BE­GIN­NER’S BRIGHTON

Wel­come to the gayest city in the UK

Pride Life Magazine - - Contents -

Of­ten de­scribed as the gay cap­i­tal of the UK, Brighton sees hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple who iden­tify as LGBT flock to its stony shores ev­ery year. In fact, it’s been es­ti­mated that at least one in seven peo­ple liv­ing in Brighton is on the LGBT spec­trum in some ca­pac­ity

Maybe it’s Brighton’s quirky un­der­side that at­tracts so many LGBT peo­ple. The fa­mous Lanes and by ex­ten­sion the North Laine (some­times wrongly called the North Lanes, fact fans) has a num­ber of off­beat and unique shops to at­tract a wide va­ri­ety of peo­ple. Whilst the Lanes is mostly beau­ti­ful jew­ellers and vin­tage shops, the North Laine is a melt­ing pot of hip­sters, punks, goths and mods with streets awash with bright colours and storeys-tall art­work cov­er­ing the sides of build­ings. It’s also here where you will find the Ko­me­dia (44-47 Gard­ner Street, ko­me­dia.co.uk/brighton), a hugely popular com­edy club and venue that also now has its own small cin­ema play­ing any­thing from Hol­ly­wood block­busters to art house pieces.

If mu­se­ums, gigs and art gal­leries are more your thing than Brighton re­ally spoils you for choice. From the many con­tem­po­rary art gal­leries like Fab­rica (Duke Street, fab­rica.org. uk) and the Phoenix (10-14 Water­loo Place, phoenixbrighton.org ) to the fan­tas­tic Booth Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory and the Brighton Mu­seum (Royal Pavil­ion Gar­dens, brighton-hov­erpml.org.uk/mu­se­ums/) ev­ery taste is catered for. The pin­na­cle of th­ese attractions has to be the

“Built in the early 1800s for the Prince Re­gent to be a sea­side plea­sure palace, the Pavil­ion fea­tures amaz­ing

IN­DIAN-THEMED ex­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture”

Royal Pavil­ion (roy­al­pavil­ion.org.uk): built in the early 1800s for the Prince Re­gent to be a sea­side plea­sure palace, the Pavil­ion fea­tures amaz­ing In­dian-themed ex­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture whilst the inside is dec­o­rated with a stun­ning Chi­nese decor.

A walk along the fa­mous peb­bled beach re­veals a trea­sure trove of lo­ca­tions and attractions. The seafront has many gal­leries and shops as well as bars and cafés in which to sit, un­wind and watch the world go by whilst dig­ging into some fish and chips or a pint of cool re­fresh­ing beer.

While there’s much to do on the beach it’s the two piers that are the stars of the seafront show. The Brighton Pier (aka the Palace Pier) has all the typ­i­cal attractions such as ar­cades, stalls and rides whilst the West Pier is now a haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful skele­tal tes­ta­ment to what used to be after many fires con­sumed the venue.

Of course, most peo­ple out there visit the city to ex­pe­ri­ence the bril­liant nightlife. The majority of the gay bars are along or close to St James Street which con­tin­ues on to the gen­eral area of Kemp­town. The bears and cubs are mostly found in the Camelford Arms (30-31 Camelford Street, camelford-arms.co.uk) or the Bull­dog (31 St James Street bull­dog­brighton.com) with the hip­sters and the young crowd usu­ally liv­ing it up in Charles Street (8 Marine Pa­rade, charles-street.com) or at Leg­ends (31-34 Marine Pa­rade, leg­ends­brighton. com ). If club­bing is more your scene, then pop along to the fa­mous club Re­venge (32-34 Old Steine, re­venge.co.uk ) or the base­ment club at Leg­ends to get your dance on with a huge va­ri­ety of peo­ple and per­son­al­i­ties.

So many peo­ple who live and visit here be­long to one or another kind of sub cul­ture that no one bats an eye­lid at the sarong-wear­ing man with half his head shaved and lip­stick in his very full beard. It’s this kind of ac­cep­tance that at­tracts peo­ple in droves to the city and the rea­son it’s deemed the UK’s gay cap­i­tal over any other des­ti­na­tions. In Manch­ester or London gay peo­ple tend to stick to their des­ig­nated area such as Canal Street or Soho to feel com­fort­able and ac­cepted. Brighton, on the other hand, is a city that’s gay-friendly and ac­cept­ing ev­ery­where.

It’s com­pletely nor­mal to see same-sex cou­ples hold­ing hands walk­ing down the street or same­sex fam­i­lies brows­ing the var­i­ous shops and mar­kets with their chil­dren close by. It’s dif­fi­cult to de­scribe how free­ing the feel­ing is un­til you ex­pe­ri­ence it first-hand. As a res­i­dent of the city my­self, hav­ing moved here from Manch­ester over 10 years ago, I can safely and truly say it’s the best place I have ever lived in and de­serves to be ex­pe­ri­enced.

FROM TOP: BRIGHTON PIER AMUSE­MENTS; THE NORTH LAINE; PRIDE IN BRIGHTON

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