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The ultimate guide to lesbian dating in London

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Jul 22, 2023

The ultimate guide to lesbian dating in London
  • Whether you live in London or are just in town for the weekend, you might be asking, “where are all the lesbians at in London?”  What are the queer neighborhoods, where are the lesbian bars, and how do I find other women who love women in London? 

    As a metropolis of art, design, and culture, London is one of the most exciting and inclusive places for LGBTQ+ in the world. From bustling queer bars and clubs to women’s sports teams and queer online (and in-person) events, you can tap into the lesbian dating scene in London. 

    When I first moved to London from the States, I was overwhelmed with… everything. While I knew there were tons of LGBTQ+ people around me, I didn’t know exactly how to make friends or score hot dates. 

    The city is massive and sprawling, and I hadn’t quite mastered the art of how to dance to garage music at queer parties. If any of this sounds familiar, don’t worry, you’re not alone! 

    After three years of living across the pond, I started to (sort of) understand how London girls do things. I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about queer dating in London, including lesbian groups you can join, queer events you can attend, gay neighborhoods you can hang in, and more.

    A double-decker bus in London headed for London Bridge.

    Queer neighborhoods in London

    Central London— Soho

    London is known for its vibrant global culture, performing arts and drag scene and diverse LGBTQ+ community. 

    If you’re visiting London and wondering where the lesbian bars are, you must step foot in Soho. It’s hard to walk a few blocks anywhere in Soho without spotting a rainbow flag or a gaggle of dykes. 

    Soho has a rich history of queer culture dating all the way back to the 17th century, and no trip to London would be complete without a visit. Old Compton Street has been an LGBTQ+ nightlife hub since the 1970s, with numerous queer bars, restaurants, and sex shops.

    If you’re looking for a hot night out dancing or to cruise a happy hour, look no further than She Soho, the only full-time lesbian bar in London. She Soho is an underground lesbian underworld and safe space for queer women, non-binary people, and their guests. 

    If you are looking for more spots in the West End to grab cocktails or let your hair down, try the Friendly Society, G-A-Y Bar, Little Ku, or Ku Bar. While these bars can trend toward the G in LGBT, you’re bound to find a hot lez or two ripping up the dance floor or sipping a rosé.

    East London— Dalston, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Stoke Newington, Hoxton

    East London is the go-to queer area for all the alternative QT readers out there. If you’ve ever lived in London, you’ve likely traveled to the East End on the weekends for the most talked about queer parties of the year. 

    There is no shortage of alternative queer bars, drag shows, underground raves, theater performances, and disco nights when you go out in East London.

    While rent in East London has been on the rise, there are plenty of queer and trans people still living in East and North London. Take a ride up or down Kingsland Road to The Glory or Dalston Superstore and the Karaoke Hole (The K Hole) for a basement disco or a cheeky pint. The vibe is always vibing in East London.

    South London— Vauxhall, Clapham, Peckham, Kennington, Deptford

    South London is known for its iconic cabaret and drag scene that dates back all the way to the 1950s. Home to gay venues such as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, The George and The Dragon, and Two Brewers, South London is a relic in its own right. 

    There is a bit of a geographic debate in the London lesbian dating scene regarding one’s willingness to travel—more like trek—south of the river. 

    Anywhere south of Vauxhall can be a commitment on public transport, but the queers who live in South London love it (almost as much as they love telling you how much less they pay in rent).

     Two lesbians in London in bed together, intertwined

    What is the lesbian dating culture like in London? 

    Lesbian dating culture in London—or the U.K., for that matter—is all about the banter (a.k.a the bants). British humor is dry. Expect lots of sarcasm, self-deprecation, irony, gentle teasing, cleverness, and wit. Is it appropriate to make light of an emotionally tumultuous situation with a dark joke or understatement of the century? Does it matter? Not in London, baby! 

    In all seriousness, if you are wondering whether or not someone is joking in London, they most likely are taking the piss. And if you haven’t already, you should get familiar with all the UK lingo in the lesbian dating scene. 

    “Your yard or mine” means your place or mine. Pants are not trousers but are actually knickers, panties, or plain old underwear. 

    Shagging is having sex. Snogging is making out. If someone fancies the pants off you, they like you and want to shag. Fit means attractive by any standards (not in the American fatphobic use of the word!)

    Let it also be known that direct communication isn’t really the British way. Luckily, London has lots of Europeans and foreigners to help balance out the candor. 

    But most Brits prefer the path of least resistance, such as saying one thing but meaning the total opposite. This more indirect technique also translates into the landscape of queer dating in London. 

    You might be shocked to learn that the girl standing in the corner of the room looking away every time you make eye contact actually wants to shag you. It’s been known to take years for a British lesbian actually to work up the courage to make the first move. In other words, if you want to take a hot queer Londoner home tonight, the ball is likely in your court.

    Don’t be surprised if your first date (or second or third) consists of just chatting with someone in a pub or a park. 

    Dating in London is much more informal and usually consists of just grabbing a drink or chatting and getting to know someone. If you are hanging out more than once, make sure to talk with your date about whether you are exclusively dating each other or seeing multiple people at once.

    A queer woman on the banks of the Thames with her arms outstretched towards the London Eye.

    Where can I find lesbian groups in London?

    If you’ve recently come out or moved to London, you might wonder where you can find lesbian groups in the city. Maybe you’ve lived in the city for a while but want to start connecting IRL with LGBTQ+ folks. 

    We’ve got tons of fun lesbian events, community organizations, and social and interest groups for you!

    If you’re the outdoorsy or active type, you can find kinship in groups like Queer Climbs London or Queer Surf Club. If you’re a footie lez, try joining some pickup games with Clubs United or get on the roster at Hackney Women’s Football Club. 

    The Glass House also hosts a Yoga Class for Queers if you are looking for some subtle yoga movements and guided breathwork. 

    In need of a new fresh queer haircut? Look no further than Open Barbers in Hoxton—a queer and trans salon for all lengths, genders, and sexualities offering haircuts on a sliding scale. Open Barbers is a great place to go to connect with LGBTQ+ community, as most of their hairdressers are well-versed in the London queer scene. 

    For the film buffs out there, be sure to check out BFI Flare: London’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival at the Southbank Centre. BFI Flare boasts an impressive selection of contemporary queer cinema screenings, artist Q&As, fun social mixers, and dance parties. If you’re more of a fashion girlie, make sure to attend the annual London Queer Fashion Show (LQFS).

    If you’re looking for a night of dancing or clubbing, there are plenty of queer and trans parties for dykes and femmes of all flavors. Check out Gal Pals, Butch Please, Lick London, Big Dyke Energy, T-boys, Female Trouble or Harpies for an unforgettable night out. If you happen to be visiting London in June, July, or August, you are guaranteed to have a blast at UK Pride, London Trans Pride, Trans Pride Brighton, or UK Black Pride.

    Lesbian date ideas in London 

    Are you looking to cool off in a body of water with your new hot crush? Try going for a swim at the swimming ponds at Hampstead Heath, a sleepy green area in West Hampstead. 

    You can cruise at the Kenwood Women’s Bathing Pond or head over to the Mixed Gender Pond for a dip. While there have been some grumbles in the past, transgender women are absolutely allowed to swim in the ladies’ pond.  

    If you’re looking for more of an arts and culture date spot in London, try the LGBTQIA+ tours at the V&A Museum. These volunteer-led tours will lead you through the hidden queer gems of the V&A’s collection. 

    Gay’s The Word LGBT Bookshop in Bloomsbury London

    Source: Gay’s The Word

    While you’re at it, make sure to take your date to Gay’s The Word in Bloomsbury—the oldest LGBT bookshop in London. Fun fact: the book store was originally set up by a group of gay and lesbian socialists in 1979, back when gay books were not available in bookshops. 

    You can snuggle at home after to watch the film Pride, which follows the true story of U.K. gay activists who worked to help miners during a lengthy strike in the summer of 1984. The Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) used to meet at Gay’s the Word to collect money for the striking miners. 

    You can still buy the original LGSM “Pits and Perverts” shirt directly from the bookshop and wear your little piece of queer history

    London is a bustling city with plenty to do and plants of LGBTQ+ cuties to meet. If you’re unsure where to begin, download HER and chat some London girls up! Remember that dating is a personal experience, and everyone’s journey is different. There is no timeline for when you’ll meet the love(s) of your life. 

    Hopefully, this guide has given you a good chance to get out there, get your bearings, and meet your next boo. 

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    Dusty Brandt Howard is a writer & a fighter. He is a trans masculine cultural narrator who builds worlds with words. You can follow his thirst traps on Instagram, his writing on Substack, or find him at your local queer bar in northeast LA.

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