Planning A Trip To The Capital? Explore This LGBTQ+ Culture Guide To London

Planning A Trip To The Capital? Explore This LGBTQ+ Culture Guide To London

19 January 2022

London’s LGBTQ+ party scene is infamous, with few cities able to match its reputation and boast such historic nightlife hotspots. 

But did you know that London is also home to some notable and important queer cultural spaces? 

From music and theatre to art and literature, discover some inclusive LGBTQ+ venues right around the city and immerse yourself in powerful culture.

Tour LGBTQ+ history and culture

It’s always great to start off any trip to London with a fascinating tour so you can really dig deep and appreciate the city from someone else's perspective. 

Luckily, London offers some truly unique tours which represent LGBTQ+ history and culture. Here are a few you should look out for.

Desire, love, identity – LGBTQ tour of the British Museum

This interesting volunteer-led tour takes you around the famous British Museum collections to examine artefacts with LGBTQ+ connections. 

Spanning from ancient times to the modern with pieces by famous modern artists including David Hockney and Bhupen Khakhar, you’ll feel in awe of everything that’s on show. 

It’s also completely free and we recommend you book in advance to secure your space.

Queer Tours of London

Lovingly nicknamed ‘A Mince Through Time’, whatever your interest, there’s an intersectional queer tour for you here. 

They aim ‘to tell the stories of London’s queer history, shedding light on the lives, spaces, identities, repression and resistance that form the backdrop of LGBTQI lives today.’ 

Some of the incredible tours they have offered in the past include ‘The Very Queer West End – Queer Theatre History’, ‘LGBT+ Migrant History’, and a ‘Queer Tour of Bloomsbury’. 

Embrace queer literature at these bookshops and cafés

Nothing screams ‘great afternoon’ like grabbing a cup of coffee and relaxing with a book. 

London’s literary scene is fabulously diverse, and these bookshops work hard to stock the latest queer literature. 

They make their spaces as intersectional and inclusive as possible while providing a friendly hub to hang out, relax, and meet like-minded people.

The Common Press

New on the scene, opening in 2021, The Common Press not only stocks a wide selection of LGBTQ+ fiction and non-fiction, but also fascinating art pieces and merchandise. 

It’s very much a community hub, and they host weekly poetry, music, and literature events. You may even be able to get involved in one of their welcoming classes which range from yoga to lino printing. 

With some of the friendliest staff in London, popping in for a coffee and a chat about books is an absolute pleasure. 

Gay’s the Word

A true icon of queer London history, Gay’s the Word is the oldest LGBTQ+ bookshop in the UK, opening in the late 1970s. 

They stock a wide collection of LGBTQ+ literature, graphic novels, and poetry and host regular events with queer authors which are not to be missed. 

Though it’s a relatively small space, the shelves of Gay’s the Word are crammed with hundreds of titles.

Immediately noticeable is the welcoming nature of the staff there who are always happy to guide you towards your next favourite read.


The largest socialist bookshop in Britain, Bookmarks has always been at the forefront of inclusivity and their diverse selection of queer fiction, non-fiction, and zines is truly inspiring.

A bright and roomy upper floor extends far back with the latest fiction and nonfiction, as well as academic texts, and some great gifts including tote bags and badges. 

Don’t forget to explore downstairs where you’ll find bargains in the second-hand section and a curated popular fiction and young adult section where you can also sit and take a rest.

Book Bar 

If you prefer your book with a glass of wine, then a trip to Book Bar is on the cards. 

With a mission to make literature more accessible and relaxed for people who don’t consider themselves ‘literary’, this is a friendly space with an expertly curated selection of books, including a sizeable LGBTQ+ section. 

They also serve coffee, tea, and a selection of scrumptious cakes.

Browse queer art and exhibition spaces

After recharging with caffeine and sweet treats, it’s time to peruse some queer art at London’s diverse art and exhibition venues.


This LGBTQ+ charity has worked at the intersection of art, culture, and social action since 2016. They host workshops, events, and exhibitions for queer artists, writers, and community organisers. 

Also, their new gallery, library and project space in the Design District of North Greenwich is a must-visit for anyone looking to sink into the queer art of London while enjoying a ‘holistic environment that celebrates queer identity.’ 

Be sure to keep up with their exciting events on their website and social media.

Mimosa House

A curated, independent art institution in the heart of London, Mimosa House hosts regular art events which aim to support dialogue between intergenerational women and queer artists. 

The stripped-back white interior very much keeps a focus on the art, as you move through a series of rooms and corridors brightened up the latest show.

Their conceptual art exhibitions are often accompanied by DJs, screenings, and readings mean no show here is ever predictable. 

The building is also wheelchair accessible throughout.

Catch a live LGBTQ+ performance

Step away from the West End musicals and catch the diverse range of performances available at some of London’s most famous venues. 

From cabaret to comedy nights and hysterical drag performances, the culture in the city carries on well into the night.

Above The Stag Theatre

You’re always guaranteed a good time at Above the Stag Theatre, an independent charity and theatre company that serves the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters. 

One of the standout reasons to visit is the sheer diversity in the performances on offer.

Whether you are into musicals, cabaret, drag, comedy nights, or want to try something new they always have a surprise up their sleeve.

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Built in the 1860s and firmly established as an LGBTQ+ cabaret and performance venue since the 1980s, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is a multi-award-winning venue and a beloved entertainment space in the city. 

Come into this cosy space, grab a drink, and soak up the good vibes.

Dalston Superstore

It’s always a wild time at Dalston Superstore, a café-bar, art space, and club which aptly described itself as a ‘queer pleasure palace’. 

Colourful and exciting, you’ll find something different going all the time, from their famous themed drag brunches to club nights. 

Their camp and colourful cocktail menu is also varied, and they host the Essential Vegan pop-up kitchen if you’re feeling peckish.

The Glory

Head on over to a staple East London gay bar and LGBTQ+ performance venue and nightclub where the regulars feel like family and the staff are influential East London creatives. 

They host weekend discos every Friday and Saturday, and ticketed shows happen downstairs most evenings including drag performances, singers, and comedy nights. 

Comedy Bloomers

Founded in 2017 by Chris Smith, this monthly free comedy showcase provides a platform for the best new LGBTQ+ acts in London. 

Comedy Bloomers aims to show the full breadth of gay humour and talent as well as showcase other minorities. 

Previous notable performers have included Vinegar Strokes, who featured on season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race and award-winning writer, actor, and comedian, Catherine Bohart.

You can check their website and social media each month for details and tickets and subscribe to their newsletter. 

Take note of these key cultural LGBTQ+ London dates 

Mark your diary because these are some of the hottest annual cultural events in London that are not to be missed.

Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest

Running since 2011, this fantastic London festival celebrating queer art and film happens every November with a huge line-up of events, installations, and workshops to take part in.

Pride in London

One of the biggest Pride festivals in the world, there’s no better time to visit queer London and enjoy the huge selection of events on offer. 

The inclusive festivities start around two weeks before the June Pride festival itself and showcases the creativity of the London LGBTQ+ community. 

Black Pride

Running since 2005, this is Europe’s largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle-Eastern, Latin American, and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQ+ individuals.

They work hard every year to provide a safe and celebratory space that champions the diversity and talent of the community.

With these iconic queer London locations, you can discover the full LGBTQ+ cultural experience of the UK’s capital - from drag and cabaret shows to queer bookshops and galleries - for an unforgettable, moving, and joy-filled experience.