Welcome to Britain’s unofficial gay capital. Claiming the country’s highest proportion of same-sex households, the seaside city is known for its open attitude, vivacious clubbing scene and 2-day Pride extravaganza. We run down the best of gay Brighton, from where to stay to the biggest dates for your diary, in our expert guide.
The labyrinth of alleyways that make up the historic Lanes area are dotted with antique shops, designer boutiques and jewellers – making this a recommended place for sourcing unusual gifts, or even a wedding ring! The alternative North Laines is a hipster haven of vintage clothing stores, organic juice bars and piercing parlours.
An excellent way to learn all about Brighton’s queer history is to follow in the footsteps of Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Dusty Springfield and other notable gays and lesbians on the Piers & Queers Tour. This unique walking exploration of Brighton’s LGBT past is offered by Only In Brighton, ranked one of the city’s top activities on TripAdvisor.
Much of Brighton’s thriving gay café and bar scene is focused around St. James Street in the Kemp Town neighbourhood. There are welcoming, traditional-style pubs including The Royal Oak and Camelford Arms, attracting a diverse gay crowd but with a large proportion of older and beefier blokes, bears and polar bears.
A Brighton institution, The Bulldog also attracts the manly hoards – it’s the city’s longest-running gay pub and is the only one that remains open right through until morning every weekend.
There are several gay saunas, the biggest being The Brighton Sauna. A large gay club spread across 3 floors, Revenge is another landmark gay venue, having been an integral part of Brighton’s gay scene for more than 21 years – there are theme parties every night, including lesbian-focused Girls On Top.
myhotels Brighton is a sexy design hotel with 80 curvaceous guestrooms by renowned New York interior architect Karim Rashid. Try the “Carousel” penthouse suite where in-room amenities include a sleek 4-poster bed, free-standing bathtub, luxurious tiled steam room and a 300-year-old vintage carousel horse!
If you want to stay close to the gay scene, you can’t get much better than Amsterdam Hotel and Bar. Located in the heart of Kemp Town, this hotel, restaurant, gay bar and sauna is itself a Brighton gay hotspots. The large seafront terrace is a prime hangout during summer afternoons.
A gay-owned 4-star bed & breakfast, Hudsons has comfortable en-suite rooms, a charming conservatory-breakfast room and a small private garden. Located on a quiet street in Kemp Town, it’s a TripAdvisor favourite.
One of the biggest Pride festivals in the UK, Brighton Pride attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors in August every year. Now a full weekend affair, the main day sees a huge parade through the city, followed by a massive party in Preston Park with a music stage, dance and cabaret tents. The Pride Village Party keeps the street party going all weekend.
Britain’s bear community comes out to play for Brighton Bear Weekender. Held annually in June, this increasingly popular date for bears and cubs comprises a range of pub events, picnics and parties.
The festival features the biggest lesbian events over Pride weekend with the very best in female DJs from Brighton and London and the hottest crowds.
Brighton is situated on the south coast of England, less than an hour by train from London. Approximately halfway between London and Brighton, London Gatwick Airport is served by numerous international airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet.