Your Official ClexaCon London Guide

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ClexaCon’s London pop-up is coming up next month and we couldn’t be more excited (we’ve even been practicing our British slang. Fancy a cuppa?). So to help you get ready, we’ve put together a guide of everything you need to know for this British adventure. Cheerio!

Why we’re excited

We love everything about ClexaCon, from its empowerment of lesbian and bisexual creators and actresses to its goal of shining more light on representational issues. Most of all, we love the camaraderie at the event. This April, some 4,100 flannel wearing, cosplaying, fangirling ladies descended on Las Vegas for ClexaCon’s second year, meeting new friends and old while at the same time showing Hollywood just how much of a market the LGBT community is. The London pop-up is going to be much smaller, but how could we say no to castles, cathedrals, tea, scones, and sexy British accents? Plus, on budget airlines it can be as cheap as $400 or less to fly roundtrip from major cities in the US, which is only slightly more expensive than a ticket to Vegas. What’s not to love about it?

 

Where?

The London pop-up is being held at the Novotel London West, which is in the Hammersmith part of West London. To get there, simply take the Tube to the Hammersmith Station and Bob’s your uncle! (That’s British slang for voila!) There are tons of cheap hotels in the area that offer free breakfast (the Brits take bed and breakfasts seriously) or else there are still rooms available at the conference hotel. Hammersmith is an arty riverside district, full of shops, cafes, and gastropubs, so there will be plenty to do during non-convention hours. Bring a coat though, because with highs of 52 degrees Farenheit, it’s going to be chilly.

 

When?

The convention officially runs 3-4 November, but it kicks off informally on Friday, 2 November with an optional London Bus Tour from 2-4 pm followed by a special screening of “I Can’t Think Straight” from 6:25 to 8:30 pm at the Prince Charles Cinema (Leicester Square Station) attended by director/writer Shamim Sharif, producer Hanan Kattan, and star Sheetal Sheth. Programming then runs from 10 am-6 pm on Saturday and Sunday, with a VIP dinner from 6:30-8 pm on Saturday followed by a dance party from 9 pm to midnight.

 

Who?

This bunch of lovely people, for starters. Panels will cover everything from bisexual representation in the media to the marginalization of the female-identified butch to podcasts and fanfic. “Carmilla” and “Clairevoyant” star (and former AE contributor!) Natasha Negovanlis will be doing a workshop on improve for confidence building, while her “Carmilla” and “Almost Adults” co-star Elise Bauman will be hosting a yoga session. Basically, it’s going to be a mini party with so. many. lesbians.

 

Up for Some Nightlife?
Although London has seen the number of its lesbian-only spaces decline in the last few years, a few remain. SHE Soho is the only “women-priority venue” in London. Per its website, “SHE’s modern basement bar operates both as a community hotspot, and vibrant after-hours club, showcasing the hottest DJs on the scene, alongside regular drag king cabaret, burlesque and social events.” Ruby Tuesdays is a lesbian dance party every Tuesday at Ku Bar from 10pm-3am. London also has tons of mixed-gender gay bars.

Other Tourist Stuff to do in London While You’re Here

We asked our friends @_bloomofficial what touristy things we should do while in London, and here’s what they came up with:

 

In order, that’s:
Buckingham Palace: This is the London home of Queen Elizabeth and the administrative center for the British Monarchy since 1837. Famously, the East front contains the balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds…for example after the weddings of Prince William to Duchess Catherine Middleton and Prince Harry to Duchess Meghan Markle. Unfortunately, although the palace is open for visiting in the summer, it will be closed during ClexaCon. The famous changing of the guard is at 11 am Monday-Saturday and 10 am on Sunday and lasts 30 minutes.
 The Elizabeth Tower (formerly Clock Tower), aka Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament: Big Ben technically is the nickname of the Great Bell in the clock, but most people refer to the tower itself as “Big Ben.” A British icon recognized the world over, Big Ben has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. Sadly, the tower has been under renovation since 2017, so you won’t hear the bell ringing and its facade is covered by scaffolding. The tower sits next to The Palace of Westminster, where the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament, meet. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, the Palace sits on the north bank of the River Thames and was the seat of the British monarchy until 1512. You can tour Parliament…but strolling along the Thames and having a gander at it from the outside is enough.
(London Eye): The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the Thames. It is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, but more importantly, it’s the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. See most of London from a towering view 135m above ground!
(Trafalgar Square): Trafalgar Square is a nice public square just north of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament named after the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars that occurred on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain.
Covent Garden: Covent Garden is a popular shopping and tourist district. The northern section has shops, while the southern section contains the central square, with street performers and most of the historical buildings, theaters and entertainment facilities like the Royal Opera House.
Soho: Soho is one of London’s main entertainment districts, full of theaters, shops, music clubs, and even Britain’s independent film industry.  Most importantly, London’s gay community is centered on Old Compton Street. Looking for the lesbians outside of ClexaCon? Try here.
Fun British LGBT facts: 2018 marks the 50th anniversary since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK (amazingly, it’s only been 17 years since the US officially decriminalized homosexuality). The London Pride Parade is the country’s largest parade (the London Pride Festival lasts almost a full month), while Brighton has the biggest Pride Festival. And speaking of Pride, here’s what @_bloomofficial and their friends had to say about it this year.

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