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Fall In Love With LGBTQ+ London On Your Weekend In The Capital

4 August 2021

There’s so much for LGBTQ+ couples to experience

You’ve been looking forward to this weekend in London since booking a spur-of-the-moment trip for you and your partner.

Everything from your favourite going-out jackets, to snuggly jumpers and comfy walking shoes are packed, and you’re ready to get started with a jam-packed adventure.

If you want to stay among the hustle and bustle, we recommend The Z Hotel Soho, just around the corner from Shaftesbury Avenue.

After check-in, take a wander down Old Compton Street where legendary gay bars and clubs from G-A-Y to Comptons are at the centre of LGBTQ+ nightlife.

Once you hit the bottom, you’ll likely see a large crowd of revellers outside the Duke of Wellington pub, just on the corner of Rupert Street, ready to get the weekend started.

Order some pints and join the excited crowds.

From here, we recommend getting a table at Balans back on Old Compton Street for dinner, a literal stone’s throw away from the Duke of Wellington pub. The menu is quite simply divine – choose from the delightful chicken enchiladas to their signature Balans Burger.

Why not share a bottle of wine? Go for an Argentinian Malbec or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to round off a lovely evening.

Now it’s time to walk the short journey back to the hotel for some beauty sleep. London is waiting for you both to start making some treasured memories.

Saturday: your first full day of adventures

Before setting off to the first lot of London attractions, we recommend picking up a tube map from the hotel lobby to keep with you at all times – you may need it to hand when finding your way around the London Underground.

Take a leisurely stroll through the heart of Soho to The Good Egg. It’s a gorgeous place for a spot of breakfast inspired by flavours of the Middle East, right around the corner from iconic Carnaby Street.

What can you expect from their menu? “The babka French toast is always a winner,” says Meg Weal, The Good Egg’s resident baker.

“A slice of our hand-rolled babka steeped in spiced custard, toasted in the oven and piled high with seasonal toppings. If you're more of a savoury breakfast person, the shakshuka is great.”

What should you visit first?

You’ll need to get the Bakerloo line from Piccadilly to Waterloo to reach the London Eye, your first attraction of the trip.

The full circuit takes around 30 minutes and, particularly if the weather is clear, it’s a very romantic way to see across this vast city.

The Shard, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and The Gherkin are just some of the major landmarks that'll take your breath away, no matter how many times you see them over the weekend.

Spend the rest of your morning in SEA LIFE London. You’ll be hypnotised by the pink jellyfish, the never-ending ocean tunnels, and huge sharks swimming within metres.

You also won’t want to leave without seeing the adorable gentoo penguins at Penguin Point. Watch them take turns diving into the water and sliding on their tummies.

Ready for a fright?

Next, we think a thrilling turn of events at The London Dungeon will set your pulses racing.

As soon as you enter, you’re immediately transported to 1536 making your way through 16 different scenes learning about London’s darkest history.

Get up close and personal with the likes of Guy Fawkes and the resident Lift Jester, and see if you’re lucky enough to avoid Jack the Ripper as you walk the streets of Whitechapel.

Time for a marvellous brunch

By now, you’ve probably worked up an appetite after a busy morning.

Remember gazing admiringly at The Shard this morning? Jump on the Jubilee line from Westminster to London Bridge as we recommend booking a table for brunch at its Aqua Shard restaurant, on the 31st floor.

As with the London Eye, you’ll both enjoy 360-degree views of the capital as you tuck into roast Hereford beef sirloin and caramelised white chocolate mousse to finish.

You’ll literally feel as if you’re sitting among the clouds clutching a hot cappuccino, or maybe a glass of Cabernet-Merlot.

Now is the perfect time to get back on the tube and have a mooch down Oxford Street – a trip to Selfridges is an experience all on its own.

Stop by the charming The King’s Arms on your way back to the hotel, just off the shopping capital for a few cold beers.

It’s quintessentially British, with a big LGBTQ+ presence as a landmark watering hole in Soho, and community-themed magazines at the front by the entrance for you to take.

We also recommend paying a visit to the cosmopolitan Rupert Street Bar, a short stroll away and close to the hotel.

Share a bottle of wine as you watch passers-by walking up from bustling Chinatown and Leicester Square. You may even get to grab a light bite from one of the food stalls on Rupert Street if you’re still feeling peckish from brunch.

Get ready for a night out on London’s West End

Dominion Theatre is home to the classic hit musical, The Prince of Egypt, and it’s only a five-minute walk from the hotel opposite Tottenham Court Road station.

Judy Garland to Charlie Chaplin graced the stage here, and a rush of excitement will take over as you’re instantly mesmerised by the magical atmosphere throughout.

You won’t want the night to end after that show-stopping performance. Walk across the street to The Flying Horse, a traditional pub with a hearty menu to match.

We suggest tasting the buttermilk chicken pie or the Nicholson’s burger, and a bottle of wine to share is a great way to reminisce on the outstanding show you’ve just seen.

Last orders

To end this wonderful evening, make the trip to the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern for a nightcap.

Jump on the Central line at Tottenham Court Road to Oxford Circus, before hopping on the Victoria line and getting off at Vauxhall. Luckily, the journey isn’t long – a little over 20 minutes door-to-door.

“The Tavern is at full capacity seven nights a week, and Friday to Sunday are our club nights,” says James Lindsay, managing director at Royal Vauxhall Tavern. “We create a safe space for the most diverse LGBTQ+ community in London.”

Grab a taxi back to the hotel for a well-rested sleep before your last day exploring London.

Sunday: enjoy a relaxed morning before the trip home

An early rise is the best way to start your last day in London.

Leave the bags at the hotel reception and pick up some tasty breakfast back at Balans. You’ll notice there are two Balans restaurants on Old Compton Street – try No.34 this time and stock up on a glorious feast of lobster benedict and a breakfast burrito.

Both are washed down nicely with a cheeky Balans Bloody Mary!

Walk back to the hotel and pick up the bags ready to head home. If you’re departing from either Euston or King’s Cross St. Pancras, make a pit stop and pick up a book at Gay’s The Word, the oldest LGBTQ+ bookshop in the UK which opened in 1979.

It’s more than just a bookshop – Gay’s The Word is a central hub for the community, with regular events taking place. Stop by to learn more about this wonderful shop and browse the many genres to pick up some reading material for the journey home.

Before hopping on the train, make a final stop for a drink and some snacks at Euston Tap as you talk about all the experiences you’ve been able to cram into this weekend.

You’ll think of the thousands of other places to visit in London as you sit and reminisce on the train home, and we’re sure you’ll be back to visit the capital soon enough to create more memories.