Gay London Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In London England 2018
A grand metropolis of love, business, art, design, and shopping where queer people are embraced as a natural part of society, it’s no wonder Gay London is one of the world’s most famous LGBT travel destinations.
By day there are plenty of sexy English boys and girls picnicking in historic parks, wandering the banks of the Thames or lazing around cafes in London’s gay areas but by night is when things really come alive. High-brow cocktails? Camp drag shows? Dark underground fetish parties? Some of Europe’s most extravagant gay parties?
Check, check, check and CHECK!
London is world renown as one of the greatest gay cities on Earth, and no trip here would ever be complete without visiting the expansive gay villages in the Soho and Vauxhall neighborhoods. As you will see, LGBT bars and clubs can be found all over Gay London, but it is within these two neighborhoods that you can really see gay life flourishing.
Energetic cafes, pubs, bars, clubs, and members-only organizations combine to offer a truly diverse range of nightlife entertainment – expand your horizons, London has everything you always knew you wanted…and surely if a few hidden delights you might never have considered.
Gay travelers need not take any more extra precautions in London than they would in any other Western European capital, especially in the gay areas of London, but should be aware of a rise in reported LGBT+ hate crime in the London. This is a serious ‘wake-up call’ and an important reminder that even with modern, accepting attitudes and the well-established LGBT presence in London, homophobic and transphobic attacks can still occur.
Enough said? We hope so – and by no means want to put you off a trip to Gay London – but this is something we should all be aware. Not that this problem is by any means limited to just London or the United Kingdom….
Even excluding the nightlife, the world-class museums, haute couture shopping, iconic architecture, fine dining, and utterly intoxicating atmosphere will give tourists more than enough reason to visit Gay London – whether it’s for a night, a week or to live full-time. Welcome to fabulous London!
Gay London Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In London England 2018
Obviously being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see in each city and most queer tourists will simply want to check out the top things to see in London during the day! London is a very safe city but still, all travelers should take caution with valuables. Gay people in London do not need to take any extra precautions in terms of public displays of affection in this very progressive city and should have no issues exploring this magical cities beauty!
Here are just a few of our favorite gay things to do in London – seriously, this is by no means comprehensive but might help to see something other than the inside of a club. Don’t laugh, you wouldn’t be the first person to come all this way and not see a single sight and certainly wouldn’t be the last….The gay scene here is just that good.
Some Things To Do In London
Westminster Abbey – The spires and gothic architecture of this 1000-year-old landmark are instantly recognizable along the banks of the Thames. Once you’re finished gawping at the majestic exterior, head inside to marvel some more.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour – Definitely one to be booked in advance, this incredible trip to the Warner Bros. Studios in London is not just great for Harry Potter fans, it’s also a fascinating insight into how films are made. Get on a themed Harry Potter bus from Victoria or Baker Street Station to start the day off. Upon arrival, you’ll explore the Cupboard Under the Stairs where it all began, before stepping into the Great Hall. You’ll find yourself in the middle of all these places you’ve only ever seen on screen, including Hagrid’s Hut, the Gryffindor Common Room and even Dumbledore’s office (sob).
London Eye – There’s really nothing like seeing a city from the sky, especially a city as stunning as London. Get into a glass pod on the 135-meter-high London Eye on the Southbank and enjoy panoramic and ever-changing views of this fascinating place.
Try A Fabulous London Food Tour – There is so, so much to love about the booming London foodie scene – but it can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully, you can always head out on a London food tour to taste only the best spots while skipping all those totally touristy (and frequently over-hyped) spots. We personally recommend the London Bridge Food Tour with Secret Food Tours as this tour focuses simply on the best of British Food – and yes, this is really a cuisine worth sampling and not nearly as dull and bland as the rest of the world would have you believe. Run by passionate Londoners with a taste for food – and comedic jokes- on this tour you can sample traditional British food such as the famous Cumberland sausages, freshly baked delights, and heavenly fish and chips. You will also enjoy sampling English fudges, gorging yourself on sticky Toffee pudding in an upmarket restaurant and trying locally produced cheeses. You can also drink London brewed beers, refreshing ciders, delightful mead, and refreshing teas. They also offer tours exploring the Indian cuisine of London, or the more hipster Shoreditch, which are both great options for a second visit but if this is your first time in London the traditional British food tour should absolutely be at the top of your list for things to do in London. Trust us, you will never look at British cuisine the same way ever again…
Tower of London – Discover London’s dark and bloody past at the White Tower, Traitor’s Gate, and Tower Green where Anne Boleyn was executed. Walk along the historic battlements and meet the Tower’s resident ravens before viewing the breath-taking Crown Jewels, the still-used symbols of the British Monarchy.
Harrods – Stop in at the world’s most famous department store online with the latest men’s and women’s designer fashion, luxury gifts, food, and accessories. Allow a few hours to fully explore this elaborate emporium, and don’t forget to stop off at the glittering Egyptian Room and enjoy a meal in the renown Food Hall.
The Shard – Head to the top of this iconic landmark with panoramic views of the London skyline and admire London sites including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Gherkin and the London Eye like you’ve never seen them before. You can enjoy as much time up here as you like, so why not enjoy a glass and champagne as you slowly take it all in.
Coal Drops Yard – A newly opened design precinct these unusual historic buildings were originally built to transfer coal from rail to road, but now offer a unique new shopping quarter. Free from traffic and simply buzzing, it is not entirely complete and already there is enough to spend a few hours wandering through the galleries. Not to be missed is the Tom Dixon Furniture & Lighting store, or why not drop by the Coal Office restaurant collaboration between acclaimed chef Assaf Granit and Tom Dixon. It is absolutely incredible…
London Pass – London is huge, with a wealth of things to explore, so you want the flexibility and freedom to sightsee without worrying about budgeting and stressful transport. That’s why the London Pass is a must-buy for your visit. This little card gives you free entry to over 70 of the best things to do in London – including Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, and The Shard – and you even get to skip the queues at some of them. Depending on how long you’re staying, you can buy it for anything between 1 and 10 days, giving you that flexibility that we love.
Gay Places In London
Balans (SoHo) – An extremely gay-popular restaurant in the heart of the London gay scene. This Old Compton Street venue is energetic, always busy and also manages to serve wonderful food. To be honest, however, almost any restaurant in SoHo is going to be full with gays so if the menu doesn’t appeal just take a wander and see what – or who – catches your eye.
Gay’s The Word– The only specifically lesbian and gay bookstore in the United Kingdom founded in 1979 is also used as used as a community and information resource for lesbians and gay men. With friendly, helpful staff, the shop has a genuine community atmosphere and hosts regular book events and discussion groups and well as offering a wide choice of LGBT+ books and film that goes well beyond the mainstream. Try to pick up one of our favorite gay romance novels, or find your own!
Muscle Bull Gym & Wellness Centre – An independent “Old school” gym with an extensive range of strength and functional training equipment, nestled right in the heart of the bustling Maltby Street neighborhood of Bermondsey in Central London. Male-focused and very gay-popular, with single day passes if you are in just town for a few days and feel the need to work out.
Queer Tours Of London – Shining a light on London’s rich LGBTQI history through creative and life-affirming interactive tours, Queer Tours tell the stories of London’s queer history, shedding light on the lives, spaces, identities, repression, and resistance that form the backdrop of LGBTQI lives today. They do this through educational, accessible and interactive walking tours, cabarets, street-art and events that bring life to the complexities and lived experiences of Gay London history, present, and vision for the future.
Regulation – A fetish and bondage store in Islington offering a range of custom fit and bespoke clothing services and crafting unique BDSM restraints and playroom furniture pieces. With over 5,000 products, you never know what might take your fancy.
FETCH – Sex toys, fetish gear, lube, underwear, fashion and more are available here at Fetch, the UK’s largest gay shop, located in Clapham.
CloneZone – A gay superstore in London selling everything from DVDs to sexy underwear and toys. They have two locations in London, but the Soho store is better in our opinion that Earls Court. You can also find in Manchester and Birmingham.
Prowler – One of London’s most popular gay lifestyle stores offering a huge range of underwear and clubwear, as well as gift cards, books, underwear and more. You can also pick up tickets here to many of the hottest gay parties in London.
Liberation London – A the forefront of latex fashion and specialize in latex clothing, rubber clothing, and latex fetish, pop into to their Covent Garden store to explore your fantasies further…
Gay Events In London
Pride in London – An annual LGBT pride festival and parade held each summer in London in July. It is one of the longest running in the country and attracts an estimated one million visitors to the city. While the festival’s events and location within London vary every year the Pride parade is the only annual event to close London’s iconic Oxford Street. During the 2018 Pride London, a dozen of people carrying anti-trans slogans took the lead of the demonstration without authorization and the organizers of Pride London were criticized for not having taken any measures to remove those trans-exclusionary activists from the march. While this unfortunate event has somewhat tarnished Pride in London, it is still one gay event in London you do not want to miss and is absolutely worth planning your trip around.
UK Black Pride – Europe’s largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQ people held annually in July, it has become a popular alternative to traditional London Pride. Everyone is welcome however and the day is all about promoting diversity and inclusion. Trust us, the vibes here are pure euphoria….
London Fetish Week – An annual gay event in London held in July, with different official Fetish Week parties every night, plus plenty of other special events and bar nights popping up around town. If you are into kink, or want to explore your limits more, this could be the event for you.
GFest – Gaywise FESTival – The premier LGBT annual cross-arts festival in London- a platform for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer artists, organizations and venues that promote LGBT and queer arts. Held in November, GFEST features queer artists and talent across the arts, including visual arts, theatre, dance and performance, short films, debates, workshops, and parties.
Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Festival – An entirely volunteer-run organization rooted in London’s queer creative scene. In Novembers, and throughout the year, they showcase an eclectic mix of films, arts, and events celebrating LGBTIQA+ stories from around the world, welcoming everybody. From feature films to experimental installations, workshops and lively debates to wild parties, Fringe! hosts a multitude of diverse events to tickle every one of the senses. You’ll see them flooding East London’s cinemas, art galleries, pop-up venues and basement clubs with the powerful, provocative and strange.
Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in London England
Being one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, almost every hotel and hostel in London can be considered open and welcome to LGBT travelers.
After all being gay-friendly is about simply providing a non-judgmental and respectful environment in which all people are treated equally. Elegant design, helpful staff, and excellent value for money never hurt anyone though! Some hotels in London have gone above and beyond in recognizing and marketing to the LGBT community and given their popularity with gay travelers we would say it has paid off!
There are quite a few popular hotels in London that are go-to hot spots for gay travelers…and really, doesn’t everyone like to be surrounded by people with common interests! These are the hotels we have checked out and included here. While there are no exclusively gay hotels in London, any hotel in the stylish SoHo gay district of London is sure to have more than a few gay guests staying and nearby you can find Hyde Park, the Tower Of London and the London Eye – plus being a stumble home from all the gay bars in pretty desirable.
There are hundreds of other good hotel option in London if you don’t find what you are looking for but we are confident you’ll find something here for you – we have tried to cover it all. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a luxury designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay London as something for everyone!
Hotels In Soho Gay Area Of London
W London Leicester Square ☆☆☆☆☆ – Step into the spotlight and experience the glitz and glamour of red carpet premieres in the heart of London’s entertainment district, where celebrities and influencers mix it up and Hollywood makes international headlines. All just a short stroll from the pulsing Soho gay scene, the W London Leicester Square offers the perfect retreat to mix and mingle over sumptuous brunch, modern afternoon tea or innovative cocktails at The Perception Bar. Energize in the FIT gym, recharge at AWAY Spa or watch a film in their screening room. With 192 bold guest rooms and suites, renown for their rebellious and refined décor reflects the city’s dual personalities, its no wonder this hotel is one of the most frequently booked by travelers in London – and our personal favorite for a stylish weekend escape.
The Soho Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – 96 individually designed bedrooms and suites situated on a quiet street in the heart of London’s entertainment neighborhood. What more could you want? Each of the stylish bedrooms and suites at The Soho Hotel has floor-to-ceiling warehouse style windows and are equipped with all the facilities expected of a deluxe hotel including WiFi, flat screen TV’s, iPod docking stations. All rooms have been designed in an individual style by design director and owner Kit Kemp in her fresh modern English style, while onsite you will also find a fashionable restaurant, two screening rooms, a well-equip gym, and a relaxing day spa.
The Nadler Soho ☆☆☆☆ – In the heart of London’s most vibrant district, the Nadler Soho offers a choice of 78 stylish rooms in a converted 17th-century mansion (said to have inspired the tales of Charles Dickens). An upscale boutique filled with modern furnishing that perfectly compliments the historic building, we love the small terraces off our room, 4-poster beds and wonderful views of Soho Square – Yes, a room upgrade is a worthwhile expense here, as is splurging on the in-room continental breakfast.
Hazlitt’s ☆☆☆☆ – A well-known (almost) gay hotel in London, the Hazlitt’s is civilized, charming and oh-so-curious! Old fashioned hospitality; friendly efficient service; a location away from the roar of traffic, but within a very short walk of the most important attractions – the Hazlitt’s is the boutique accommodation we wish we could find in every city. Occupying a block of converted Victorian townhouses, we are obsessed with the lavish décor, paneled walls, and original 18th century period features like the original fireplaces. There is also a fabulous rooftop garden with a retractable glass roof for that changeable London weather, a cozy library, and themed suites.
The Z Hotel Soho ☆☆☆ – A welcome budget hotel stay in the heart of Gay London. Concentrated style, an out-of-town price, and the West End – all at your feet the moment you step out the door. No off-central, tourist hotels for you. The building is a designer conversion of twelve Georgian townhouses where from the outside you see classic architectural proportions, combined with contemporary style. Inside, you find 85 contemporary rooms gathered around a central courtyard. Very gay-popular given the lower price and proximity to London’s LGBT nightlife.
SoHostel ☆☆– With space for over 300 guests, gay travelers in London are sure to find some friends to explore in this brand-new, colorful hostel right in the center of the city. SoHostel has a wide range of room types, from larger dorms to intimate private rooms. We like the playful decoration and how they have thought of everything, right down to labeling the bunks ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ (to avoid drunken confusion!). The rooms are clean and good value. The location is absolutely perfect, only moments away from Oxford Street, Leicester Square and Soho; before heading out on the town, enjoy the happy hour in the brightly decorated bar and get involved in the karaoke night.
Gay-Friendly Luxury Hotels in London
Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard ☆☆☆☆☆ – Feel an unparalleled connection to London by indulging in a stay in the capital’s highest hotel, in one of the world’s most iconic buildings, whilst enjoying panoramic skyline views that connect you to the whole city. With 202 opulent rooms and suites, each of which boasts has floor-to-ceiling windows, which unlock sublime views across London, four restaurant and bars and the highest infinity sky pool in London – you might never leave the building during your entire stay. Honestly, we wouldn’t either…
Hotel 41 ☆☆☆☆☆ – Frequently voted the number 1 hotel in the UK this exquisite hidden hotel overlooks the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace only minutes from Victoria Station and is housed in a history Edwardian building. The rooms and suites are each custom designed – all with a very chic black and white color palette – and the penthouse is one of the world’s best with a stargazing glass ceiling conservatory. Guests can also enjoy free perks such as a magnificent breakfast, all-day snacks, champagne on arrival and access to a comprehensive gym nearby. If you ever get sick of your room, there is also a classy champagne bar and onsite restaurant.
The Montcalm Royal London House ☆☆☆☆☆ – Housed in the former Royal Mail head office, this hotel has transformed an imposing listed building into a distinctive new destination for an area alive with possibility. Subtle mid-century styling meets twenty-first-century tech throughout, from the alluring lobby to the beautifully designed bedrooms and striking new rooftop bar, revealing a fresh perspective of the city. With a spa, gym, two restaurants, and cutting-edge meeting spaces too, the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel offers gay travelers an exciting alternative to the SoHo party scene.
The London EDITION ☆☆☆☆☆ – Offering both a reinvention of its landmark building and the luxury hotel experience its fair to say The London EDITION has made its mark on the London hotel scene. Located in Fitzrovia on the edge of Soho, the boutique hotel blends thoughtful design and intuitive service with excellent dining and nightlife in a space that boldly brings together the past with the present. Oak floors, wood-paneled walls, custom furnishings and evocative photography from Hendrik Kerstens create a cabin-like feel, akin to that of a private yacht, in each of the 173 guest rooms and suites. There is also highlight dining at Berners Tavern, bespoke cocktails at the Punch Room, a fashionable nightclub, 24/7 fitness space, and grand lobby. Oh-so-sophisticated, even if you don’t stay here you absolutely must try pop in for a drink and look at the breath-taking design.
ME London by Melia ☆☆☆☆☆ – Only a stone’s throw from the River Thames, this brand new avant-garde hotel close to SoHo and Covent Garden offers something truly unique and extraordinary. 157 guestrooms and suites come together to create an ideal urban retreat in the cultural heart of London with state-of-art technology, floor-to-ceiling windows and unparalleled view of the London Skyline from your private balcony. Enjoy homey-contemporary design, feel the energy, see the city below your feet and disconnect from the outside world.
The Savoy ☆☆☆☆☆ – A hotel that should need no introduction, the Savoy is a place where history and iconic elegance mingles with new-world sophistication. A world-famous name, celebrated for sublime service, and graced by stars, dignitaries and the global jet-set… where Art Deco rubs shoulders with English Edwardian, and exceptional dining blends with contemporary cocktails. The definitive destination in the heart of London standing proudly on the Northbank of the River Thames. The hotel’s 267 luxury rooms and suites celebrate The Savoy’s dual historical influences, featuring either elegant English Edwardian design or sensational Art Deco style. Many afford breath-taking views across the River Thames, and of iconic London landmarks. Those staying in suites enjoy dedicated Butler service, offering the discretion of a traditional English butler with the efficiency of a 21st-century personal assistant. There is also the famed Gordon Ramsay grill, a wood-paneled English restaurant, multiple bars, an indoor pool, world-class spa, and gym. For those who opt to stay in this legendary hotel, the Savoy promises a treasured stay in Gay London.
Gay-Friendly Mid-Range Hotels in London
Central Station ☆☆☆ – While there are no gay hotels in London, the Central Station is the closest you will find being part of the famous gay bar with the same name, found just downstairs. Comfortable and affordable quality bed & breakfast accommodation is available here, in the heart of the regenerated King’s Cross area. Dating back to the early 19th century, Central Station is just a few hundred meters from King’s Cross and St. Pancras International stations which are served by six tube lines and many bus routes connecting visitors to all of the sites of London Eurostar. Guests gain free entry to the ground-floor bar, which offers a range of drinks and a full English breakfast is included each morning, which can be eaten in the restaurant or on the roof terrace. Rooms are amongst the lowest prices we found in Central London, and all offer free WiFi, teas and coffee facilities, kettle, and hairdryer. The building is very old, so even 2 stories above the pub you could probably sing along to most songs if you wanted to – so the low prices might only be worth it if you want to party as well or are staying on a quiet weeknight…
Hotel Moonlight ☆☆☆ – A boutique hotel, situated in an elegant Victorian property in the vibrant and cosmopolitan Borough of Kensington. All their rooms are beautifully appointed and benefit from flat screen smart TV’s, triple soundproofed windows and all the comforts you would require, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi. Again, fabulous value makes this hotel popular with everyone – gay, straight or unicorn. Just look at their stellar reviews…
Point A Hotel London Westminster ☆☆☆ – Everything you need and nothing you don’t makes this a very affordable (and popular) gay hotel option in London. Comfy Hypnos beds, great power showers, a 40 inch smart TV, hairdryer, mood lighting and more – all in a fabulous location and at a price that won’t make your eyes water. Small rooms, perfectly equipt and with all the attractions of London on your doorstep.
MStay 146 Studios ☆☆☆ – A stylish apart-hotel concept, MStay 146 Studios is offering to its guests 35 stylish studios, individually designed and decorated according to the latest boutique trends. Contemporary, elegant, comfortable and affordable – all located right in the heart of London’s West End, available for short and long-term rental. Equipped with a variety of amenities, from a fully arranged kitchenette, air conditioning, Smart TV, to complimentary Wi-Fi and daily maid service, MStay 146 Studios offers exceptional value when it comes to affordable accommodation in Central London.
ibis Styles London Southwark ☆☆☆ – A new breed of design economy hotels, this affordable London hotel is home to 114 spacious, creatively decorated bedrooms, all of which feature comfortable beds for a great night’s sleep, and en-suite walk-in power showers for an invigorating start to the day. Wake up to an unlimited, all-inclusive breakfast spread and indulge in a typically laid-back approach to checking out – you don’t need to leave until noon! Equipped with their very own stylish bar and with easy access to London Bridge station as well as Waterloo station, choose ibis Styles London Southwark if you are looking for a fun, vibrant and designer hotel in central London without the typical price tag.
London Court Hotel ☆☆☆ – Boasting 22 tastefully furnished stylish ensuite bedrooms which are fully equipped with all the amenities, this hotel is a popular choice for leisure and business travelers. Only a 2-minute walk from Earls Court Tube Station and surrounded by restaurants, bars, and cafes, the London Court Hotel is surprisingly stylish and fantastic value – especially when booked in advance.
The Mad Hatter Hotel ☆☆☆ – A marvelous pub and hotel located on Stamford Street, The Mad Hatter, with its 30 superb rooms, provides the best value accommodation in the Southwark area, while the pub downstairs serves up delicious fresh food and great ale. Great value, a typical British accommodation concept and their stylish ensuites with bath and shower make the Mad Hatter Hotel a very tempting proposition…
Gay-Friendly Hostels in London
Generator Hostel London ☆☆ – The first of the Generator chain, this huge and lively hostel has the perfect location right in the heart of London. Located in Russel Square, it’s the perfect base to explore the city from, although there’s enough going on here to make you want to stick around as well. It’s only six minutes from the main train station, Kings Cross, so once you arrive in London you can head straight there, no wasting time trying to find it! There are dorm rooms for 4, 6 and eight people, with a simple but effective minimalist design and comfortable bunk beds. You can also opt for a private room if you think your night out or with your favorite gay hook up app is going to yield a new friend! WiFi is available in all the rooms, and there are modern amenities. In terms of facilities, the Generator has everything you could possibly need, from 24-hour reception to 24-hour laundry to vending machines in case of the munchies. The bar is a great place to hang out and unwind after a hard day’s sightseeing; you’ll meet fellow travelers, enjoy the quirky surroundings (double-decker bus in the wall, anyone?) and even enjoy a cocktail.
Astor Hyde Park ☆☆ – This makes our list of the best gay hostels in London for two reasons: it is the most luxurious hostel we have stayed at, and the age range is limited to 18 – 40, so you know the fellow guests will be chilled and respectful (but will also enjoy a night out!). Behind the stunning façade of the building in glamorous South Kensington, you’ll find clean and comfortable rooms ranging from private to 12-bed dorms, a fully equipped and spacious kitchen and a beautiful lounge area with bay window looking out onto the street. A great extra is an all-you-can-eat breakfast for only £1, and there’s a 24-hour-reception staffed by friendly receptionists always keen to help you enjoy their city even more.
MEININGER London Hyde Park ☆☆ – The contemporary design is just one reason why this South Kensington hostel is one of the most popular gay hostels in London. The trendy open space where guests can eat breakfast or have a drink at the end of the day is immediately appealing, and the location is ideal. The dorm rooms are brightly-painted and welcoming, with crisp bedding and free Wi-Fi. The staff will help you with tips on exploring London and sell tickets to major attractions and tours. With these kinds of hostels available in London, there’s no excuse not to visit the city; even if you’re on a budget, you know you’ll find some great places to stay and make new friends (or more!). Hyde Park is also nearby for a jog, run or walk to help you stay fit while on vacation – if that is important to you!
Gay Nightlife in London
Where not even sure where to start as the gay nightlife in London is amongst the best in the world. If you are as overwhelmed as we are, the only thing you need to know is the Marais district is the perfect hub of LGBT nightlife in London…But by no means the only place to enjoy a fabulous night out.
Gay club parties in London are all the range with different locations every evening, but we have only listed the most popular and fabulous, as there are almost too many to count!
Use our Gay London Map at the end if you’re lost, but there is plenty of plenty of bars, cocktail lounges, drag shows and bear dens littered across London to satisfy even the most discerning of gay travelers.
Oh, and speaking of discerning…You know that rude Londoner stereotype? Just as accurate in the bars and clubs. It’s one big meat market out there so don’t take it personally. Much like gay guys in Paris, Milan and Tel Aviv, people here are almost aggressively direct and to the point.
Gay Bars In Soho London
Halfway to Heaven – A great, lively and very welcoming to the LGBT community of London situated between Charing Cross Station and Trafalgar Square. Upstairs is a friendly pub, serving great cask ales and lagers, while downstairs is their center-stage bar, with live entertainment, such as cabaret and karaoke seven nights a week. Halfway to Heaven frequently has some of the best drink specials in town, and their weekly event calendar is exhaustive. Suffice to say, there is never a boring moment here…
The Yard – Nestled in a cherished courtyard and tucked away off Rupert St, the Yard is a welcoming retreat for the hustle and bustle of busy London. Easily one of gay Soho’s most unique attractions we loved hanging out in this heated, gorgeous garden courtyard bar – popular with those who still smoke – and chilling in the comfortable loft bar. What could be better for spending long summer or cozy winter nights with friends or getting to know a date? Boasting one of the most comprehensive cocktails menus in town, crafted by barmen who are almost as tasty – and frequently shirtless. Extremely popular and a real hidden gem for locals, hopefully, developers keep their hands off this urban retreat.
Rupert Street – A first-class gay bar in the heart of Soho, open seven days a week. Well-known for their friendly service, great cocktails, and fabulous people-watching location. Head along daily for their great drinks deals, including a fabulous happy hour from noon till 8 pm daily. Rupert Street served food during the day, but in the evening the party crowd packs in and the bar is frequently standing room only. Especially great in the summer months when the crowd frequently spills out onto the street and a perfect party-starter location
G-A-Y Bar – A unmissable part of the fabric of gay London filled with a fun-loving and rather young crowd every night of the week. There are three floors, including a busy dance area and a slightly upscale basement to relax in. Very lively, cheap drinks and hot, cute guys continue to bring all the boys to G-A-Y. This, however, is one place to watch your pockets as wandering hands might not just be interested in what you are packing. Also, the home of the heaven gay dance party held every weekend.
Admiral Duncan – A friendly gay pub in London with a hyper-local atmosphere, vibrant bar staff and an eclectic range of customers. You never known who or what is going to happen here. Admiral Duncan truly aims to cater for everyone and anyone and is well-known as one of Soho’s oldest gay pubs. There is a memorial chandelier inside with an inscription and a plaque in the bar to commemorate the neo-nazi lead 1999 London nail bombings which killed three people and wounded around 70. The attack was aimed at inflaming homophobic tensions in London but ended up being the catalyst for closer relations between the location LGBT community and Metropolitan Police. A triumph of brash fun over hatred, this Soho stalwart attracts party-orientated punters to its one-room bar in the middle of Old Compton Street.
Kings Arms Soho – A energetic gay pub with a fun line-up of LGBT happenings, specifically popular with the local London bear community. Enjoy comfortable surroundings and real ales – or dance to music supplied by a live resident DJ on Saturdays. We are also big fans of the weekly karaoke sing-alongs on Sunday nights.
City of Quebec – Situated close to Oxford Street, this gay-popular pub offers a chilled relaxing atmosphere during the day and a selection of entertainment on an evening. Downstairs there is a club and DJ’s on the weekends, but we found prices to be quite a bit higher than other Soho gay bars, so even accounting for the new London beer tax, business rates, high rents etc it still seems the City of Quebec could make their regular pints a bit more affordable. Most other pubs around manage it…
KU Bar SoHo – Spread over 2 floors, Ku Soho is a stylish and intimate gay cocktail bar in the heart of London’s gay village. With a view of Old Compton Street, and a sophisticated golden interior – Ku Bar is perfect for enjoying the unique vibe of cocktail drinking and intimacy in Soho; whether you are on a date, social visit, or just out for a quiet drink solo. Not to be confused with their flagship Ku Bar /Klub in Leicester Square.
The Light Lounge – Also by the KU Group, this bespoke cocktail bar is bathed in natural light by day and utterly atmosphere by night. There are DJ’s every Friday and Saturday to get you in the mood for your next stop, cute bartenders, a mixed LGBT/ straight crowd and oodles of class.
The Friendly Society – Super wonderful cocktails, funky design, and friendly staff make this unique basement gay bar on Soho the place to be. It can get very crazy busy with long waits for pricey drinks, but the unique décor and mixed LGBT crowd mean you are never bored. Any bar with Barbie’s pinned to the ceiling must be great, right?
Village Soho – Soho’s original gay venue since1991 but trust us, they are still as youthful and flamboyant as ever. Always ready to make a night out memorable with a faultless combination of party vibes and laid backspaces to escape and relax with a drink for conversations. During the weekend, things really get kicked up a notch as their dazzling Go-Go boys hit up the bar, showing off their flawless bodies to the pumping sounds of their magnificent yet sassy resident DJ’s who always knows how to set the soundtrack perfectly each night. The always fabulous vibes compensate for the slightly more expensive drinks, but for a guaranteed good time it is a small price to pay.
Circa Soho – In its 7th year, Circa continues to be at the forefront of the SoHo gay scene for music, style, and creativity. With one of the best DJ rosters in town and some of the hottest bar boys, we have ever seen, your aural and visual pleasure is guaranteed every day from 1pm-1am. Relaxed midweek drink or crazed party weekend, Circa is sure to bring a bring a little sparkle to your day. Saturday nights they play commercial, deep and progressive house music and Friday nights are all about the hottest chart hits, POP and R&B classics.
Freedom Bar – A stylish and cultured gay bar and club, Freedom is the destination of choice for many West End performers and has a uniquely theatrical atmosphere, reflected in their signature cocktail list and gorgeous luxurious decor. Home to the beautiful people, the wonderful people and the fresh fun and funky people, Freedom is all about seeing and being seen. Expect many media, fashion and entertainment types including the odd gay celebrity to mingle in the elegant ground floor cocktail booth and dance floor – replete with crystal chandeliers, crushed pink velvet booths, fresh flowers, and over 200 mirror balls. Things can get a little crazier later in the night with stunning visuals, talented DJ’s and dance poles!
New Bloomsbury Set – An independent gay cocktail bar in the heart of Bloomsbury, only a 15-minute walk from the main gay Soho scene. A cozy basement oasis to catch up with friends, to start your night out, or for an intimate date. If you do get a little lost, they are addressed on Marchmont Street, however, the main entrance is just around the corner decorated with hedges and flowers on Tavistock Place.
BAR Soho – One the quirkiest cocktail bars around, Bar Soho, is a stunning remodel of the old Soho Brasserie whose modern interior reflects the Soho of today. Oozing more style, class, and sophistication than we thought possible in a gay bar, this is a marvelous addition to the London gay scene and a great example for what queer spaces can look like in today’s world. Devoted to making memories and good times, let the expert mixologists tempt you with their secret cocktail menu and lose your inhibitions in Bar Soho. Drink, dance and party into the night.
Comptons of Soho – One of the oldest gay pubs in London, having a reputation as a gay meeting place even back in the 50s when things were still very much illegal and is often referred to as the “The Grand Dame of Queer Street”. Popular today with older, beer-drinking men this large, Victorian-style pub has two bars, one on the ground floor and one upstairs, and also attracts many tourists.
The Duke Of Wellington – A class London pub catering to gay local who live and work nearby. With tender-toned décor over two floors, great ale and drinks, this is a great place to socialize with friends and colleagues for a quiet drink or to start your night. Very much a local gay bar feel right in the heart of the metropolitan city.
She SOHO – SHE is the only women-priority venue in town, so ladies – if you are looking for a lesbian bar in London this is your best bet – though it does draw in a great variety of LBTQ+ individuals all year round. SHE’s modern basement bar operates both as a community hotspot, and vibrant after-hours club, showcasing the hottest DJs on the scene, alongside regular drag king cabaret, burlesque and social events. The prime location, in the heart of Soho’s Old Compton Street, attracts a wide range of women, of various ages and backgrounds, and the very competitive drinks offers to keep them coming back over-and-over again…
Other Gay Bars In London
The Two Brewers – proudly serving the gay community of London for over 30 years, this is one of the cities most famous cabaret venue located in Clapham. There is cabaret here 7 days a week combined with Karaoke, quiz nights and some of London’s famous Drag acts. There is a nightclub open here on Friday and Saturdays and if you are looking to end the weekend with a bang on Sunday there is always a ‘power of three’ Triple drag act!
Ku Bar Leicester Square – The ideal after work gay hangout with great offers throughout the week on premium branded products. A trendy and chic design with walls of flat screen TV’s playing all the latest music videos and Ku’s signature sexy images and arty videos. Spread over three floors Ku Leicester Square has three distinct spaces. There is a premium cocktail lounge on the first floor; an ideal location to take someone you want to impress, or why not head down to the Klub with DJ’s every night until 3 am. Ku Bar is one of the largest gay bars in London and only a short step from Leicester Square, open 7 days a week from 12 pm.
The George & Dragon – A late-night gay bar in the traditional British pub style, offering a variety of the best drag cabaret at weekends and on special occasions. Situated at the bottom of Blackheath Hill, this is South East London’s best cabaret spot. In need of a refurbishment, but it is pretty spacious and the only gay bar left in this part of London so we hope it keeps its doors open for as long as possible…
West 5 – West London’s longest established gay venue showcasing a wide variety of international and local talent in fabulous shows. Late night things are significantly more dancey but we are always happy to just pop in for their live drag performances. They have been open 15 years now – so we can’t be the only ones who enjoy it here…
The Bridge – A cute and snug gay bar in London’s Clapham gay area housing under a railway arch, presenting cocktails, wines, and light meals. Thursday’s offer drag bingo, they have great happy specials and there is always a fun easy-going crowd to mingle with. Especially recommended in the summer to grab a pint and enjoy their outdoor seating.
BJ’s White Swan – A perennial favorite of the East End gay scene, for over 30 years, BJ’s White Swan is one of our most beloved places to party in Gay London. It’s wild, open late, employs the most breath-taking team of people and has one of London’s largest smoking terraces…. what is not to love….There is also a great mix of DJs, fun events and drag shows on Sundays.
Eagle London – An iconic landmark on the city’s club scene, Eagle London in Vauxhall stands proudly as one of the most eclectic and inclusive venues London has to offer. Whether it’s dancing, drinking with your mates in the fun beer garden, shooting Pool or listening to live artists Eagle has something for everyone. Sunday nights offer the internationally renowned Horse Meat Disco and Saturday night parties are always a smash-hit, but what we really love is the dedication to inclusivity. It seems to have worked as on any given night you can bump into anyone from club kids, mature bears, and fashion gays to jocks, drag queens and leather dads. Who knows who you might meet…
The Cock Tavern – One of Londons newest gay bars located in Vauxhall, the simply named Cock Tavern welcomes everyone to their free-spirited Free House, with a well-curated selection of beers, wines, and cocktails, that are as refreshing after work as they are at 2 am! Paying homage to the building’s past, the team here has reworked the previous bars Tiki interior with the tavern’s Georgian legacy to create their very own Georgian Tiki style. Best enjoyed over a signature Rhubarb Gin Spritz or Smoked Cherry Negroni, the Cock Tavern is a very welcome addition to the gay scene in London that will have you returning time-and-time again.
Central Station – Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the independently owned Central Station has evolved into a gay bar, restaurant, boutique bed and breakfast establishment, and exciting nightspot in the regenerated bustling King’s Cross – just three tube stops from Oxford Circus. The venue is celebrating 23 years of growth and adaptation, welcoming visitors from all over the world as well as regular local customers. Wine and dine, or just enjoy a glass of quality beer from around the world, in their relaxed and friendly ground-floor bar or come for the Friday nights Happy Hour from 6 pm and late night DJs / entertainment.
Dalston Superstore – Despite the misleading name, this eclectic gay bar + café + club offers sublime cocktails, comfort food & a full calendar of art shows & music events throughout the year. We are big fans of the Disco Brunch on Saturday but you can also never go wrong with the late night party zone, live acts, and DJs. Utterly queer and fiercely fabulous we just can’t get enough of this gay hotspot in Dalston.
The Queen Adelaide – A former lap dancing bar and seafood grill scrubbed back to an east end boozer for the local LGBT community. Draught beer and ciders on tap are complimented with a fun selection of wines and spirits. Hungry? Try the home-made Colombian empanadas or just go for the colorful, camp and fun live art and mindless hedonism. You will see what we mean…
RVT (Royal Vauxhall Tavern) – The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is one of London’s most Iconic award-winning cabaret, performance, bar and club night venues which is once again the venue of choice for many leading artists, promoters and the LGBT community. A disused Victorian music hall transformed into a gay stalwart, we are obsessed with the weekly club nights, fab vibes and world-class cabaret drag acts. The beating heart of Vauxhall and the best in alternative entertainment in London, this is London queer culture at its finest and absolutely not-to-be-missed.
The Old Ship – A small and independently run gay pub in Ratcliffe with live Cabaret and DJs every Sunday and every other Saturday. Cheap, cheerful and without pretense – if you are in the area it is worth a stop-in.
The Glory – A popular queer and alternative East End pub and performance mecca with a cabaret lounge bar, basement nightclub, and crowded weekend dance floor. The Glory is one of London’s leading gay venues, known for its wild parties, creative clientele and vast eclectic programming of special events and shows. The Glory draws in the juggernaut of performers, partygoers and local creative and effortlessly hosts a whole carousel of showbizness, clubbing events, screenings, performance art, cabaret, gogos, live music gigs, life drawing, talks, fashion shows – you name it, you will find it here! Many of East London’s most renowned performers and club kids began their careers here – so look up their event page for your visit as there are sure to be at least a few happenings you want to attend. The place to be seen – and to see stuff!
Weekly Gay Parties And Clubs In London
Horse Meat Disco @ EAGLE London – Horse Meat Disco began in a basement in London’s Chinatown where the team set out to create a safe queer space for the disenfranchised disco citizens of London. Now in its fourteenth year, Horse Meat Disco is dedicated to the industry of human happiness and pumps it out every Sunday.
The WayOut Club @ The Minories – Open every Saturday from 9.00pm until 3.00am. London’s Premier Night Out for transgender people AND all those who respect them. Including cross-dressers, drag queens, ladyboys, transsexuals, partners, family, friends, and trans allies. A glamorous, wonderful, safe place to… meet, mix, mingle, dance with two DJs and stunning trans and drag performers.
BEYOND @ FiRE – Beyond has evolved from a small-scale after-hours party into one of the city’s favorite gay party brands with plenty of hot muscled men and exceptional DJs. Its home is now at what is arguably the UK’s best-known gay club, Fire, along with other parties produced by the London-based gay events and promotions company Orange Nation. Not only has Beyond conquered the London party scene, but it’s also evolved into an internationally recognized name, having held club nights all across the world, in cities such as Miami, New York, Tel Aviv, and Ibiza. Beyond opens at 4 am every Sunday morning until midday – and really gets going around 6 am. Yes, this is London – sleep is overrated anyway.
BRÜT London @ Bloc South – One of London’s biggest Friday night gay parties for men only. Dance, cruise and drink the night away with blokes, bears, hunks and cubs. Great music, plenty of action and efficient entry mean if you arrive before 1 am you can generally avoid waiting outside in the London cold. Inside, however, you are bound to hard up quickly and everything here is hot, heavy and hard.
Orange @ Protocol – Orange has been at the forefront of London clubbing for two decades… The legendary party is now in Protocol, part of the Fire complex, from 11 pm every Sunday night all the way till 6 am on a Monday morning. One of Europe’s best gay dance parties attracting international DJs playing play everything from deep house and uplifting beats to tech house music.
Circa The Club – London’s hottest new LGBT+ nightclub, bringing you two late nights of house and r&b classics. Located on Victoria Embankment, music is at the heart of Circa the Club, with talented, home-grown DJ’s mixing the tracks till the early hours. Open on Friday and Saturday 10 pm till 4 am, you are guaranteed a night of sophistication and sass, so be sure to dress to impress. Plush booths, state of the art sound and lighting and an open floor dance and bar area comfortably hold up to 500 people – and we are living for the industrial-modern vibes.
XXL @ Pulse – A weekly party for bears, leather daddies, otters, cubs, chubby men and their admirers held Wednesday and Saturday nights out in Southwark. There is a strict dress code listed on the event page, a large dance floor, multiple bars, and a pumping dark room trade. Arrive early for their Happy Hour which goes until midnight.
WRONG! @ UNION – The UK’s latest-running Saturday morning after hours Wrong! is open from 1 am Friday night through to Saturday lunchtime. An underground venue, the best techno, and a mixed gay/straight crowd. Get discounted entry by finding a flyer from someone nearby and enjoy the fabulously mixed vibed and utter euphoria.
A:M afterhours @ Protocol – The best way to end your week and the only way to start your weekend – 11 hours, 6 DJs, 2 rooms … 1 incredible party! Doors open at 11 pm on Friday nights and the fun continues till 10 am on a Saturday morning. The hottest guys, biggest DJs and party vibes for those who don’t want their Friday night to ever end.
Occasional Gay Parties In London
Pink Glove @ The Victoria – A queer Pulp, Indie, Post Punk & New Wave disco for beatniks, dirtbags and lumberjacks in Dalston. Normally held every two weeks.
R & She – London, Berlin and New York’s hotly attended queer club night party playing the best female artists of R&B and hip-hop from 90’s classics to present day floor-fillers to the happiest friendliest crowds around! Join ‘R & She’ on the first Saturday of each month at Sedition (formerly East Bloc), in Hoxton, London
Handsome – Offering straight up house for queers all night long every few months in various London clubs.
Lady Olé – A new party aiming to celebrate all things bizarro, kitsch, queer, and dance in the Spanish language. Maintaining a strong emphasis on bringing the Spanish community together, celebrating its values, and showcasing Spanish queer sensibilities to people from all backgrounds and nationalities, Lady Olé embraces the Anglo-Saxon equivalent by bridging both Spanish and English cultures. Partying is better done together… Usually held on the last Saturday of the month at various clubs.
Beefmince – A popular bear party welcoming a crowd full of hotties, beards, cubs, bears and lovers of a good party! Beefmince London champions an ‘everyone welcome’ policy that creates a fun attitude-free atmosphere and a music policy based around quality dance music: vocal house with big chunky basslines and tech-house and electro-house in the later hours. Runs every third Friday of the month at the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London where it attracts hundreds of people every month.
Bootylicious @ Union – One of London’s original LGBT raves running since 200 and always continuously evolving. Both Old school and new with RnB Hiphop Dancehall Trap Afrobeat Disco House Soul music pumped out across 2 floors
Urban World @ The Scala – The UK’s biggest open-minded urban and world music club night hosting events at London’s legendary super-club; Scala! Held every other month, if you are lucky enough to be in Gay London when it is on you will find 4 massive dance floors filled with queers from all over the LGBT spectrum dancing and grinding the night away as one.
Gay Saunas in London
Had enough of gay cruising in London – either in the bars or elsewhere? For those who want a bit more guaranteed action, the gay saunas in London will not disappoint you (unlikely all those faceless Grinder accounts…).
While gay sauna worldwide have been closing down – and London has not been immune to this trend – there is still a lot of fun and steamy sauna to explore here spread out across the city, and most with 24 hour opening times in the weekend. Most are well-maintained and there is something for everyone from huge mega-sauna with every imaginable facility for you to enjoy to small sauna filled with loyal locals and chilled vibes. If this is your first time, you might also want to busy up on etiquette with our gay sauna guide.
Take your ID if you look young and be aware that searches on arrival are frequent due to an on-going problem with drug-related incidents. Bottled water can generally not be taken into any sauna for this reason but is available inside.
Most gay sauna in London get crowded on weeknights after 5 pm, weekend mornings and on Sunday afternoons. We also found Google Maps helpful for displaying the busiest times for most locations. While we are sure we missed a few these are the most popular gay sauna in London, and you spend weeks just exploring each and every one.
Gay sauna or not, in any sexual encounter, please take adequate precautions. No matter what your intentions are in while traveling, you should bring your own condoms and lube to play it safe. Take home a hot guy or a hot memory, not an STD.
Besides, you never know what other fun surprises your trip might have in store for you...
Chariots – At 15,000 sqft this is one of Europe’s biggest gay sauna conveniently located just a few minutes from the Vauxhall tube station. There is a whole host of Facilities including a hot spa pool, two 30 man dry saunas, two 20 man steam rooms, video rooms, 38 rest and over 500 lockers. Yes, Chariots Sauna is the UK’s biggest and busiest gay men’s sauna and is always packed – especially on weekends after clubs and bars close. A line at 4 am on a Sunday morning is common, but well worth the wait.
Sweatbox Sauna – Currently closed for a million-pound renovation, check their website to see if it is completed yet. We expect very exciting things and Sweatbox Sauna to re-open as the best gay sauna in London. No pressure guys!
Pleasuredrome – A fun gay sauna in London that is unique in it is open continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year making Pleasuredrome the only gay venue in the United Kingdom that never closes. Recently refurbished Pleasuredrome now boasts deluxe pods, a cinema, a three hundred locker changing room, London’s largest gay spa pool, two steam rooms, two saunas, plenty of private rooms, a cafe-bar serving alcohol 24/7 and plenty of encounter areas. If you are also curious to try a gay massage in London, Pleasuredrome offers massage by qualified masseurs in their dedicated massage suite.
Covent Garden Health Spa – London’s premier men-only health spa situated in Covent Garden. Their facilities are designed to help our clientèle relieve the pressures and stresses of modern life in a discreet environment. There is a sauna, spa pool, steam room, wet room, restrooms and a licensed bar. There is a nice selection of guys and none seemed to be too pushy which was nice, everything was spotless and the staff was polite. A new – but very welcome – addition to the London gay sauna scene.
The Locker Room – Just a short walk from Kennington Station, this gay sauna offers large steam rooms, private relaxation cabins, a lounge & chill out areas and free WiFi + coffee. Entrance is very affordable by London standards reflecting the smaller size of the Locker Room compared to other gay saunas but they have recently undergone an extension and renovation. A popular option is the weekend special which for £20 gives unlimited entry across the weekend – perfect if you are staying nearby. The bear, naked and themed Wednesday nights are also very popular.
Saunabar Portsea – A small, kindly and friendly sauna, catering for those customers who desire a discreet and quality venue providing a wide range of services, specializing in the best gay massage in London. Located in West London close to Marble Arch Station, there is a steam room, sauna, and chill-out bar (with free light refreshments). If your idea of a sauna is a huge place with different floors, mazes, hot tubs etc, this is not for you – but for an erotic massage and a little fun afterward then Saunabar Portsea could be for you!
Sailors Sauna – A fixture of the East End London gay scene, this fun sauna boasts a large steam room, open showers, XXX TV lounge, a large jacuzzi and multiple floors of relaxation rooms. There is also a new rooftop terrace is now open if you need some fresh air with your fun. The price is pretty high, considering it is not as big as other saunas in London but they have fun events including Latino nights if you can’t quite make it to Mexico City, Medellin or Brazil, a Big-n-Cuddly night and Sunday buffet. Open 24 hours over the weekend.
800 Sauna – The largest &friendliest trans & admirers sauna club nights in London are held here on Thursday and Saturday nights. Otherwise 7 days a week this is a 3000sq ft gay sauna boasting 3 levels, including a dance floor, 2 dressing rooms with lockers and showers and a play level with multiple dark rooms, a fully equipped dungeon, video lounge, and private cubicles. Basic, cheap and fun – Just as we like it!
E15 Club – Set in the East End of London (Stratford), E15 Club is open 7 days a week and is the perfect place to relax and chill out before, after or even on a day off from work. The ground floor amenities consist of a coffee bar, changing area, a TV lounge, jumbo jacuzzi, steam room, power showers, dry sauna, toilets and a garden for all smokers – or if you just want to catch a breath of fresh air. On the first floor, there are subtly lit restrooms each with their own door and lock for privacy while in the dark basement your senses are heightened with a large seated video lounge along with a massage table and two ordinary beds to use at your disposal. There are also regular theme nights, the most popular of which is the ‘Bears Night’ on the first Thursday of every month. Prices are reasonable and facilities are generally well-maintained, with a no-attitude clientele.
Gay Cruising and Fetish Clubs in London
If the bars or gay parties in London are too vanilla for you, perhaps these fetish clubs and cruise lounges are a better fit?
We have to warn you; however, London has one of the most intense fetish scenes we have ever come across – up there with Prague, Vienna, Rome and Paris – and it is not for everyone.
We have tried to identify places for the more ‘initiated,’ but really there is nothing vanilla here. Sadly, the number of permanently kink-friendly spaces in London is diminishing (as it is globally) thanks to soaring rents, gentrification, and gay hook up apps, so a few great venues have recently closed. Thankfully, however, there is still plenty of ways to satisfy yourself, whether it’s in a dark and dirty fetish dungeon, a large cruise club or the increasingly popular ultra-hardcore cruising parties and club theme nights.
Just play safe, and try not to get too overwhelmed. The fetish scene in Gay London is not for faint-of-heart…
CumUnion @ The Flying Dutchman – Held on the 1st Sunday of every month, this is the London location for this infamous international gay sex party. It is also held in Hove near Gay Brighton, Toronto, Amsterdam, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Denver, Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Just to name a few…Set across two floors, with an intimate bar area and cloakroom on the ground floor, and the play areas on the basement level. The play area has many pieces of play equipment including three slings, bed, benches, and much more. There are also showers downstairs (you need to bring your own towel). This is very much a group-action party, although guys do occasionally go off in pairs or threes in a quiet corner, or just in the middle of the room. It’s a great atmosphere, no attitude, and very laid back. You can take it all at your own pace, or just dive in. This party usually gets busy quite early on, and continues right to the end at 7pm.
The Backstreet – Open since 1985 this is London’s longest-running leather bar, right in the heart of the East End. The Backstreet is a place for gay men who are into leather or rubber and is definitely all about cruising. It is so famous, even celebrated artist Tom of Finland has created two designs for The Backstreet – Leatherman, and Rubberboy. There is a fully licensed bar, space to change into your gear, private outdoor smoking area and large cruising area with dark play spaces. Membership costs £25 a year, and it’s free if you’re under 25 – just bring proof of age. You don’t need to be a member, but if you plan to visit more than a few times it ends up a lot cheaper. Their dress code is among the strictest of its kind and is why The Backstreet is famous in the London gay scene and amongst leather and rubber fans worldwide. Which is why there are absolutely no exceptions: it’s only Leather or rubber here so if you’re in full leather uniform, chaps and a harness, or a rubber one-piece bodysuit – perfect! Check their website for events and for more information on what to wear before you go. They host BUFF @ The Backstreet, the longest-running naked cruise in London held on Sundays and Wednesdays.
The Underground Club – A fun cruise club hidden in the basement of the gay bar Central Station. It can be hard to find, but the discreet entrance is on Balfe Street with an ‘Underground’ sign on the entrance door and a buzzer. Gets more action heavy on weekdays, whereas in the weekend it becomes more of a hot-and-heavy dance floor. Very grungy and in need of an overhaul, but fun cruising and an extensive line up of events and themed nights listed on their website every week.
Vault 139 – A fun and relatively clean gay cruise bar in London, which is basically a bar with five private room for guys to have fun. It’s no place for shy guys as instead of waiting a lot of action ends up taking place in plain sight. The entrance fee includes a secure coat check, a drink, re-entry, and Wi-Fi for no extra charge. Information on their dress code for different nights (cruise, strip or underwear) can be found on their website. Vault 139 is generally pretty, and almost always a fun night – but the best nights to visit are the underwear and naked nights for group fun. Join, or just watch, it is up to you….
SBN & NBN – Head along every Sunday at 2 pm for the largest weekly naked party in Europe with over 400 guys. At SBN (Stark Bollock Naked) the get the hottest guys, put them all in a room, have live porn star shows and pumping DJs and see’s what happens. This is not for the faint of heart, but perfect if you want naked fun with the other, fit, athletic and muscled studs. Take advantage of the Play Spaces, Dark Room, Beds, and 8 Slings – and don’t be surprised when passing strangers cop a feel. If you are Aabit shy, or just prefer your man in their pants you can join the party after 6 pm for NBN in your jocks, shorts, underwear, budgie smugglers, or still naked.
Jamie HP Events – London’s leader of sex clubs and fetish nights, most famous for SBN but has a full roster of other fun and horny events. Check out their website for full event details and to find something to suit you – Horse Fair, Jocks & Socks, Pool Party, Sex Circus. It’s all there…
TROUGH London – Named after the vessel pigs drink out of, this irregular gay fetish party in London has amalgamated jocks, bears, hunks, beards, queers, twinks and in-betweeners into one pretty mess on the dancefloor. Normally held once a month with various themes, leatherwear, rubberwear, sportswear, underwear, and casual wear are all acceptable – but a less is more approach to dress is encouraged.
Bloc South – One of Gay London’s hottest late-night gay cruise bars hosting plenty of infamous men-only themed parties including BRÜT, FitLadz, JOXXX, Man Up, Hard On, and Club CP. Without a doubt one of the best clubs for gay cruising in London with a very stimulating layout, clean facilities, friendly service and lots of areas and dark corners to explore. The lighting was perfect, drink prices are reasonable and there are plenty of fun dark rooms, cabins, cruising area, glory holes, communal beds, and slings. Check Bloc South’s Facebook page for more specific event information, but continuous one of the most popular is Club CP, a night for men who like to give or take corporal punishment held on the first Tuesday of every month or the extreme Hard On fetish nights held on the third Saturday of the month.
Teds Place – A small but very welcoming cruise bar in Western London. A core of the gay London cruise scene for over 20 years, this is a fun space with well-defined and organized events most nights including trans-admirer’s nights, naked, dark nights, chillout and more. Take a look at their website – which is generally kept very up-to-date. It is pretty dark, dank and a throwback to the days when gays skulked in basements, but hey – for many that’s a large part of the appeal.
Blue Door Dungeon – A fetish studio for those who want a kinky place space to explore their photographic desires. You get the whole venue to yourself when you book so it’s not your usual ‘turn up for anonymous fun’ venue but the Blue Door is in a great Islington location, with its own private entrance and is one large basement venue with The Play Zone, and The Chill Out Area.
The Bunker – A fully-equipped and atmospheric dungeon play space, housed in an authentic World War 2 bunker. Open 24/7 you can book around the clock for the entire space but it is by appointment only, so don’t just turn up. Centrally located and only a 5 mins walk from Baker St/Marylebone, rates are pretty reasonable during the day for 5 people and the kit list is exhaustive, to say the least. One of the world’s best fetish play dungeons and the ideal location for unforgettable fun with other deviants.
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your global rainbow family and don't forget to share your best gay stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...We'd love to hear from you!