London is widely considered one of the LGBT-friendliest capitals in the world, and it lives up to its reputation. From the hip bars and clubs of East End to the buzzing hangouts of Soho, London’s gay heartland, the city’s LGBT scene offers a myriad of opportunities.
Your stay in the English capital should start with a visit to Heaven’s G-A-Y Club, where gay icons like Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, and Madonna have performed. Post-party socializing destinations include the fun, brightly lit KuKlub, Circa, and G-A-Y Late.
Whenever you’re in south London, don’t miss Vauxhall, a fab after-hours party scene. Many flock to clubbing mecca XXL, a hot nightspot, while Eagle London is known for its legendary trans party nights. One LGBT-friendly place to stay in the area is Travelodge, a big, contemporary hotel chain with functional, yet simple rooms. It’s also a great option for travelers on a budget and key venues like Fire and RVT are a few minutes away on foot.
Soho has traditionally been the LGBT heart of London. It’s still where everyone under the rainbow goes, from international LGBT travelers to locals willing to meet them. Enjoy a well-priced drink at G-A-Y Bar or Comptons, a gay pub with a history of almost three decades. Of course, there are lots of places to stay in the area, including Z Soho and SoHostel. The former is an ultramodern hotel with elegant rooms surrounding a central courtyard. The lively LGBT community of the English capital is practically at your doorstep, and you’re just minutes away from Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square tube (subway) stations. If Z Soho is too much for your budget, try SoHostel on Dean Street. Accommodation options range from twin rooms with shared facilities and private double rooms to female-only dorm-type rooms and a bed in an 18-bed “coed” dorm room.
East End’s cool LGBT community hangs out in dive bars, pubs, and gallery spaces. Hot spots Glory and The Queen Adelaide are kitschy, but open, friendly, and fun spaces. Club, bar, and art space Dalston Superstore draws many London trans girls, queers, FTM, two-spirit, gay, lesbian, and bi patrons. One of the area’s most fun stays is The Town Hall Hotel, featuring a modern, stylish Scandinavian interior that’s in stark contrast to its regal Edwardian façade.
On a more somber note, a study by University College London showed that the number of LGBT bars, art spaces, and clubs in London dropped from 121 to just 51 from 2006 to 2017, so we should enjoy what we have.