Best LGBTQIA+ friendly holiday destinations in the UK

Accommodation, Destinations

Posted by Ed Roberts on 30th May 2023

Best LGBTQIA+-friendly holiday destinations in the UK

At holidaycottages.co.uk, we want everyone to feel welcome on holiday, and there's never been a better time to explore the many LGBTQIA+-friendly places to visit in the UK. Society has grown increasingly welcoming of LGBTQIA+ people and our laws reflect this, which makes travelling the country as a gay couple or a group an easier experience. 

So where are the most gay-friendly holiday destinations in the UK? Whilst you may assume that your choices will be allied to the cities, this is not the case. We've lifted the lid on some of the UK’s most progressive and inclusive places to visit, and in a few years, there may be even more. You could also find out where the best Pride festivals in the UK are taking place in our handy guide and for up-to-date events, the Out & Proud app is worth downloading to your phone.

Our holiday homes across the British Isles welcome LGBTQIA+ guests, so visit our collection of properties, from luxury townhouses to plush apartments, by clicking the button below.

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LGBTQIA+-friendly Blackpool, North of England

Blackpool, North of England

Wonderful Blackpool has a long and potted gay history. The flamboyance and camp of the town’s lengthy promenade has dazzled visitors from all walks of life for decades, and it still leads the way when it comes to luring the LGBTQIA+ communities. Known as the UK’s answer to Las Vegas, what Blackpool may lack in glamour and glitz, it makes up for with unique joie de vivre.

Blackpool was one of the earliest places in the UK with gay-friendly B&Bs and a good number of openly LGBTQIA+-friendly bars, clubs and meeting places. In that respect, Blackpool may have been overtaken by Brighton, Manchester, and Cardiff, but it lives on for those who harbour a strong sense of nostalgia and a good sense of fun. Come to Blackpool in the late summer and autumn to see the Blackpool Tower, the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations and enjoy the gaudy thrills of the fair rides at the Pleasure Beach. There’s no place quite like it.

Best of LGBTQIA+ Blackpool

  • The Flying Handbag – Yes, the Flying Handbag is still going strong. Blackpool’s maddest gay pub is nearing national treasure status.
  • Burlesque Night – Fancy a night of Burlesque fun? Then go to Funny Girls to see some of the best legs in the North West of England, we dare you.
  • Ma Kelly’s – There are about half a dozen Ma Kelly’s bars from the tip to toe of Blackpool. Whilst not exclusively gay, these are still very popular with the outgoing gay crowd.
  • When is Pride Blackpool? – Blackpool’s Pride Event occurs in February. Visit the website for updates.
  • Stay nearbyBarn Owl at Cobblestones | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Blackpool cottages


LGBTQIA+-friendly Brighton, South Coast

Brighton, South Coast

All roads lead to Brighton; the unofficial gay capital of England. This famously progressive city has, for over a century, been home to one of the UK’s best-thriving and largest gay villages: Kemp Town. The gay communities have adopted the city as it has always been home to those seeking an alternative lifestyle. Each summer’s Pride grows in stature, and the city leads the way for the number of gay-owned establishments.

Being gay shouldn’t define what attractions ought to be on your list; as cool as Kemp Town is, there’s so much to Brighton you could fall in love with. Brighton Palace Pier, shopping in North Laine, Brighton i360, and the simple joys of taking in the scenery from a deckchair ought to keep you happy during the daytime.

The best of LGBTQIA+ Brighton

  • Revenge – Virtually unrivalled in reputation, Revenge is a staple of Brighton’s night scene.
  • Legends – This hotel has a lovely restaurant and bar for excellent meals, cabaret and drag!
  • Le Village – A superb place for Sunday lunch in a relaxed gay pub in Kemptown.
  • When is Pride Brighton? Pride in Brighton takes place each August. Visit the website for updates.
  • Stay nearbyThe Nest | sleeps 2

Brighton cottages


LGBTQIA+-friendly Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff, Wales

Come to the Welsh capital of Cardiff for a wonderful time. Cardiff is one of the UK’s most gay-friendly holiday destinations; there is so much to see and do that makes it popular with visitors. With a whole host of late-night gay venues and LGBTQIA+ -owned businesses, it’s one of the most diverse places in Wales.

Attractions-wise, most of Cardiff’s gay-friendly pubs and bars are found close to Cardiff Castle. Well-loved nightlife stalwarts such as The Golden Cross, Mary’s, and The Eagle are worth dropping by for a pint. The Queer Emporium is an exclusively gay market with 18 stores selling everything from books, clothes and art to light lunches. Gays Who Wine is a great place for those who (obviously) love drinking wine and all that it entails; there are regular tastings. This tempting place is found in The Glory Stores.

The best of LGBTQIA+ Cardiff, Wales

  • The Queer Emporium – Possibly unique in the UK, this is a gay High Street equivalent.
  • Cardiff Castle – History buffs will love a day out at the city’s chief landmark.
  • Wales Millennium Centre – This place is the national home for performing arts, so check out the programme schedule.
  • When is Pride Cardiff? – Cardiff’s annual event Pride Cymru takes place each June in the Castle.
  • Stay nearbySkyfog | sleeps 4 guests

Cardiff cottages


Glasgow, Scotland

A gay-friendly holiday above the border to Glasgow in Scotland could be just the tonic. This lively city promises adventure for all visitors and has a raft of entertainment and culture for LGBTQIA+ travellers. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Scotland in 2014 and has been welcoming of gay communities for much longer, in Glasgow especially.

Several gay-friendly events take place outside of Pride each year including Outspoken Arts aka Glasgay! Festival, the Scottish International Burlesque Festival (June), the Scottish Queer Film Festival (September), and Drag-Opticon. More general attractions in Glasgow include the Burrell Collection, Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and one of the best city centres in the UK for shopping.

The best of LGBTQIA+-friendly Glasgow

  • Aye-Aye Books – If you are a bookworm, then this LGBTQIA+ bookshop is awesome.
  • The Barras – Love hunting for bargains? The Barras is the place with the best reputation.
  • People’s Palace Cafe – Hoping to indulge in some people watching? A gay-friendly café inside a museum of social spaces is always abuzz with activity.
  • When is Pride Glasgow?Pride Glasgow takes place each June. Visit the website for info.
  • Stay nearbyPark Lane Glasgow Harbour | sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Glasgow cottages


LGBTQIA+-friendly Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire

Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire

Deep in West Yorkshire is the former mill town of Hebden Bridge, famous for Ted Hughes' poem ‘Stubbing Wharfe’. These days it’s an ever-up-and-coming LGBTQIA+ holiday destination with blossoming gay communities. It is something of a haven for alternative lifestyles with cafes and galleries galore, vegan restaurants and bookshops.

An unofficial ‘lesbian capital of Great Britain’, it’s said that many metropolitan gays are leaving the city behind for the Dales. Even though Hebden Bridge is tiny compared to many of the others listed in this guide, it has Happy Valley Pride. If you are holidaying in Yorkshire, then this is the place to be.

Best of LGBTQIA+-friendly Hebden Bridge

  • Trades Club – If you are a night owl and love a dance, Trades is perhaps the most popular in town.
  • Nelson’s Wine Bar – This is one of the most frequented gay bars in Hebden Bridge. It also serves exclusively vegan food.
  • The Picture House – Filled with cool LGBTQIA+ events, this cinema is a town hub.
  • When is Happy Valley Pride? – Hebden Bridge’s Pride event takes place in July.
  • Stay nearbyEnchanted Cottage | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Hebden Bridge cottages


LGBTQIA+-friendly Liverpool – North of England

Liverpool, Merseyside

Liverpool is a magical place – a place built on the shoulders of stories and successes but also massive struggles. Ever the phoenix, Liverpool evolves with each passing generation. For a few decades now, it’s been the home of growing LGBTQIA+ communities and they are becoming more visible as time moves on. 

Liverpool has always been a party city, and there are plenty of late-night and daytime places for gay people to enjoy on their breaks. Liverpool has its Gay Quarter in the heart of the city that boasts the best gay bars in the world! Judge for yourself; Liverpudlians are famous for backing up their boasts – after all, this is the city that spawned the world’s most famous band, the most famous ship, the best football teams (arguably), and even invented its very own mythological creature, The Liverbird. Liverpool has you covered on all fronts for an active, involving and, ultimately, an unforgettable trip to the gay north west.

Best of LGBTQIA+-friendly Liverpool

  • Funnyboyz – Go and see Funnyboyz, Liverpool’s drag stage show - we dare you.
  • Spectrum Bookshop – Not just a bookshop but a safe space and social hub for LGBTQIA+ groups in the city.
  • River Mersey Cruise – Get a ferry across the Mersey; it’s practically mandatory for all visitors.
  • When is Pride Liverpool?Liverpool’s Pride event takes place in July at the Pier Head.
  • Stay nearbyWindlestone | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Liverpool cottages


LGBTQIA+-friendly Manchester – North of England

Manchester, Greater Manchester

Don’t tell Liverpool, but Manchester is the first place on most people’s lips when they think of the best gay destination to party in the north of England. You may not want to stay out all night, and if you don’t then Manchester has other things that can make you happy too. A strong gay scene saw the former slum Canal Street become Manchester Gay Village, which has a contingent of great LGBTQIA+-friendly bars, pubs, saunas, gyms and cafes. Manchester highlights include Richmond Tea Rooms, and  the Alan Turing Memorial.

The best of LGBTQIA+-friendly Manchester

  • Queer Media – This November event celebrates all things queer in cinema, TV, radio, podcasting, animation and anything else digital.
  • Coronation Street TV Tour - We all love our soap operas. See where the campest of them all is filmed.
  • Bury Market – For cool clothes and bespoke oddments, Bury Market is a local gem for all.
  • When is Pride Manchester?Pride Manchester occurs in August. The attendance can surpass 200,000!
  • Stay nearbyThe Curlew Shepherds Hut | sleeps 2

Manchester cottages


LGBTQIA+-friendly St Leonard’s-on-Sea, South Coast

St Leonards-on-Sea, South Coast

St Leonards-on-Sea, which sits between Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, is the dark horse on the list. Perhaps lesser known in some quarters than many of the previous entries, St Leonards is not an afterthought (this list is alphabetical), and for some, we may have saved the best for last. If you aren’t one for making popular choices or following the crowd, then why not consider a trip to St Leonards, another up-and-coming gay-friendly holiday destination? However, don't see St Leonards as an overnight sensation; its profile has been steadily on the rise for years.

So, why is St Leonards-on-Sea so LGBTQIA+-friendly? It’s a town with a village feel, so there is a nice collection of venues like The Forbidden Fruit, and a craft beer bar called Collected Fictions - with lots of cool alt-lifestyle beacons it's no surprise it attracts people from all walks of life. There are so many exciting independent pubs, clubs, galleries, cool shops, and eateries around too like St Clement’s, Galleria, and the cocktail bar Twisted Bunny. We’re not so sure about Half Man! Half Burger! for a name, but the food is terrific!

The best of LGBTQIA+-friendly St Leonards-on-Sea

  • The Marina Fountain – Visit this gay-friendly pub near the seafront for a good range of wines and beers.
  • The Forbidden Fruit – Having opened recently, this venue offers Sunday roasts in the daytime and drag shows and bands after dark.
  • Independent bookshops – There are at least two great indie bookshops in town – The Bookkeeper and Black Gull Books.
  • When is Pride St Leonards-on-Sea? – There is no Pride celebration in St Leonards-on-Sea. However, Hastings Pride takes place on the Pier on August Bank Holiday each year.
  • Stay nearbyVista Sul Mar | sleeps 2 + 1 dog

St Leonards-on-Sea cottages


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We hope we have inspired your next break away to an LGBTQIA+-friendly holiday destination. Browse our collection of holiday properties today by clicking on the button below.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.