Gay Village, Manchester

LGBTQI+ guide to Manchester

Manchester can claim world-famous football teams, a rich cultural heritage and one of the liveliest LGBTQI+ communities in the UK. Centred around Canal Street, the city’s gay village caters for all tastes, from traditional pubs to intimate clubs. Explore our guide to LGBTQI+ Manchester for the lowdown on the best neighbourhoods, hotels and events in the city.

Although restrictions are in place for now, here’s what you can look forward to once we’re all able to travel again…

DAYTIME DIVERSIONS

In the heart of the city’s Gay Village, Richmond Tea Rooms offers a luxurious, Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea experience. Expect fabulous floral displays, an enchanted forest-themed room, a cosy Orangery and a selection of teas from around the world.

Manchester’s Sackville Park is home to a memorial celebrating the father of modern computing and gay man, Alan Turing, who carried out his world-defining studies in the city. Situated in a park between the University of Manchester and Canal Street, this sculpture is just one way that the city celebrates the achievements of the LGBTQI+ community.

 

OUT AND ABOUT

G-A-Y ManchesterThe heart 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 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.

 

STYLISH STAYS

ABode ManchesterVelvet Hotel

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.

The Edwardian Manchester

Dating from 1853, Free Trade Hall is a grand colonnaded building revamped as The Edwardian Manchester. There are 263 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a champagne bar, a destination spa and oodles of contemporary glamour.

ABode

A former warehouse located 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.

 

DATES FOR THE DIARY

Manchester Pride

TBC | Great British Bear Bash

The Great British Bear Bash aims to return to Manchester’s Gay Village with a weekend full of social events including pool party, cabaret, 'super-beareoke', a history of Manchester walking tour and much more.

TBC | Sparkle Weekend

Britain’s transgender community comes together to celebrate and shine at Manchester’s Sparkle Weekend and Sparkle Ball. This is the world’s largest free-to-attend celebration of gender diversity, welcoming all members of the transgender community as well as friends and families. Since 2005’s one-day inaugural event, it’s expanded into a three-day schedule of culture, music, comedy, film, sport and debate.

27 - 30 August 2021 | Manchester Pride

August is when Manchester’s gay village plays host to one of the biggest dates in the gay calendar: Manchester Pride. This fantastic festival spans a number of events, such as Manchester Pride Live, Superbia Weekend, the Gay Village Party, Manchester Pride Parade, Youth Pride MCR and the Candlelit Vigil.

 

 

GETTING HERE

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.

Explore our other LGBTQ+ city guides

Birmingham
Brighton
Cardiff
Glasgow
London
Edinburgh
Bristol
Newcastle