Burned to the ground in 61 AD by Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni Celts, Londinium was soon rebuilt by it's Roman founders and the prosperous city became the capital of their province of Britannia. Anglo-Saxons and Vikings vied for control after the Romans left around 410, but by the time William of Normandy was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1066 London was again the largest and richest city within what are now the British Isles.
The next millennium would see the city become the center of an empire, with the wealth of a quarter of the world flowing into its coffers. The widespread use of English around the globe is a legacy of that period. So too is the diversity of the city's population; a third of Londoners were not born in Britain.
As a global center for theater, music, or the visual and performing arts, London has few rivals, and various and excellent international restaurants and a revival of traditional cooking have put an end to jokes about bland food of Victorian England through the post-war years. Britain now produces about 700 different kinds of cheeses for example –100 more than France. In these past few decades the improvements in the lives of gay people have been truly astounding. Today's gay scene ranks among the best in the world, with a vast array of bars, pubs, clubs, cafes and saunas serving the community day or night.
Two centuries ago Samuel Johnson famously said: "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." There's always lots going on here in one of the largest and most diverse LGBT communities on the planet, and the 25 million tourists who arrive each year might agree that a trip to London won't soon be forgotten.
Gatwick and Heathrow airports get most international arrivals. Express trains from Heathrow to Paddington Station take 15 minutes. The Gatwick Express takes 30 minute to Victoria Station. Tickets can be bought online or on the train. A return ticket is good for up to 30 days.
Stansted Airport has an express train to Liverpool Street Station or buses to Victoria Station. Luton Airport has a free shuttle bus to Luton Parkway Station, where you can catch a train to Kings Cross/St. Pancreas Station.
Eurostar trains from Europe arrive at Waterloo station.
Getting around London is a snap. Taxis are everywhere, buses are frequent, and the Underground (better known as 'the Tube') goes most everywhere. An Oyster card, (available at the Oyster Visitor shop, Oyster Ticket Stops, stations, bus and tram stops), will save about half the price of single Underground tickets. Bus trips cannot paid for in cash as of July 2014, so use an Oyster, a contactless payment card, a paper Travelcard or a Bus & Tram Pass. See the Transport for London and Visitor Shop websites for full details.
Popularly known as "Boris bikes" (for the Mayor), London's bike-sharing scheme is called Barclays Cycle Hire, and you don't have to be a member - a debit or credit card will do. As with similar programs in other cities, all journeys under 30 minutes are free from extra ride charges. To return the bke push it firmly into any empty docking point at one of the many stations scattered across London --about 8,000 bikes at 570 stations.
The Emirates Air Line (aka the Thames cable car) is a five-minute (rush hour) or ten-minute gondola ride across the River Thames, connecting Royal Docks (Royal Victoria station) with Greenwich Peninsula (North Greenwich station) - including a great view of the city.
If you do drive, or rent ("hire" they say here) a car, be aware of the Congestion Charge Zone for which you must pay a daily surcharge. It covers most of central London. See the CCZ link, or ask your car rental company.
Media & resources
Attitude, BOYZ Magazine, GayTimes, Gay-to-Z, and QX Magazine have gay news, reviews, club and party updates, photos listings. Boyz has great maps and day-by-day club event listings in print and online, and the GayTimes website has listings for cities all around the UK. The Pink News website covers LGBT news of Britain, the US, and the world.
Ginger Beer is an online Lesbian guide to London.
For wallet-friendly lodgings options, see Outlet, with lists of gay-owned/gay-friendly apartments and rooms, including long-term rentals.
KCTV is an online guide and media site for new arts, fashion, music and culture events of a colorful variety.
The Off-West End website can keep you updated on all the independent theater productions in London. Visit Britain and Visit London are two useful general public tourism websites covering the popular cultural events, sights and attractions.
The Southbank Centre complex (the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery), is Europe’s largest center for the arts. Nearly a thousand paid performances of music, dance and literature are staged here, as well as over 300 free foyer events. The BFI (British Film Institute) Film Festival takes place here each October, also the Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in spring.
With so many visitors arriving in Britain each year, Stonewall has published a guide on gay rights in Britain, in six languages on how the law protects gay people in Britain, and where to go in case of any problems.
For locations and website links to businesses listed below click the name. See our London gay map & listings pages for more businesses, and our events listings page for a sample of what's going on in gay London.
For the most part London is very safe, but for your own peace of mind keep your wallet in your front pocket. Leave your passport at your hotel (keep a photocopy with you), and use common sense when cruising.
Ace Hotel Shoreditch (100 Shoreditch High St; 207-613-9800), American gay-owned hotel chain, modern rooms, various sizes, Hoi Polloi brasserie dining/cocktails.
Central Station (37 Wharfdale Rd; 207-278-3294) three rooms above popular gay bar in King's Cross, breakfast at the restaurant.
FitzBB (Fitzovia; (207-834-372-866) gay B&B townhouse, quiet street, not far from Soho.
Griffin House (22 Stockwell Green; 207-096-3332) gay-run holiday apartments near Vauxhall gay village.
Outlet Holidays (Outlet4holidays.com) Soho studio apartments, multi-level units, daily or weekly rentals, walk-in Soho office.
Swinton Hotel (18 Swinton St; 207-837-1451) central location in King's Cross, relaxed vibe, modern rooms with bath/showers.
See our lodgings listings for locations and websites for above hotels, and another two dozen hotel and guesthouse suggestions.
Hustlaball and WE are two of the regulars in an ever-changing line-up of special nights around the city.
Gravity at Protocol, the Fire Lightbox entrance, is a weekly Thursday night/Friday morning 2-8am Vauxhall clubbing experience (previously held at the recently closed Area).
Heaven G-A-Y still pulls good crowds for their Thursday Porn Idol contests where amateurs get naked to compete for £100 cash prizes. Friday Camp Attack, and G-A-Y Saturdays are some of the biggest gay dance events in the UK. Popcorn Mondays feature top DJs playing a variety of music and they welcome everyone.
Popstarz (FAREWELL PARTY Nov 28, 2014!) has a mixed crowd, playing indie, rock & indie-dance tunes Fridays at various venues. Gutterslut is a playfully erotic dress-up and dress-down monthly affair, sometimes at various clubs around London, often in Berlin or elsewhere.
Exilio is a twice monthly ongoing LGBT Latin House party, Saturdays at The Latin Groove, Archway, now for over a dozen years at various venues, playing Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton, Cumbia, and Latin House.
Club Kali @ Dome has been doing South Asian dance parties for 18 years now, playing Bollywood Indian Glitter, Bhangra, Arabic, and RnB.
Fitladz is a club night every Friday at Barcode, for fit and sport-loving lads who socialize, cruise, dance, and get up on stage for the weekly amateur strip contest.
Wrong at Union does gay'straight mixed Friday night/Saturday morning afterhours cutting-edge underground tech house dancing each week in Vauxhall. At the same time A:M at Fire does an afterhours party 11pm-noon in two rooms, each with a different mood.
Saturday night/ Sunday afterhours parties include Beyond at Fire 4am-super late. For events' details see the Orange Nation website.
Club No. 65 (the former Covert) has weekly Sunday night gatherings, HomeLDN for for cutting edge deep house lovers.
There are also regular dance nights at favorites like Dalton Superstore, the Eagle, Manbar, the RVT and Vogue Fabrics.
XXL Saturdays at Pulse, and Come to Daddy Thursday cruise nights at Underground, both welcome bears, daddies, big boys, chubs and chasers, but also any and all men, with no dress code.
Underground also hosts fetish nights that include: Butt Naked, Feet, Paunchy, Spankz (no elaboration necessary), SOP (streams of pleasure), and City Boys, an after work suit and tie club "for a big office orgy."
Leather/fetish communities have weekly and monthly events that include: HardOn, at Union with leather, rubber, sports or skin dress code, and live sex shows); and Hotwired at Ewer St with a strict leather/rubber dress code, for gay men and women.
Cruise, naked and sex nights are also frequent features at Barcode, the Hoist, Ted's, and the Vault, among others. Naked dance nights for men are ongoing affairs called Buff (naked Wednesdays and Sundays) at Backstreet, and Nudity at Union with regular Friday naked nights and second Sunday naked foam parties.
Naked nights also take place in King's Cross at XXX-Club each 4th Friday sessions when they tape the fun that ensues, and make DVD copies for participants to keep.
See local gay magazines and websites such as Boyz and DiscoDamaged with daily listings to keep up with all these ever-changing events and special club nights. For a complete list of the bars and clubs we mention, with map locations, web-links and contact information, see our listings and events tabs.
Bars, pubs, & cafes
Gay life is everywhere across this vast metropolitan area, but Central London is the best place to start. Soho's Old Compton Street is a major artery with plenty of bars and pubs here and in surrounding streets. The Vauxhall Gay Village, south of the Thames, has a cluster of popular clubs, especially of interest to leathermen and bears, and at the dance clubs set into the railway embankments the partying goes non-stop from Friday until Monday morning.
Backstreet (Wentworth Mews), serious Friday-Sunday gay fetish club with strict rubber/ leather dress code, naked dance parties, dedicated following, private smokers' area; running parties and special events.
The Grapes (76 Narrow St, Limehouse), Dickens wrote of it, Ian McKellen is now an owner; beautiful and historic old pub and restaurant with pleasant mix of people and good food.
Joiners Arms (116-118 Hackney Rd, Shoreditch), chic weekend post-clubbing sports pub crowd until 4am, DJs, mostly gay men; live bands, karaoke, retro 70's/ 80's to disco-house nights.
White Swan (556 Commercial Rd), festive pub with amateur strippers, slapstick entertainment, live DJs, drag shows, karaoke; Sunday dancing, Latin/Salsa, line and ballroom, followed by funk/house.
Soho, West End & Central London
Admiral Duncan (54 Old Compton St) famous raspberry exterior, popular, pleasant place for drinks, center of Soho scene, across from Comptons.
Balans Cafe (34 Old Compton St), never-closes/ open 24-hours, Contemporary Global dining, pre-theatre drinks, post-club snacks, great breakfasts, outdoor dining.
Balans Soho (60 Old Compton St) stylish bar/lounge and restaurant, light fare burgers to full steak and seafood meals, Soho central, open daily from 7:30am, late weekends 'til 6am; weekend brunch.
Bar Titania (75 Charing Cross Rd), new women's bar, live vocal and cabaret shows, drag king and drag queen shows, games nights, live entertainment throughout the week.
Circa (62 Frith St), upscale Soho gay club open nightly, young crowd, mostly guys, diva emcee, pumped up house music DJs, comfy big leather sofas, no cover.
City of Quebec (12 Old Quebec St), "non-scene" traditional pub for mature gay men, karaoke, drag host nights, DJs in The Den; noon to 6pm soup and sandwiches, liquor coffee drinks.
Comptons Of Soho (53 Old Compton St), no cologne male turf on two levels, always crowded by late afternoon, spills later into the street; inexpensive drinks, beers, wines, spirits, relaxed upstairs lounge.
Duke of Wellington (77 Wardour St, Soho) conversation video bar, DJs, mixed ages, mostly regular-guys, busy early, decent prices, short pub-crawl from Comptons.
Edge (11 Soho Sq), Euro-style bar/ cafe hangout, overlooks the square, attractive crowd, main course meals to snack foods, dancing, Saturday go-go boys, drag shows, fills up early, open Saturdays 'til 3am.
Escape Soho (10A Brewer St, Soho) - CLOSED - video and show bar, classics to latest releases, mixed young gay/straight crowd, DJs, Trannyoke Wednesdays.
Fabric (77a Charterhouse St, The City), gay-friendly dance club in three rooms, "bodysonic" dance floor, serious DJs, many kinds of music.
Freedom (66 Wardour St, Soho), stylish club, early evenings trendy mixed crowd, special martinis and cocktailss, dance floor, cabaret shows.
Friendly Society (79 Wardour St, Soho), Ken and Barbie-doll ceilings, friendly vibe, 18+ mixed crowd, weekday DJs playing chill-out music.
G-A-Y Bar (30 Old Compton St, Soho) elegant video bar on three levels, gay-favorite TV shows, performers, talent contests, cheap drinks and bagels.
G-A-Y Late (5 Goslett Yd) modern style, late-night lounge and dance club, near the Tottonham Court Rd tube station, late night Sunday drinking for members.
Green Carnation (5 Greek St), 3 stylish floors, intimate soirees, piano bar, cabaret shows, dancing, Saturday house music, girls' nights, adult drag panto: 'A Lad in Tights.'
Halfway II Heaven (7 Duncannon St), 9-5 guys, traditional pub upstairs, karoke, cabaret entertainment nightly, downstairs intimate encounters.
Heaven G-A-Y Club (Under the Arches, off Villiers St) legendary dance club, four rooms; Thursday Porn Idol amateur strippers show their all.
Kings Arms (23 Poland St), well-loved cozy Soho pub, cruise and chill-out favorite of local bears, never a cover charge.
Ku Club (30 Lisle St), young lads, three floors, open Saturdays until 3am, cheap drinks, topless barboys, DJs and VJs; Ruby Tuesdays lesbian night, Queerly Out LGBT student Thursdays moved from Escape.
Ku Bar (25 Frith St), "Baby Ku" second location, music videos, Champagne Bar, fine coffees, three floors of music evenings, open nightly, DJs.
Madame JoJo's (8-10 Brewer St, Soho) live bands, classic burlesque and kitsch cabaret, magic show nights, famous Tranny Shack Wednesdays. Problems with license - may be closed.
Manbar (79 Charing Cross Rd, West End) - CLOSED JAN 2015 - shoulder-to-shoulder party bar, no fuss cruising, karaoke, Bingay, WiFi, Sunday films; open front for street gazing; the former 79 CXR site.
Molly Moggs (2 Old Compton St), small gay locals' pub/ tourist mix, karaoke, cabaret performers and drag shows upstairs.
New Bloomsbury Set (76 Marchmont St, Camden), basement wine bar, cocktails and DJs, dancing, chill-out Sunday afternoons.
Piccolo Diavolo (8 Old Compton St, Soho), good pizza and pasta, grilled meats, reasonably priced lunches and dinners.
Retro Bar (2 George Ct), bar and lounge off the Strand, DJs, retro sounds, punk, pop, funk, glam; gaming machines, quiz nights, comedy nights; mixed men/women crowd, bears to divas.
Shadow Lounge (5 Brewer St), glamour set and wannabees, velvet rope door dance club for members and their guests.
She Soho (4 Carlisle St), lesbian bar "run by girls, for girls," lively young crowd, drag king shows, quiz shows, DJs; part of the Ku group, events shared with Ku Leicester Square.
Star at Night (22 Great Chapel St), coffeeshop with sandwiches days; night-time cocktail lounge with snacks, classic cocktails, wines and champagnes, women-popular.
Vault (139b-143 Whitfield St), 1pm-1am men's sex club, bar, cruising, dark rooms, mixed age range, underwear or naked sessions.
Village (81 Wardour St, Soho) split-level space, cool vibe, men/women younger set hangout, DJs, go-go boys, karaoke, half price happy hours.
Yard Bar (57 Rupert St), fashionable scene, fresh-air inner courtyard seating; mixed, mostly young and male afterwork crowd, DJ play vocal house. Weekend free-entry wristbands for nearby The Edge club.
Champion (1 Wellington Terrace, Notting Hill), comfy pub, food, diverse draft beers and lagers, real ales, fireplace, garden, WiFi, Sunday roasts.
Load of Hay (201 Pinner Rd, Watford), locals' goodtimes party pub, live music and cabaret, karaoke, quiz nights, drag, bingo, home-style food, holiday parties, 2nd Sunday male entertainers.
Richmond Arms (20 The Square, Richmond), gay and mixed crowd pub, easy-going settled, early, mostly male crowd, karaoke, DJs, games, shows.
Ted's Place (305a North End Rd, West Brompton), private club, very cruisy, men-only, darkroom, naked/underwear, sportswears and transgender nights.
West 5 (56 Popes Lane), lively gay bar, quiz games, film nights, piano lounge, pool table, bingo, karaoke, drag emcees, variety shows, theme parties.
Black Cap (171 Camden High St), North London's famous drag cabaret and dance club in Camden Town, classic pub, outdoor patio, Mr Gay UK heats, talent shows, Popstars nights.
Central Station (37 Wharfdale Rd, Kings Cross), cabaret and comedy shows, vocalists, DJs, restaurant steaks/burgers, fish, pasta and breakfasts; roof terrace, free internet.
Club Kali @ Dome (3rd Fridays) (2A Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park), London's only South Asian music GBLT dance event, every 3rd Friday, with BBC DJ Ritu.
Dalston Superstore (117 Kingsland High St. Shoreditch), daytime cafe and art gallery, all-day brunch, burgers/sandwiches, free Wi-Fi; later nightclub, live music, DJs, dancing, cheap drinks, hip young crowd, guest star emcess from Europe/USA and beyond; men/women, mostly gay but straight-friendly.
East Bloc (217 City Rd, Shoreditch), Wednesday through Saturday mostly gay club, 'odd glamour' decor, internet juke box, quirky party-boy dance club in black; big variety of Saturday theme nights. Be attired to amaze.
Kaos at Electrowerkz (7 Torrens St, Angel/Islington), monthly underground warehouse parties at a gritty/ industrial venue, techno-electro dance, fetish, tatoos, chic & fashionable kinky crowd, sometimes guest performers.
RUT, the leather/rubber-only men's parties for fetish ladz is on hold, with energies directed at helping to organize Hotwired events.
Underground Club (37 Wharfdale Rd; under Central Station), men-only fetish, rubber, spanking, naked, and cruise parties.
Vogue Fabrics (66 Stoke Newington Rd, Stoke Newington), fashion gallery with downstairs minimalist boîte for hot and sweaty dancing, performance art, spoken word, cabaret, disco dancing, and special theme nights.
Vauxhall & South London
Area (67-68 Albert Embankment; Vauxhall) - CLOSED AUGUST 2014 - massive mixed club, 4 dance areas, various gay dance parties and after-hours.
Barcode Vauxhall (69 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall), Thursday-Saturday warm-up dance bar/club, mostly gay men/women, DJs, strippers, cruising and dark room.
Bridge (8 Voltaire Rd, Clapham), wine & tapas bar, restaurant, cocktails, after-work gay mix, DJs after dark.
Club Colosseum (1 Nine Elms Lane), big Indie club, 5 lavish rooms, 5 bars, 4 dancefloors; variety of nights/ music/ party nights.
Club No. 65 (65 Albert Embankment, former Covert), gay dance parties and after-hours, top DJs, underground house and dirty pop.
Eagle (349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall), big beer selection, pool games, cruisy, leather and fetish nights, strippers, Horse Meat Disco Sundays.
Fire (South Lambeth Rd, Vauxhall), cutting-edge lighting and sound system, muscle guys mix with club kids; Sunday daytime hours Later at Lightbox entrance, Sunday night gay dance party of 14-years running, 'til 9am Monday. The Vauxhall Street Food Garden opens weekdays behind the club, with global street food vendors, garden seating and WiFi.
George & Dragon (2 Blackheath Hill, Duptford Bridge), late night gay cabaret bar, guys of many ages and types.
Hidden (100 Tinsworth St, Vauxhall), serious dancing, house music, latest in sound and lights; host venue for various special event parties.
Hoist (47C South Lambeth Rd, Vauxhall), raunchy dress code/ boots only, men's leather/rubber fetish bar; bears, skinheads, buff guys, fetish store, Basement and new Bar Berlin; spanking, naked, fister nights, plus occasional live sex shows.
Prince of Greenwich (72 Royal Hill, Greenwich), gay pub, TV lounge; burgers, sandwiches, meals, full breakfast, veggie fare, Sunday roasts, regular cabaret entertainment, party events.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern (372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall), popular gay party bar, drag shows, male burlesque, wild shows and bizarre acts, diverse ages; popular Sunday shows - come before 4pm; August Fringe theatre presentations.
Two Brewers (114 Clapham High St, Lambeth), party and cabaret bar, karaoke, drag shows, rugby sports nights, house and guest DJs, bingo and karaoke nights.
Union (66 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall), two-room underground dance club nights and afterhours. Various nights incude Nudity Naked Dance Club Fridays, cruising, glory holes, cabins, spanking, jack-off and underwear nights, second Sunday afternoon monthly naked foam parties.
XXL at Pulse Club (1 Invicta Plaza, Southbank), big dance venue near Southwark Tube station, Saturday and Wednesdays, men-only low-cost, circuit parties, stripped-down bears, musclemen, guys of all kinds and ages.
Saunas & Gyms
England's largest chain is Chariots, and in London there are five locations, each with video rooms, internet connections and around-the-clock hours Wednesday to Monday.
Chariots Limehouse (574 Commercial Rd) big hot tub and three floors of playspace.
Chariots Shoreditch (1 Fairchild St) heated pool, hot tubs, 30-man steam rooms, full gym, massage.
Chariots Streatham (292 Streatham High Rd) three hot cabins, cinemas, video rooms, tanning bed.
Chariots Vauxhall (63-64 Albert Embankment) 20-man steam room, 30-man sauna, dark rooms.
Chariots Waterloo (101 Lower March) UK's largest sauna, 40-man steam room, huge cruising maze.
E15 Club (6 Leytonstone Rd, Stratford) small sauna and steam room, hot tub, local rough trade and regular types.
Locker Room (8 Cleaver St, Kennington) local men's sauna, cruisy dark rooms, video lounge, fully naked all week long.
Paris Gym (73 Goding St, Vauxhall) fully equipped gym, mixed gay/straight crowd, serious body conditioning.
Pleasuredrome (Arch 124, Cornwall at Alaska, Waterloo) "gym with everything," large men-only sauna and spa, massage, dark rooms, tanning, cafe/bar, always open.
Saunabar (29 Endell St, Covent Garden) huge whirlpool, comfy lounge bar, after-work relaxation, steam room, massage, private rooms.
Steamworks (309 New Cross Rd, New Cross) - CLOSED early 2014 - 20-man sauna, steam, sling, refreshments.
Saunabar Portsea (2 Portsea Place, Marble Arch), sauna, steam room, sports or Swedish massage, bar.
Sweatbox (1-2 Ramillies St, Soho) 24-hour sauna, Jacuzzi, maze, full gym, massage, house DJs, drinks and snacks, Saturday foam parties.
Shopping & Services
BFI Filmstore (Belvedere Rd, South Bank, Waterloo) classic screenplays, limited edition DVDs.
Clone Zone - Earls Court (266 Old Brompton Rd) gay chain, fashion and fetish wear.
Clone Zone - Soho (35 Old Compton St) CDs videos, books, magazines, ticket sales, staff knows the local scene.
Expectations (75 Great Eastern St, off Old St) leather, rubber, fetish, toys, undies, guides, erotic books and comics.
Fetish Freak (S Lambeth Rd, next to Hoist) everything for your leather/fetish/bondage needs.
Gay's the Word (66 Marchmont St) London's leading gay and lesbian bookshop, near King's Cross.
ICA (The Mall) best of new art and film from Britain and around the world, bookstore and cafe.
Master U (330 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall) custom-crafted leather, bondage gear, toys accessories.
Prowler- Soho (5-7 Brewer St) books, videos, large enclosed porn section, fashion wear, variety of poppers.
Regulation (17a St. Albans Pl, Islington Green) bondage accoutrements, leather, rubber, underwear, accessories.
Rob London (Arches 47c, South Lambeth Rd, Vauxhall) leather/rubber emporium, quality clothing, toys, accessories at the Hoist.
Urban Wellbeing (7 Silver Pl, Soho) salon, laser hair removal, acupuncture, tanning.
For fans of theater, London's West End needs no introduction.
For direct and discounted tickets, try Theatreticketsdirect.co.uk, or London Theatre Box Office
Above the Stag Theatre (Arch 17, Miles St), year-round theater program of comedy, drama and musicals, original gay-themed plays, cabaret, and a Christmas pantomime -- now in a new Vauxhall home after original space above old gay bar The Stag in Victoria, was demolished. Also with full bar.
The Barbican is Europe's largest music, theater, dance, and film center, home to the London Symphony Orchestra.
The Bears Movie Club bears meet to go to movies each month, visitors welcome.
The Jermyn Street Theatre (16-B Jermyn St) has new talent showcased at a studio venue.
Southbank Centre is three buildings full of music, dance, and visual arts, plus the London Philharmonic and Sinfonietta Orchestras perform here too. The complex is also one of the venues for the annual Lesbian Gay Film Festival in mid-March.
The British Museum has a vast collection of world art and artifacts, free to visitors.
Kew Gardens has extensive gardens and botanical greenhouses, an attraction that draws two million visitors each year.
The London Eye, also known as the 'Millennium Wheel,' has views of the city from 443 feet.
The life and earth science specimens at the National History Museum include famous dinosaurs.
The Tate Britain, the oldest gallery in the network (since 1897), houses a substantial collection of the works of J. M. W. Turner, plus a permanent collection of historic British and contemporary art with whole rooms dedicated to works by one artist.
The Tate Boat ferries you to the Tate Modern with it's contemporary collections at Bankside. Boats depart every 40 minutes.
The Victoria and Albert Museum (Cromwell Rd) has the world's greatest collection of decorative arts and design.
See more by scrolling down on our pics, events and experiences page.
George Michael was reported to have said, when caught with his pants down in Hampstead Heath, 'Fuck off! This is my culture.' As Mark Turner of King's College writes in the Guardian newspaper: 'queer encounters in parks, on embankments, in toilets, streets and back alleys are an integral part of the way our cities, and sexualities, express themselves.'
Turner, who wrote Backward Glances: Cruising the Queer Streets of New York and London, recommends Hampstead Heath, extolling the crowd of 'leather queens, randy teenagers, local husbands, young and old, black and white.' He complains, however, about the distance one must walk. 'Have you ever tried getting a taxi at Jack Straw's Castle at 4am?'
Hyde Park is noted as runner-up, as well as being the more international option. Russell Square and Bloomsbury Square, once cruisy with students, office workers and pickpockets, are both now locked up tight at night.
Birmingham, Blackpool, Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester in England, Cardiff in Wales, plus Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland, are other UK cities we cover.