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The Gay Brighton Guide (United Kingdom 🇬🇧)

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The Gay Brighton Guide (United Kingdom 🇬🇧)

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Please help us improve this guide 💖: Our gay guides undergo regular updates to ensure that all listed establishments are current, popular, and, most importantly, safe. The recommendations and descriptions provided within this guide stem from personal experiences and/or reports. We welcome any input regarding new venues or updates to existing ones included in the guide. Please feel free to reach out to us by email with your suggestions or updates.

Intro to Brighton

Whenever we spend time in London, which is often for a few months every year, we take multiple trips down to Brighton and Hove, which is often renowned for being the gayest city in the UK. There is something about arriving by train at Brighton Railway Station and getting a glimpse of the sea from the top of the hill that is entrancing. Top that off with inclusivity at every corner and a much more laid-back vibe than London, and you have the recipe for the perfect gay city and what we feel is the unofficial gay capital of the UK.

Why is Brighton so gay friendly?

Brighton has historically been an island of self-expression for people of all walks of life across the UK with long-standing liberal and open, inclusive values. In simple terms, it has enjoyed a very active cultural scene over the years, characterized by diverse and inclusive arts, theater, and music. The large, active LGBTQ+ community in the city (which is the largest number in the UK at 10.73%) is always pushing their rights and visibility further with plenty of support from local governments.

Colorful and bustling scene in The Lanes of Brighton with rainbow flags, indicating a lively part of gay Brighton known for its vibrant community and cultural events.

Spot something that isn't gay in this photo of The Lanes. Can you?

Every year, Brighton and Hove Pride is the largest of its kind in the UK, making even big-boy London's Pride seem measly in comparison 🤣. But beyond Pride, Brighton's queer calendar boasts a diverse array of events catering to every aspect of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Trans Pride Brighton offers a platform for transgender and non-binary individuals to celebrate their identities, while the Brighton Bear Weekend brings together bears, cubs, and their admirers for a weekend of camaraderie and revelry.

With its welcoming spirit and vibrant community, gay Brighton stands as a testament to the power of love, acceptance, and celebration.


Gay Map of Brighton


Where to Stay in Brighton

Where is the gay area in Brighton?

Kemptown, affectionately hailed as the city's vibrant "Gay Village." This bustling neighborhood straddling St James Street stands as a beacon of LGBTQ+ inclusivity, boasting a diverse array of accommodations, bars, and clubs that warmly embrace visitors from all walks of life. From chic boutique hotels to quaint guesthouses, Kemptown offers a myriad of lodging options catering to every preference and budget. Its central location ensures easy access to Brighton's iconic attractions, from the sun-kissed beaches to the eclectic shopping districts and cultural landmarks.

Whether you're seeking to dive into the city's electrifying nightlife scene or simply bask in the relaxed seaside ambiance, Kemptown provides the perfect haven for LGBTQ+ travelers venturing into the vibrant tapestry of Brighton's colorful charm.

The Best Brighton Gay Hotels

  • Hotel Pelirocco - Best for Uniqueness and the Brighton Experience

    • Location: It couldn't get much more central Brighton than Regency Square, where this hotel is located. You will have everything right at your doorstop. It isn't right next to the gay clubs, but it isn't a very far walk.
    • Amenities: A ridiculously over-the-top hotel! I don't think there is a another hotel on this that could capture the rock-and-roll essence and vibe of Brighton as much as this one has (just check out their website). It is a boutique hotel where every room screams uniqueness and they also offer breakfast and food on site, as well as massages.
  • The Charm Brighton Boutique Hotel & Spa - Best for Location and Luxury Lovers

    • Location: The heart of Kemptown, you are in the midst of the gay village and LGBT community and just a five-minute walk from the famous Brighton Palace Pier.
    • Amenities: Think luxury combined with traditional British flair. You have a spa and massages on site and some rooms have sea views.
  • Legends Hotel - Best LGBTQ+ Hotel

    • Location: Also in Kemptown, you won't even have to leave your room to feel the gay energy of this hotel and area.
    • Amenities: Legends boasts its own gay bar and nightclub, so what else do you really need? Well, the rooms are also very cute, and you can opt for a delicious breakfast as well.

Other Gay-Friendly Hotels in Brighton

  • Hotel Una (for luxury lovers and prime location nearby Brighton Railway Station)
  • The Grand Brighton (Renaissance-style, 19th century building with stylish cocktail bars and high-tea, a true classical Brighton vibe)

Other Accommodations in Brighton

Hotels might not the best option if you are like us and visiting for a longer time or would like a more local experience. In that case, try out:

  • Misterbnb: This online marketplace and hospitality service allows you to rent short-term lodging in residential properties, with the aim of providing safe and welcoming spaces for gay male travelers.
  • House-sitting: Another unique way of experiencing Brighton (and get FREE accommodations), is by doing house-sitting. You get accommodations in exchange for watching a home and generally their dogs and cats. It is more responsibility, and it takes a bit of time to get your first sit (plus a membership fee), but we have stayed several months in London and Bristol before rent-free. We love to use TrustedHousesitters as they are based in the UK and therefore have a ton of Brighton and nearby-Brighton offerings. If you want to sign up on the site as a sitter, use the code 12TRUST to get 12% off a year membership. If you also put your email in on our site, you will get a guide on How to Get Your First House sit.
Panoramic view of Brighton's coastline from the pier, showing the beach and city against a serene sea, a favorite spot for visitors to gay Brighton.A street lined with charming, colorful houses in Brighton, representing the eclectic and welcoming atmosphere of gay Brighton's residential areas.

Gay Nightlife in Brighton

Brighton's vibrant gay scene may be different from London's, but it offers a unique and eclectic array of LGBTQ+ venues and events that showcase the city's inclusive spirit and queer perspective.

Kemptown, affectionately known as Brighton's "Gay Village" serves as the heart of the city's gay nightlife, with a concentration of bars, clubs, and cafés catering to the LGBTQ+ community. Here, in the colorful streets of Kemptown, you'll find a welcoming and diverse atmosphere where everyone is encouraged to express themselves freely. If you are fans of karaoke, cabaret, and drag 9 out of 10 venues will have it 😏.

Brighton is the kind of place where you will go to a bar for a relaxing post-beach beer, and before you know it, you will have toured the entire gay scene and it will be the wee hours of the morning.

Our Favorite Brighton Gay Bars/Brighton Gay Clubs

  • Legends - Brighton: If you aren't already staying in the hotel portion of this venue, you have to at some point experience the lively ambiance of Legends, a bar and club known for its energetic atmosphere and diverse crowd. Whether you're enjoying a cocktail at the bar or dancing to the latest hits on the dance floor, Legends offers a welcoming space for everyone.

  • Marine Tavern: Embrace the friendly vibe of Marine Tavern, a popular gay pub in the heart of Brighton, loved for its relaxed environment and welcoming staff. Enjoy a pint of local ale or engage in lively conversation with fellow patrons. They even have drag shows featuring a hysterical nun called Stephanie Von Clitz 🤣.

  • Charles Street Tap: We love this place because of their craft beers, and they also serve up some nice gins! On top of that, they have good food and one of the most renowned cabaret shows in all the land.

  • Bulldog: This reopened in 2023 under new management and is the longest running gay pub in Brighton. Famed for karaoke, drag performances and staying open late!

  • Bar Broadway: Unwind in the cozy confines of Bar Broadway, a charming venue known for its laid-back ambiance and friendly atmosphere and also as Brighton's #1 Premier Musical Theatre Bar. They serve up some mean cocktails (Porn star Martini anyone?!)

  • Club Revenge: Dance the night away at Revenge, Brighton's premier gay nightclub and one of the biggest in the UK's South, featuring multiple dance floors, a sexy rooftop, top DJs, and themed parties throughout the week. With its high-energy vibe, Revenge is the ultimate destination for a night of fun and excitement in Brighton. They also support and raise money for many charities within the local LGBTQ community.

If you are more into techno or various forms of electronic music like me, keep an eye on events happening with Berlin Brighton and SIZE, while not exclusively "gay".

A man holding two glasses of beer, with a blurred bar scene in the background, capturing the lively social scene in gay Brighton.

No Brighton pub trip is complete without copious craft beers

Gay Saunas in Brighton

In addition to the smorgasbord of gay bars and gay clubs that Brighton has to offer, you can unwind at a couple of the Brighton gay saunas!

  • The Brighton Sauna: A modern, welcoming sauna located in Brighton. It now offers a discreet rear entrance for privacy and provides free condoms and lube. The staff is friendly and supportive, ensuring a comfortable environment for all guests, regardless of age, size, or experience. The sauna emphasizes a no-attitude culture where everyone can feel included and safe. Visitors can use the facilities simply for relaxation or engage more socially, based on personal comfort and preference.
  • The Boiler Room Sauna: Known to be a bit cleaner than the aforementioned Brighton Sauna, you'll have to wander just a little further to Hove to get to this sauna. Nevertheless, it's a good time with themed nights and a laid-back vibe.

Our verdict: We preferred The Brighton Sauna merely for location, which as we know helps to bring more eye candy to the saunas 😏, but we had a smashing time at both!


Brighton Gay Pride

Like we mentioned earlier, Brighton & Hove Pride is a much larger affair than London's pride, so you must make it a bucket list item to attend Brighton Pride at least once in your life!

Taking place typically in early August, Brighton Pride spans a weekend and includes events like the Pride Festival in Preston Park, Pride Village Party and of course, the Pride Community Parade.

The energy is indescribable during this weekend, so you will just have to see it for yourself!

When is Brighton Pride?

In 2024, events run from August 2nd to the 5th and the parade runs on August 3rd. For updated PRIDE dates for Brighton, check out our European Gay Pride Calendar.

A building in Brighton undergoing renovations, wrapped in rainbow-colored scaffolding, symbolizing gay Brighton's vibrant and inclusive community.

Even the scaffolding is rainbow?!


What To Do in Brighton

Best Beaches in Brighton

Naturally Brighton's main attraction is its beaches. However, if this is your first time to Brighton, don't expect the Mediterranean or Caribbean. The beaches are stony instead of sandy (which I actually prefer) and the water is, let's say...temperate, even in the heat of summer.

This doesn't stop the beaches from filling up, particularly on the few hot days that Britain experiences in the summer!

Tip 🚨: The beaches directly on the Brighton waterfront will fill up with far too many people on hot days, so let's go into our favorites:

  • Hove Beach: Just wandering 15 minutes west to Hove Beach will help you escape the massive crowds of Brighton Beach. Do it for your sanity and for a spot on the pebbles.
  • Brighton Naturist Beach: For the unofficial gay beach and nudist beach, take a 30-minute walk east of the main Brighton Beach and pier to Dukes Mound/Brighton Coach Park.

For a bird's-eye view of Brighton and its beaches, ascend the British Airways i360's observation pod or wander along the Brighton Marina, where the cityscape meets the sea in a picturesque panorama.

Detailed close-up of smooth pebbles on Brighton beach, capturing the natural beauty and texture, a common sight in gay Brighton's outdoor spaces.

You will find not a single grain of sand on these beaches

Vibrant scene at Brighton beach with a crowd enjoying the sunny weather, colorful umbrellas, and the Brighton Pier in the background, a lively part of gay Brighton.

Brighton beach on a less-crowded day

Other Things to Do in Brighton

Wander Brighton Pier

The main pier of Brighton at the moment is Brighton Palace Pier (the West Pier collapsed into the sea during a storm in 2002). It is quintessential to wander this pier as the inner child in you will come right back out. Grab some snacks or some fish and chips and watch the chaos of the pier ensue.

Crowded Brighton Palace Pier filled with tourists and locals enjoying a sunny day, a central hub in gay Brighton for entertainment and leisure.

Roam through the Historic Lanes

Uncover Brighton's rich history by wandering through The Lanes, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways brimming with creativity. Discover quirky shops, cozy cafés, and charming boutiques nestled within this historic heart of the city. Be transported to New Delhi as you explore the awe-inspiring Royal Pavilion, an architectural gem inspired by Indian design. The streets come alive with the energy of street performers and artists, adding to the enchanting ambiance of this historic district.

Two men taking a selfie in front of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, showcasing the elaborate Indian style architecture, perfect for exploring gay Brighton's historical sites.

No, this ain't no New Delhi...get closer!

Try Out an LGBTQ+ Walking Tour

A fabulous option to understand the deeper history and LGBTQ+ hotspots in Brighton

Rent Bikes and Wander Further

There are plenty of little shops to rent bikes, as you will conquer more of the city and the surrounding areas on wheels.

If you'd rather do a tour, this GetYourGuide tour is fabulous.

Honestly, there is a ton of things to do here, and we are just skimming the surface, so if you are in need of a little more inspiration, check out TimeOut's Guide of Best Things to Do in Brighton.


Where to Eat in Brighton

Restaurants in Brighton

Discover a gastronomic adventure in Brighton's diverse culinary landscape, where LGBTQ+-friendly restaurants and cafés serve up an array of delectable dishes from around the globe. Whether you're craving a cozy brunch or an elegant dining experience, Brighton has it all.

LGBTQ+ Restaurants in Brighton

  • Arcobaleno: An LGBTQ+ owned cafe cum bar cum restaurant with an inspiring Maltese menu. Inclusivity and connection is at the heart of its values.

Other Favorite Restaurants in Brighton

  • William the Fourth: a cozy restaurant in The Lanes, with delish IPAs and an unforgettable Sunday Roast.
  • Wild Flor: Known for its sophisticated atmosphere in Hove, Wild Flor offers a menu of modern British dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients, crafted by a team experienced from the Gingerman group. The restaurant frequently updates its seasonal tasting menus.
  • The Little Fish Market: Brighton's top-rated restaurant, it boasts an innovative menu focusing on fresh, high-quality ingredients, curated by chef Duncan Ray. This upscale venue promises an intimate dining experience.
  • Bincho Yakitori: This restaurant transports diners to Tokyo with its authentic Japanese street food ambiance. Famous for its grilled skewers, it's a hit among those seeking a genuine Japanese dining experience.
  • Etch: A fine dining establishment in Hove led by a Master Chef winner, where guests can indulge in a meticulously crafted multi-course tasting menu that changes monthly based on seasonal ingredients.
  • Food for Friends: This popular vegetarian restaurant in The Lanes impresses with creative and delicious plant-based dishes designed for sharing, appealing even to those who typically prefer meat.
Traditional Sunday roast dinners served in a rustic Brighton pub, illustrating the culinary delights available in gay Brighton's dining scene.

Sunday roasting at William the Fourth

Cafes in Brighton

Café culture in Brighton is undeniable, with some of the quirkiest and most sumptuous coffee coming out of the beachside town.

LGBTQ+ Cafes in Brighton

  • The Queery: If the name doesn't already give away that this co-operative is queer-run, then come see for yourself! They are vegan, have a pay-as-you-feel rule and also have a bookshop.

Other Wonderful Cafes in Brighton

  • Stoney Point: A serene getaway on the outskirts of the city center, Stoney Point offers Monmouth Coffee from a charming street-side hatch in a quaint residential area. It's perfect for coffee enthusiasts who enjoy sipping their brew while people-watching.
  • Presuming Ed's Coffee House: This unique coffee house is known for its quirky decor and versatile setting that doubles as a bar and live music venue. Serving excellent coffee from Cast Iron Roasters, it's a vibrant spot that caters to a variety of tastes and activities, day or night.

Shopping in Brighton

Start your shopping spree at North Laine, a Bohemian district filled with independent shops, vintage stores, and artisanal markets. Explore the bustling Brighton Open Market for a variety of goods, from fresh produce to handmade crafts. Make sure to visit Prowler Brighton for a diverse selection of gay lifestyle and intimate products and unique souvenirs in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Busy street view of The Lanes in Brighton, featuring diverse crowds, vibrant flags, and unique local shops, a popular destination in gay Brighton for shopping and leisure.

Day Trips from Brighton:

With London being less than an hour away by train, that is a day trip must. However, we are assuming that if you are traveling to nearby Brighton anyway, you will have already put London in the radar, so we won't go into much detail about that. If you want more details on London, we've made a gay guide for it!

Now onto the lesser-known day trip locations:

  • Lewes: Discover the historic town of Lewes, nestled in the picturesque South Downs National Park. Explore the medieval streets lined with timber-framed buildings, visit Lewes Castle for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, and immerse yourself in the town's rich cultural heritage. Don't miss the famous Lewes Bonfire Night, a centuries-old tradition celebrated with fireworks and parades. Tranquil countryside landscape surrounding the medieval Lewes Castle, providing a glimpse into the town's historic past and scenic beauty.

  • Chichester: Once a Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlement, the historic walls of this town are still ever-present. If you are looking for a picturesque village, Chichester and the surrounding areas have it all.

  • Eastbourne: Journey to Eastbourne, a charming seaside resort town known for its Victorian architecture and stunning coastline. Explore the scenic Eastbourne Pier, stroll along the seafront promenade, and relax in the beautifully landscaped gardens of Helen Garden.

  • Seven Sisters Cliff: Take a scenic walk along the iconic Seven Sisters cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the English Channel and surrounding countryside. Breathtaking views of the iconic Seven Sisters cliffs along the scenic coastline of Eastbourne, showcasing the natural beauty of the English countryside and coastline.


TL;DR: Plan Your Brighton Trip (Logistics):

Best Time to Visit Brighton

Spring and summer offer the best weather for visiting Brighton, with endless events and festivals. Autumn also boasts pleasant weather. Unless you find rainy and bone-chilling cold charming, I would avoid the winter.

Visa Information for the United Kingdom

  • EU, EEA, or Swiss Citizen: (Ehemm, f**** Brexit) Now you can stay a maximum of 6 months in the UK on tourism purposes
  • USA: You can stay a maximum of 6 months in the UK on tourism purposes
  • For other countries, take a look at iVisa.

Getting to Brighton

  • By air: Brighton is easily accessible via London Gatwick Airport (LGW), located approximately 30 kilometers northeast of the city. Gatwick Airport offers a wide range of international flights and modern facilities for travelers.
  • By train: Brighton boasts excellent rail connections, with frequent services to and from London and other major cities across the UK. Brighton Railway Station is conveniently located in the city center, making it easy to reach your accommodation and explore the area.
  • By bus: National Express and other bus companies provide convenient coach services to Brighton from various cities in the UK.

Book train tickets to Brighton with Omio 🚝, bus tickets with Omio 🚌, or plane tickets with Skyscanner 🛫.

Internet and Data in Brighton

Consider using eSIMs like Airalo for affordable data coverage in Brighton and throughout the UK. Many cafés, restaurants, and hotels also offer free Wi-Fi.

Health and Safety in Brighton

Brighton is generally safe, with low crime rates. Emergency medical services are available, but travel insurance is advisable. We love and trust SafetyWing.

The city is known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, with annual events like Brighton Pride attracting visitors from around the world, so it is THE PLACE to be your true gay self!

Getting Around Brighton

  • 🚍 Public Transportation: Brighton has an efficient public transportation network, including buses and trains, operated by Brighton & Hove Buses and Southern Rail. On buses, you can pay contactless. The city's compact size also makes walking a popular option for exploring its charming streets and attractions.
  • 🚲 Biking: Bicycles and e-scooters are popular modes of transport in Brighton, with rental services available from companies like BTN Bikeshare and Lime.
  • 🚖 Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are readily available for convenient transportation within the city.

Currency in the UK

The UK uses the British Pound (£), with ATMs widely available for cash withdrawals.

Tipping Culture in the UK

Tipping is customary but not mandatory in the UK. It is common to leave a tip of around 10-15% for good service in restaurants and cafés.

Other Brighton Tips

  • Power Plugs: The UK uses Type G power plugs. Bring a universal adapter if needed.
  • Cash is widely accepted, but cards and contactless are also commonly used for payments.

Conclusion

At every turn we were charmed in some way, by colorful houses, narrow allies, and sunsets. We now understand why people choose to escape the hustle of London to come live here. While it still has the feeling of being a little neighborhood of London, it has a much more laid-back demeanor plus access to the sea at everyone's doorstep.


More UK stuff:

Sunset over Brighton showcasing a Victorian bandstand against a dramatic sky, a romantic and picturesque setting popular in the gay Brighton community.