London is a hub for all things culture and diversity, so it’s no surprise that there are a ton of great things that celebrate the LGBTQA+ community. All over London you'll spot rainbow flags galore, which is a sign that it’s open and friendly to everyone. Whether you’re a part of this community yourself, have loved ones who are or just want to learn more with some fantastic experiences, here are a few gay friendly things to do in the capital!
Enjoy the Nightlife
Soho is at the centre of much of the LGBTQA+ world in London. The streets are lively and filled with bars, clubs and restaurants that are proudly LGBTQA+ owned and welcoming to everyone. One famous spot is the G-A-Y Bar, a fantastic multi floored venue for unforgettable nights. The Yard is a trendy gay bar with an outdoor garden space, making it a great spot to enjoy a drink and conversation while surrounded by greenery. Admiral Duncan is an iconic gay pub that has been a part of Soho's gay history for decades. Halfway II Heaven is a traditional gay pub with a strong sense of community. It's known for its friendly staff, karaoke nights, and cosy atmosphere. Along with Soho, Vauxhall is another neighbourhood where LGBTQA+ folks gather to have a good time- The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been around for over a hundred years! It's more than just a bar; it's like a treasure trove of LGBTQA+ history. They put on shows, comedy nights and all sorts of cool stuff. This place has always been a safe spot for queer people to be themselves.
Go Speed Dating
Gay speed dating in London provides a unique and exciting way for LGBTQ+ people to explore romantic possibilities. These events bring together likeminded people in a fun and structured setting. They’re held at various LGBTQA+ friendly venues across the city so whether you're looking for a new adventure or hoping to find that special someone, these events offer a great way to put yourself out there and discover if sparks fly.
Celebrate at a Festival
Gay Pride festivals are celebrated throughout the summer months in lots of cities throughout the UK (and the rest of the world), but Pride in London is one of the biggest LGBTQ+ parties ever. The parade goes through the city with colourful floats and people in awesome costumes- it’s one big, happy march celebrating LGBTQA+ love and pride. In Trafalgar Square there's music, speeches and cool stalls- it’s a festival where everyone's welcome and is such a fun and happy event in the year.
Take in History and Culture
What better place to learn about history and culture than at the Tate Modern? This isn’t just a fancy art gallery it's a space that loves and celebrates all different kinds of people through time. They have exhibitions that make you think about LGBTQA+ ideas and topics and show art from the past and present that talks about the subject in unique ways. Another way to find out about LGBTQA+ history in London is by join a walking tour! They'll take you to places where important events relating to the community happened and tell you stories about all kinds of LGBTQA+ people who have made a difference. You'll hear about activists who fought for LGBTQA+ rights, artists who expressed themselves despite societal barriers, and individuals who brought about change through their resilience and determination. There are a number of companies who offer these walks, Queer Tours of London is one of them to check out.
Catch a Movie
If you like movies, BFI Southbank is a great spot to visit, they don't just show the movies but they also talk about them and show films that are a bit different including LGBTQA+ movies from all over the world. BFI Southbank also run BFI Flare, London’s LGBT Film Festival. It’s inclusive and welcoming to all audience, and shines a light on LGBTQA+ programming for the Festival (as well as encompassing regular BFI Southbank programming).
Relax and Read
We might live in a digital world, but there’s so much joy in finding a good book and sitting reading the physical copy. If you’re a bit of a bookworm then book shops like Gay's The Word is a place where LGBTQA+ people can find books that talk about their lives. They also host events and bring people together. You could also go to a library that’s specifically dedicated to the gay community, celebrates gay authors and literature and has all of the information you would ever need about those living as LGBTQA+. The London LGBTQA+ Community Centre for example hosts a library that is a safe and affirming space for this community to explore a diverse collection of books and connect with others.
Have a Laugh
London has lots of nights for LGBTQA+ comedians and audiences that are well worth checking out. The Glory is a venue where LGBTQA+ comedians often hold comedy nights, or look into Comedy Queers and Queer as Jokes as other great options. The jokes aren't just funny; they're a way to connect with others, share experiences, and find the common ground that makes us all human!
In a world as diverse as ours, the importance of celebrating all kinds of people simply cant be overstated. Our individuality is what creates the vibrant mosaic of humanity, and when we embrace all of our differences, we really enrich our collective experience. As proud members of the LGBTQA+ community, it's important for us to find our place in a world that cherishes our who we are- and safe and welcoming spaces from lively bars to cultural festivals or even virtual forums provide us with more than just a sense of belonging. They become platforms for connection, solidarity and empowerment. And London is home to many of these spaces, where we can find allies who share our journey and friends who can celebrate our victories.
Where are your favourite LGBTQA+ spots in London?