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15 Things for Gay Travelers to Know About London

Updated on April 11, 2010

London is a terrific international city that is gay-friendly and welcoming to visitors. However, there’s stuff that gay travelers often want to know about when visiting even the most welcoming destinations. This article covers 15 basic things that you might want to know about gay London travel.

1. There isn’t a specific gay neighborhood in London although there are some places that are hot spots. Soho, found to the west of the West End, is a popular spot where you’ll find many gay-owned clubs, restaurants and stores. Another similar area to check out is Old Compton Street. Another increasingly popular area is Vauxhall Village. However, there are gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses all throughout London so don’t limit yourself to just these two areas.

2. There are gay-owned and gay-friendly hotels throughout the city. You can stay anywhere from a youth hostel to a five-star hotel and be treated well as a gay visitor in London. There used to be a very popular gay-only hotel named the The Philbeach Hotel but it was closed down a couple of years ago. Since then, there hasn’t been a spot that’s truly taken its place but you do have a lot of hotel options in this major city.

3. Nightlife is a lot of fun in London. Of course, this is true whether you are gay or straight. However, what’s great here is the sheer number of hot gay nightclubs that exist in London. Top choices include Heaven, Fire, Blush and G-spot but there’s something to suit everyone in this city. Sex clubs and fetish nights are more extreme options at London clubs. Check out DiscoDamaged for updated club information.

4. Check out Gay Bingo. One of the hottest new monthly events in London in the gay scene is Gay Bingo. Over-the-top drag queens and tasty cocktails put a new twist on this old-fashioned game. You’ll have a great time, meet people and get an experience of gay London that you’ll never forget!

5. Get some history with a gay walking tour. There are regularly-schedule LGBT Soho walking tours all throughout the year. You can see a lot of London and get a great education in the area’s gay history at the same time.

6. Pride takes place in June. Like many most cities, London’s annual Gay Pride celebrations happen in June. It gets busy at this time of year so book your plans in advance. Three other big gay annual events to consider when making your plans are the Finsbury Park Big Gay Out (a gay music festival), the annual Gay Art Festival and the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

7. World Pride 2012 will be here. One of the biggest events to happen in gay history is a two-week gay pride celebration that is planned for 2012. And yes, it’s happening in London.

8. London is a great place for gay destination weddings. Destination weddings aren’t as popular as they were before the recession but they’re still an option for many couples. London’s great sights and wonderful gay-friendly atmosphere make it a top pick for same-sex destination weddings.

9. Did you know that London has a gay beach? The swimming area known as Hampton Heath has a men’s area which is clothing-optional and generally considered to be a gay urban beach. The nude beach in Essex has a similar area.

10. You can use London Gay Man for social networking. Gay men visiting London can get tons of information from London Gay Men. They can also post a profile and get to know people that they might want to meet while they are in the city.

11. London has a good lesbian scene. Some major cities that are known for being gay-friendly, such as San Francisco, get a bad reputation with lesbian travelers because of the fact that there are so many more activities geared towards gay men than towards lesbians. London doesn’t have this problem since many lesbian-oriented options are available here.

12. Spoonfed.com is a good site to bookmark. This site offers up-to-date information about all of the most fun gay events going on in the city ranging from club nights to comedy shows. In terms of print magazines, the Gay Times is a good place to start.

13. There is a gay tourist office in London. If there’s anything else that you need to know about London then you should stop at the city’s LGBT tourist office which is located at Leicester Square. This is also something of a historic landmark since it’s the first ever gay-oriented tourist office in the world.

14. There’s an app for that. Don’t want to take the time to head over to the gay tourist office in London? That’s okay, you can get loads of gay London travel information just by using your iphone. That’s because there’s a gay London app available now. In addition to general gay travel information, it has regular updates about current gay events in the city.

15. It’s smart not to limit yourself to gay events in London. Many gay travelers get wrapped up in finding a city’s gay scene and London certainly has a scene that you can wrap yourself up in. However, this is an amazing city with wonderful attractions and historic landmarks of all kinds. Don’t limit yourself to the just the gay stuff when visiting this great city – especially since nearly everywhere in London is gay-friendly.

Comments

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  • Castillocub profile image

    Pete 

    5 years ago from Gran Canaria

    Hi there are some interesting facts for people visiting London.

    Just a couple of points: there is no such place as Hampton Heath. The "Gay beach" is at Hampstead Heath Men's Pond. It is not exclusively Gay but is a big cruising area.

    Old Compton Street is not a separate place from Soho .. it is right in the middle of it.

  • profile image

    john nixon 

    7 years ago

    Hai thanks a lot for a useful hub. London is the city I like to see but so far no chance to visit there. Thanks a lot for this post.

  • brimancandy profile image

    Brian 

    7 years ago from Northern Michigan

    very cool hub. If I ever have the desire to visit london (Or the money) This information would come in very handy.

    How far is Blackpool beach from London? If I were to go to England, I would want to go there too!

  • profile image

    KLeichester 

    7 years ago

    This is an interesting read. Thank you so much.

  • profile image

    Laura 

    7 years ago

    Good work buddy! Gay travelers must read this to know more facts….

  • profile image

    Pink Tulum 

    8 years ago

    I got to agree with you - gasy bingo rocks! Such a funny night out - campness at its best!

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Gotta' tell ya, Gay Bingo is a real 'hoot'! Love those beautiful Queens in all of their 'night on the bingo town' glory. Just good-queen-fun!

    Great hub!

  • profile image

    Top Gay Hotels 

    8 years ago

    I am a frequesnt visitor to London and the gay life there is awsome - I never been disappointed. So go gay London!

  • profile image

    Kate 

    8 years ago

    Excellent Hub! A goldmine for my next blog ideas. Will be sure to link to you!

    Thanks!

    London Hideaways blog

  • profile image

    Matthew, GMen Brighton 

    8 years ago

    Hey good article, have re-tweeted it (@gmenbrighton) - maybe your readers might consider a 2-City holiday... visiting London for the sights etc and then heading south 1 hour on the train from London Victoria (or driving) to the Great British seaside resort of Brighton for a fantastic 3-4 day activity/learning holiday for gay/bi men, see: http://www.gmenbrighton.com. Thanks again - keep traveling and telling us about it! :-)

  • mwatkins profile image

    mwatkins 

    8 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

    I have a lot of friends that I am linking your hub to in an email. They will be tickled to have the information! Thanks!

  • loveofnight profile image

    loveofnight 

    8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

    this is a lot of good info worthy of passing on.....thx for writing this

  • earnestshub profile image

    earnestshub 

    8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

    This is a great idea. I have never been to London, but Melbourne Sydney Brisbane, Perth Adelaide and Darwin all have great gay bars and nightclubs.

    I will send this link to Gay friends. It sounds like fun!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 

    8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Wow! I am very impressed with this Awesome hub! London is a great city for gay females. Amsterdam is better, but I think London is catching up. You could also mention Berlin too! It's very hip. Cheers!

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