There’s a thriving gay community in the UK, so it’s not a surprise why it’s considered one of the best destinations in the world for gay travelers. It all started following England’s decriminalization of sexual activities between men specifically in the 1960s, followed by Wales and later Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Nowadays, you will find plenty of gay villages in the UK where you can meet and socialize with other members of the gay community. These fun and exciting cultural hotspots are well worth the visit, giving you the freedom to let loose without the fear of being discriminated against or judged.
Here are the top destinations for gay travel in the UK:
The Cotswolds is packed with breathtaking green landscapes, scenic rolling hills, and postcard-perfect villages. What’s more, it’s easily accessible and can make for an ideal day trip from London. Here, you are guaranteed a safe and fun holiday because the locals are very welcoming to everyone, including the members of the gay community.
There are many scenic hiking trails in the Cotswolds. If you’re into hiking, then hike up the National Trail, which covers more than 100 miles of scenic strolls, featuring the dramatic views of the countryside. If you’re travelling with your partner, visit the Lower Slaughter, dubbed the most romantic street in Britain. It’s home to the popular chocolate box villages that the Cotswolds is known for. The village is extremely charming, with honey-coloured houses throughout.
Don’t forget to explore the village of Kingham. It’s another typical Cotswolds village adorned with stunning limestone cottages and beautiful parks and gardens, ideal for picnics. The village is also home to some of England’s best pubs, where you can feast on Classic British fare paired with a glass or two of refreshing beer.
The Lake District
The Lake District is one of the UK’s most popular destinations, welcoming millions of tourists. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lake District National Park encompasses an area of 2,000 sq km and is the largest national park of England. With its stunning lakes, woodland, and mountains, the Lake District is an ideal destination for gay travellers keen on exploring the great doors.
Exploring the massive Lake Windermere should be on top of your list of things to do in the Lake District. Covering an area of 15.5 square km, it’s the largest natural body of water in the country. You can enjoy the stunning views of the lakes from dozens of vantage points, including waterfront cafes and bars. Better yet, explore the trails by the lake on foot or bike. While in the Lake District, take time to discover the ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the Neolithic Period. The unique landmark was part of the megalithic tradition from around 3,200 BC, making it one of the oldest stone circles in Europe.
Given the many exciting things to explore in the Lake District, you may need to spend a few days to make the most of your visit. Consider staying in any of the many boutique hotels near the Lake District with easy access to the national park and the surrounding attractions.
The South Coast
As the sunniest place in the UK, the South Coast is a must-visit. It enjoys more than 1900 hours of sunshine each year and has over 400 miles of coastline to discover. The area is also home to Brighton and Cornwall, two of the most friendly cities for gay travel in the country.
The South Coast also plays host to some of the most legendary festivals in the country. One of these is the Cornwall Pride Parade, which celebrates diversity and raises awareness of the gay community.
Meanwhile, Brighton is a seaside resort city home to the famous Brighton Pier with food stalls and fun attractions. You can find everything here, from doughnuts to fish and chips, and more!
To delve into the rich history and heritage of the South Coast, visit one of the many castles and forts that line its coastline. These structures once defended the shores from invading forces, especially the Dover Castle, with hidden rooms and underground tunnels.
Scotland is the first country to have legalised same-sex marriage in the UK, so it’s not surprising why it’s considered one of the top destinations for gay travel. In most of its cities, you will find at least one gay bar, and the large cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh celebrate their own annual gay pride event.
Given the many attractions to explore in Scotland, the best way to take it all in is to go on a cruise. The Royal Scotland Cruise will take you on a fun sailing adventure across the country, visiting many of its historical sites.
During your visit to Scotland, make sure to experience its vibrant nightlife, especially in Edinburgh, which has the biggest gay community of all the Scottish cities. The queer performances at the Fringe are also worth checking out. Dubbed the “Edinburgh Fringe“, it’s one of the world’s biggest art festivals.
The UK is one of the world’s most tolerant countries, and its capital city of London has some of the world’s largest gay communities. London is big, vibrant, exciting, and filled with many exciting activities. Here, you will find many gay-friendly hotels, bars, and restaurants.
Soho has long been a popular meeting place for members of the gay community. It’s lined with gay bars and clubs, especially in Old Compton Street, with popular venues including The Duke of Wellington and G-A-Y often filled with partygoers. The district, which once had a bad reputation for its seedy red-light district, is overtaken by chic cafes, trendy restaurants, and boutiques.
East London has recently emerged to become one of the most popular gay areas in the city, especially the neighbourhoods of Dalston and Shoreditch. Over the recent years, new burs and clubs have opened up in the area, alongside long-standing institutions. The gay community in London continues to thrive, so you will not lack options when going for gay nights out in the city.