Ask the Expert: advice for LGBTQ+ visitors to London
Gay marriage became legal in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014, while discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was banned in 2007. Therefore the country as a whole is legally bound to the rights of LGBTQ+ people, with London in particular being a welcoming city for gay or bisexual men and women, as well as transgender people and those identifying as queer*.
You will see same-sex couples holding hands and displaying their affection openly in public in London, in particular in the gay-friendly Soho and neighbouring Covent Garden areas. In Soho, you’ll find plenty of gay clubs, bars and pubs, as well as many gay-friendly businesses.
Another area of London with a strong gay community and plenty of gay-friendly amenities is Vauxhall, where you’ll find historic gay pubs and a collection of gay super-clubs. Meanwhile, plenty of other clubs, bars and hotels around London offer LGBTQ+ nights and events, especially in Shoreditch and in the City of London.
London also leads the way with LGBTQ+ sexual health, so if you would like advice or to talk to a medical professional, the 56 Dean Street and the Dean Street Express clinics in Soho are good places to start.
Great Britain’s other major destination for the LGBTQ+ community is Brighton, a seaside city on the south coast of England, which is about 90 minutes away from London by train – perfect for a day trip (or longer) from the capital. The city of Manchester in the north of England is another significant destination for the LGBTQ+ community, and takes about 2 hours to reach by train from London.
Expert advice courtesy of: Neil Simpson, London Planner's Digital Editor and living in London as an openly gay man since 2011
*In Great Britain (and other countries), the word ‘queer’ has evolved to become a general term which refers to people whose sexual or gender identity does not easily align with the accepted definitions of heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgender