Heading to Gay Brighton (England) for the first time, we knew we were in for a treat.
When it comes to gay destinations in the UK, the iconic and vibrant seaside town of Gay Brighton easily ranks in the top 3 places for LGBTQ travellers to head to – its reputation as a gay destination precedes itself being known as the unofficial gay capital of the UK rivalling the likes of Manchester, the gay capital of the North.
Gay Brighton has a lot to offer for LGBTQ travellers and quite frankly any traveller alike. Whether you are looking to experience one of the largest Pride celebrations in the UK which hosts some seriously big names (Britney, Christina and Kylie have performed), experience the gay nightlife in Brighton, relax on the gay beach or simply explore the lively town, surrounding coast or picturesque countryside, Brighton has something for everyone.
Just an hour by train from London, anyone visiting the UK should definitely add Gay Brighton to their travel list. Here is everything you might need to know in our Gay Brighton Travel Guide.
Gay Brighton Travel Guide: The Complete LGBTQ Travel Guide
In our Gay Brighton Travel guide will we cover everything to plan you trip, from the best gay bars in Brighton, to the best gay hotels in Brighton, gay saunas in Brighton and gay pride.
Let’s start with:
Where is the Gay Area in Brighton, England?
The gay area in Brighton is called Kemptown and can unsurprisingly be found specifically amongst the many gay bars, pubs and clubs.
Kemptown stretches along the coast with the main gay area being bordered by Old Steine Pavillon Parade, Edward Street, Bedford Street and the seafront. It will become pretty obvious by the sudden surge in gay bars and shops etc.
The other gay area of Brighton would be the gay beach and dukes mound (where a lot of gay cruising in Brighton goes on!).
Things to do in Gay Brighton
Before we get into the typical things to do in Gay Brighton i.e gay bars, pride etc we wanted to share all the awesome things this seaside town and surrounding areas have to offer for your visit.
We visited Brighton with Visit Brighton who made sure to provide us with all the inside tips and top attractions to make for an unforgettable visit. We highly recommend adding the following to your trip:
Voted one of the Top 10 city beach break destinations in the world, Brighton’s beachfront is a must do.
Whether you are wanting to pull up one of the iconic deckchairs to relax and top up your tan or do something more active then Brighton beach is for you.
For the active travellers, expect to find plenty of watersports such as kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding to classic beach sports such as volleyball and Frisbee.
Brighton Palace Pier
If you have seen a picture of Brighton then it is highly likely you have seen the iconic Brighton Palace Pier.
The pier is a 1,722ft long Victorian pier, located in the heart of Brighton and Hove’s 8 miles of coastline.
Coming from a seaside town up north with its own Victorian style pier, this definitely took me back to my childhood with it’s arcades, fish and chip shops (you can not leave Brighton without having fish and chips), fairground rides and more. You can also grab a free deckchair on the pier and watch the world go by.
The Lanes are a very famous part of Brighton and we were pleasantly surprised to find such a cute area full of narrow alleyways, hidden squares, unique shops and plenty of places to eat, drink and watch the world go by. The area dates back to the late 16th century when Brighton was a small fishing village and is full of character.
We explored the Lanes (between the seafront and North Laine) after a night out in Brighton and relaxing at a quaint tea room with tea and cake was exactly what we needed.
British Airways i360
For unrivalled views of Brighton, head up for a ‘flight’ with British Airways i360.
Step into their 360 viewing pod and enjoy a smooth ascent up to 450ft for views of Brighton, the South Downs and the coastline. There is a fully stocked bar onboard so grab a glass of bubbly and see how many of Brighton’s landmarks you can spot.
Whilst we stayed indoors with our bubbly, if you are more of an adrenaline seeker you can choose the Extreme 360 experience by putting on a harness and hooking yourself to the roof of the viewing pod as it rises into the sky!
Piers & Queers – LGBTQ History Tour
This was not available during our visit but the reviews looks awesome!
This 90 minute tours explores the history of Brighton from a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer perspective along the beach and historic city centre.
Want to know what makes Brighton so gay? This is the tour for you.
‘Definitely need to be one of the first things you do for your gay holiday in Brighton’- DNA Magazine
Great British Wine Tours – Sussex
Just a short drive into the Sussex countryside and you will find yourself in the wine regions offering tours of the local wineries.
We headed on the Big Red Vineyard Tour of Sussex, we were picked up outside Brighton railway station in their 1964 London bus and transported to the Sussex countryside for a day visiting award-winning vineyards and tasting the best Sussex produce including sparkling wine tasting at each vineyard.
For lunch, we had our own hampers full of local cheeses, charcuterie, breads and more. Safe to say after a day of wine and treats we fell asleep on the journey home – a great day out for sure!
Best Gay Bars in Brighton
Brighton has a gay bar for everyone, no matter your taste. The majority of gay bars in Brighton are all within walking distance of each other centred around Kemptown. We found that on a night out in Brighton, the entire LGBTQ spectrum was represented, more so than many other places we have been!
Here are a handulf of gay bars in Brighton, but head over to our other blog post, Complete Guide to Brightons Gay Bars, Gay Clubs and Pubs for more!
- Club Revenge – considered the best gay club in Brighton, Club Revenge is spread over 3 floors plus an amazing roof terrace with spectacular views over the city below. Plan to finish your night here!
- R-Bar Brighton – this was the first gay bar in Brighton’s we headed to and can be found on the seafront around the corner from Club Revenge. Expect super cheap drinks deals with DJs & entertainment throughout the week; the perfect warm-up to your night.
- Charles Street Tap – Brighton’s largest gay bar in the heart of Brighton’s Gay Village, during the afternoon head here for gourmet pub food and then for drinks and dancing as the night goes on.
- Bulldog – This is on of the more iconic/landmark gay bars in Brighton attracting a more mature crowd with a chilled atmosphere mixed in with lively karaoke nights.
- Affinity Bar – previously Infinity Bar, this is another friendly gay bar in Brighton open everyday and often has karaoke nights.
- The Queens Arms – This is a long standing gay cabaret venue featuring live drag performances and fun karaoke nights.
- Bar Broadway – Brighton’s Gay Musical Theatre and Cabaret Bar.
- Le Village Brighton – one of the newer gay bars offering drag nights in the evening as well as food at their on site Thai restaurant.
- The Zone Bar – if you love some cabaret check out the zone bar in the heart of Kemptown.
Gay Friendly and Gay Hotels in Brighton
If you are looking for gay hotels in Brighton, check out the following gay friendly properties. Like many cities popular with gay travellers, all hotels in Brighton will be welcoming.
The hotels below are chosen based on their proximity to the gay area of Brighton or/and have reviews mentioning how gay friendly they are or, like Legends, are indeed a gay hotel in Brighton!
Blanch House 3*
This is an award winning boutique hotel (Travelers Choice 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021) set in the heart of the gay area of Brighton.
They offer 12 individually designed guest rooms, each equipped with high speed complimentary Wi-Fi, TV, a range of teas, coffee and homemade biscuits, and in the bathrooms robes and luxury Aromatherapy Associates toiletries are provided to help you relax and unwind.
Legends Hotel 3*
Described as great and gay! Legends Hotel is a vibrant gay hotel in the heart of Brighton, it is also a gay bar & club. The hotel is perfectly located, just minutes from the world famous Brighton Palace Pier, close to the upmarket Lanes shopping and entertainment Quarter and within minutes of Brighton Pavilion.
Legends is a 3* hotel and offers singles, compact doubles and super superiors with views of Brighton seafront.
Amsterdam Hotel Brighton 3*
Another hotel in Brighton popular with gay travellers is the Amsterdam hotel. This hotel was refurbished in 2021 and is just a 1 minute walk from the beach (on the seafront).
All rooms have an en-suite walk-in shower room, a flat-screen TV with Freeview digital channels, and tea and coffee making facilities. Some rooms have views over Brighton’s famous pier, the beach, and the seafront.
New Steine Hotel 4*
Our final gay friendly hotel in Brighton is the New Steine Hotel, this is an elegant and fashionable five-storey Georgian Townhouse in central Brighton.
New Steine Hotel is a boutique hotel right in the cultural centre of Brighton with a modern design and a hint of french influence. Within a short walk of the hotel are the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum and of course, Brighton Pier and Beach.
Where is the Gay Beach in Brighton?
The gay beach in Brighton can be found in front of Dukes Mound/Brighton Coach Park and whilst not officially a ‘gay beach’, is the official naturist beach and it therefore comes as no surprise that this is penned the unofficial gay beach of Brighton.
Since the beach is a pebble beach, the pebbles at each side of the naturist area have been artificially raised for to give the nude sunbathers privacy.
Gay Cruising Areas in Brighton
One of the best known gay cruising areas in Brighton is Dukes Mound (mentioned above) which leads on to the gay beach/ naturist beach.
The mound itself is a small maze of paths amongst the bushes leading up from the beach to the main road. It’s a fairly dense area hence has become the cruising area…there are a fair few man made paths leading into more secluded parts.
Be mindful of safety as it gets dark.
Gay Events and Parties in Brighton
Brighton is often penned the gay capital of the UK so it is perhaps no surprise it is home to some huge gay events and parties including:
Brighton and Hove Pride is one of the UK’s most popular international Gay Pride events and is singularly the most popular visitor attraction in the City’s event calendar.
How old is Brighton Pride? Brighton and Hove Pride March started in 1973 following the first LGBTQ demonstartion in 1972.
Brighton Pride is known for attracting some serious names including the likes of Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Kylie to name a few.
Pride is usually one of the first weekends in August and is ticketed. Brighton Pride CIC is a not for profit community interest company and all tickets revenue raised goes directly to the operational and running costs of producing the Pride Festival, LGBT Community Parade, Pride Village Party and community fundraising for the Rainbow Fund and Pride social impact fund.
Brighton Trans Pride
This event has been growing every year and like Brighton Pride is one of the largest events for trans people in the UK.
Brighton Bear Week
Bears, cubs and pals are invited to enjoy Bear Weekend in Brighton each July. Expect a fun filled line up of events including Bear-a-oke, Cub night, Mr Brighton Bear competition and many themed club nights.
Like Brighton and Hove Pride, fundraising for the Brighton Rainbow Fund is a core part of this event.
This once a month gay event in Brighton is normally hosted at Revenge (often with a pre party at Bulldog).
DILF’s events are aimed at men (proudly trans friendly) and are f&tish forward. They create spaces for like-minded men to meet and express themselves.
Gay Shops in Brighton
There a a few gay shops in Brighton well worth checking out including:
- Prowler Brighton – Prowler is one of the largest gay retailers in the UK with everything from clothing to toys and everything in between.
- The Queery – the Queery is an independent radical queer bookshop, vegan cafe and space for small events. The space is run by queers for queers and is lead by volunteers.
Is there a Gay Sauna in Brighton?
Yes there are two gay saunas in Brighton to choose from, The Brighton Sauna and The Boiler Room:
- The Boiler Room – this gay sauna is based in Hove and offers different themes depending on what night or day you visit.
- The Brighton Sauna – this gay sauna is more central next to the gay area of Brighton and offers day passes or passes for an entire weekend if you have the energy.
Clearly, Brighton has a lot to offer gay travellers and it is well known for being one of the top gay destinations in the UK – we will be sure to return and hope to see you there!