Photo: © PAWEŁ OPASKA | DREAMSTIME
IF YOU’RE AN LGBTQ TRAVELER, now is an especially appropriate time to visit London according to Paul Gauger, interim executive vice president of the Americas, VisitBritain, the nation’s tourism organization. “The United Kingdom is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales,” he said. “To mark the significant anniversary, cultural establishments throughout Great Britain are featuring special exhibits and events commemorating the anniversary. In London, the British Museum and the Tate are revealing prolific exhibitions great for first-time visitors to experience.”
Regardless of timing, of course, London has lots to offer LGBTQ travelers. “Whether you are in the buzzing bars and clubs of Soho and Vauxhall or the hip East End, London is full of fun neighborhoods where diversity is celebrated,” Gauger noted.
To make it easier for gay globetrotters to discover the United Kingdom, VisitBritain in 2014 launched a Love Is Great campaign and maintains a section on its website with gay travel guides to London and other destinations.
To underscore the historic year, as well as the United Kingdom’s progressive stance, the British government is celebrating LGBTQ rights by participating in walks in 16 cities across the United States, Mexico and Canada this year. “It was my great privilege to walk for the first time in D.C.’s Capital Pride,” said Kim Darroch, British Ambassador. “Diversity and inclusion are values that make the United Kingdom great, and as a leader in human rights, the U.K. is committed to promoting the LGBT cause around the world.”
Among London’s most gay-popular neighborhoods is Soho, home to G-A-Y Bar, attracting a diverse and young crowd, and Comptons of Soho, described as a “grand old gay pub” with a nearly 30-year history. Hazlitt’s Hotel is a top choice for visitors looking to be conveniently close to Soho’s gay life. In Vauxhall, Eagle London and mega-club XXL offer large-scale nighttime diversion. And in the hip and creative East End, Dalston Superstore serves multiple functions as a café/bar and art space; Town Hall Hotel is an appropriately cutting-edge hotel option here.