Trafalgar Square, London
LGBTQ+ guide to London
London frequently tops the list of best LGBTQ+ destinations and it’s not hard to see why. From the buzzing bars and restaurants of Soho – the city’s gay heartland – to Vauxhall’s infamous party scene and the East End’s hip hangouts, the city offers endless possibilities. Explore our guide to LGBTQ+ London for the rundown of the best neighbourhoods, hotels and events in the city.
OUT AND ABOUT
Everyone under the rainbow gravitates to Soho, from young, international gay and lesbian travellers and friends enjoying cheap drinks at G-A-Y Bar, to the regular locals at Comptons of Soho, a grand old gay pub that’s been here for almost 30 years.
For post-bar socialising, G-A-Y Late, Circa and KuKlub are fun, neon-lit choices, while a visit to G-A-Y Club at world-famous venue Heaven is essential: gay icons Madonna, Kylie and Lady Gaga have all performed here.
Vauxhall in south London is the place to head for testosterone-fuelled gay nightclubs and an after-hours party scene. Home of hunky hedonism, Eagle London is known for legendary gay party nights while clubbing mecca XXL is a favourite night spot for many.
You’ll find a cool gay community hanging out in pubs, gallery spaces and dive bars throughout east London. Café-bar, art space and club Dalston Superstore is popular with east London’s LGBTQ+ community, while hot spots The Queen Adelaide and The Glory are two anything-goes spaces full of kitsch decor.
Occupying an elegant row of Victorian townhouses, this boutique hotel retains the sophisticated ambience of a private gentleman’s club despite being smack bang in the middle of hedonistic Soho. Owners Peter and Douglas were personally involved in the creation and design of each of the 30 guestrooms, and their passion for interiors shines through in quirky details like character beds, feature marble washstands and claw-foot baths.
Travelodge London Vauxhall
A large, modern chain hotel with simple, functional en-suite rooms, Travelodge London Vauxhall is the closest hotel to Vauxhall’s gay scene. If your priority is to party then this is a smart budget option, just a two-minute walk from key venues like RVT and Fire.
Inclusivity and diversity take centre stage at LaLiT London, a luxury five-star boutique hotel near London Bridge. As well as regular Drag Reading Hour events that teach children to be more accepting of others, the hotel also has a dedicated Pride concierge to advise guests on the best events and activities for LGBTQ+ Pride month.
The Town Hall Hotel
The Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green is one of the East End’s coolest stays. Step inside the imposing Edwardian building and you’ll find original features mixed with trendy mid-century Scandinavian interiors and award-winning restaurant The Typing Room.
Ham Yard Hotel
Modern, trendy and full of amazing artwork, Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel is a haven in the heart of central London. You’ll love the stylish drawing room, library, spa and 1950s style bowling alley, while its cosy roof terrace bar is perfect for laid-back, pre-party drinks.
Located in the centre of Soho, Z Soho is a super-modern hotel with sleek rooms surrounding a central courtyard. Minutes away from Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road tube stations, the thriving LGBTQ+ community of London is right on your doorstep!
If you're looking for ‘style on a budget’, this hostel accommodation offers just that, all fantastically located on Soho's Dean Street! Prices vary, with options ranging from one bed in an 18-bed mixed dormitory room to six-bed, female-only dorms and private double and twin rooms with shared facilities.
DATES FOR THE DIARY
6 July 2019 - Pride London
The biggest day in London’s LGBTQ+ calendar is the annual Pride in London parade. As many as 30,000 whistle-blowing, rainbow flag-waving members of the community take part in the spectacle that sashays its way through London, ending with a mega street party in Soho.
July 7 2019 - UK Black Pride
Founded in 2005, UK Black Pride is Europe's largest celebration for African, Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American LGBTQ+ people, so come and join the inclusive celebrations in Haggerston Park!
November 12-17 2019 - Fringe! Queer Art & Film Fest
Fringe! Queer Art & Film Fest is a film and arts festival born out of London's queer creative scene. The schedule includes everything from feature films and workshops to interactive walks and wild parties, and takes place each November at pop up venues in east London. Fringe! also put on LGBTQ+ film events throughout the year.
1 Feb 2020 - Winter Pride
A new date on London’s LGBTQ+ calendar, Winter Pride is a more cultural offering that its summer sibling. Aiming to celebrate diversity through creativity, this social enterprise includes an art competition and a humanitarian award as well as parties hosted by London gay clubs such as East Bloc.