Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Queer London Travel Guide

With help from Visit Britain, Vacationer is sharing this Queer London Travel Guide full of recommended places to see, stay, and play when visiting the capital of the UK.

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 gayborhood to Vauxhall’s infamous party scene to the East End’s hip hangouts, the city offers endless possibilities for queer travelers. Check out this Queer London Travel Guide for the lowdown of the best neighborhoods, hotels, and events in the city.

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 LGBTQ+ bookshop. Along with a strong sense of community spirit, you can find novels, history, poetry, and rare editions, all with an LGBTQI+ focus.

If you’re a culture vulture, you can visit the British Museum for a bookable 70-minute LGBTQ+ tour, highlighting fascinating histories surrounding desire, love, and identity. And you can forget to check out the new museum, Queer Britain.

"Welcome to Queer Britain" exhibition in the Main Gallery (Photo Credit: Queer Britain)
“Welcome to Queer Britain” exhibition in the Main Gallery (Photo Credit: Queer Britain)

Out and About

Everyone under the rainbow gravitates to Soho, from young, international gay and lesbian travelers 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 socializing, 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-fueled 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 LGBTQ+ royalty, Amy Lamé.

You’ll find a cool gay community hanging out in pubs, gallery spaces, and dive bars throughout east London. Dalston Superstore – a café-bar, art space, and club – 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.

Stylish Stays

Hazlitt’s Hotel
Occupying an elegant row of Victorian townhouses, this boutique hotel retains the sophisticated ambiance 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 ensuite 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 center 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 cozy roof terrace bar is perfect for laid-back, pre-party drinks. 

Z Soho
Located in the center 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!

LGBTQ+ Events

Pride in London (first Saturday in July)
Renowned for being one of the largest LGBTQ+ 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.

Pride in London
Pride in London

UK Black Pride (second Sunday in August)
Founded in 2005, UK Black Pride is Europe’s largest celebration for African, Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American LGBTQ+ people. Check our interview the the Pride event’s founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah. The last event saw thousands gather in Haggerston Park, in east London, for a day of inclusive celebration, with a main stage full of musical acts, alongside LGBTQ+ stalls and a Wellbeing and Wellness stage. 

(Photo Credit: UK Black Pride)
(Photo Credit: UK Black Pride)

Fringe! Queer Art & Film Fest (usually the third week in September)
Part of the capital’s LGBTQ+ 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 filmmakers.

(Photo Credit: Fringe! Queer Art & Film Fest)
(Photo Credit: Fringe! Queer Art & Film Fest)

Getting There

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.

In addition to this Queer London Travel Guide, you can check out Visit Britain’s website for more travel ideas and inspiration to plan your LGBTQ+ vacation!

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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