Times sure have changed since the writer Oscar Wilde first arrived in England’s capital in the 19th century. Today, LGBT globetrotters have no problem navigating and enjoying what is truly one of the world’s great gay meccas.
To get a historic overview of gay life in London (including, perhaps, a bit about Mr. Wilde), contact Centred, a community organization that offers a 90- minute guided walking tour of Soho on Sunday afternoons covering 300 years of LGBT history, including its effect on the arts, culture and politics.
There is no dearth of hotels in London that know how to serve the needs of LGBT travelers. Nearly all the international upscale brands are here, of course — such as Andaz London Liverpool Street, part of the Hyatt portfolio, which hosted a fundraising concert with the London Gay Men’s Chorus in June and also stages a quarterly burlesque night hosted by Joe Black, one of the city’s best-known drag performers.
London also excels when it comes to offering a diverse group of independent, LGBT-friendly hotels with various styles. The noteworthy options include Hazlitt’s, a boutique hotel set in the former home of 18th-century writer William Hazlitt and conveniently close to the gay scene; and The Soho Hotel, a luxurious, 91-room property with a bar, restaurant, gym, screening room and film club. One of the city’s newest options is Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, a stylish member of Design Hotels located in the East End. Other LGBT-friendly properties include the Amsterdam Hotel in Earls Court and the Church Street Hotel, a funky property with Latin American décor touches like bathroom tiles from Guadalajara and imported movie posters.
London’s vibrant nightlife offers plenty of excitement. Comptons, the oldest gay bar in Soho, remains a must-stop venue, featuring DJs every weekend. Also in Soho find the aptly named G-A-Y, a hot spot known for its great drink specials, available Sunday through Thursday every week. And in South London, The Two Brewers offers everything from dancing to cabaret-style shows.
London & Partners, the destination’s official promoter, maintains a helpful listing of LGBT travel information, including details about nightlife, hotels and the annual weeklong Pride in London festival, which takes place in June with a parade, performances and parties. If you’re planning on visiting during that event, it’s a good idea to book LGBT-popular hotels especially early so you don’t get shut out of the fun.
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