#LoveisLove: 7 places to celebrate Gay Pride

Colour, music and more fun than you thought was humanly possible, it’s the occasion we simply can’t help but get excited about every year. Gay Pride is on the way and we’re getting the party started with the seven best locations to celebrate all things love across the UK.

London

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    Stretch out the party for two whole weeks

    When: 8th July
    Where: Trafalgar Square

    As one of the biggest and brightest Gay Pride events in Europe, it’s safe to say that London Pride is one of the best ways to celebrate our cultural diversity. The event is so popular that this year, it will last for an entire fortnight (from 24th June – 9th July)! Okay, we know 2 whole weeks of partying is a bit of a push (we have work, you know?!) so, if you can only make it to one thing, make sure it’s the main parade on 8th July.

    With the theme of ‘Love Happens Here’ to mark 50 years since homosexuality was legalised, expect to see everything from flamboyant floats and countless rainbow flags (props if you do manage to count them all, though), to celebrity appearances (last year’s included Ab Fab stars, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders) and performances from big name acts.

    Image credit: Photo © MangakaMaiden Photography cc-by-sa/2.0

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Birmingham

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    Perfect your Russian dancing

    When: 27 – 28th May
    Where: Gay Village, Hurst Street

    If there’s anywhere that knows how to do Gay Pride right, it’s beautiful Birmingham. Taking place in the city’s Gay Village, this year’s Big Weekender will play host to a vibrant carnival parade, a fun fair, street party and a brand new Alt Club Stage, all of which makes lovely Brum well worth the visit.

    Sadly, unlike the picture above, we can’t guarantee a Freddie Mercury lookalike will break free from the crowds, we can tell you that there will be an insane musical line-up including the likes of Louisa Johnson, M.O and, of course, plenty of fabulous cabaret and drag artists. Plus, you could even show off that Russian dancing (if you’ve got a party trick or two up your sleeve) to disco classic, Rasputin by Boney M, as the group will also be performing! If all this sounds right up your street, book now to get your discounted festival tickets.

    Image credit: Photo © Peter Black cc-by-sa/2.0

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Brighton and Hove

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    See pampered pooches at the Pride Dog Show

    When: 30th July (main Pride celebrations are from 4th – 6th August)
    Where: Preston Park

    An alternative but nonetheless amazing event to add to your pride calendar? Brighton and Hove’s Pride Dog Show, where you’ll see pampered pooches take to the catwalk (yes, we know that sounds strange) in a doggy fashion show. Full of fun and barking frolics, the dogs have put their paws firmly on Brighton’s Gay Pride, so why don’t you pay them a visit?

    Never one to do things by halves, the seaside city’s Summer of Love festival, will become home to seven stages of performances including a Wild Fruit Dance Tent, Legends Cabaret Tent and Bears and Men’s Dance Tent. This year marks the return of the Pride Pleasure Gardens, where you can enjoy the best of LGBT cabaret, clubbing, entertainment, food and drink – which all sounds like great fun, if you ask us.

    It’s one of the best pride events in the world, according to Lonely Planet, and if previous Brighton and Hove Prides are anything to go by, we recommend that you book your tickets ASAP!

    Image credit: Photo © underclassrising.net cc-by-sa/2.0

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Newcastle

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    Dress up and embrace your alter ego

    When: 21st – 23rd July
    Where: Ceremonial Way (outside the Civic Centre), Newcastle

    Not only is it the biggest LGBT Pride festival in the North East of England, but Newcastle Pride is also celebrating its 10th birthday, so this year’s event is guaranteed to be bigger and better than ever. This year’s theme is Pride in our Past, Present and Future and everyone’s encouraged to get the fancy dress out – the more outrageous, the better. Our top tip? Whether you’re attending with your besties or work crew, make sure you get a selfie using the free Northern Pride app – it’ll go straight on the big screen at the parade and you’ll get your 5 minutes (or a few seconds, at least) of fame!

    Image credit: Photo © Ashley Van Haeften cc-by-sa/2.0

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Manchester

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    Take centre stage at the creative powerhouse that is Manchester

    When: 25th – 28th August
    Where: Gay Village, Manchester

    If you’re on the hunt for a Pride parade to join, another one of our favourites is the creative and cultural hub known by the name of Manchester. Taking place in the city’s world-famous Gay Village, the parade is looking for enthusiastic troopers to help lead the official Manchester Pride Parade Entry.

    The best bit? Unlike many other parades, you don’t need to be part of a big group or organisation to get involved. Whether you want to rock up on your tod, celebrate with your significant other or have a laugh with your squad, everyone’s welcome!

    This year’s theme is Class of 2017: Graduation Parade, so think High School Musical and Grease as there will be cheerleading and specially designed costumes. For those of you who would rather cheer from the sidelines than face the prospect of cheerleading, have no fear as there will be free workshops throughout August where you can learn simple dance steps and make your costume.

    Image credit: Photo © Man Alive! cc-by-sa/2.0

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Bristol

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    Make a night of it (and see Charlotte Church too)

    When: 8th July
    Where: Bristol O2 Academy, Fogmore Street

    If you want to spend Gay Pride throwing it back to the years spent singing ‘Year 3000’ into your hairbrush (years well spent, if you ask us!), Bristol is the place to go. Headlining this year’s Pride Parade is the legendary Busted and (best bit), you won’t have to spend a single penny as the event is completely free!

    When the sky turns dark and the day is over, it doesn’t mean the fun has to be – so get yourself straight to Pride Night. The city will come alive at Bristol’s O2 Academy and you’ll be able to enjoy three rooms ruled by DJ demigods and spinmasters, live acts and dancers. As a taste of what’s in store, you’ll see voice of an angel turned rock’n’roll queen, Charlotte Church, ripping up the stage with a veritable feast of new material and pop classics in a “late night pop dungeon.”

    There will also be the “queer party for everyone” known as the Horse Meat Disco (no horses will be harmed or even involved, we’d just like to point out) and a crazy mix of indie, r’n’b and dirty pop thrown into the mix. This unique event will pull out all the stops to celebrate Gay Pride, and you are advised to dress up with the theme of Revolutionaries and Rebels, The Resistance, Pride War Paint and The True You. Sounds amazing, don’t you think?

    Image credit: Photo © Steve Lacey cc-by-sa/2.0

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Glasgow

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    Make it a family affair

    When: 19th – 20th August
    Where: Glasgow Green

    Take the coach to Pride Glasgow and there will be more fun-filled activities to keep the whole family entertained. The little ones can enjoy a number of fairground rides (not just for the kiddies, of course, so get ready to unleash your inner big kid). Plus, there will also be a Youth Space for people aged 13-25, a bar for the grown-ups and a Food Village dishing up some of the best festival eats going. Or, if you’re a classy bird and want to do Gay Pride in only the most stylish means possible, check out the VIP area, strictly home to luxury toilets, the best views of the main stage and your very own catering units.

    Image credit: Photo © Dagur Brynjólfsson cc-by-sa/2.0

    Book now

We know, we know, with so many events for such a wonderful and worthwhile cause, it’s difficult to pinpoint just where to start (we’d say make the most of the fun and visit as many events as you can!). So, whether you’re parading down the streets in an extravagant costume, admiring fabulous floats from afar or are simply taking a moment to be proud of the UK’s cultural and social diversity, we want to know! Send us a tweet or a picture of your favourite Gay Pride moments to @nationalexpress.