The epicentre of gay Manchester is Canal Street. One of the oldest, largest and busiest gay bars on the strip today, Via features exposed brickwork, gold Rococo mirrors and chandeliers. Sparkly G-A-Y Manchester, the northern cousin of London’s G-A-Y, appeals to a younger, student crowd with pop hits and cheap drinks deals.
A more traditional-style gay pub, Churchills has regular cabaret and drag shows. Some of the best-loved gay venues are found in the adjacent streets, like large, men-only Eagle Manchester, which attracts a sexy, masculine crowd.
Since opening in 1998, sleek lesbian bar Vanilla has been twice named the UK’s Best Bar by leading lesbian magazine Diva and regularly hosts DJs, live acoustic sets and open mic nights.
Finally, try old favourite Cruz 101, it’s the largest dance club in Manchester’s gay village.
Keen party animals need look no further than Velvet Hotel. One of TripAdvisor’s top-ranked hotels in Manchester, it’s in the middle of the action. The sixteen rooms and three penthouse suites are individually decorated in an industrial boudoir style, with lavish king-size beds, chandeliers, and exposed brick walls.
Dating from 1853, Free Trade Hall is a grand colonnaded building revamped as a five-star Radisson Blu Edwardian. There are 263 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a champagne bar, a destination spa and oodles of contemporary glamour.
A former cotton merchant’s warehouse moments from Canal Street, ABode is a four-star hotel that retains many original Victorian features but gives them a modern British twist. There are 61 bedrooms, the best being the Fabulous On Fifth suites – five loft-style suites featuring stylish décor including work by renowned artists such as David Hockney and Yoko Ono.
Throughout August, Manchester’s gay village plays host to one of the biggest dates in the gay calendar: Manchester Pride. The month-long Pride Fringe celebrates the diversity of LGBTQ+ life, including art, culture and sport. This cumulates in the Big Weekend - a massive Pride Parade.
Manchester is situated in north-west England, circa 208 miles north of London. Trains from London Euston depart for Manchester circa every 20 minutes and take just shy of two-and-a-half hours. Manchester Airport is just over 30 minutes from the city centre and is served by flights from destinations including Australia, Europe and North America.