THERE IS SOMETHING about the magnetism of London that shouldn’t be overlooked. I haven’t always called the capital my home, but whenever I lived elsewhere in the U.K., I was always lured back to the commotion and vibrancy of the nightlife and the wild diversity of the city. As a DJ on the LGBTQ+ scene, I’m proud to be part of this spirited and always evolving community. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a classic venue, is the first Grade-II listed building (a designation bestowed upon structures of special interest) to be recognized for its importance to the queer community. The aptly named Retro Bar, set in an almost-secret alleyway near Charing Cross, celebrates the most iconic alternative rock stars of years gone by, both in the music their DJs play and the photographs and newspaper clippings that adorn the walls. Organizers of 2022 Pride in London described the festival as the “biggest and most inclusive event in history,” with more than 1.5 million showing up, breaking the all-time record. In terms of inclusivity, it’s hard to find a place that can beat what London has on offer.
I was rarely grabbed by history at school, but simply living in London encourages me to be more of an enthusiast. The iconic architecture, museums, and galleries that encase the stories and events of yesteryear are often beautiful venues in their own right. Tate Modern in Southwark contains over a hundred years of artwork, from modernism of the early 1900s to celebrated works created today.
With its relentless hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget that around 47% of London is green space and 60% is defined as open space. Coming back from a late-night gig and walking through Burgess Park in Camberwell as the sun comes up seductively contrasts with the vigor and frenetic energy of the previous few hours spent working in clubs. Likewise, visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew is an experience that stays with you. The conservatories are spectacular and the varieties of plants from all over the world are breathtaking.
Where to StayFrom renovated Georgian pubs and boutique hideaways to skyscrapers with jaw-dropping views, London hotels provide an eclectic array of options.
Hilton, Bankside (Vegan Suite)A thoughtful stay for the ecologically minded.
The Hoxton, SouthwarkA hip stay in the entertainment district.
The Soho HotelA charming spot for tea, a healthy breakfast, or a chic stay.
Vegan EatsLondon has earned a reputation for being home to some of the world’s best chefs, who have trained around the globe, bringing new flavors to old favorites and creating a diverse and ever-changing food scene. Today’s eco-aware capital also has one of the largest selections of vegan restaurants of any city in the world.
The GateA perfect date-night bite.
The Spread EagleA cozy corner pub with a forward-thinking menu.
Unity DinerVegan fast food that is canine approved.
What to DoFrom intimate cutting-edge experimental theaters and modest pub venues to the West End’s historic stages, all the way to groundbreaking venues like the National Theatre and The Old Vic, London offers entertainment options for every taste and mood.
PunchdrunkFamous experimental theater in which the audience is an active participant.
ABBA VoyageExperience the world’s greatest pop band in its very own arena.
BFIA venerable British institution offers one of the best film festivals in the world.
Phil Marriott Writer
Phil Marriott is a London-based broadcaster, DJ, writer, audio & video editor, and digital content creator, specializing in vegan awareness and LGBTQ+ entertainment.