BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND IN GAY LONDON

London's Changing of the Guard happens at 11:00am.

The changing of the guard happens every day so make sure you’re early to grab a good viewing spot.

We arrived into London Luton Airport for the Bank Holiday Weekend in late August. From Luton Parkway £15 gets you into the centre of London on the train within 35 minutes. Arriving at Blackfrairs Station in the city we then caught a London black cab to the Holiday Inn Express Vauxhall (Nine Elms), South London.

 

Red London Bus

Get your Oyster Card as soon as you arrive to open up all the transport possibilities around the city.

 

Stay
The hotel was excellent value for money, newly renovated, quiet, (ask for the side away from the road), a hearty all inclusive breakfast, very clean and best of all it is only a few blocks from the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) which is one of the oldest and most famous gay bars in all of London.

 

London Tube

Vauxhall Tube station is on the Victoria Line and is very close by the Holiday Inn Express Vauxhall.

 

Essentials
The first thing we did was to buy our Oyster Cards for the London Underground and red buses at Vauxhall station which is just a short walk away from the hotel and right on the Victoria Tube line. We strolled around the corner to the Sainsburys Super Store to purchase a few necessities. A short rest back at the hotel and it was time for dinner at the Portugal Restaurant, a short distance away. The Bacalhau, Portuguese salted cod, was simply delicious.

 

Buckingham Palace London

If you’re in London in August you can do a tour of Buckingham Palace while the Queen is out of town enjoying her summer vacation.

 

Playing Tourist
Our second day started with the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The guards start marching towards the Palace at 11:00am but be there by 10:30am to secure a good viewing spot. (See this link for details. https://changing-guard.com/changing-guard-buckingham-palace.html)

 

Queen's Guard

The Queen’s guards are splendid to watch as they parade along the Mall.

 

Then we were off to the Royal Mews just around the corner from the Palace. The Mews houses mainly the Queen’s carriages and a few horses are also stabled there. The four ton Gold Carriage used only for coronations is a masterpiece. A late lunch of scrumptious fish and chips at Balls Brothers Wine Bar just down from the Mews was a perfect choice.

 

The Queen's Gold Carriage

The Royal Mews has an interesting display of royal coaches and is sometimes overlooked by tourists but is well worth a visit.

 

In the evening we made our way to Piccadilly Circus to see the Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The show was not only a first class musical but the laughs came thick and fast and the brilliant cast poked fun in every possible way at the teachings of the Mormon Religion. The Theatre was easy to find right near Piccadilly Circus station. There are loads of restaurants in this area for a post-theatre supper and you will find yourself in the heart of Soho if you walk towards Old Compton Street via Rupert Street or Wardour Street.

 

Prince of Wales Theatre.

If live theatre and musicals are your preferred entertainment the London has so much to offer. Don’t forget to pre-purchase before you arrive.

 

Gay Scene
The next evening we ventured into Chinatown for a delicious Asian dinner. We were back in Soho where many of London’s gay bars are located. Some of the most popular and worth a look are GAY BAR, Rupert Street Bar, The Duke of Wellington, KU, Comptons and the Kings Arms, London’s most famous Bears’ Bar.

 

China Town London

London has one of the largest Chinatown areas in the world.

 

In Vauxhall there are bars and clubs like Fire, The Eagle but whatever you do don’t miss Sunday Social at the RVT  with the D. E. Experience. It’s a gay institution and has been running for well over ten years.

 

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is one of the oldest and most popular gay venues in London.

 

Just up the road from Vauxhall is Clapham and here you’ll find the famous Two Brewers. We can also highly recommend XXL London for a big man’s late night out. On a Friday and Saturday Chariots Sauna right under the arches in Vauxhall is very busy.

 

Soho gay bars London

Soho, near Chinatown and the theatre district, has a busy gay scene which can take many nights to explore fully.

 

Back On Tour
On our last day in London we took the Tube to Covent Garden where there is plenty of street life, live bands and market stalls. At one of the stalls we bought a unique set of cuff links hand-made from old Imperial typewriter keys.

 

Covent Garden London

Covent Garden is a popular area for lunch, shopping for unusual gifts and live entertainment.

 

We enjoyed a Sunday pub lunch which is a must when in London. We chose the Wellington Hotel adjacent to the Lyceum Theatre. We had pre-purchased matinee tickets to the Lion King which was outstanding, with wonderful music, amazing life-sized puppets, phenomenal costumes and a fantastic cast; a bucket list thing to do in London.

 

The Lion King

We had a fabulous time seeing the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre London.

 

We have been to London several times before and below we have included our list of iconic things we have enjoyed doing on previous visits.

London Eye, Tate Modern, Notting Hill, The National Gallery, Madame Tussauds, Tower of London and the Crown Jewels, Hampton Court Palace, Buckingham Palace Tour (Only in August), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre , Shopping at Harrods and Selfridges, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s, a day trip or overnighter to Brighton, a trip to Hampstead Heath, a walk through Hyde Park, Kensington Palace tour, and the Shard (the tallest building in Europe and one of the latest things on the must do list).

 

Guard at Buckingham Palace London

Put London on your list of ‘must do’s’.

 

We found the following link useful to explore some of London’s lesser known attractions:  Things To Do In London. Whether it’s watching the pomp and ceremony of the changing of the guard, enjoying a choice of the best live theatre on offer around the world, or meeting some of the many handsome men out partying on the gay scene, we know you’ll enjoy this amazing city as much as we have on every visit.

 

Know Before You Go



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