Brighton is often touted as the de facto gay capital of the United Kingdom. The city is home to a large LGBT population and is considered one of the most liberal places in the country. Its politics are left, its people are fabulous and its bars and nightlife offer something for everyone no matter what your style or taste.
While London may have a great LGBT scene, Brighton is really where it’s at. Just an hour away from London by train, this gay-friendly seaside village is a great summer destination for gay bars and clubs and even its own Pride. Apart from the nightlife, there’s plenty of coffee shops, drag burlesque shows, or simply lounging and taking in the sun, weather permitting of course. The heart of the gay scene is the Gay Village located on St. James Street in the Kemptown district. As for annual events, in addition to Brighton Pride, there’s also Trans Pride in July.
Table of Contents
1. General Tips
2. Transportation & Airport Transfer
3. Gay Hotels in Brighton
4. Sightseeing & Activities in Brighton
5. Gay Tours in Brighton
6. Restaurants & Cafes in Brighton
7. Brighton Gay Bars
8. Brighton City Gay Clubs & Parties
9. Brighton Gay Saunas & Cruising Bars
10. Brighton Gay Beach
11. Gay Events in Brighton
12. Day Trips from Brighton
An hour and a half car ride, or less than 60 minutes by train, the seaside resort town of Brighton is just 47 miles (75 km) south of London. You can even get a birds-eye-view of the coast by visiting the British Airways i360, where a futuristic glass pod takes you up 450 ft (138m) to enjoy the views. You’ll also find the oriental-style architecture of the Royal Pavilion, the amusement park rides and concessions of Brighton Palace Pier, and can soak in some history and culture at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. If your feeling adventurous, head 30 minutes down the coast to explore the Seven Sisters Cliffs. Don’t miss the Queers and Piers LGBT+ History Tour while visiting the city. Essentially everywhere in the city is gay-friendly, and people will certainly not bat an eyelid at same-sex couples holding hands. All in all, traveling to Brighton as an LGBT person is extremely easy.
Transportation & Airport Transfer
Gatwick is the closest major airport to Brighton and consists of a north and south terminal. You can take the Southern and Thameslink train service to Brighton’s station. However, be sure that your ticket matches the train line as it’s easy to get on the wrong one and face penalties. Gatwick also has its own taxi service to Brighton that takes about 45 minutes but is much pricier than public transit. A much more affordable option is the National Express coach bus to take you into town. Book private Gatwick airport transfer →
Once you arrive in Brighton the best way to get around is by foot. The city is small and most places of interest and accessible by walking. For this reason, it’s best to pick a place to stay which is centrally located. Brighton does also offers a bus system if you need public transport for any reason.
Gay Hotels in Brighton
There is a large selection of LGBT owned hotels and accommodation options in Brighton. Except for Legends, none are specifically gay-themed so they are welcoming to all guests.
Hotel Pelirocco – this is a rock and roll style, boutique hotel with 19 differently themed rooms featuring different pop icons and musical celebrities. You can enjoy a meal at the onsite restaurant as well as afternoon tea or evening cocktails.
Hudsons Guesthouse Brighton – This gay-owned guesthouse is located in a residential area of Brighton near the pier, within walking distance to many of Brighton’s popular attractions as well as gay venues, cafes, bars and clubs. The rooms are simple but stylish and guests can enjoy an outdoor garden area for an afternoon tea or drink
Legends Hotel – this venue is popular with both locals and LGBT visitors as the bottom floor of the hotel operates the trendy Legends gay bar. Head here in the evenings to catch a local drag show. The property is centrally located and just a 5 minute walk to Brighton Pier and Brighton Beach.
Amsterdam Hotel – Hotel, bar and restaurant all rolled into one! You’ll find the Amsterdam right on the seafront in the city’s gay quarter opposite Brighton's famous Palace Pier, the Brighton wheel and surrounded by amazing restaurants, friendly bars, theatres, shops and, of course, the exciting nightlife.
Nineteen – this is a stylish and chic hotel with designer beds, local artwork and a great location. It’s one of Brighton’s first ‘boutique’ hotels and it even offers a Courtyard Room with its own private outdoor hot tub.
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Sightseeing & Activities in Brighton
Royal Pavilion – an exotic palace in the center of Brighton with a colorful history. Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, this historic house mixes Regency grandeur w0.000ith the visual style of India and China.
Brighton Pier – this is one of Brighton’s most popular tourist attractions. The pier stretches from the shore out into the water and it offers a wide variety of attractions, shops, bars and restaurants.
Brighton’s Airways i360 – head up this massive viewing tower for the best views in all of Brighton. As you head up the tower, the futuristic viewing platform offers 360-degree views of the town and coast below. Book tour →
Walking Food Tour in Brighton – this is a unique way to see Brighton, hear some stories and also get a feel for its food & drink scene. As eclectic and creative as its inhabitants, so is the food. Examples of our tasters are homemade cooking, tea, chocolate, beer, pies, crumpets, sausage rolls, cream tea, Belgian fries, exotic street food and ice cream just to name a few. Book tour →
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery – this museum is located in the Royal Pavilion garden, at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter. Its diverse collections bring together the arts and history to tell stories about the city and the world we live in.
Gay Tours in Brighton
Piers & Queers Tour – This is a gay history tour of Brighton from a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer perspective. Brighton is one of the UK’s most popular LGBT destinations and this tour covers over 200 years of history in a colorful 80-minute walk along the beach and historic center. Follow in the footsteps of Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde and Dusty Springfield. Private tours and talks available any time of year. Book tour →
Restaurants & Cafes in Brighton
The New Club – This is a trendy Oceanside restaurant offering some of the best breakfast and brunch options at reasonable prices. It’s a perfect place to head to after a late night out. Enjoy traditional dishes like pancakes or scrambled eggs on toast or one of their more unique dishes like avocado toast with za’atar pesto. You can also come for an afternoon treat to enjoy their orange infused olive oil cake with Cointreau crusted almonds.
Sawadee Brighton – this popular Thai restaurant is one of southern England’s best places for Thai food. You’ll find delicious and generous portions all for a very reasonable price. This is a great place to enjoy a nice dinner before heading out for a night on the town.
Terre à Terre – This is a vegetarian restaurant whose aim is to show that you don’t have to give anything up to enjoy a great plant-based meal. The food is prepared with fine ingredients and it’s a great place to enjoy a delicious and special meal. They offer an extensive menu with a variety of cuisines including Korean, Spanish, Szechuan, Italian and traditional British food. There are also plenty of options for vegans as well.
Brighton Gay Bars
Legends – This hotel and bar is a stalwart of the Brighton gay scene. In the daytime the terrace offers great drink deals and panoramic views over the seafront, in the evening the downstairs club opens and the venue becomes more of a party affair. Legends is also home to several drag queens who perform weekly shows – check out their website for up to date details.
Charles Street – Charles Street is actually two venues in one – the downstairs is a bar and the upstairs, Envy, becomes a club in the evenings. The venue serves food every day up until 8 pm and is a popular place for a spot of Sunday lunch and a drag show. Charles Street is known for its happy hour deals making it the perfect place to stop in for a drink before you head elsewhere or to grab one of their daily lunch deals.
The Queens Arms – This popular pub located near to the gay district of Kemptown is a traditional-style venue that caters to the gay community. It’s a great place to stop in for a casual pint or to catch one of the regular cabaret shows which they stage at the Queens Arms.
The Malborough – This historic lesbian venue is known for its popular pub quiz which is held on a weekly basis. There is also a small theatre upstairs which is used to host several types of performances ranging from comedy to musicals.
Brighton City Gay Clubs & Parties
Revenge – Revenge is the main gay club in Brighton and is always busy with a mixed clientele on the weekends. If you’re around in the week then Thursday is a popular student night – though it’s always full of a range of people. The mainstream style isn’t to everyone’s taste but if you like reasonably priced drinks and pop music then Revenge is the perfect place to spend your evening in Brighton.
Brighton Gay Saunas & Cruising Bars
The Boiler Room Sauna – this is south England’s largest sauna and is open 24 hours during the weekends. They offer facilities including a jacuzzi, dry sauna, chill-out area with a bar and restaurant. The sauna is quite popular on the weekends after a late night out.
Brighton Gay Beach
The beaches in Brighton are not sandy but instead have large pebbles. While it’s certainly not the best beach you’ll ever see, the atmosphere near the Brighton Pier is enjoyable and you’ll find lots of gays hanging around. All the beaches will be visited by the gays but the Brighton Gay Beach is the nudist beach by Brighton Marina. Of course, you don’t travel to England for amazing beaches, but it’s worth a visit if the weather is nice.
Gay Events in Brighton
Brighton Gay Pride – Brighton hosts the UK’s largest and most popular gay pride. The event takes place each summer in August and offers both a parade as well as a pride village festival with live music and performances as well as food and drink venues.
Day Trips from Brighton
London – London is one of the top tourist destinations in England and the world with more than 30 million visitors each year. There is so much to see and do in London that it can even become overwhelming. Whether you come for just a couple of days or maybe even a week, you certainly don’t want to miss London's top highlights like Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. There are countless museums and galleries like the British Museum or National Gallery and also great parks and outdoor spaces like St. James or Hyde Park. You can also check out some of our top nightlife picks in London which includes cool places like Ku Bar, G-A-Y, and Heaven.
Leeds Castle – situated in Kent, England about an hour’s drive (40 miles/65km) southeast of London, you can explore Leeds Castle, Henry VIII’s grand Tudor palace. The castle is uniquely positioned on islands in a lake formed by the River Len just east of the village of Leeds. In addition to tours of the castle, the site includes family attractions like mini-golf and a playground as well as 500 acres of beautiful gardens and a Bird of Prey Center among other wildlife. Book tour →
Oxford & Windsor – Make the most of your time in Brighton to explore two more of England’s top destinations: Oxford and Windsor. Don’t worry about the logistics of public transport, as this full-day guided sightseeing excursion to Windsor Castle and Christ Church College includes round-trip transportation in a comfortable vehicle. Ideal for first-time visitors, you’ll also learn more from your guide than you would independently. Book tour →
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