from the heart of the city, but it’s worth investigating rooms and apartments in this part of London as Greenwich really bursts to life in the summer.
Aside from green ideas like shopping for organic and fair trade food and goods in Greenwich Market, the weeklong outdoor music,
theatre and dance festival, the Greenwich and Docklands Festival, will be the major draw.
Taking place at the spectacular Old Royal Naval College and other sites around Greenwich, the festival is mainly free to the public and offers outside contemporary dance performances, art installations and lots more.
The English Flower Garden
Following hot on the tail of the gardens weekend, it seems this summer in London is all about breathing freshly scented flowers and frolicking in gardens.
The English Flower Garden, set in one of London’s most famous of all landmarks, The House of Commons in Parliament Square, is destined to be a massive draw for green-minded enthusiasts. An installation dreamed up by ceramic artists Paul Cummins, it’s definitely worth checking out this part of the London 2012 Festival.
World Pride 2012
If parties are your thing and you like them especially loud you’d be a fool not to miss this summers World Pride celebration. With a parade moving through West London, this version of the world’s best known gay, lesbian and transgender celebration is set to be one of the greenest yet, using eco-renewable sources of energy and promoting the growth of fair trade products.
Supported by Visit London and the Mayor of London, this years’ Pride will also host its first ever international conference on ‘LGBT Rights in the Commonwealth”, with a line-up of speakers set to educate and inform the world on related concerns.
So if you haven’t managed to get tickets to the Olympic extravaganza, fear not. There’s plenty going on in the city this summer to keep you occupied. You needn’t be an irresponsible tourist either!