If you’re looking for a winning combo of weather that plays nice (usually!), beaches to die for and a social scene that’s been a magnet for LGBTQ+ funseekers for generations, let 2022 be the year that you throw your gladrags into your stylish designer suitcase and set fair for England’s beautiful south coast.
First up, we have Brighton: official title – the City of Brighton and Hove, unofficial title – the gay capital of the UK. This small-but-perfectly-formed seaside metropolis is jam packed with fab LGBTQ+ venues – bars, clubs, restaurants and so on – but, hey, the place is so LGBT-friendly that you’ll find the very warmest of welcomes wherever you go.
Brighton is open for business 12 months of the year, but really comes into its own over Pride weekend which this year is hitting the city on the weekend of 6th and 7th August. Widely considered to be Britain’s top Pride party – the Guardian described it as “the country’s most popular LGBT+ event – 2022 sees US megastar Christina Aguilera headlining the main stage on the Saturday (yes, really!) before passing the baton to Britain’s own Paloma Faith on the Sunday. As ever, the parade kicks off from the iconic Brighton pier before heading north to Preston Park for a full-on weekend of queer festivities.
But here’s the thing: if you’re travelling to Brighton from out of town you’re going to want to rely on some decent accommodation that doesn’t break the bank. Sadly, not every hotel cuts the mustard and being billeted miles from the action can really put the dampeners on what should be a joyous stay. Fortunately, help is at hand from household-name international hotel group and Pride365-accredited Hilton, whose Hilton Metropole hotel sits just across the road from the beach, just a few minutes stroll from the pier and so close to the bars and clubs of the city centre that you’ll be able to get anywhere you want, even in the highest of high heels.
As you enter the marbled reception hall from the Metropole’s seafront doorway, you’ll immediately know that you’re in safe hands. Check-in is quick and friendly and, as well as the restaurant and a bar with an outdoor terrace overlooking the beach, the hotel boasts a pool, sauna and steam room. What’s more, the Metropole is one of Hilton’s many pet-friendly establishments, so if you can’t bear to be parted from your pooch, this is an added bonus you’re bound to appreciate. The OutNewsGlobal dog actually stayed in the Metropole back in 2021, and you can read all about her experience here.
Heading west along the coast, out of Sussex, through Hampshire and just over the border into Dorset, is where you’ll find Bournemouth. Famed for its glorious golden sands (some say the best in Britain), Bournemouth is less of a partygoers paradise than Brighton, but still with a smattering of LGBTQ+ venues and a well-established Pride event called Bourne Free.
Just a generation ago, two-mum and two-dad families were almost unheard of, but these days more and more same-sex couples have kids and, if that’s you, look out for Bourne Free’s Family Fun Night on 8th July with its free fairground rides and a host of family-friendly activities to keep the little ’uns enthralled.
The main event takes place on Sunday 9th July with a comforting and friendly community feel. More chilled than some of the UK’s larger Prides, it’s the ideal choice if you’re looking for a less frenetic experience. The parade starts at The Triangle, wending its way past beautiful gardens before landing in Meyrick Park for “Pride in the Park”.
Once again, our friends at Hilton have stepped up to the Pride-accommodation plate with the Bournemouth Hilton, located less than 10 minutes from both the town centre and the beach which some truly breathtaking views from the rooftop bar which actually has heated sofas! Nice! Just like its Brighton counterpart, the Bournemouth Hilton is pet friendly, so little Fido won’t have to miss out on the action.
Check out more of Hilton’s LGBTQ-friendly hotels here.