Turn up the heat at the sauna. Photo: courtesy of the Southbank Centre.
Heard of hygge? The Danish term for “coziness” is pronounced “hoo-ga” – to be precise. Hygge is best described as a lifestyle, promoting wellness. As the winter evenings start, it’s time get on board with the concept. The temperature may have dropped, but there’s no reason not to feel snug. When we heard about the one-of-a-kind Finnish sauna opening on the rooftop of the Southbank Centre as part of the Nordic festival running through 2018, we had to investigate.
A Finnish-style sauna
Saunas are a popular trend across Finland and as part of a current installation called Nordic Matters, a specially designed Nordic sauna is currently sitting on the roof terrace at the center. Sauna experts demonstrate the art of steaming stones and guests experience the heat: it reaches a mighty 90 degrees Celsius inside. Cool down by stepping outside into the brisk air or splash yourself with cold water. It’s a healthful pursuit which allows friends and family to unwind together and it’s a fantastic way for tourists to get a taste of Helsinki, in London. Our luxurious London homes are perfect retreats to relax in after a session, with many of them within walking – or floating – distance to the Southbank Centre.
Nordic Matters also includes a bespoke artist commission in a collaboration between Aalto University in Helsinki by master’s students Pedro Pablo Garcia Alcazar, Markus Holste, Monica Romagnoli and Miki Sordi, and Finnish sculptor Jaakko Pernu. According to Aalto University, the idea was conceived as an exploration of how sauna experiences and aesthetics appear in the eyes of designers from different cultures: “Bringing this sauna experience to the city of London will hopefully challenge our current conception of what a sauna should look like and the way it functions.”
The Southbank Centre. Photo: courtesy of the Southbank Centre.
The Nordic Matters experience
Visitors can see London’s sprawling skyline from the top of the center, try the authentic sauna experience and also take advantage of the rooftop garden bar which serves tipples and snacks. The Finnish rooftop sauna is just one element of Nordic Matters, and there are many other happenings. For those in search of warming winter activities in the capital, it’s the ideal outing.
On another note, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland have all been voted the best countries in which to be a woman. Not forgetting the United Nations World Happiness Report, that cited the people of Denmark as the happiest in the world. Could a dedication to this lifestyle be the key? The Nordic countries have been at the forefront of social change and the Southbank Centre offers visitors a snapshot of what’s happening in Nordic lifestyle, art, and culture. This installation will be running well into 2018 and showcases a plethora of music, theatre, dance, literature, art, fashion, and food from the Nordic countries.
Nordic Matters is running through 2018, the Finnish sauna through December 2017. Prices: £15-25 for a session. Please note that the sauna is not suitable for those under 16. The sauna session lasts 70 minutes and is made up of mixed-gender sessions, with a women’s only session on set days and times. The sauna also accepts group bookings and is wheelchair accessible. Bookings can be made via their website.
Read about other indoor attractions in London such as Harry Potter: A History of Magic.