When gay travellers think of the United Kingdom, they often don’t look outside London, and if they do, eyes tend to drift south to Brighton, Britain’s slice of rainbow pie by the sea. While the British capital obviously has the monopoly when it comes to nightlife, acceptance and diversity in Britain’s gay community, that doesn’t mean it’s the only place that gay travellers should make a beeline for when heading to England. The north of England more than holds its ground when it comes to a pink-tinged night out, and prices are often much more reasonable – and folk a lot friendlier – than in London. So, where can gay travellers go in the UK outside London for a rollickin’ good time? These three northern cities will serve you well.


Often touted as the gay capital of England, Manchester might not be able to lay claim to that title without a fight (Brighton would have something to say about that), but the northern city can definitely say without dispute that it’s the gay capital of the north. The original Queer As Folk was set along the city’s iconic Canal Street (yes, that is Little Finger from Game of Thrones that you see in it), a strip of gay bars that’s buzzing every night of the week. Whether you’re into leather, club kids, or ostentatiously adorned drag queens, Manchester has you covered. Be prepared to party, and party hard.


The homeland of the fierce yet friendly Geordies, Newcastle has rightly earned its reputation as the party capital of the United Kingdom. Come rain or shine, locals head out in force, and they never, ever wear a coat, no matter what the weather is. Newcastle’s gay nightlife revolves around the ‘Pink Triangle’, close to the main train station. In terms of the bars, Bank is full of super camp hi-jinks, Switch is for a young and good-looking crowd, and The Yard serves up drinks to an older clientele. There are more bars on offer to get your fill of drink down you before hitting the dance floor at Powerhouse, Newcastle’s premier gay club.


The largest city in Yorkshire, Leeds might not have much in the way of attractions in the city itself, but it knows how to do two things with aplomb – shopping and drinking. Start your night off in Queen’s Court, where there are regular drink offers on, but skip pretentious Fibre across the yard and cross the street to Viaduct, with its cheap drinks, troupe of glamazon drag queens and buff bartenders wearing nothing but underwear. Finish the night just next door in Mission, where the DJ will have you dancing until dawn.