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Gay and lesbian people have equality and marriage rights. Public displays of affection are received with indifference in the center of the city, although in the outer suburbs couples should show more restraint. Gay bashings are rare enough to be newsworthy, but it’s true that an element of society can, once full of ale, become belligerent. Particularly in parks at night, be aware of your surroundings and give wide berth to gaggles of drunken lads. This advice holds irrespective of your sexuality.

The Turing Network (www.turingnetwork.org.uk) lists gay and lesbian social events and festivals and is partnered with the London Gay & Lesbian Switchboard (www.llgs.org.uk; [tel] 0300/330-0630), a counseling hotline.

For nightlife planning, the best sources for information (among many less handy glossy lifestyle magazines) are the Boyz (www.boyz.co.uk), which publishes a day-by-day schedule on its website. The free QX International (www.qxmagazine.com) posts a downloadable version of its printed edition every week, so you can plot a course through the hotspots while you’re still at home. Both publications are distributed for free at many gay bars. 
 
Purchased SIMs for mobile phones come with automatic child content locks, and gay and lesbian travelers will find some of their special interest sites blocked. To remove the censorship, go to a mobile phone store run by your SIM provider (Vodafone, EE, and O2 are easiest to find) to prove you’re an adult. Bring your hotel’s details since you must supply a U.K. address.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.