One of the world's greatest, truly international cities, London is also the administrative home of BLUF and a great place to visit whether you want to see the historic sites, or explore the gay scene. However, that said, we only have one real leather bar - The Backstreet - and it's only open at the weekends. If you want to see the leather side of London at it's best, plan your trip around a BLUF event, the Leather Social (first Sunday of the month), or the annual Fetish Week, organised by Recon.
London's Leather Bar, now in its 36th year, is in the east of town, close to Mile End tube station. It's open from 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights, and you must be wearing some leather or rubber to get in. Entrance is normally £10 (€11.97, $13.65), sometimes more for special events. Beer is well priced, and the doorman can arrange a cab for you when you leave.
The club is home to BLUF in London, and also hosts popular events such as Mastery and IGNITE. Check the details in the BLUF Calendar or on the club's own website to see what's on. The Backstreet
Another long established kink store, with a great range of leather, rubber and toys. As with Clone Zone, you'll get a discount if you show your BLUF Card, with an additional 5% on offer on the same day as BLUF London events. Regulation
Although Londoners often moan about it, for visitors, the public transport system is pretty good. The best way to get around is by tube (underground) or by bus. You need to either get a London Transport Oyster smart card, or have a credit or debit card that works with contactless payments, or a mobile phone you can use for them - buses don't take cash at all, and cash fares on the tube are considerably more expensive. You can pick up an Oyster card at major tube stations or at some airports, and then top it up with money. For visitors, using contactless payment will probably be more convenient - just tap your card or phone on the readers at tube stations or on buses. The system will automatically keep track of all your trips, and once you reach a daily cap - the cost of a day pass for the journeys you've taken - you won't pay any more that day. So, you needn't worry about tracking down a weekend or weekly pass. Bus journeys cost a flat rate, even if you have to change buses. Most visitors don't go outside the two central zones, other than to or from the airport, so your cost per day will be capped at £7.20 (€8.62, $9.83), or £36.10 (€43.23, $49.27) for a week calculated Monday to Sunday.
If you arrive at London Heathrow or London City airports, you can use the public transport network straight away, and it's the cheapest way to get into town. However, Heathrow is some distance from the city, and it can take the best part of an hour on the tube, though it's only £3.10 (€3.71, $4.23) off peak. The Heathrow Express is much faster, but to buy an off peak ticket on the day will cost £22 (€26.34, $30.03) (though it's much cheaper bought in advance).
We don't recommend a taxi from any airport, other than London City, as the cost is likely to be very high, due to the distance. If you arrive at Gatwick, you have a choice of the Gatwick Express for about £20 (€23.95, $27.30), or the slower Southern train at about £12 (€14.37, $16.38). The Stansted Express is around £17 (€20.36, $23.20). All will be cheaper if you buy online in advance.
We can't deny it, London can be an expensive place to stay, and prices can very a lot depending on what's on. We don't have any specifically gay hotels or bed and breakfasts to recommend, but many BLUF members have stayed without problems in the budget Travelodge and Ibis hotel chains. If your main aim is to find somewhere convenient for a visit to Backstreet, we recommend you look towards the east of the city, in the Aldgate area, Docklands or Stratford. From both Aldgate and Stratford, you can easily reach Backstreet by public transport and a taxi back later won't cost too much.
If it's the West End theatres, Soho, and major tourist spots you prefer, it's worth looking for hotels in the Vauxhall area, which is just across the river, and quickly reached on the tube's Victoria Line. It also has some popular gay clubs, and a couple of bars too.