LGBT SUMMER EVENTS GUIDE

Pride parades, film festivals and bear parties: the UK’s LGBT calendar is jam-packed with fun and flamboyant events. Explore our pick of this year’s most exciting dates for your diary here.

© Dawn Kilner

MARCH

Brighton Bear Weekend

BFI Flare, London

A major cultural event for queers and film buffs alike, past highlights of the film festival include premieres of James Franco’s Interior Leather Bar, Lilting starring Ben Whishaw, and I Am Divine. Most screenings are held at the BFI’s home in Southbank.

When: 21 March - 1 April
Where: BFI Southbank, south London. Nearest tube: Waterloo.
For more information, visit www.bfi.org.uk/flare

 

MAY

Great British Bear Bash, Manchester

The Great British Bear Bash returns for its 21st year in Manchester’s gay village with a weekend full of social events including fancy dress night, pool party, cabaret, beareoke and much more.

When: 3 - 7 May
Where: Manchester is in Lancashire, 2hrs northwest of London by train.
For more information: www.manbears-manchester.co.uk

 

Birmingham Pride, Birmingham

The UK’s largest two-day LGBT festival. The streets of Birmingham’s gay village pulsate with a carnival parade, live music, and dance arena with big name DJs, cabaret stage, women’s arena and a community village.

When: 26 - 27 May
Where: Birmingham is in the West Midlands, 90mins northwest of London by train.
For more information, visit www.birminghampride.com

 

 

JUNE

Brighton Bear Weekend, Brighton

Britain’s bear community comes out to play for Brighton Bear Weekend. This increasingly popular date for bears and cubs comprises a range of pub events, picnics and parties.

When: 14 - 17 June
Where: Brighton is in Sussex, 1hr south of London by train.
For more information, visit www.brightonbearweekend.com

 

 

Brighton Bear Weekend

Pride Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Pride Edinburgh is Scotland’s national LGBTI festival. Combining a colourful march through the city with a health and community fair and live music, the event brings together politicians, activist and individuals to support diversity and personal identity. 

When: 16 June
Where: Edinburgh is in Scotland, 4hrs 30mins north of London by train.
For more information, visit www.prideedinburgh.org.uk

 

Pride in London, London

A 29-day long event celebrating all things LGBTQ, the Pride in London festival encompasses theatre shows, comedy gigs, exhibitions and most importantly, the annual Pride in London parade and street party on 7 July. Comprising hundreds of community groups, student unions, charities and campaigners, including gay, lesbian and bisexual members of the British armed forces, the parade winds its way by London landmarks while a huge stage in Trafalgar Square hosts live performances and speeches. Soho takes over at night with performance and parties in many of the pubs and clubs.

When: 9 June - 7 July
Where: Parade starts on Baker Street in Central London. Nearest tube: Bond Street or Baker Street.
For more information, visit www.prideinlondon.org

 

JULY

Brighton Pride

Bristol Pride, Bristol

Voted one of the UK’s best Pride events, Bristol Pride’s 14 day festival schedule includes an award-winning film festival, theatre, comedy, parade and massive music festival. The main day starts with a parade through the centre of town, leading to a massive outdoor music festival featuring amzing local and international acts.

When: Pride Festival runs 2 - 15 July, Pride parade Saturday 14 July
Where: Bristol is in South West England, 1hr 45mins west of London by train.
For more information, visit www.pridebristol.co.uk

 

UK Black Pride, London

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is the venue for this year’s UK Black Pride festival – one of Europe’s largest events for the African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean-heritage LGBT community. Blending live music, politics and poetry with a carnival atmosphere, the free event will be a fantastic day out for the whole community.

When: 7 July
Where: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in south London. Nearest tube: Vauxhall
For more information, visit www.ukblackpride.org.uk

 

Sparkle Weekend, Manchester

Britain’s transgender community comes together to celebrate and shine at Manchester’s Sparkle Weekend and Sparkle Ball. One of the largest free events in the world for transsexuals, transvestites, cross-dressers, intersex and others, it’s open to everyone who identifies as trans, as well as friends and families. Since 2005’s one-day inaugural event, it’s expanded into a 3-day schedule of culture, music, comedy, film, sport and debate.

When: Sparkle Ball takes place 7 July and the Sparkle Weekend is 6 - 8 July
Where: Manchester is in Lancashire, 2hrs by train northwest of London.
For more info, visit www.sparkle.org.uk

 

L fest

L Fest, Llandudno

Britain’s award-winning L Fest brings lesbian music, arts, comedy and cabaret to Llandudno in Wales. In addition to entertainment on the numerous stages, there are workshops, family activities, sports and games, a cinema and club nights. Free camping is included in the weekend ticket and children under 16 go free.

When: 13-16 July
Where: Bodafon Farm in Llandudno, North Wales; 3hrs 45min from London by train.
For more information, visit www.lfest.co.uk

 

 

© Angie Wynne

Pride Glasgow, Glasgow

Scotland’s largest LGBT Pride Festival, Pride Glasgow is a two-day event held annually in summer. The parade is a colourful rainbow display, and inevitably includes some kilt-clad Scotsmen. Taking place at Kelingrove Park, the party has in previous years welcomed gay pop star Joe McElderry and lesbian musician and actress Heather Peace.

When: 14-15 July
Where: Glasgow is in Scotland, 4hrs north of London by train.
For more information, visit http://festival.pride.scot/

 

 

Northern Pride, Newcastle

Celebrating pride in Northeast England, Northern Pride is a 3-day event in Newcastle. More than 12,000 people join the parade, plus there’s a main stage featuring Alexandra Burke and S Club, community market stalls, a youth zone, fun fair, cabaret tent and dance tent. There’s even a tea tent for those who appreciate a moment of calm with a cuppa!

When: 20-23 July
Where: Newcastle is in northeast England, 3hrs 15mins north of London by train.
For more information, visit www.northern-pride.com

 

IW Pride, Isle of Wight

The official UK Pride event is heading to the spectacular Isle of Wight in 2018. Expect plenty of top class entertainment, including headliner Conchita, at this fully inclusive and diverse Pride celebration, taking place on the sandy beach of Ryde. 

When: 21 July
Where: The Isle of Wight is an island off the south coast of England, 2hrs from London by train and ferry. 
For more information, visit www.iwpride.org

 

Belfast Pride, Belfast

Ireland’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans festival, Belfast Pride attracts over 50,000 people for a week of rainbow-hued celebrations. The highlight is Saturday’s Pride Parade, extending from the gay neighbourhood around Union Street and Donegall Street, all the way to City Hall, then back again for a massive street party.

When: 27 July - 5 August, Pride day is 4 August
Where: Belfast is in Northern Ireland, 80mins by plane from London.
For more information, www.belfastpride.com

 

Liverpool Pride, Liverpool

Since its beginnings in 2010, Liverpool's festival has been one of the UK's most flamboyant Pride events. With fun and fabulous themes like Rainbow Circus, Glam Fairytales and last year’s Liverpool Icons, you can expect a buzzing weekend of celebrations in 2017.

When: 28-29 July
Where: Liverpool is in Merseyside, 2hrs 15mins northwest of London by train.
For more information, visit www.liverpoolpride.co.uk

 

AUGUST

Edinburgh International and Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s vibrant gay scene welcomes hundreds of new guests in the summer, drawing visitors and world class performers from across the globe for the festival season. The Scottish capital becomes an explosion of colour and music, events, performances, comedy dance and more for the annual Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe – the largest arts festival in the world.

When: 3-27 August
Where: Edinburgh is in Scotland, 4hrs 30mins north of London by train.
For more information, visit www.edinburghfestivalcity.com

 

Brighton & Hove Pride, Brighton

Firmly established as the UK’s most popular international Pride Festival, Brighton Pride attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The main day sees a huge parade through the city, followed by a massive party in Preston Park with a main stage, dance tents and a community village. The seafront road Marine Parade is closed to traffic to create a fabulous Pride Village Party complete with entertainment zones dedicated to cabaret, bears and disco.

When: 3-5 August
Where: Brighton is in Sussex, 1hr south of London by train.
For more information, visit www.brighton-pride.org

 

Leeds Pride, Leeds

Yorkshire’s gay community comes together for Leeds Pride every August. Celebrating its tenth birthday this year, expect a pride parade and hours of entertainment including keynote speakers, local LGBT talent and famous pop acts.

When: 5 August
Where: Leeds is in Yorkshire, 2hrs 15mins north of London by train.
For more information, visit www.leedspride.com.

 

Pride Cymru, Cardiff

Pride Cymru is Wales' largest annual celebration of equality and diversity. Every year, thousands of revellers take to the streets for a festival of colour, fun, entertainment and friendship.

When: 24-26 August
Where: Cardiff is in South Wales, 2hrs west of London by train.
For more information, visit www.pridecymru.co.uk

 

 

Manchester Pride

Manchester Pride, Manchester

Throughout August, Manchester’s gay village plays host to one of the biggest dates in the gay calendar: Manchester Pride. The month-long Fringe celebrates the diversity of LGBT life, including art, culture and sport. This leads to the Big Weekend with a massive Pride Parade.

When: 24-27 August
Where: Manchester is in Lancashire, 2hrs northwest of London by train.
For more information, visit www.manchesterpride.com

 

 

Walsall Pride, Walsall, England

This community-run event celebrates the diverse LGBT community in and around Walsall. Walsall Pride festival aims to dispel myths, break down barriers, address homophobia, and achieve community cohesion.

When: 25 August
Where: Walsall is in the West Midlands, 2hrs from London by train.
For more information, visit www.walsallpride.org

 

 

OCTOBER

Iris Prize Festival, Cardiff

Held every October, the annual Iris Prize Festival is Cardiff’s queer alternative to Cannes. Celebrating its 10th anniversary over five days with international film screenings, panel sessions and parties, 30 short films by or about LGBTI people compete to win the top accolade.

When: 9-14 October
Where: Cardiff is in South Wales, 2hrs west of London by train.
For more information, visit www.irisprize.org

EXPLORE OUR LGBT CITY GUIDES

London

Soak up the buzzing atmosphere of Soho – the original heartland of London’s gay community - or checkout Vauxhall’s legendary nightclub scene.

Brighton

Considered by many to be the gay capital of the UK, Brighton is packed with possibilities, from outrageous drag nights to an annual Bear Festival.

Manchester

Centred around the pedestrianised cobbles of Canal Street, Manchester’s gay village is one of the biggest and best-known in Britain.

Birmingham

Home to the biggest 2 day LGBT festival in the UK, Birmingham’s burgeoning gay scene is vibrant and multi-cultural.

Glasgow

The regenerated Merchant City district is one of the prettiest in the city and packed full of fantastic LGBT bars, venues and saunas.