Soho will always have a place in gay London, however as rent prices increase and more locals move out to the fringe neighbourhoods, the LGBTQ scene has seen a slight revival and resurgence elsewhere in the city. Shoreditch and Hackney in East London have long been the site of London’s alternative cultures, so it’s no surprise to see some of those institutions (and new ones, opening often) with large LGBTQ crowds. Here’s where to go for a gay-friendly experience in East London.
This is a small venue with a big heart, especially if you are up to embracing London’s diversity. With a small stage for drag shows and live DJs next to the dance floor, The Glory is a trendy pub for a cold pint or a cocktail. Located on Kingsland Road, the eclectic space is all about performances, with Saturdays being the favourite for both local and foreign adventurers. Prices are welcoming and many activities are free before midnight, with an entrance of five pounds for late-comers. The gay pub is co-owned by legendary East London performer, Jonny Woo.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
One of the biggest gay clubs in East London, the Dalston Superstore is famous for its wild nights. Also located on Kingsland Road, it attracts both local and well-known DJs for parties just about every night of the week. In earlier hours, you can grab food at the space. It’s mostly comforting food like sloppy joes (not unlike the sloppy joes you’ll find on the dance floor after 1am) and all-day brunches. Art from local queer artists is regularly featured on the walls and drag shows, pub quizzes and lesbian nights are common staples on the Dalston Superstore’s event calendar.
Brick Lane Sunday Market
The celebrated Brick Lane has always been a place of discovery. Every Sunday, the market reappears in this tiny street among the Indian restaurants, cafés and local thrift stores. The street food isn’t just delicious but it’s also prepared with the heart and traditions of a dozen different cultures and countries. From the chicken empanadas from Argentina to the spicy soups from Thailand, a Sunday at Brick Lane means affordable food, live music and mojitos. Bring a date.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Has there ever been such a pretty street market before? We don’t think so. Each Sunday, Columbia Road Flower Market transforms the quiet, peaceful street into a cacophony of flower-sellers, scents and street buskers. It’s the perfect place for a romantic, leisurely stroll on a Sunday morning, just before brunch.
Eating London Food Tour
One of the most interesting ways to explore the East End is, perhaps predictably, to do it with some food in your mouth. The East End Food Tour introduces you to local foodie classics, like the fish-and-chips from Poppies to the salt beef bagels at Beigel Bake. Interspersed with historical stories about the neighbourhood, everything from Jack the Ripper horror stories to Harry Potter references, this always-changing area is hard to track back, but the Eating London Food Tour offers the perfect opportunity for understanding its current development as the epicentre of fusion and creativity.
Street Art Tour
While two or three Banksy pieces can be spotted during this amazing walking tour, the best lesson you will learn is that street art is a complex universe of sometimes tiny manifestations and almost imperceptible changes. You will encounter a variety of street artists who work not only with spray paint but who do their magic with paper, tiles, and even bubble gum. Shoreditch is famous for its street art interventions and famous artists come frequently to update the neighbourhoods with new works. The tour also makes reference to erased works and points out the restrictions and difficulties that street artists face in London.
This trendy Mexican bar and restaurant, DF/Mexico, serves up American-inspired Mexican foods—and fast! Popular both at lunchtime in the evenings, it’s right in the heart of Shoreditch, on the site of the former Old Truman Brewery alongside other equally trendy bars and restaurants. Ordering food is done by clicking some buttons on an iPad at the front, by the bar, and the food comes quick and tasty. With bottomless horchata available, and ice-cold margaritas, it’s a fun and casual restaurant to begin an evening out.
Founded at the turn of the 20th century, the Whitechapel Gallery has a history of showing revolutionary works. It was the first and the only gallery in Britain to show Picasso’s Guernica, as well as legendary works by Jackson Pollock, David Hockney and Cy Twombly. Today, it’s at the forefront of London’s contemporary galleries, with regular exhibitions relating to feminist and social issues in modern society. A previous exhibition of Hannah Höch’s works (a Dada artist from Weimar-era Germany) included pieces representative of the artist’s feminist ideals and bisexuality.
Open since 2006 in Shoreditch, The Hoxton isn’t just a place to sleep, but also a place to meet others, to eat and to drink. The front lobby’s large windows and plush sofas make it a cosy place to make friends, plus with urban yoga events and pop-up shops operating in the building, it’s a great place to get situated in the Shoreditch hipster scene.
A bit more expensive than affordable, the Ace Hotel is all about design and the ‘scene’. Located right in the heart of Shoreditch High Road, this is the perfect accommodation alternative for those who travel to London for work, pleasure, or both. Its restaurant, Hoi Polloi, offers amazing breakfast varieties and incredible main dishes, including the local’s favourite Hoi Polloi cheeseburger. The co-working space is frequently visited by locals and travellers, making it a perfect spot for networking and casual meetings with friends. Plus, the hotel frequently hosts events such as the London-based Naked Boys Reading group, which is exactly what it sounds like.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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