As one of the most gay friendly cities in the world, London isn’t short of things to do for the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, there will likely be a plethora of things on your gay to do list in London.
We’ve put together this guide to the essential queer things to do in London. Some of these are seasonal, many of them are all year round.
So whatever your flavour, check out our guide to gay London.
Attend the Annual Pride in London Celebration
The annual Pride in London celebration takes place every summer and is one of the biggest LGBTQ+ events in Europe. The festivities include a parade through Soho, where you can watch thousands of people march through the streets while waving rainbow flags and wearing colourful outfits.
There are also plenty of other events throughout the city that weekend, including concerts and parties at various clubs around town (including G-A-Y).
Explore the Vibrant LGBTQ+ Bars and Clubs in the Soho Neighborhood
The Soho neighborhood is home to some of London’s most vibrant LGBTQ+ bars and clubs. These include:
- Ku Bar, which is a popular gay bar with an outdoor patio, live music and drag shows.
- G-A-Y, a club that hosts drag performances as well as other events throughout the week (including Sunday funday).
Pride flags are practically everywhere in Soho. Just wander around and see what you can find, and chances are you’ll find a great time.
Check Out LGBTQ+ Art and History at Museums
You can learn about LGBTQ+ history and culture at the British Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern.
The British Museum has a permanent exhibition called “Queer British Art” that explores how artists have portrayed their own sexuality through artworks from 1560-1910. The exhibition includes paintings, prints and sculptures by artists such as William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough and John Singer Sargent.
The National Gallery houses works by some of the most famous names in Western art history including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (1503-06) which was once owned by King Francis I of France; Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait Of A Man In A Black Cap (1658); Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Madonna Of The Rocks (1483-86); Francisco Goya y Lucientes’ Naked Maja On A Cloth Of Gold Chair With Husband And Lover In The Background (1815).
Join a Walking Tour of Historic LGBTQ+ Sites
If you’re looking for something more in-depth than just browsing the streets, consider joining a walking tour of London’s historic LGBTQ+ sites.
The Queer Tour of London offers two different options: one that covers the East End and one that explores Soho and Covent Garden.
Both tours are led by an experienced guide who knows their way around the city, so you’ll get lots of insight into how things have changed over time as well as some great recommendations for where to eat or drink afterward!
Enjoy a Relaxing Day at One of London’s LGBTQ+ Spas
If you’re looking for a day of relaxation, London has plenty of LGBTQ+ friendly spas.
One of the best places to go for a day at one of these spas is Porchester Spa in Bayswater. This spa offers an array of services including massages, facials and body treatments that will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed.
If you want something more intimate than just getting a massage alone, then make sure to check out their couples’ packages where both parties can enjoy the benefits together!
Another great option is Spa Experience in Bethnal Green which offers similar services as Porchester but also provides steam rooms where people can relax after their treatments have been completed.
Shop for LGBTQ+ Books, Adult Toys, and More
There are a number of stores that specialise in LGBTQ+ books and adult toys. CloneZone is a good place to start if you’re looking for books, clothing, or anything else related to the community. The store is located in Soho and has several branches across London.
Earl’s Court is another popular destination for shopping–it hosts an annual Pride celebration every summer with live music performances by local bands as well as stalls selling rainbow flags and other merchandise.
Attend One of the Many LGBTQ+ Events Hosted by the Royal Vauxhall Tavern
If you’re looking for a fun and friendly atmosphere, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is your place. The historic gay venue in South London has been hosting events since 1967, including drag shows and cabaret performances.
The RVT hosts an annual Pride festival every year as well as other special events throughout the year.
Dance the Night Away at Heaven
Heaven is one of the most popular LGBTQ+ nightclubs in London, and it’s easy to see why. Located in Charing Cross, Heaven is open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays and has a reputation for being unapologetically queer.
The club hosts drag shows every weekend as well as themed nights like “Heavenly Bodies” (which celebrates body positivity) and “Disco Inferno.” It also boasts an impressive lineup of resident DJs who play everything from disco classics to house music.
If you’re looking for an epic night out with friends or want something different from your regular bar crawl, this should be at the top of your list!
Attend a Drag Show
Drag shows are a great way to learn more about the culture and history of drag. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is an iconic gay bar that has been around since the 1960s, and it hosts regular drag performances every week. The Glory in East London is another popular option for those looking for a good show.
Visit the LGBTQ+ Community Center and Cafe, The Outside Project
The Outside Project is a community centre and cafe that supports and provides resources for LGBTQ+ individuals who are experiencing homelessness. The project offers a safe space, where people can access free meals, showers, laundry facilities and advice on housing options.
The Outside Project also runs an emergency shelter service for young people aged 16-25 years old who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. The service is open every night from 6pm-8am during the winter months (October – March) with additional opening hours during daylight savings time (April – September).
London is a very diverse and gay friendly city, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore gay and LGBTQ+ culture in the city. Explore areas such as Shoreditch, Borough, Soho and the South Bank for plenty more opportunities to enjoy queer culture in our great city!