Suggest a queer-friendly sojourn anywhere on our mainland and your potential holiday-mates are likely to think of London and Brighton first. After that, they’ll probably suggest a seaside break in Bournemouth or an adventure in our Scottish and Irish capitals. But what else does England have to offer? If you’re struggling for ideas, OutNewsGlobal takes a look at some of the hidden gems in (and out of) our crown…
Mel B and Nadine Coyle
First up is Manchester, which for many of you will bring back memories of seminal (ho ho) gay drama Queer as Folk. Manchester Pride takes place between the 26th and 29th August, and headliners include Mel B, Nadine Coyle and Bimini. All events are free apart from the Gay Village Party, which offers reduced tickets for low income single revellers and family groups. If you’re visiting outside Pride season, however, Manchester’s infamous Canal Street (the aforementioned “gay village”) is the place to be.
Vanilla is “where the girls are”… and the award-winning DJs and banging burgers to boot. Bloom, previously known as AXM club, is aimed at the whole rainbow, and attracts a diverse clientele with its popular theme nights. G-A-Y is twinned with the London bar of the same name, offering similar delights such as late opening and the latest dancefloor smash-hits. Cruz 101 sees famously up-for-it party-goers flaunting their muscles alongside perfectly preened queens. And, if dancing the night away to high voltage House music is your thing, you’ll want to check out Void.
Pride in Liverpool falls on the 30th July this year, after three years off due to the pandemic. It is free to all attendees, with a theme of “Come Together” offering revellers both a celebration and a call to action. Not only that they are back out of lockdown, but in these still-troubled times for LGBTQ+ rights their partying comes with politics and politics means combined effort across the globe. Liverpool’s self-proclaimed “gay village” will be the focus of the action, much as it is for the LGBTQ+ community the rest of the year round. Head to Stanley Street/Dale Street/Cumberland Street/Eberle Street for delights such as Liverpool’s biggest LGBT nightclub, Heaven; the late-opening G-Bar, Liverpool’s longest-running LGBTQ+ night, which kicks out at 7am; and themed nights, cheap drinks and cheesy disco at the Superstar Boudoir.
Throw your tiara
Punting, picnics and… Pride? Pride hits Cambridge on 9 July, and like Liverpool Pride the festival – in keeping with the original Pride ethos – offers free entry to all. The festivities start at midday in Jesus Green Park, with the parade departing from the park at 3pm. Evening entertainment takes place at the usual haunts, mostly clustered around Newmarket Road, Clifton Road, Sidney Street and Market Square. Cambridge’s biggest LGBTQ+ night is Glitterbomb, which also runs events in Canterbury and the Dot Cotton Club is – as the name suggests – the best place to throw your tiara in town. Unfortunately, Glitterbomb is Cambridge’s only dedicated LGBTQ+ venue, but what it lacks in established nightlife, the city makes up for in meetup groups and occasional/one-off events. After all, it’s harder to find the person of your dreams in a London superclub than it is at an informal pub meet.
Another universal characteristic of these LGBTQ+ meccas/up-and-coming epicentres is the presence of good LGBTQ+ friendly accommodation thanks to the Hilton hotel chain, which needs very little in the way of introduction! In Manchester, you’ll find the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, in Liverpool the Hilton Liverpool City Centre and in Cambridge the Hilton Cambridge City Centre. Already a household name synonymous with luxury leisure on an economy budget, the Hilton also attempts to create a tailored experience for all guests regardless of which walk of life they come from. As well as a generous points/rewards scheme, a wide selection of room types, a pet-friendly policy and more, you are also guaranteed a friendly welcome whatever your orientation and our staff will do their best to help you find local sights and scenes (!) to suit your tastes. Wherever you go, you’re likely to find a Hilton, so what are you waiting for? It’s time to explore…