Home to Europe’s largest gay and lesbian population, London remains a hot spot for the discerning international gay traveller. London does not have a gay ghetto per se but Soho comes closest, with its mix of restaurants, patisseries, Italian food shops, specialty businesses and a frisky red light district effortlessly rubbing up against dozens of gay bars, pubs, food stops and sex shops. Its main drag, Old Compton St., plays catwalk to uninhibited cruising and occasional outrageousness that the greater public have come to expect from the area. And if the conveniently central Soho has replaced Earls Court as London’s gay mecca, then south-of-the-river Vauxhall fancies itself as giving Soho a run for its money. But gay Vauxhall is predominantly nocturnal, with big sweaty dance clubs, pubs and leather and fetish dens pumping life into an otherwise barren area where in daylight cars far outnumber the traffic on the sidewalks.
Chariots – London’s top draw for sexy steam
Largest of five London-wide outlets in the Chariots chain of popular saunas, featuring two 20-man steam rooms, two 30-man saunas, two video rooms, two dark rooms, internet café and snack bar, a maze of 50 private rest rooms [UK = rooms for resting], satellite TV lounge, heated pool, jacizzos, masseurs, gym, sun showers, 500 lockers and smoking area.
The Locker Room – Casual sauna welcoming gay and bi men
South London venue set on two floors, including basement. Facilities include a 30-man two-tier sauna cabin (with video), impressive showers, ten relaxation cabins (three of them with glory holes), two mirrored themed rooms (including one encouraging water sports), a cinema showing the latest blue movies, free internet access, caf bar and complimentary drinks.
Pleasuredrome – Non-stop round-the-clock cruising
Clean, dark and stylish men’s sauna and spa (for gay and bi-sexual men) that ranks second only to Chariots in terms of popularity, with two large dry saunas (up to 20 men), two steam rooms in close proximity to two dark rooms, stainless steel spa, tanning bed , 24-hour café and a 400-locker changing room.
Sweatbox – Stylish and sex-concerned sauna in the heart of SoHo
The newest addition to London’s steam scene (and the most central) offers a steam cruise maze, dungeon room, video cruise maze, heated smoking area, steam room with bucket shower, jacuzzi, Turkish-style hot rooms, video lounges, spread across three floors.
Steamworks – One of London’s oldest gay saunas
Friendly, traditional-style gay enterprise featuring a 20-man sauna, steam room, sling arch and TV area.
SaunaBar – Centrally situated chic bar-cum-sauna
Featuring a licensed bar, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, rest areas, video lounge, lounge area and sexually motivated males.
Portsea – Convenient steam after a walk in Hyde Park
Featuring steam room, dry sauna, resting rooms, video room, lounge, professional masseurs and complimentary drinks.
Paradise Spa – North London steam
Offers 20 private cabins, darkroom, steam room, jacuzzi and lounge.
E15 – Steamy rub-downs out east
Features include private and lockable rest rooms, underlit basement, video lounge, jacuzzi, dry sauna, sling, St. Andrew’s cross, bear-themed days and a garden for smoking or catching your breath after the inevitable physical demands inside.
If we missed anything be sure to bring it up in the comments section below. As well as recommendations for the next city we dive deep into.