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With the UK’s summer schedule pretty busy with the Jubilee and the Olympics, it seems all of that wasn’t enough. London is also reaching the global spotlight with World Pride 2012 in Soho. Outside of the capital, Brighton & Hove’s own Pride festival celebrates 20 years of championing the gay community in 2012. Check out all the details about England’s summer of gay pride below:
7 July, 2012
Founded in 2004, Pride London is one of the most vibrant events in the city’s calendar and this year promises to be no exception. Pride London 2012 (17 June – 8 July) is extra special as it coincides with the city hosting World Pride 2012. The theme for this year’s World Pride Parade is ‘One World, One Pride, One Voice‘ and the procession will start at Baker Street at 1pm before making its way down Oxford Street and Regent Street, moving down Pall Mall and Cockspur Street as it passes Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall where it will end at around 4.30pm. London beat stiff competition to win the title of host city for World Pride. Whether you’ve never been to a Pride London Parade before or you go every year, make sure you don’t miss out when World Pride 2012 comes to town!
Where to stay: Deep in the hustle, bustle and muscle of London’s Soho lies the stylish and sexy Soho Hotel (from £295 per room, per night). With its individually designed rooms and stylish hotel bar, this hotel is a favourite with gays, media darlings and celebs alike.
Where to party: Head to Shoreditch and join the trendy crowd at the George & Dragon. This old London pub has been redecorated with kitsch ornament. The jukebox plays an eclectic range of pop music and DJs sometimes take over the decks for a night of partying.
Must-see: Take a stroll past the haunts of Oscar Wilde, delve into the clandestine club life of the 1930s and 40s, and find out why Soho has played such an important part in gay history with London Walks. The London of Oscar Wilde Walk takes place every Saturday morning at 11 am (except 28 July, 4 August or 11 August).
Brighton is famed for its nightlife and this year sees the city celebrating 20 years of everything lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender in a week-long extravaganza of events and parties. Brighton Pride is jam packed with club nights, events and much more. Since its fledging beginning in 1992 with a very modest afternoon event on The Level, Brighton Pride has evolved into one of the biggest Pride festival in the UK. Culminating in a spectacular carnival parade and party in Preston Park, Brighton Pride endorses and celebrates the diversity of the gay community in the city and the contribution they have made to making Brighton and Hove the open, free spirited and diverse city it is today. www.brightonpride.org
Where to stay: Relax in style and enjoy the exclusive Blanch House experience. Brighton’s original boutique hotel, Blanch House is only a short walk from the centre of Brighton and a stone’s throw from the city’s stunning Regency seafront (from £105 per room, per night).
Where to party: Long-term Brighton favourite, Legends has an all-day bar with a sea facing terrace and popular club at weekends. A staple of the city’s younger crowd is Brighton biggest gay club, Revenge, packed with the gay glitterati at the weekend, dancing to house and pop.
Must-see: Long before it was known as the ‘Gay Capital of Europe’, Brighton attracted people with alternative sexualities and gender identities. Their stories give us insight into the surprising diversity of lives in the past, many of which made unique contributions to wider society and culture. The Piers & Queers 80-minute walking tour looks at some of the stories from Brighton’s past, focusing on the astonishing personalities of LGBT interest and their tales of achievement, challenge, bravery and infamy. Also don’t forget to download Brighton’s LGBT walking tour app!
17 – 27 August
Manchester has a thriving LGBT scene, centred around the world famous Canal Street – home of ‘The Village’. The Gay Village in Manchester is without doubt the liveliest area of the city and people flock to the area from all over the world, many attracted by the Queer As Folk television drama which was based here. Whilst ‘The Village’ is full of gay bars, most of them are straight-friendly and the popularity of the area with heterosexuals underlines the welcoming open-minded attitude Mancunians are famed for. Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend – one of the biggest parties in the UK – runs from 24 – 27 August. Tens of thousands of people descend upon Manchester’s world-renowned Gay Village to celebrate the climax of the Manchester Pride’s ten-day festival. There’s a lot more to Manchester Pride than the Big Weekend. This year, there are over forty exciting Fringe events taking place across the city centre.
Where to stay: ABode Manchester is ideally located just couple of minutes from bustling Piccadilly and Canal Street. The Grade II listed hotel retains the period character of a Victorian cotton merchant’s wholesale warehouse with a splendid walnut staircase and wrought iron work (as a www.visitmanchester.com/LGBT exclusive, ABode are offering a 10% discount on their best available room rate, for this you just need to quote LGBT1 when booking over the phone with them).
Where to party: New Union Hotel & Show Bar, built in 1865, the New Union was one of the first ever gay establishments in Manchester and has been a gay venue for as long as anyone can remember. The large dance floor comes alive at night with many drag acts performing cabaret on a regular basis.
Must-see: Visit the Alan Turing Memorial, father of modern computing. As a gay icon and as an icon of computing, it is no coincidence that this memorial is situated between Canal Street and the University of Manchester.
25-26 May 2013
Birmingham has a vibrant and multi-cultured gay community that welcomes visitors from throughout the UK and internationally. Situated along Hurst Street next to the Chinese quarter and down the road from the city’s famous Hippodrome Theatre, the Gay Village boasts plenty of great night time venues to enjoy, no matter what you’re after. Earlier this month Birmingham Pride showcased 2 days’ worth of celebrations including a Carnival Parade through the city centre plus entertainment zones. The 2012 theme was ‘It Gets Better’ which aimed to inspire LGBT youth for their future as openly gay adults.
Where to stay: The Radisson Blu Hotel (from £174 per room, per night), situated just a stone’s throw away from The Gay Village, is a stunning 39 storey glass structure is home to a thoroughly contemporary hotel boasting meticulously designed rooms and an impressive range of facilities. Get 20.12% off stays at Radisson Blu Hotel Birmingham this summer with great2012offers.com
Where to party: The longest-established venue in the Gay Village is the Nightingale Club. ‘The Gale’, as it’s lovingly known, presents live entertainment with top-name acts every Saturday night.
Must-see: Head on down to Birmingham’s annual ‘Pink Picnic’, aimed at the LGBT community and their friends and families. This year’s picnic will take place on Saturday 7 July 2012, from 1 – 5pm by the Bandstand in Cannon Hill Park.
For those that prefer the simple life away from England’s big cities and glittering events, Hastings offers a smattering of gay owned and run bed and breakfasts on the South Coast. Tower House 1066 (rates from £75 per room, per night) is a gorgeous B&B in the heart of St Leonards on Sea, where Louise the friendly and talented owner has combined elegant interiors with a welcoming atmosphere. Those in need of pampering will find a full range of traditional therapies and treatments, from Swedish Massage to Thermal Mud Therapy. In the heart of Hastings Old Town, Swan House (from £115 per room, per night) occupies a 1490 building in a picturesque position. Brendan and his friendly team of staff provide a haven of peace and tranquility where you can unwind amidst the charm of Hastings in the famous 1066 country. Swan House serves seriously good evening meals by prior arrangement and during the summer the kitchen is always happy to prepare a fabulous picnic hamper. In addition to Swan House, Brendan also owns The Old Rectory (from £100 per room, per night), in Harold Road Hastings which is licensed to hold gay civil partnerships weddings ceremonies and makes a stunning and intimate setting for your very special day.
For a range of fantastic UK summer offers on accommodation, transport, attractions and restaurants this summer, visit www.great2012offers.com. England gay pride 2012 will no doubt make for a fun summer in the UK!