Pink Tour of London: A Guide for Gay Travellers Visiting London
London is a city with strong liberal traditions. It is one of the most “gay-friendly” cities of the world. As a gay traveller, if you want to roam around in a city that openly endorses the rights of gays, this is the city to be. The vivacity, the exuberance and the vitality reflected in the gay scene here is inspiring. From rocking gay clubs to “exclusive” pubs for gays like Joiners Arms, London is constantly evolving as a major “gay” hotspot.
This is the reason behind the huge surge of gay tourists to London in recent times. The options for gay travellers have multiplied so vastly that they cannot help but rejoice. Be it the hub of gay culture in the city Soho or the alley of Vauxhall, the atmosphere for LGBTs is constantly improving in London. In fact, London hasone of the highest numbers of gay pubs and bars in the world. So, this summer season, if you too want to explore the LGBT scene here,book the best place to stay in London and immerse into the vibrant culture of this city.
There are hotels in London that are gay-friendly and facilitate every need of gay travellers. These hotels provide hospitable staff, luxurious facilities, and special packages for gay travellers. Additionally, these hotels have in-house bars that often become LGBT hotspots and great places to meet like-minded people. Two of such “gay-friendly” hotels are:
Apex City of London Hotel
No 1 Seething Lane, EC3N 4AX
Apex City of London Hotelis a 4-star hotel located in the Central London. The hotel staff is extremely friendly and does not hand down a discriminatory behaviour towards gay travellers. The hotel has extremely lucrative packages for travellers like “stay and save 20% off two nights,” “Addendum fixed price dinner” and many other offers. Adding to this, the hotel has a gym exclusively for hotel guests. If you, however, want to relax in a spa, go for Citypoint Club Spa (1.1 miles away from the hotel).
You will also have comfortable access to major tourist destinations like Tower Bridge, O2 Arena and so on. Award-winning bar and restaurant Addendum grace the hotel.
54 Boutique Hotel
54 Queens Gate, South Kensington London, GB SW7 5JW
At 5 minutes’ distance from the Gloucester underground, 54 Boutique Hotel is a luxurious 4-star townhouse in London. There are 26 rooms in this London townhouse with lavish facilities like Spa therapy toiletries, Chrome power showers, 100% Egyptian Cotton Bed linen and so on. You will be served an exquisite continental breakfast at the spacious lounge here. For lunch and dinner, turn into a number of fine restaurants around this town house.
The hotel has come up with offers to attract gay travellers. Long weekend is one of the best offers for gay travellers. Stay at the hotel from Friday and Monday. Not only will you get 50% discount on the Sunday night but also a late checkout on Monday (at 1pm).
Another offer is the “One More Night 3 for 2”. Under this scheme, if you stay at the hotel for at least 3 nights, then you will not be charged for the third night.
LGBT EVENTS IN LONDON
LGBT events take place all through the year in London. Some of them like the Pride London and the GFEST (Gaywise Festival) attract hordes of tourists every year. If you have the plans of attending these LGBT extravaganzas with your partner, make sure to book your tickets in advance. Hotels, around these events, get fully booked. So, it would be best if you book yourself an accommodation on-line with premier hotel websites like londonhotels4u.com.
Though plenty of LGBT events take place in the city round the year, you should include these major LGBT affairs in your itinerary to get the essence of gay culture in this city.
It is one of the biggest annual gay pride parades in the world. It takes place at the end of June. Founded in 2004, Pride London is now the biggest non-ticketed event of Europe. The Parade usually starts from the Baker Street and then move on towards Oxford Street and Regent Street. During its course, the parade sweeps through the major London landmarks.
All through the course of the parade, parties and speeches take place. The whole atmosphere is festive and jubilant. All along the parade routes, many bars and restaurants keep their doors open. These bars and restaurants usually offer special packages to LGBTs like free one-time meal, free drinks and other offers. This year, the Pride London is scheduled from 25th June to 30th. Every year, the parade has a different theme. This year, the theme is “Love and Marriage” with focus on same-sex marriage.
If you want to reinforce your love for your gay partner, Pride London is the place to be. But, keep one thing in mind. Most of the hotels usually get fully booked around this time. It would be better that you book your room at least one month in advance.
Pride London 2012 Highlights
GFEST or Gaywise Festival is the foremost Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) arts festival in London. It is a platform for LGBTQI sections of the society to display their artistic prowess.
GFEST features the performances of LGBTQI artistes, both newcomers and established. The events range from exhibitions, group and solo performances, film screenings, debates, creative workshops and parties. The festival takes place annually in November at different venues across the city.
HOT GAY SPOTS
There are plenty of spots in the city that are extremely popular among gay travellers. Areas like Soho, Vauxhall are the hottest gay spots in London. A large number of gay pubs and bars are present in these areas. In addition to this, these areas have the most vibrant gay arena in the whole city.
Hampstead Heath Ponds
Hampstead Heath Ponds are a series of ponds with different swimming areas for men and women. In fact, the “men-exclusive” pond is more of a haven for gay cruisers. The pond is open all-round the year and is open to people of all ages.
The thing, however, to keep in mind is that the water at this pond is not treated. Plunging into the pond becomes your choice then.
Soho is the epicentre of gay clubbing in London. A large number of gay clubs surround this town. Soho is also one of the major celebrated venues for the Pride London that takes place at the end of June.
In fact, in Soho you will find more gay tourists than in any other part of London. Old Compton Street remains the heart of gay activities in Soho. Running from the Charing Cross to Road and leading into the heart of Soho, this street is lined up with a string of gay bars, cafes, and restaurants. Some of the most gay-friendly bars in this area are:
It is one of the most popular hunting grounds for gays. Located under the Charing Cross tube station, Heaven opens after mid night and the party continues well into the morning. It serves a pulsating mix of rocking music and lip-smacking drinks and catches the attention of LGBT community from all over London. The only drawback of this bar is the high-prices. The ambience, however, is so alluring and captivating that you would not mind paying extra.
- G-A-Y Bar
G-A-Y is one of the best bars for gays in Soho. The bar is divided into three floors. The ground floor is reserved for lesbians whereas the other two floors are for gays. The informal ambience, the low prices and above all, best music in the circuit makes this bar a “must-go” for gay travellers.
Gay’s The Word
Gay’s The Word is the only gay bookshop in London. You will find an overwhelming variety of books here. Either you are searching for a Virginia Woolf classic or looking for a gay magazine, this shop has it all. The shop stores not just frivolous books but also revolutionary LGBT publications. The most recommended LGBT fiction novels of this shop are “Comfort and Joy”, “The Year of Ice” and “Bitter Eden”.
The shop has a section called “Naughty Books.” In this section are listed rare publications of 70s that will delight gay readers in the cheekiest manner!
Which is your favourite gay hotspot in London?
A quaint and more sophisticated gay scene awaits you in this part of London. Gay-friendly nightclubs and bars are in abundance in this part of the city. East London is home to some of the most famous LGBT bars in London. Joiners Arms, Backstreet, George & Dragon are the best among them. the crowd at the bars can be nasty sometimes. Nonetheless, the atmosphere as a whole is very welcoming for gay tourists.
The N1 Gay Mile
This calm neighbourhood is minutes’ away from the heart of the city. Also known as, Islington, this area in London claims to have the highest number of same-sex couples in the UK. Although, the vibrancy is now not the same as 70s, the Central Station continues to be the hunting-place for LGBT community. This hostel-cum-bar will address your every need as a gay traveller.
SAUNAS AND SPAS
Sweatbox Gym and Sauna
Ramillies House, 1-2 Ramilies St Soho, London, W1F 7LN
Located in the hub of gay culture in London i.e. Soho, Sweatbox Gym and Sauna is one of the hottest “gay” saunas in London. The sauna facilities here include a 40-man steam room, 14-man Jacuzzi, a ‘steam-maze’, dark room and private cabins. Accompanying these facilities is a fully equipped gym and spa that add up to the value of this place even more.
The Sauna Bar
29 Endell St, London, Greater London WC2H 9BA
It is the premier bisexual sauna in London. With an ideal location in the centre, the Sauna Bar is one of the most visited gay saunas. The Sauna Bar provides private relaxation cabins, open-plan showers, Jacuzzi/hot-pool, bar and café are some of the facilities. And, if you are below 25, then you can avail discountshere.
64A Albert Embankment London, Greater London
This gay sauna is located in the heart of South London Vauxhall gay area. Chariots Vauxhall is quite spacious with 500 lockers, two 20-man steam and two-30 man sauna rooms. There is also a dark maze with 50 private relaxation cabins. Café with internet and a TV lounge are added features.
EXCLUSIVE GAY TOURS
To catch the attention of gay tourists, the city has now exclusive sightseeing tours for gay tourists. The duration varies from 2 hours to full day according to the requirements of travellers. The normal full day “gay tour” includes sightseeing, meals at a restaurant and drinks at some of the gayest pubs in Soho district of London, a haven for LGBTs.
AID FOR GAY TOURISTS IN LONDON
In order to help gay tourists that flock the city every year in huge numbers, the London city has come up with the idea of a gay tourist office in London. Located above Ku Bar in Soho, this office is home to all the information that gay visitors to London seek.
In this office, you will get information about a wide array of topics concerning gay travellers to city. Whether it concerns bars and clubs, or it is about theatre, health or accommodation, this LGBT office will assist you at every step. Not only this, they also help you in getting discounts for musical shows in London.
It is for nothing that London has emerged as one of the hottest gay tourist destinations in the world. There are plenty of things which gay can do here without any worries. Pack your bags and fly to London keeping the doubts aside. The cosmopolitan, friendly culture will ensure that you live the time of your life as a gay traveller.