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Gay London

Gay London

A guide to Gay London

Gay London Guide


London is one of the most thriving metropolis is the world. With over 2000 Years of history, it has been influencing the way that both the Western and Eastern cultures interact, particularly in the last 500 years. Once the capital of a vast empire, it ruled in all corners of the world. No wonder London has been attracting a large number of artists, intellectuals and all sorts of prominent people in past and current times. From King Edward II to Oscar Wilde and Elton John, London has been the place of interest of many famous gay people.


More recently, with the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, London has attracted an even larger number of gay people. In the 80’s its gay scene has started to grow, leaving the Earl’s Court area towards Soho. Famous gay discos, such as the Copa have paved the way to larger mega nightclubs such as Heaven, Fridge, GAY and most recently, London has seen the consolidation of the Vauxhall area as London’s number one gay clubbing area, hosting large international clubs such as The Week, Matinee, Hustlaball, SupermartXe, just to name a few.


Again, in terms of gay hotels London doesn’t offer that much that is exclusively gay, even in these gay areas, but you should be able to find excellent gay-friendly hotels and even B&Bs close to the West End and Vauxhall.


Our top sightseeing tips for London

  1. Promenade Old Compton Street to discover gay shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, etc. (Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square Tube Stations).
  2. The Tower of London – over a thousand years of history featuring superb display of the crown jewels (Tower Hill Tube Station). Next to it you will find the famous Tower Bridge.
  3. The Houses of Parliament – If possible book a visit to the mother of all Parliaments. In addition, visit nearby Westminster Abbey (Westminster Tube Station).
  4. After visiting the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, walk up nearby Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square. On the way you will pass Downing Street (where the Prime Minister resides in 'Number 10'), The Royal Horseguards, The Banqueting House (where King Charles I was beheaded), and eventually reach Trafalgar Square, home to the National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery.
  5. Cross the River Thames from St. Paul’s Cathedral (St. Paul’s Tube Station) over the Millennium Bridge to reach the Tate Modern Art Gallery. Continue walking down the river, on the left bank of the River Thames and you will soon reach the Globe Theatre, built approximately on the same site where the old Globe Theatre stood, home of the first performances of Shakespeare’s plays.
  6. Just outside London is Britain's answer to Versailles - Hampton Court. It's was the spectacular Tudor residence of King Henry VIII. To get there, take a train from Waterloo Station.
  7. Visit Windsor Castle, private summer residence of the Queen. Built in the 11th century, it sits in the middle of the very charming town of Windsor. Trains leave from Paddington or Waterloo Stations).
  8. Buckingham Palace (Green Park Tube Station) with its famous Changing of the Guards should also not be missed.
  9. British Museum  (Tottenham Court Road or Holborn Tube Stations). Famous for its huge collections of Egyptian and Greek antiquities.
  10. Museum of London (Barbican Tube Station).
  11. The London Eye - An enormous ferris wheel with individual glass 'pods' - from which you'll enjoy spectacular views of London.


London has some of the best shops in the world, caring for all tastes and budgets. For a touch of department store luxury, try the enormous Harrods and Harvey Nichols (featured in ‘AbFab’) in Knightsbridge (Knightsbridge Tube Station). Alternatively, try John Lewis and Selfridges – both located on one of the busiest shopping streets in the world: London’s Oxford Street (Oxford Circus Tube Station). Carnaby Street is nearby, famous in the 1960’s. As is Regent Street, with its slightly more up-market collection of shops. And if your budget allows, wander over to Bond Street, where you’ll find some of the most exclusive shops in the world. King’s Road (Sloane Square Tube Station) in Chelsea is also a great place to shop, and the perfect place to see and to be seen. London also offers visitors some famous street markets such as Portobello Market (Notting Hill Gate Tube Station). Greenwich Market (DLR, Docklands Light Railway, direct to Cutty Sark Station) and Camden Market.


Getting Around

London has an excellent network of buses and and underground railway – ‘The Tube’ – perfect for getting to and from your gay hotel London!. You can buy Day Travelcards, weekly and monthly cards – called Oyster Cards that are valid for buses and underground trains. Black Cabs (official taxies) are usually easy to get. After leaving nightclubs, Mini Cabs (unofficial taxis) are usually organised by the club promoters outside the clubs. You’ll find useful information about Mini Cabs here. Alternatively, you may wish to hire one the famous ‘Boris Bikes’ that are available throughout central London.


Getting There

Getting to London could not be easier. Having said that avoid driving. Even after the introduction of the ‘Congestion Charge’, London still has very busy streets and parking is difficult and expensive. London is served by 4 major airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton as well as one smaller airport, London City Airport. All of them have bus and train connections to central London. If you are coming from Paris or Brussels, you might find it easier to travel by Eurostar ‘bullet train’ arriving at the newly refurbished St. Pancras Station. To find gay-only, actively gay-friendly and other gay-friendly hotels in London, click here.


NEXT: Gay London >

Gay London

Gay London


Events in London


London’s gay scene is concentrated in three main areas of the city – Soho, Vauxhall and Earls Court.


Recently, Vauxhall (on the south west side of the River Thames) has developed as a hot night club spot, catering for a wide range of clienteles, from leather to bear. Its clubs include Beyond, Fire, The Hoist, and Mega Woof!, and the area sports some great gay bars – such as Barcode and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern. As for gay hotels London doesn’t offer many that are exclusively gay in these areas.


In Soho (in the centre of London’s ‘West End’), the area around Old Compton Street (Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square Tube Stations) has matured over the past three decades to become the most important gay area in London, teeming with gay clothes shops, restaurants, cafés, sex-shops, bars and even a few night clubs. After working hours and on weekends, particularly when the weather is good, there’s nothing better than promenading down Old Compton Street, with its restaurants and cafés packed and overflowing on the street.


Earls Court (in the West of London) had its heyday in the 80′s, but has steadily declined. It does still offer a few bars and shops, but it’s now mostly a residential area. The best way to get the latest on what’s happening in Gay London is to pick up a free copy of either QX or Boyz magazine, available in most gay shops, bars and nightclubs.


NEXT: Gay Accommodation in London >

In terms of gay hotels London, like most other big cities in Europe, is low on gay-only accommodation. However, although few are exclusively gay, London has some of the best and most famous hotels in the world, most of which are gay-friendly.


Staying in central London, particularly in and around Soho, will make it easier for you to discover gay London and will give you easy access by bus or by tube to all of London’s famous landmarks. For more information about London please visit Visit London.


NEXT: Top London Links >

The best Gay London links

Most 'Gay London' destination guides try to give you the top restaurants, bars, shops, events, and websites for London - but their suggestions quickly become out of date because the information is constantly changing. So instead of trying to list our own suggestions, we've listed the best websites or 'apps' for finding out what's hot in Gay London. That way, you get the best information possible. Simply click on any of the logos below to visit any of our recommended sites.


Best gay hook-up websites

Different websites are big in different countries in Europe. London’s two favourite ‘hook-up’ sites are Gaydar, Manhunt and Grindr.

Gaydar London




Best tourist information sites

The Visit London website offers a very comprehensive guide to all that London has to offer – from tourist attractions to local events. Also try the Visit Britain site and the Visit Gay London site.Visit London

Visit BritainVisit Britain


Best gay and non-gay events

Our London Gay Events page lists the best gay and gay-friendly events in the city. For a broader list, try TimeOut London.

Gay Events in London

TimeOut London Events


Best gay and non-gay events

London is now home to some of the world’s best restaurants – as well as Europe’s best Asian cuisine. To find the best restaurants try Zagat, TripAdvisor and TimeOut.

Zagat LondonTripAdvisor



Best shopping websites

London is Europe’s retail capital – with superb department stores such as Harrods, Harvey Nick's and John Lewis. Our best bets for shopping are Visit London and TimeOut.

Visit London shoppingTimeOut London shopping


Best local gay magazines

London’s best two magazines are Boyz and QX – which you’ll be able to pick up for free in most of the city’s gay bars and saunas.

Boyz gay magazineQX gay magazine


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