Welcome to the gayest city in the UK
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