Known internationally for its established and thriving LGBTQ+ community, the city of Brighton has become synonymous with Gay Pride. Having once been a getaway destination for gay couples in the 19th century, Brighton has kept its welcoming and inclusive attitude to this day, making it a big part of the city’s identity. The UK’s biggest pride event will see a historic moment this year, as 2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising, where New York saw the first protest for equal rights in the gay community.
This jubilee year for the LGBTQ+ community will be celebrated in Brighton with a Pride in the Park festival, from 2-4 August in Preston Park. Gay icon Kylie Minogue and Grammy Award-winners Clean Bandit will be taking to the stage, along with a large selection of artists, all ready to celebrate sexual diversity – tickets are currently on sale from £37.50. As well as the main festival hub in Preston Park, more than 300,000 people will take to the streets for the famous Pride Parade on 3 August, which is taking a slightly altered route from 11am.
Proud Art and Culture
One of the best-known pieces from street artist Banksy can be seen on the side of the Prince Albert pub, just beneath Brighton train station. The ‘Kissing Policeman’, depicting two male police officers in a passionate embrace, can be enjoyed by all. Although the original has been sold to a private collector, a permanent copy remains at the original site behind a Perspex sheet.
Also home to public art highlighting the city’s attitude towards inclusivity is the striking 'Kiss Wall', by local artist Bruce Williams. Located on the promenade by the seafront and made from a large sheet of metal with punctured holes, it creates images of six diverse couples kissing, made to celebrate inclusivity in Brighton.
Offering a LGBTQ+ walking tour of Brighton, Piers and Queers discusses Brighton’s ‘queer history’. Visitors can retrace the footsteps of Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Dusty Springfield and other notable gay and lesbian icons with connections to the city. This unique exploration of Brighton’s LGBTQ+ past will both educate and entertain. Priced at £35 per person for a 90-minute walking tour.
Located in a historic building in Brighton’s buzzing Kemptown area, Proud Cabaret Brighton offers an extravagant show, enjoyed with a dinner and a menu of ‘Proud cocktails’. The two-hour show will shock and excite, with guests being encouraged to dress to impress and stay for the after party, which is included in the price of ticket. A former mausoleum turned boxing club, this romantic building has a rich, vintage feel, decorated to be reminiscent of the roaring 1920s.
To see the show at the bar with a glass of prosecco costs £20, with three-course meal tickets starting from £30 and rising to £60 for a VIP experience.
Having been an integral part of Brighton’s gay scene for more than 21 years, club Revenge is at the heart of Brighton’s LGBTQ+ nightlife. Spanning three-floors, with two dance floors and a rooftop-smoking terrace, Revenge is a vibrant and rainbow-clad bar and nightclub, seconds from the seafront and iconic pier. Open from 12pm until late every day, Revenge puts on themed nights throughout the week, such as lesbian-focused Girls On Top. It also has a reputation for hosting some of the biggest names in drag, with several acts hailing from the award-winning show Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
Offering a Bottomless Brunch with a fun, LGBTQ+ twist, The North Laine Pub and Brewery holds two brunches on Saturdays, hosted by ‘Drag Prince’, Alfie Ordinary. With the choice of unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Marys (with a make-your-own station) or Source Pale Ales, the brunch itself is a classic English breakfast, with vegetarian and vegan variations. Guests can indulge in their hearty brunch and drinks before enjoying an afternoon of LGBTQ+ friendly entertainment. The two sessions run from 11am - 2pm and 1 - 4pm, costing £25 per person.
Where to Stay
A boutique hotel with modern and vibrant charm, Myhotel Brighton boasts 79 design-focused guestrooms by renowned interior designer Karim Rashid. Most notably, the “Carousel” penthouse suite offers in-room amenities such as a sleek 4-poster bed, freestanding bathtub, luxurious tiled steam room and a 300-year-old vintage carousel horse.
A gay-friendly hotspot in itself, The Amsterdam Hotel and Bar is a three-star hotel, restaurant, gay bar and sauna, all in one. Located opposite the pier, the large seafront terrace is a prime hangout during sunny afternoons.
Located on a quiet street in Kemptown and owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community, Hudsons is a four-star bed & breakfast with comfortable en-suite rooms, a charming conservatory-breakfast room and a small private garden.
What to wear
Although there is no dress code for Brighton Pride, the majority of those in attendance – and especially those taking part in the parade – opt for bright and extravagant clothing, often reflecting the LGBTQ+ community’s rainbow flag.
Getting to Brighton
Situated on the south coast of England, Brighton is less than an hour by train from London. Gatwick Airport is approximately halfway between London and Brighton, and is served by numerous international airlines.
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