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LGBT Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in London

Make it a long weekend and try out this three-day itinerary in London, where there's plenty of neighborhoods, markets, and bars to check out.

With an improved exchange rate, mild climate, and no shortage of things to do, London remains fabulous for travelers keen on urban vacations. To top it off, for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender culture-seekers, London wears the crown of being one of the world's great gay-friendly cities.

London is home to happening neighborhoods like Soho, Vauxhall, Bloomsbury, and the better part of East London. Each offers a seemingly endless assortment of LGBT-geared things to do and see.

But how to narrow it all down? While roaming through central and south London, here are some of the hotspots that you can hit during a quick trip to "The Big Village."

Day 1: Find Some Culture

Start your day a bit north of center ("center" being über-gay Soho) in the neighborhood of Bloomsbury, where you can grab brunch at friendly Giraffe (19-21 Brunswick Centre;, just a quick jaunt from the Russell Square Tube station. Once you're full, head for the UK's first lesbian and gay bookshop Gay's the Word (66 Marchmont Street; Established in 1979, it's endured three decades as London's "straight-friendly gay-family" business, carrying everything "from the liberating to the indulgent."

With your books in hand, stop by the pristine Russell Square Gardens for some people-watching, before digging into some serious local and world history nearby at the British Museum (, at the west end of Great Russell Street. If you're looking for something more feminine than the Elgin Marbles, hop on the Tube to the Aldgate East station for a visit to the Women's Library (25 Old Castle Street;, where you can check out exhibits, events, and other herstory.

Head east via the Piccadilly Circus station to grab a bite at cute basement pub Friendly Society (79 Wardour Street), which remains a neighborhood fave for its funky flair and, well, friendliness. It's a great place to throw back a pint on your way to London's gayest of all musicals, Priscilla Queen of the Desert (, which has dazzled audiences at the Palace Theatre since early 2009.

Day 2: Shop Until You Drop

There's no shortage of shopping in Central London, but Oxford Circus is the big-brand spot. Head down Oxford and Regent Streets for your fix of H&M, Zara and Mango, then roam east to the adorable Carnaby Street for some new Diesel duds. You can also rest your weary feet at the classic Shakespeare's Head pub (29 Great Marlborough St.) for some fish and chips among a lively mix of locals and tourists.

East London will be a must for those interested in vintage gear and hipster hangouts, with its many local artists, designers and street fashion. The Shoreditch/Brick Lane area is the place to be. Brick Lane is home to a huge Sunday flea market, but with plenty of other stores around, it's still worth a weekday visit. While you're on that end of town, see what's cooking with the east-enders at the George & Dragon pub (2 Hackney Rd.), or the lesbian "members only" Glass Bar (190 Euston Rd.), which you can join if you're a woman and pay £1.

Day 3: Just Have Fun

Sleep in anticipation of a late night, then fill up with a hearty meal at the Breakfast Club (33 D'Arblay St.; From there, wander southeast to check out the gay sophisticates populating Rupert Street, which straddles Soho and Chinatown just east of Piccadilly Circus. They're trendy and beautiful, and prefer strong cocktails to foamy beer.

From there you can head up to Brewer Street, home to assorted rainbow-flagged clubs, shops and the always-popular Prowler adult store (5-7 Brewer Street) to browse all manner of "gay lifestyle" accessories. A starter drink at Village (81 Wardour Street;, will be a send off into a busy night complete with go-go dancers. Or if you're more interested in girl-watching, try the essential Candy Bar (4 Carlisle St.;

Chase your cocktails with some campy dancing at the three-story party house Heaven (, located under the arches at Villiers Street; follow the thumping music from 12am to 12pm daily. Shadow Lounge (5 Brewer St.; ) is a good alternate if you're in the club-hopping mindset.

At the end of it all, when the craving for late-night carbs kicks in, head to Balans Soho (60-62 Old Compton Street;, open until 6am weekends and 5am weekdays -- just in time to head to bed and sleep it off.

Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Great Britain Forum