For a small nation, Great Britain sure knows how to throw a big celebration. And importantly, they’re a nation who are proudly inclusive, welcoming absolutely everybody to join the party. Yes, we know Vanessa Amorosi’s queer anthem/absolute banger will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day – you’re welcome.
From fiercely fun festivals celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, to hosting one of this year’s biggest events (✨Eurovision✨), cities across England, Scotland and Wales are abuzz with Pride.
Are you ready to turn up the love? Make 2023 the year you get your glitter on at one of these epic Pride events across Great Britain.
Pride in London
London has been celebrating gay pride for over 50 years, with the first parade taking to the streets in 1972. Now the UK’s biggest Pride event (and one of the largest LGBTQIA+ events in the world), Pride in London brings a funky festival vibe to the streets of central London, with an insanely impressive annual parade, loads of live entertainment, flamboyant parties, and a whole lot more.
Add Pride in London to your calendar: 1 July 2023
Another important Pride event in London’s calendar is UK Black Pride, held in August each year. This event is one of Europe’s largest events for the African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQIA+ community. UK Black Pride is a safe space to celebrate diverse sexualities, gender identities, cultures, gender expressions and backgrounds, celebrating Black LGBTQIA+ and QTIPOC culture through education, the arts, cultural events and advocacy.
Add UK Black Pride to your calendar: August 2023
If you plan to visit London this year but won’t be around in July or August for these key events, there is still plenty of LGBTQIA+ love to discover in this iconic city. For an anything-but-average city tour, Dragged Around London will send you sashaying from one dazzling sight to the next in style, following in the glamourous footsteps of Drag Queens as they introduce you to the city through their eyes.
After something a little more low key (but equally as impactful)? Head to Gay’s The Word, Britain’s oldest LGBTQIA+ bookshop. Beyond being an inclusive place to find a great read, Gay’s The Word has provided the local LGBTQIA+ community with important resources and information during their times of need. And it would be crazy of us to not mention London’s vivacious bar and clubbing scene. From Soho’s world-famous G-A-Y Bar, to Halfway to Heaven or The Karaoke Hole, you’ll be spoilt for choice of queer-friendly hangouts in England’s welcoming capital.
Hot tip: Want to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ history of London? Join the 2023 Contiki Pride trip to take a tour of the city’s LGBTQIA+ district on foot. You’ll have a local guide to fill you in on all the important historical deets and be your walking, talking, interactive Wikipedia!
Pride in Liverpool
Since 2010, Pride in Liverpool has cemented itself as one of the UK’s most extravagant Pride events. Kicking off with a colourful march that winds its way through the city centre, the parade attracts over 12,000 participants each year. In addition to the large open-air festival with live music, entertainment and street stalls, the insiders tell us that some more chill events happen on the following day, including sports, arts and cultural events throughout the city.
Add Pride in Liverpool to your calendar: July 2023
Liverpool’s Homotopia Festival is the UK’s longest running LGBTQIA+ arts and culture festival, bringing together queer creatives across multiple venues throughout the city to show off their creations, partake in visual performances, and host a variety of discussions and workshops.
Add Homotopia Festival to your calendar: November 2023
Now for 2023’s big event – Eurovision is coming to Liverpool! Selected as the host city on behalf of last year’s winners, the Ukraine, the slogan for this year’s event is ‘United by Music’ – and we could not think of a better city that embodies this whole heartedly. Liverpool truly dances to the beat of its own drum.
For its large LGBTQIA+ fanbase, Eurovision has long been more than a song contest. The competition has become a symbol of inclusivity and diversity, with a voice (literally) and visibility given to performers across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, supported by a clear message of unity. We love to see it!
Add the Eurovision Song Contest to your calendar: 9-13 May 2023
Image source:Conor Curran
Pride in Cardiff
Cardiff, the capital of Wales (and only a sneaky 2.5 hours from London), is certainly deserving of a place on the Pride map, with two major annual events and an endless list of queer-friendly businesses to add to your itinerary.
Held in October each year, the Iris Prize Festival could be compared to a Queer version of the famed Cannes Film Festival. On top of an eclectic line-up of LGBTQIA+ short films, insightful Q&A’s with filmmakers, and topical panel discussions, a visit to the Iris Prize Fest would not complete without getting your groove on at one of the absolutely legendary parties thrown throughout the programme.
Add the Iris Prize Festival to your calendar: 10-15 October 2023
For a weekend full of celebrations, where locals and travellers alike come together to celebrate diversity, Pride Cymru is the event for you. As Wales’ largest Pride event, in 2023 Pride Cymru will move to Cardiff Castle, where the festival’s epic entertainment schedule covers 3 stages over 2 days of jam-packed performances from both big names and local talent. A colourful parade + live music + drag stars + comedy shows… Sounds like an unmissable event to us!
Add Pride Cymru to your calendar: 17 & 18 June 2023
Can’t make it to Cardiff for either Pride Cymru or the Iris Prize Festival? While we will say, damnnnn you’re missing out, we will also add that there is plenty to see and do in Cardiff during your next visit (whenever that may be, but we hope it’s soon). Cardiff’s gay scene may be small and compact but there is something for everyone – from popular hangout The Golden Cross, to the city’s Queer nightclub Pulse, or a trip to Mary’s for a live cabaret performance, you’ll discover plenty of LGBTQIA+ friendly experiences in Cardiff.
LGBTQIA+ Ambassador Aisha Shaibu-Lenoir on how to uncover a surprising side to Britain
Pride in Edinburgh
In a huge celebration of LGBTQIA+ love, Scotland’s national Pride festival, Pride Edinburgh, begins with a vibrant parade and continues the party with a full programme of entertainment including a wellbeing fair and ceilidh dancing.
While you’re in town, take a wander through Edinburgh’s vibrant ‘Pink Triangle’ for a splash of flair and flamboyance in the form of lively clubs, bars and bistros. As Edinburgh’s oldest gay venue, CC Blooms really knows how to bring the party, with drag queens, creative cocktails and dancing late into the evening.
Add Pride Edinburgh to your calendar: 24 June 2023
When listing events in Great Britain that celebrate diversity and inclusivity, it would be amiss of us not to mention the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where for three glorious weeks the Scottish capital becomes an explosion of colour and music, with performers, artists and creatives taking to stages around the city. If you’re travelling around Great Britain during August, you absolutely must prioritise visiting Edinburgh for this memorable event.
Add Edinburgh International and Fringe Festival to your calendar: 4-28 August 2023
Pride in Brighton
Now, last but certainly not least, this wouldn’t be a wrap up of Great Britain’s greatest Pride events if we were to skip Brighton, would it? As an almost far too convenient destination for travellers looking to venture outside of London (it’s only 40 minutes away – winning!) Brighton is a must-add stop to your England itinerary.
As Britain’s unofficial LGBTQIA+ capital, a highlight of the city’s event calendar is the annual two-day Pride festival, Brighton and Hove Pride. With an unbelievable line-up of musicians at FABULOSO in the Park (last year’s headliner was Christina Aguilera?!), 2023’s event is sure to be a spectacular celebration.
Add Brighton Pride to your calendar: 5 & 6 August 2023
Garden parties. Bear-a-oke. Club nights. A Sunday roast. Brighton’s Bear Weekend sounds like one unmissable celebration for Bears and Cubs alike, with four days of fur and fun in the sun!
Add Brighton Bear Weekend to your calendar: 6-9 July 2023
Insider tip: For a vivacious LGBTQIA+ café and bar scene, head to St James Street in the Kemptown neighbourhood, where rainbow flags adorn many of the street’s establishments 🏳️🌈
So, whoever you are, and whatever you’re looking for, Britain is bursting with places to turn up the love in 2023.