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UK: Let's get naked: where to have fun in the nude
« on: July 26, 2013, 05:05:07 pm »



In hot weather everyone wants to strip off. From streaking at the zoo to clothes-free yoga, Susannah Butter investigates



Now that summer is here, London is dressing down. People are taking part in yoga, bike rides and sushi eating, all with no clothes on. And if that’s not enough, next month 300 brave souls plan to bare all and run through London Zoo in an event called Streak for Tigers. Wild.


Some zookeepers have already stripped off to publicise the event and enjoyed it very much. Fundraising director James Wren says: “It’s all in aid of our campaign to raise money for, and awareness of, the last 300 remaining Sumatran tigers and came about because the collective noun for tigers is a streak. Taking clothes off makes you vulnerable, like the tigers are, so — fingers crossed — it will encourage fundraising.” Wren is sadly unable to take part himself.


The British Naturism group is supporting the event and hopes it will encourage more stripping off. “Social convention dictates that we must always wear clothes and keep our bits covered,” says Andrew Welch, spokesperson for British Naturism, which has more than 13,000 members. “British people associate nudity with sex but actually it’s practical. Naturists don’t do anything out of the ordinary, we just don’t wear clothes. In this hot weather it makes sense to be naked.”


Naked swimming is Welch’s favourite activity — no need to decide which swimming costume to wear. There are plenty of places to do it in London, including the Naturist London Sunday Swim at the University of London Union every Saturday — the indoor pool where The Beatles did a photoshoot.


Those who want a more leisurely bask in the sun can head to the only official naked sunbathing area in London, the banks of the men’s swimming pond on Hampstead Heath. Unfortunately it’s men-only but women can sunbathe topless at the ladies’ pond. A python was recently found in the water so naked swimming is not recommended.


For people who fancy something a bit more active, nakedyogalondon.co.uk offers two-hour classes. But why do it nude? They say: “Apart from feeling great, and also it being healthy to allow our body to move freely with the air on skin, yoga is, in essence, about a deep acceptance and openness to who we are.”


There are also clothes-off parties at the Naked Dance Club in Vauxhall, where the brave can try limbo dancing, or the top-secret F Club parties.


If you don’t want to dress for supper, head for some naked sushi. Nyotaimori is a Japanese tradition that involves eating sushi off a naked woman’s body. Some Londoners will pay £4,000 for a private nyotaimori party — Brad Pitt is said to be a fan.


Meanwhile, the body confident are all welcome at Spirited Bodies, a life modelling workshop at The Mall Galleries where anyone can pose starkers for artists.


“Many more people have become interested in being naked in the past 10 years,” says Welch. “Maybe it’s that society is getting more open.”


Wherever you choose to take your clothes off, one thing’s clear, London is the naked capital.



Streak for Tigers
London Zoo, Thu Aug 15


Daring individuals who take part in this outrageous fundraising event will get their kit off for a run through the heart of London Zoo. Support is vital to the challenge, so spectators are encouraged, and both the courageous streakers and their cheerleaders will have access to the Zoo's new restaurant, The Terrace, on the night of the event. Zoological Society of London is a charity dedicated to the global conservation of animals and their habitats, and this event's aim is to raise money for and awareness of their campaign to save the planet's last 300 remaining Sumatran tigers.


London Zoo, Regent's Park, NW1 4RY, from 6.30pm, registration £20, spectator ticket £15, zsl.org


 


Spirited Bodies
The Mall Galleries, Wed Aug 7 & Millman Street Community Centre, Wed Aug 21


Spirited Bodies offers naked life-modelling workshops where people can experience being nude around others in a relaxed environment whilst being part of an artistic creation. Led by professional models, these workshops encourage you to face your body issues, or simply practise posing for artists, who will attempt to bring out the best of your features while you overcome any fears of being starkers.


The Mall Galleries, The Mall, SW1Y 5BD, 11am-4pm, £20


Millman Street Community Centre, 50 Millman Street, WC1N 3EW, 6.30-9pm, £10, spiritedbodies.com


 


Naturist London’s Sunday Swim
University of London Union, every Sunday


Not too sure which bikini you prefer? Or maybe those trunks don’t look as good on you as they did on Channing Tatum. Why bother? Naturist London's Sunday Swim is a regular event with no booking or membership required, just strip off and dive in. Here naturists, or those who just fancy a skinny dipping session without having to trek to a nudist beach, can get naked and get swimming. The perfect pre-Sunday roast dip. Those who want a more leisurely bask in the sun can head to the only official naked sunbathing area in London, the banks of the men’s swimming pond on Hampstead Heath. Unfortunately it’s men-only but women can sunbathe topless at the ladies’ pond. A python was recently found in the water so naked swimming is not recommended.


University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY, every Sunday, 1pm-2pm, £5, under 16s free, naturistlondon.org.uk; Hampstead Heath, Millfield Lane, N6, free, cityoflondon.gov.uk


 


Rio's Naturist Health Spa
239-241 Kentish Town Road, NW5, every day


This naturist spa features jacuzzis, saunas, an outdoor garden, a plunge pool and two television lounges. Relaxation with no clothes on could make you feel like you’re in the Garden of Eden — or awkward and exposed. That depends on you. What the spa can offer is a good tanning spot in its sun-trap garden where you can give naturism a try.


Rio’s Health Spa, 239-241 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2JT, Mon-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat times vary; Sun 11am-10pm, prices vary, rios.co.uk


 


Elixir Health Club
14 Palace Gates Road, N22, every day


This naturist massage centre offers a nonchalant and breezy experience where you can enjoy relaxing in your own skin with the use of its various facilities. Elixir is inspired by traditional Scandinavian-style spas, and features a Nordic sauna, steam room and hot tub. A variety of massage treatments are available to book for your visit. It also hosts regular social events, including parties and cocktail evenings.


Elixir Health Club, 14 Palace Gates Road, N22 7BN, various times and prices, elixir-of-life.com


 


Naked parties
F Club parties, email info@thefclub.com for more information.


Naked dance club at the Union, £12, from 10pm, 66 Albert Embankment, SE1, clubunion.co.uk


 


Naked yoga
At a private venue in Bow, a four- week course of two-hour classes costs £75, nakedyogalondon.co.uk


 


Naked sushi
Nyotaimori parties on arrangement, nyotaimori.co.uk


Flash Sushi at a secret location, £250, contact enquiries@flash-sushi.com for dates


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