Whether you live there, are a frequent visitor or are yet to sample the delights of the UK’s capital you’ll probably be aware of London’s well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s most LGBTQ-friendly cities. Actually – cancel that – London is THE most LGBTQ-friendly city on the planet.
Bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants – whether in Soho, the epicentre of the LGBTQ+ scene, or further afield – will all vie for your attention and, for those times when you stray from the gay and put on your hat marked “Conventional Tourist”, first time visitors will find themselves pulled in every direction to marvel at London’s unrivalled heritage (parts of the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are kept, are almost 1,000 years old) and Westminster Abbey is even older. In fact, there are even some remnants of the old Roman walls in the City of London (the square mile or so which serves as London’s financial centre) and they were built at around the same time Christ was turning water into a fine bottle of Argentinian Malbec. Art lovers could spend a year visiting the capital’s galleries without even scratching the surface (check out The Wallace Collection, one of our faves), and foodies will soon come to realise that London, far from being the culinary wasteland for which it was notorious in the 60s and 70s, is now a global centre of international cuisine.
London’s only trans-owned bar
Just a couple of Tube stops north of the city centre lies Camden Town, famed for its markets and its championing of alternative lifestyles. Here you’ll find old-school punks (yes, they still exist) jostling for pavement rights with goths, emos and drag queens, with traditional pubs and London’s only trans-owned bar, The Zodiac, providing the perfect sanctuary from the crowds to enjoy a well-earned gin and tonic.
Many LGBTQ+ visitors choose to time their stay in the metropolis to coincide with Pride in London which, in 2022, is back on 2 July after a two-year hiatus brought about by You Know What. The Pride parade, running right thorough the City of Westminster, is a sea of lavishly adorned lorries, floats and buses, all cheered on by enthusiastic crowds as all of central London embraces its queerness in all its glittery glory. Rainbow flags flutter atop grand public buildings while entertainment is provided at the main stage in Trafalgar Square, with the women’s stage just up the road in Leicester Square.
UK Black Pride
Pride in London isn’t the capital’s only major pride event. UK Black Pride, which proudly declares itself to be Europe’s largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQI+ people, takes place on 14 August at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the east of the city, home of the 2012 London Olympics.
London boasts some of the world’s most famous hotels but After a long journey by air, rail or road – or, in some cases, all three – the absolute worst way to kick off your city break is to find that you’ve landed up in poor accommodation miles away from where you actually want to be. That’s why we always recommend choosing a household name to avoid disappointment and, if you can combine international reputation with unimpeachable LGBTQ-friendly credentials, then you’ve hit the bullseye with Hilton.
Our friends at Hilton are accredited by Pride 365, and in order to cut the Pride 365 mustard, they have had to demonstrate that their commitment to LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion goes way buying adding a rainbow to their logo during Pride season and instead, is something embedded into the culture. And, what’s more, they have a range of properties in London, so whether you’re looking to rub shoulders with the nobility at The Biltmore in Mayfair, take in the pan-London views from the London Hilton on Park Lane or mix with the hipsters in bohemian Shoreditch at the Hart, you can bet your bottom dollar, pound or euro that Hilton will have something for you.
So, to make life easier for you (that’s what we’re here for folks), here is a handy list linking to Hilton’s great London properties, including some which will even welcome your dog.