London Pride 2019 will be a historic and important moment for the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating 50 years since the first protest for equal rights in the gay community. The ground-breaking Stonewall Uprising in New York will be remembered with a joyous parade through the streets and the capital’s gay village, Soho, becoming a hub for parties and fun as London celebrates half a century of progression and unity.
Visitors can witness history in this jubilee year Pride of London parade, happening 6 July. Starting in Portland Place and ending in Whitehall/Trafalgar Square, the parade will consist of over 300 floats and groups who will entertain the crowd with music, dancing and performances, many of which are kept secret until the day! The grand finale of this festival of celebration is a varied line-up of entertainment, including music and speeches in Trafalgar Square, which is free to attend.
Found in the heart of London’s gay village, with views of Old Compton Street, Ku Bar & Club is a great place for a cocktail during Pride. With rich golden interiors covering this 2-floor bar, Ku will have an extra special atmosphere during Pride festival.
Around since the early 1990s, Village Soho is a very well established gay-friendly venue. With an extensive cocktail menu and a late-night license, it will be right at the heart of the Gay Pride party.
A traditional style pub in Soho’s gay village, Comptons of Soho serves everything from real ale to punch bowls and shots, and has become a well-known gay bar in London. Being in the heart of Soho, crowds are sure to gather outside Comptons for a bustling street party along Old Compton Street!
Opening in 1979 and quickly becoming pivotal in the creation of London’s gay scene, nightclub and music venue, Heaven has been host to many musical legends. From New Order’s first London show, to Nick Cave’s original punk band The Birthday Party and London’s sweetheart Adele, the lively shows at Heaven continue to impress music lovers to this day. It also holds regular club nights on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Known for serving some of the cheapest drinks in Soho to a soundtrack of gay anthems and the best of guilty-pleasure pop, G-A-Y Bar and G-A-Y Late are the places to be for a night of guaranteed fun! G-A-Y late is open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Blending elements of traditional British pub culture with a classic gay bar, Halfway to Heaven is located in Trafalgar Square, a few steps from where the Pride in London parade ends. Sure to be full of people celebrating, there is also a smaller ‘centre-stage’ bar downstairs, known for putting on cabaret acts, drag shows and karaoke.
Where to stay - Soho
With elegant suites and rooms, The London EDITION hotel offers a luxurious space just a stone’s throw from the Pride parties, while the hotel’s Lobby Bar and Punch Room offer sophisticated spots to enjoy wine and cocktails.
Modern, stylish and full of amazing artwork, Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel is a haven in the heart of central London. Boasting a drawing room, library, spa, 1950s style bowling alley imported from America, and even a cosy roof terrace bar, Ham Yard Hotel has a lot to offer its guests. Bowling is £20 per person for one hour.
Located in the centre of the gay village, Z Soho is a super-modern hotel with 85 rooms surrounding a central courtyard. Minutes away from Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road tube stations, the thriving LGBTQ+ community of London is right on their doorstep.
For ‘style on a budget’ hostel accommodation in the midst of all the Pride action, try SoHostel on Dean Street. Prices vary from a very cheap 18-bed mixed dormitory room and increase when fewer people are sharing.
What to wear
Although there is no dress code for Pride in London 2019, 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 London
Flights to London airports, as well as regular Eurostar services going from several European cities, are well served by transport links into central London. Tube stations close to Soho include Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road.