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The best places in London for the LGBT community


By Steve Brown

London is a thriving metropolis that is widely regarded as the most diverse city in the whole of Europe.

Go to any bar in the UK capital and you will be surrounded by a mix of people from around the world, all with different interests, beliefs and styles, and no-one will bat an eyelid.

If you’re from the LGBT+ community and you’re looking for a city to visit that is inclusive, open and exciting to you then look no further than London. In this article we take a look at some of the best places to visit in the English capital.


Mark Ames and David Dindol opened XXL in 2000 with the aim of providing gay men with a safe, but also exciting place to party in the capital.

Bi-weekly men only events are operated each week, with a small but open group on a Wednesday and a vibrant group on a Saturday.

Originally Ames and Dindol aimed to make the venue a safe haven for the bear community, but in recent years the Southwark venue has attracted a great mix of muscular jocks, older guys and the odd twink.

XXL offers great drinks deal which are the antithesis to the overpriced alcohol prices of London, which encourage visitors to enjoy the two large dance rooms and the ever-popular dark room.


Probably the most well-known gay club in London, quaintly situated under the arches at Charing Cross. The venue mainly attracts a younger crowd with chat, dance and RnB music seven nights a week.

Heaven also hosts an incredibly popular ‘Porn Idol’ feature every Thursday where visitors can strip off in front of a crowd to be in with the chance of winning £1,000.

Further to that, the venue has also been host to surprise hidden gigs by names such as Adele, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.

Circa Club

One of the newest clubs on the scene in London, Circa Club recently opened as the bigger brother of the popular Circa Bar in Soho.

Situated a stone’s throw away from Heaven, Circa Club tends to attract a slightly older crowd.

The venue has an incredibly impressive tiered main room that plays predominantly house music, and the early signs are that it will be a popular gay venue for some time.


Don’t fancy heading straight to a nightclub? Casual drinks in a bar more your thing? Then you won’t miss out in London with plenty of LGBT venues all vying for your business, here’s a list of some of the best.


The smaller and original venue of Circa Club is situated in the bustling, debauchery-laden borough of Soho. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night be prepared to suck your stomach in, as the bar can get uncomfortably crowded.

Despite that, Circa is the place to be seen for anyone that matters as it’s synonymous with attracting a glamorous crowd of beautiful clientele.

Duke of Wellington

If you’re visiting London from outside the UK then this pub is definitely a must-visit. It’s a traditional corner pub that could easily be situated in the Cotswolds or the Peak District.

As you would imagine, the venue attracts an older crowd, but regardless of that, it’s still a must-see for any LGBT travellers.

Compton’s of Soho

If you’re planning a pub crawl in the English capital then start in Soho, and finish in Soho. There’s an endless stream of pubs and clubs to visit, all aimed at the LGBT community.

Once you’ve finished your pint of bitter in the Duke of Wellington, pop into one of the longest running gay bars in London and enjoy two floors of fun.

Friendly Society

Had enough of the traditional English pubs with an LGBT vibe? Then get yourself down to friendly society and step into a world of possibility and post-modernism.

Step down the stairs into this underground bar and you’ll be greeted by a deluge of whacky décor – exotic fish tanks and Barbie dolls hanging from the ceiling.

Friendly society is the place to be in London, and if you’re spotted there then your ‘cool status’ will immediately sky-rocket.

Ku Bar

If you really are tired of the old English pub vibe then head to Ku Bar and imagine you’re in Bogota, Antigua or La Paz.

There are two venues, one in Soho and one just off Leicester square, but both are famous for their topless, highly-attractive Latino staff. A definite must-see.

Off the beaten track

You’ll find that 99 per cent of London is welcoming to the LGBT community, so you might not want to confine yourself to strictly ‘gay’ zone when travelling in London.

Once you’ve finished partying in Soho there are plenty of other places you can head to, in order to carry on the party.

Hippodrome Casino

More than seven million visitors have passed through the doors of the Hippodrome since its inception in 2012 and you could be one of them.

This really is one of the coolest casino venues in Soho, it is a must-see for tourists. The huge selection of electronic games and slots ensures it stands out from the crowd.

Casino slots have grown in popularity over the past few years, this is no doubt due to the fact that mobile slots are continually attracting new players, with the ability to play on the go and the improvement in the quality of games – it only made sense for casinos like the Hippodrome to cater for the number of fans of online slots.

In many ways, online slots have the edge over the slots you’ll find in the Hippodrome, the convenience of playing on the go and the sheer range of games makes them the preferred choice for most slot players.

Although, this venue provides an atmosphere that you can’t find online, a visit to the Hippodrome can be as much about the social event as it is about the casino games themselves, you never know who you might meet!

Once you’re finished trying your luck at the Hippodrome and you’ve built up your confidence, you could head down to this cornerstone of the West End to mix with London’s high-rollers.

Catch a musical

London is a hub of creativity and it draws in some of the best performers from around the world. The West End is famed for hosting some of the best theatre and musical works on the planet.

The critically-acclaimed Book of Mormon is currently showing in London and regardless of your sexuality, you should make a space in your diary to watch this show made by the creators of American cartoon show South Park.


If you’re looking for a cultural hub to visit that blends history, culture and LGBT tolerance then the place to be is London. The metaphorical melting pot of European culture is the place to be for all those looking to experience new things and meet with like-minded people. Just make sure you download a tube map before you go…