London’s Gay Scene – on a Budget

Nov 08

London is one of the major hubs of the world, and is as cosmopolitan as one would expect for a city with such huge amounts of diversity. I love the diversity in London, it is refreshing and although not everyone is welcoming (you find this in any big city), for the most part you could probably describe it as fairly liberal. However, there is one thing I do not like about London and that is the cost. You cannot move in London without spending money, it is virtually impossible. This might be the case with any big city and to an extent I can believe this, but it does present a substantial issue for me. I am a young and single gay man in London and as such it is not as if I can just walk to the nearest bar and be surrounded by people in a similar situation. This is my problem, I do not believe I am the only man in this predicament in London. So what is there to do in London (specifically gay) which does not cost the earth?

Now I am a big advocate of Pride events. I think they are brilliant and can be a very liberating experience especially for those who are about to/recently out of the closet. However, this is an annual event and so I needed something to do in the 364 days between this particular festivity. So I gave it some thought and joined a group specifically engineered for gay men. They provided a multitude of services, the most exciting (and relevant for this article) was their free monthly meet ups. These meet ups fitted the need perfectly – they were gay specific and were regular, but most importantly they were free. All I had to do was get a tube to wherever they were meeting and get socialising. On the back of that I ended up going to some of the gay groups that they held, again on a regular basis and can honestly say that I have made some strong friends from these meet ups and groups.

Alternatively, you could explore the underground gay scene. Whilst London is full of very obvious LGBT+ venues, there are also some hidden treasures that not everyone (i.e. straight people) knows about. Specifically, there are many gay saunas in places you wouldn’t expect them, which is best if you’re looking for a more relaxing atmosphere where you can chat in the hot tub or steam room. It’s a great place to hang out, and some saunas even show porn, like that on GayPornHD, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Saunas don’t tend to be too expensive, at around £15 for a visit, so it’s about as much as visiting your local leisure centre and gym. They’re also very safe spaces, with strict rules and staff on hand at all times.

Another way to go about meeting other gay men is to use the power of the internet. You can search for meet ups on the web and you would be surprised at how many there are. These can be anything from a book club to a game of football or a chess club, or indeed the kind of club that a vibrating cock cage may be more seen in. There’s a lot of variety out there, a lot of options for those who want everything from friendship to companionship. For those who are slightly more cautious and might worry about attending meet ups without any prior knowledge, there are more structured channels that organise these meet ups. Either way they are a great way to engage in something you like, and also socialise with new groups. The internet is a powerful tool and people of this generation should make the most of this tool, this applies to those looking for a new pair of shoes to (in this case) those looking for gay specific things to do in London who do not have the extra cash to pay a membership or subscription.

I hope this helps and remember that there is probably more out there in London than you might have originally thought.

Written by Ben Rawlins, active member of the LGBT community in London.