Ready for a gay London tour?
Here’s the interview of Christian, a local from the City.
Hello Christian, you are from London. Can you tell us a bit about you?
I am originally from France, and I moved to London a few years ago, to start a new professional life.
Since I am in London, I teach French language and culture, I work for a historical site in Greenwich, and I organize touristic tours.
I like history, arts, socializing, and meeting new people, so that’s why I love to introduce travelers to my new City. I try to show them the London landmarks, but all its hidden gems as well, and there is so many.
Why do you love London that much?
I fell in love with London for so many reasons. It is such a crazy City, and there is so much to do. Here you can start projects, succeed, fail, start over… in London everything is possible. You can feel this freedom at any moment and everywhere.
There are heaps of monuments, museums, buildings I would love to show to travelers. Finally, London is definitely a City to have fun especially for LGBT people who come from all over the world to enjoy it.
Your favorite restaurants
The Nag’s Head in Covent Garden is an iconic traditional Victorian pub, which serves typical British food such as an excellent fish and chips. The atmosphere is very cozy, the staff is friendly, and prices are pretty fair for London. This is a place you should not miss.
Balans, in Old Compton Street, is one of the most popular gay-friendly, or straight friendly, restaurants in central London. This place is open 24 hours so you could stay there from breakfast to dinner. It can get bustling, so make a booking if you want to go there for brunch or for dinner during weekends.
Garrick is a small family run French restaurant with a romantic atmosphere. You can even book a table in a candlelight alcove. London is the right place to discover food from all over the world, so why not try Escargot or Boeuf Bourguignon for the first time in Covent Garden? This restaurant was founded 32 years ago so that it can be considered as a local institution.
Your favorite places in London, you like to show to your friends and travelers
To be honest, I have dozens of favorite places, so it’s tough for me to choose just a few of them.
London is so huge, and with such a long history, that even staying a week would not be enough to know the City.
Old Spitalfields Market is a very trendy place where you can eat fantastic street food from all over the world, do shopping, or just enjoy this typical and vibrant East London atmosphere. You will find plenty of kiosks with people selling vintage clothing, antiques, handmade jewelry. The history of the place is fascinating as it’s one the oldest markets in Europe, founded in the XVII the century.
The British Library, nearby King Cross is definitely a hidden gem. There is a free-access exhibition where you can see, for instance, Haendel’s musical scores, and even the Magna Carta. This place is full of history but also modernity.
Greenwich is a fantastic area, a bit out of the center. You can spend a really nice afternoon there. This part of London is packed with museums, monuments, parks, restaurants, and bars, and it is particularly pleasant to stroll around.
Primrose Hill is a small park located in the northern part of London, close to Camden town and London Zoo. From the top of the hill, you will get a panoramic view of the City and all its main monuments, such a St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, the Sharp, Gherkin, London Eye … On sunny days you can have a picnic there or admire the sunset with some beers.
Hampstead Heath is a huge park in the north part of London, covering 320 hectares. As it’s so big that being there you can forget you are in London and think you are lost in the middle of the English countryside. This park has been very popular with gay people forever. The park includes open-air public swimming ponds, with one of them just for men.
Gay London bars and venues
All City is LGBT friendly, and open homophobia is pretty rare. You can kiss your boyfriend on the streets; no one will care about it.
Duke of Wellington in the heart of Soho is a classic British pub very popular with the LGBT crowd. It gets very busy during happy hours, till late. The upstairs area is calm and quiet, perfect for a date. Above all, they sometimes organize funny queer events such as “Busy lady bingo” or “pub quiz evening”.
Café Nero in Old Compton Street is the perfect place to see and to be seen, especially if you can find a sit outside. It is a well-known meeting point for local gay people. We could meet there to begin our tour of London.
Old ship is the typical gay local pub
Heaven is a must-see for gay travelers, as it is undoubtedly one of the oldest gay clubs in Europe. Three floors, excellent sound system and a play of crazy lights in the main room. It’s the perfect place to spend an enjoyable evening. But you can find plenty of new venues as well.
London is strategically positioned to visit UK, as it is only a few hours trip by car or train to make your way to other fascinating and gay-friendly cities such as Edinburgh, London, Brighton, Manchester or Liverpool. Or to take a flight to explore Dublin and continue the party.