An open-minded and multicultural destination, London is certainly a place where all are welcome. If you’re keen to check out some of the hotspots for the London LGBT community, there’s quite a bit on offer. While the city itself is inclusive, welcoming accommodation can be found in essentially every part of the city.
[caption id="attachment_1722" align="aligncenter" width="551"] Photo by Hilary Perkins CC BY SA [/caption]
London doesn’t have one “gay ghetto” in particular but you’ll find quite a few drinking spots and nightclubs tailored to the queer community in Vauxhall. You can also discover an eclectic collection of bars and clubs to suite all tastes in the popular Soho area, mostly along Old Compton Street. This is where the annual Pride London celebrations are hosted.
Check-in to the Mercure London Bloomsbury
Accommodation in Soho ranges from indulgent luxury properties to economical budget-friendly hostels. Alternatively, choose a happy middle ground and check in at the Mercure London Bloomsbury located on Southampton Row. This four-star boutique property is just a short walk from Soho, Covent Garden and Oxford Street areas.
The welcoming property is modern and sleek with rain showers and a recently refurbished bar that serves up a great cocktail after a long day of exploring the city. Mercure London Bloomsbury is also a great spot to stay if enjoying the theatre is on your radar as it’s within walking distance to London’s consistently buzzing entertainment district.
While the concierge at the Mercure is always at the ready to recommend plenty of close by places for dining, shopping and entertainment, there’s a few local spots within a short walk that are worth considering.
The popular She Bar is run for women by women right in the heart of Soho on Old Compton Street. Its dimly lit rooms offer tables and seating, and a quieter atmosphere to relax with a drink before heading into the next section of the bar for a far more crowded vibe and dance floor. Depending on the night, you might find cabaret shows, indie music or top DJ showcases.
Also on the same road and tailored for the gents, G-A-Y Bar is your standard nightclub with drinks, plenty of pop music and three levels of dancing. You’ll find a younger crowd of guys and their gal pals until the wee hours of the a.m. when G-A-Y Late opens at another venue at 5 Goslett Yard.
If you’re seeking something that’s for everyone, Freedom Bar on Wardour Street isn’t swayed by labels and welcomes anyone to enjoy a variety of in-house art exhibitions, dining options, films, and of course a drink in the basement bar which is always full of faces.
If the dance scene isn’t your thing and you’re up for something more chilled, Admiral Duncan on Compton St is a famous and favourite gay bar. The pub-style venue is full of stories ranging from the tragic bombing that took place there in 1999 to quirky tales of a wooden legged ex-sailor sent to Australia for throwing rocks at King William IV. Admiral Duncan is the place for plenty of conversations, pints, and a wine list that’s short and sweet. While weekends will bring the odd drag acts and 80’s-90’s music dance nights, you’ll often find the clientele of the Admiral Duncan frequenting the bar for an afternoon drink.
Shopping[caption id="attachment_1726" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Tony Austin CC -BY[/caption]
The surrounding area is full of boutique shops along Carnaby Street, Berwick Street and and Oxford Street suiting all tastes from high-end fashion to casual wear and speciality food outlets. Even your inner child will adore the famous Hamleys toy shop. If it’s something a little more risqué you had in mind, the area also offers plenty of lingerie shops including Agent Provocatuer.
Entertainment & Culture[caption id="attachment_1712" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo by Michael Button CC BY[/caption]
London’s theatre scene is primarily located around the West End and includes Soho theatres which showcase everything from big ticket musicals to small scale plays and shows. There’s also a plethora of comedy clubs, jazz clubs and even karaoke bars.
History buffs will love that the British Museum’s history exhibits are just a very short walk away.
Keeping with the tradition of the area, Soho offers everything from high tea establishments to casual cafes, ethnic eateries and a handful of Michelin-starred fine dining establishments. Visitors are certainly spoilt for choice.
After your evening out, return back to the Mercure for a late night drink at the bar, some 24 hour room service, a well earned night’s sleep and indulgent breakfast the next morning.