Trafalgar Square, London

LGBTQI+ guide to London

London frequently tops the list of best LGBTQI+ 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 LGBTQI+ London for the lowdown of the best neighbourhoods, hotels and events in the city.

Although restrictions are in place for now, here’s what you can look forward to once we’re all able to travel again…

DAYTIME DIVERSIONS

Support an independent LGBTQI+ book shop by finding your next page-turner at Gay’s The Word. Having opened in 1979, it’s the UK’s oldest LGBTQI+ bookshop. Along with a strong sense of community spirit, you can find novels, history, poetry, and rare editions, all with a LGBTQI+ focus.

If you’re a culture vulture, you can look forward to visiting the British Museum for a bookable 70-minute LGBTQI+ tour, highlighting fascinating histories surrounding desire, love and identity.

 

OUT AND ABOUT

Soho

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 there for almost 30 years.

Stylish gay venues Ku Bar and Village have a trendy mix of clientele while She Soho, Old Compton Street’s first ever lesbian bar, is great for live music and comedy.

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

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. Then there's the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, which offers unforgettable cabaret and club nights, such as the legendary Duckie, hosted every Saturday for over twenty years by LGBTQI+ royalty, Amy Lamé.

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 LGBTQI+ community, while hot spots The Queen Adelaide and The Glory are two anything-goes spaces full of kitsch decor.

 

STYLISH STAYS

Hazlitt Hotel © Joel Johnson

Hazlitt’s Hotel

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, 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 Royal Vauxhall Tavern and Fire.

LaLiT London

Inclusivity and diversity take centre stage at LaLiT London, a luxury five-star boutique hotel near London Bridge. To make your Pride experience even more enjoyable, the hotel has a dedicated concierge to advise guests on the best events and activities for LGBTQI+ Pride month.

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. 

Z Soho

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 LGBTQI+ community of London is right on your doorstep!

SoHostel

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

11 September 2021 | Pride in London

Renowned for being one of the largest LGBTQI+ events in the world, Pride in London festival brings a party atmosphere to the streets of London, with an annual parade, music performances and activities. Run by volunteers, Pride in London’s procession proudly walks more than 300 eye-catching floats through London’s West End towards Trafalgar Square, host of the free live music event each year.

TBC | UK Black Pride

Founded in 2005, UK Black Pride is Europe's largest celebration for African, Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American LGBTQI+ people. 2019 saw thousands gather in Haggerston Park, in east London, for a day of inclusive celebration, with a main stage full of musical acts, alongside LGBTQI+ stalls and a Wellbeing and Wellness stage. 

TBC | Fringe! Queer Art & Film Fest

Part of the capital’s LGBTQI+ calendar for over ten years, Fringe! Queer Art & Film Fest is a film and arts festival born out of London's queer creative scene. This thrilling annual event aims to shine a light on world-class cinema and important perspectives through international and local film makers.

 

 

GETTING HERE

London is served by several international airports, including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, London Stansted and London Luton. The Eurostar also provides a direct link to Europe via the Eurotunnel.

Explore our other LGBTQ+ city guides

Birmingham
Brighton
Cardiff
Glasgow
Manchester
Edinburgh
Bristol
Newcastle