A Jubilee Year for the LGBTQ+ Community: Brighton Pride 2019

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.

LGBTQ+ entertainment

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.

The Best Fringe Festivals in 2019

Whether it’s a celebration of live theatre, dance, arts or comedy, fringe festivals can be found in nearly every corner of Britain. Laugh along with the nation’s finest comedians as they prepare for their major tours, take in the sounds of up-and-coming musicians and discover new takes on some of the finest theatrical works. Packed with live entertainment and clever improvisation, these are the best Fringe Festivals to enjoy in 2019.

Maidstone Fringe

Marking the diversity of new and original music in Kent and the South East of England, Maidstone Fringe returns for a 9th year in 2019. Spread across numerous venues in the town centre, including pubs, clubs and music venues, as well as in cafes and coffee shops, the majority of the musical performances are free to attend. Expect a wide array of music too, with everything from rock, indie and pop-punk to blues, acoustic, folk, dance and hip-hop on the bill for 2019.

When? 1-6 May

Brighton Fringe

England’s largest arts festival, featuring more than 4,500 performances and events, takes place across Brighton, embracing all forms of art and artistic impression. Running alongside the Brighton Festival, the Brighton Fringe includes cabaret, classical concerts, club nights, comedy, theatre shows and a host of exhibitions, as well as street performances and exciting pop-up venues. In 2019, the International Seasons programme is also set to welcome some of the best contemporary performances by artists from France, the Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Iceland, Korea and Sweden, among others, showcasing the event’s global appeal.

When? 3 May – 2 June

Bath Fringe

Incorporating 3 weekends and the weeks in between, the Bath Fringe is a celebration of all the arts, meaning there are few rules regarding what is on. Both the people of Bath and venues in the city have a big say over what is included, with a detailed events list usually published in April.

When? 24 May - 9 June

Plymouth Fringe

An annual celebration of theatre and live performance, Plymouth Fringe welcomes some of the best talent in the South West, as well as others from across Britain. With venues in the city centre and on the waterfront, expect a host of inspiring performances as the Fringe marks its 5th consecutive year.

When? 27 May – 1 June

Ludlow Fringe

Ludlow Fringe is an independent arts, community and culture festival with a focus on inclusivity. Many of its events are free to attend, while prices are capped at £15 on those that are not, to ensure that events are affordable and accessible. Be sure to check out the Annual Ludlow Fringe Art Trail too, a diverse collection of affordable art by local and national artists that is showcased in 25 different pop-up venues and galleries. Featuring paintings, sculpture, photography, textiles, print and jewellery, and much more besides, the quirky venues are all located a short distance from the town centre.

When? 15-30 June

Guildford Fringe

Now in its 7th year, the Guildford Fringe is a multi-arts festival that features comedy, poetry, theatre, music, visual arts, workshops, burlesque and an abundance of family-friendly shows. Gag House Comedy Superstars kicks-off proceedings on 28 June, featuring comedian and actor Hal Cruttenden, Paul Sinha from TV’s The Chase and Susan Murray. Around 125 events made up the 2018 Guildford Fringe, and its organisers are expecting even more for 2019.

When? 28 June – 28 July

Greater Manchester Fringe

A multi-venue arts festival packed with comedy stand up, dance, magic shows, orchestras, new writing and a wealth of other art forms, the Greater Manchester Fringe provides a stage for performers to showcase their skills. It often acts as a platform for productions too - many past shows have moved onto the region’s established theatres including the Lowry Theatre, the Royal Exchange and the Bolton Octagon, or have embarked on nationwide tours. Now in its 8th year, a full programme of events for 2019 will be released at the start of May.

When 1-31 July

The Great Yorkshire Fringe

As part of its 5th anniversary celebrations, the Great Yorkshire Fringe is set to expand across York in 2019 to feature even more cultural venues. The historic city’s well-known thoroughfare, Parliament Street, will be transformed into an exciting festival hub offering everything from comedy and cabaret to music, theatre and fun for all the family. Performances from comedian Henning Wehn and writer, broadcaster and actor Gyles Brandreth already feature on the bill for 2019, as well as Austentatious: The Improvised Jane Austen Novel, an entirely improvised performance showcasing Jane Austen’s work in a new light.

When? 18-28 July (20 July, Austentatious: The Improvised Jane Austen Novel; 21 July, Gyles Brandreth; 27 July, Henning Wehn)

Llangollen Fringe

Final details for the 2019 Llangollen Fringe are yet to be announced, but the celebration of music, dance, film and art will return to the small town of Llangollen, in North Wales, this year. With an eclectic mix of musical and artistic talents on its bill each year, the festival is town centre based, providing easy access to pubs, restaurants and car parks. Taking centre stage is the Victorian Llangollen Town Hall, which boasts its own 300-seat capacity theatre.

When? 19-28 July

Reading Fringe

Designed to support emerging artists and to provide a platform for them ahead of the world famous Edinburgh Fringe, the Reading Fringe welcomes acts to the town from all over the globe. With venues spread across the town, the theme for 2019 is ‘Into the woods – and beyond’, an exploration of what it means to be part of an ecosystem and a consideration of what the future holds for Earth.

When? 20-28 July

Ventnor Fringe

A multi-award winning arts festival on the Isle of Wight, the Ventnor Fringe includes an array of exciting venues in the eclectic hillside town. Alongside cabaret, music, theatre and art, visitors can also expect to see pop-up cinemas, basement bars and mystery tours.

When? 23-28 July

Camden Fringe

From its origins in 2006 as an alternative to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Camden Fringe provides performers with a chance to try out new and untested material. Encompassing all forms of performing arts, the Fringe welcomes both ambitious newcomers and experienced performers as they deliver new writing, sketch comedy, poetry, improvisation and everything in between. A full programme of events is expected in spring 2019.

When? 29 July – 25 August

Edinburgh Fringe

Renowned around the globe as being a platform for creative freedom, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the single biggest celebration of arts and culture in the world. Welcoming the finest performers to the Scottish capital, from the biggest names in show business to emerging stars, and covering all sorts of art forms, the festival features more than 50,000 performances each year. More than 300 venues provide the stages, alongside street events and market stalls, showcasing theatre, dance, comedy, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, exhibitions and speech – if it’s a form of art, it’s probably on the bill somewhere.

When? 2-26 August