Have you discovered Britain’s alternatives to London? Across the country you can find a range of exciting cities each with their own identities and vibrant LGBT neighbourhoods. Here are 5 for starters:
By the sea in Brighton
Not far from London, Brighton is well-known as a fun, lively city on the sea. Spend your days walking along the shingle beach, experiencing all the fun of the fair on the traditional seaside pier, and shopping in the characterful Lanes that lead down to the seafront. Independent shops, cafes and pubs jostle side-by-side in the colourful pedestrianised streets. And at night time the fun really begins. Head to Kemp Town, Brighton’s long-established gay neighbourhood, for LGBT bars and clubs to dance the night away.
How to get there: You can get to Brighton in under an hour by train from London. The nearest international airport is London Gatwick (24 minutes by train).
Making it happen in Manchester
Get a taste of Northern England in Manchester – a vibrant metropolis with a distinct personality. Canal Street is the centre of the gay scene, with trendy bars, cabaret shows and fun nightclubs. But there’s plenty else to discover, too: get your arty side indulged at The Lowry. This unique gallery is home to the world’s largest collection of works by LS Lowry, the eminent 20th-century British artist. Then get some great shopping done among the record shops and vintage stores of the bohemian Northern Quarter.
How to get there: Manchester is in north-east England. It has an international airport and is also reachable by train from London in just over 2 hours.
The Scottish spirit in Glasgow
Glasgow is proud of its music heritage, and this creates a fantastic music and nightlife scene in this fun Scottish city. One such example is King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, a live music venue where Oasis were first signed to a record label. Who knows which big new group you will see while you’re there! The regenerated Merchant City district is one of the prettiest in the city and packed full of fantastic LGBT bars, venues and saunas – perfect for kicking back after a day touring the city’s sights and shops.
How to get there: Glasgow is in central Scotland, and is reachable in under an hour by train from Edinburgh. It also has an international airport.
Castles and crazy times in Cardiff
Wales’s characterful capital city makes for a great weekend break. Cardiff Castle sits atop a hill just waiting to be explored, and the impressive medieval Caerphilly Castle sits on the city’s outskirts. Like the city itself, Cardiff’s gay scene is small and compact, with main venues in Charles Street and Churchill Way in the city centre, all within walking distance. Find historic pubs and fun, young bars and cabarets.
How to get there: Cardiff is in south Wales and is a swift 2 hours 10 minutes by train from London, and a mere 30 minutes by train from Bristol.
Street art and laid-back vibes in Bristol
The whole of Bristol has an easy-going yet fun feel, and there are 2 gay villages – the buzzing West End and the Old Market Quarter where anything goes. There is always something going on, with bars, clubs and festivals galore. Don’t miss Banksy’s original works around the city – you can take a tour to make sure you see them all. Plus a visit aboard Brunel’s SS Great Britain is fascinating.
How to get there: Bristol has an international airport. Situated in south-west England, it’s as little as 1 hour 20 minutes by train from London.