Gay pride has become an LGBTQ+ pride event in recent years as it has broadened its scope beyond “gay rights” to become an all-encompassing movement to celebrate everyone who is considered “different” by society. Brighton has a long, proud history of supporting LGBTQ+ people and Brighton’s Pride event is the UK’s largest event of its kind.
When is Brighton Pride? Brighton Pride 2021 has been canceled for the second year running, due to the impossible task of organising the event with the required coronavirus insurances. Here’s to coming out in 2022
What Is Brighton Pride?
Brighton Pride is the largest LGBTQ+ event in the UK, according to The Guardian newspaper. It is composed of several activities; a festival event which takes place in the city’s Preston Park, a party in the city’s Gay Village (Kemptown), and there is also a parade and often a bunch of parties in the city’s nightclubs too.
There is also an LGBT Arts and Film Festival as well as a Pride Dog Show. Nearly half a million people come to Brighton each year to celebrate Pride (that’s more than 2% of the year’s visitors in a single day!) and it is thought to help bring in more than £20 million to the local economy.
It is believed that Brighton’s Pride is a major driver for all tourism in Brighton.
What is the Pride Festival Celebrating?
The Pride festival in Brighton, like many of its counterparts around the world, has a two-fold purpose for the LGBT community.
Firstly, it wishes to celebrate the diversity of the community and its contributions to the world and society at large. Secondly, it is there to commemorate some of the injustices wrought on that community over the preceding centuries.
It may not seem as relevant today but it’s not long ago since the time when being a homosexual was a criminal offence in the UK, even in the 1970s, the government was experimenting on gay people (in a way that might well be construed as torture) to try and “cure them”.
Then in the 1980s the AIDS epidemic hit the community and thanks to poor public education efforts and discrimination in the provision of public health – the LGBT community bore the brunt of this.
Even today, it is only in recent years when gay people have been free to marry. Transgender and non-binary people still struggle to find acceptance within society. And so on…
Brighton is one of the world’s most tolerant and accepting cities and Brighton Pride celebrates this whilst acknowledging that there is still work to be done.
When Is Brighton Pride?
Brighton Pride is an annual event. It takes place in late July/early August of each year. Tickets for the event go on sale immediately following the previous year’s event. You’d be amazed at how quickly they start to sell out too.
What’s on at Brighton Pride?
The Brighton Pride event consists of 5 main sub-events, though it’s worth noting there are quite a few supporting independent club events that run concurrently if you want something extra to do:
The Community Parade
The parade runs from Hove Lawns all the way to the Pride in the Park Festival at Preston Park. It’s a joyous community event which everyone may participate in. Expect singing, dancing, and lots of fun as the LGBTQ+ folks come together to begin a weekend of celebration and fun.
Pride in The Park Festival
The Pride in the Park Festival is the centrepiece of Brighton’s Pride events and it’s a major music festival which attracts LGBTQ+ folks in their droves as well as plenty of their allies. In 2020, the festival will be celebrating its 30th anniversary and we’d expect to see some incredible acts perform.
The Pride Village Party (PVP), Kemptown and Brighton Seafront
Brighton’s Kemptown area is famed for its LGBT community and it should come as no surprise that it takes a major part in the annual Pride event. The Pride Village Party is completely separate from the Pride in the Park Festival and aims to raise as much money as it can for local good causes.
The LGBT Arts and Film Festival
The film festival debuts major international works on the LGBT theme as well as many local and national debuts of short films, which celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals and efforts. Not all films are in English but all of them have English subtitles.
The Pride Dog Show
Your dog doesn’t need to be LGBT in order to enjoy entering the Brighton Pride Dog Show, though as you’d expect, many of the owners are LGBT but that’s not mandatory either. The day is run safely thanks to the participation of the Coastway Veterinary Group which runs 5 different surgeries in Brighton and the surrounding area. The Pride Dog Show celebrates all that’s fabulous with dogs.
|Fabuloso (Pride in the Park)||Main Event||Buy Tickets Here|
|PRIDE Village Party||After Party||Buy Tickets Here|
|Pride Campsite||Camping||Buy Tickets Here|
|Pride Parade||7th August – 11 am||N/A|
Brighton Pride’s Main Event at Preston Park
Preston Park is the last stop on the Brighton Pride parade march and it’s where the big bash begins for the weekend. It’s worth noting that while the parade is free to attend, the Pride in the Park Festival is not.
You can expect to lay out about £50 for tickets for the entire weekend though there are discounts for booking them early on the Brighton Pride website.
In 2019, the festival was actually considered to be two festivals. The first was “Pride in the Park” which happened on the Saturday and then the LoveBN1 Festival took place on the Sunday.
We’re not entirely certain why they opted for the split branding but in practice, nothing much changed from previous years and ticket sales, etc. were all operated from the official Brighton Pride channels.
Artists/Acts And Line-up At Preston Park
It’s impossible to predict who will take to the stages on Brighton Pride weekend. In 2019, Kylie Minogue headed up the Saturday night and Jessie J and Grace Jones led the charge on the Sunday.
In 2018, people were dancing to the likes of Britney Spears, Pixie Lott and Louise. In 2017, the line-up was led by the Pet Shop Boys and guests Years & Years.
Other acts that have appeared on the stage in Preston Park include: Nile Rogers & Chic, Jess Glynne, Dua Lipa, Sister Sledge, Carly Rae Jepsen, Fatboy Slim, Paloma Faith, Katy B, The Human League, Boy George, Ella Elre, and Ms Dynamite.
The 2020 line up won’t be announced for a few more months but you can be certain that by the time it is announced, there will be a queue around the block for tickets.
After Party At St James Street / Pride Village Party
The Pride Village Party is often thought of as the “after party” but, in reality, it goes on for much of the same time as the Pride Festival events at Preston Park. It is considered to be a completely separate event, however, as far as organization goes, and having a ticket for Pride in the Park and/or LoveBN1 will not get you into the Pride Village Party.
In fact, because of the limited amount of space available in St James Street and the surrounding area it can be harder to get tickets for this event than for the bigger festival. It is highly unlikely that if you don’t book in advance that you will be able to get tickets for this on the day. The costs are approx. £20 for the weekend or £15 for a single day.
There are a very limited number of cheap tickets for this event, but they are all snapped up within hours of being announced. If you’re looking to get save money now, you’ll need to be looking to 2022 as they’re probably all gone for 2021.
What takes place at the Pride Village Party? DJ’s, some smaller live acts, live shows of a non-musical variety and an endless street party. It’s a very relaxed and enjoyable time and much less hectic than the big festival event.
Brighton Pride Parade
The Brighton Pride Parade is completely free to attend, and it marks the beginning of the official Pride Weekend. It’s worth noting that the unofficial start happens in the city’s nightclubs the evening before and more than a few parade participants will be nursing a hangover because of that.
It’s a joyous event that nearly everyone in the city will visit at some point in the day.
What time does the Parade Start?
In 2019, the Brighton Pride parade route changed, and it began at Hove Lawns before running past the clock tower and then right onto North Road. However, it is expected that this year the route will change back to the original route and you will be able to go past the Pavilion as in previous years.
The parade begins at 11 a.m. and works its way to the main festival grounds, you can’t miss it when you’re nearby – just follow the sound of the crowd.
I have taken photos at Pride around 4 or 5 times now. You are guaranteed to get the most colourful photos you will take all year. But in my experience, a great time is to get there early. Arrive at the Parade at 10 am or even 9.30 am so to get the leanest images. Where everyone is sober and all makeup costumes and glitter is in place.
Brighton Pride Tickets, Early Bird Tickets
You can book all your Brighton Pride tickets for the Pride in the Park festival, the Pride Village Party online at the official Brighton Pride website.
There are discounts for “early birds” which get used up very quickly indeed. In December 2019, the time of writing this piece, all the early bird discounts are gone for the Pride Village Party and most are gone for the Pride in the Park event too and there are still 32 weeks to go before the 2020 Brighton Pride and no acts have been announced!
It’s the most popular LGBT event in the United Kingdom and a good time is had by all.
Brighton Pride, Where To Stay And Alternative Options
It is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality in the United Kingdom and every single one of Brighton’s hotels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, etc. will make you feel welcome if you choose to come for Pride or any other weekend for that matter.
However, there are some hotels and bed and breakfasts with a reputation for being more than hospitable and actually engaging with and enthusiastically welcoming the LBGT community and we’ve rounded up the best of them for you.
B&B’s In The Heart of Kemptown for Brighton Gay Pride
Kemptown is the heart of Brighton’s gay scene and it’s where the Pride Village Party is held and it’s a stone’s throw from Preston Park where the main festival is held too. So, it should come as no surprise that Brighton’s most gay-friendly places are also the most convenient for the festival.
A Room With A View, Marine Parade, Kemptown
Address: 41 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1PE
They’re not wrong about the name of this place, nearly every room comes with a sumptuous view across the seafront with the pier stretching away into the distance. If you like to take photographs, this might be the best place to stay in Brighton. If you get there early in the festival weekend, they also have some free parking for guests, but there’s not enough spaces for every room to get a slot for their car.
Amsterdam, 11-12 Marine Parade, Kemptown
tel: +441273 688 825
Amsterdam may be the gayest place on our list as it’s not just a bed and breakfast but also a gay bar and a sauna. The rooms are all equipped with really sizeable walk-in showers and that’s always a blessing after you’ve spent a day dancing and getting sweaty. You’re a short walk from a ton of clubs too. Please note: all guests must be aged 18 and over at the Amsterdam, this is not a place to bring a family to.
Brightonwave, Madeira Place, Kemptown
tel: +441273 676 794
Address: 10 Madeira Pl, Brighton BN2 1TN
If you like something a little Bohemian, you can’t go wrong with Brightonwave. They are always exhibiting works by major local artists and you’ll find each room in this 19th century townhouse has been beautifully laid out. There’s plenty of tech woven into the fabric of life in this bed and breakfast too. We can heartily recommend the breakfasts which are cooked to order for each individual guest.
Sea Spray Brighton, New Steine, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 684966
Address: 25-26 New Steine, Brighton BN2 1PD
The Sea Spray has won several awards as a luxury guesthouse. The hot tub in the garden suite is well worth trying out and you’ll appreciate the spa and massage facilities if you need to wind down after too much drinking and dancing. The onsite bar can come in handy for an after-party drink just before bed.
The Griffin, Madeira Place, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 691257
Address: 14 Madeira Pl, Brighton BN2 1TN
If you want to hit the clubs after a long day of partying at Brighton Pride, then you are perfectly situated at The Griffin as they’re all a short walk away. This is a really nice 18th-century converted townhouse with 9 rooms spread over four storeys. The facilities aren’t as basic as you might expect from a bed and breakfast and the terrace is really pleasant to while away an hour or two if you need to chill.
Hotels and Hostels For Brighton Gay Pride
It’s not just bed and breakfast options in Kemptown, either. There’s everything from luxury hotels to low-cost dorms in hostels. You’re bound to find something you want but you should book early if you don’t want to be disappointed on your first choice.
Blanch House, Atlingworth Street, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 603504
Address: 17 Atlingworth St, Brighton BN2 1PL
What could be better than having a champagne bar in the place that you’re staying? We’re thinking not much, right? Well, Blanch House not only has a champagne bar but once you’ve had a few to drink, they also provide an in-room massage to make sure that you sleep right through the night. If you’re looking for somewhere to chill after partying in the park, this is the right place for you.
Drakes, Marine Parade, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 696934
Drakes is pure class. You’re going to find a very contemporary style married to the gorgeous floor-to-ceiling Georgian windows. You get a great view of the city or a great view of the sea from every room too. The restaurant downstairs is one of the city’s greats and has won several awards. The beds are incredibly comfortable and if you can afford to splash a little extra cash on what are already quite pricey rooms – the free-standing bathtubs in the top-grade rooms are amazing.
Happy Brighton, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 676826
Address: 23 Broad St, Brighton BN2 1TJ
Happy is a pleasant hostel and one of the cheapest options on our list, you should be aware that the lowest cost berths are in “pod bunks” and may lack for privacy. Your stuff will be completely secure in the lockers kept under each bed though. If you want to splurge a little, you can find private ensuite rooms as well as dorms.
Kemp Townhouse, Atlingworth Street, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 681400
Address: 21 Atlingworth St, Brighton BN2 1PL
You can’t get much better than a hotel with a play on “Kemptown” in its name and the Kemp Townhouse does not disappoint. It’s a little more expensive than some of the other properties on our list but it’s worth it to be in this quiet niche of the heaving gay district of Brighton in a Grade II listed building. The owners are a lovely couple and the bar and terrace areas add some nice extra functionality for your stay.
Legends Hotel, 31-34 Marine Parade, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 624462
You don’t stay at Legends if you’re looking for a long night’s rest after the day’s fun. You stay there because they have one of the best bars in the city right downstairs and you want to party into the early hours. This is one of the best destinations in Brighton if you’re serious about dancing until dawn and their breakfasts work very well to help combat the obligatory hangovers. Some of the rooms are incredibly small though.
Nineteen Brighton, Broad Street, Kemptown
tel: +44 7426 043930
Address: 19 Broad St, Brighton BN2 1TJ
If you want something a little on the classic side, then we’d recommend checking out this old-school Victorian townhouse which has now been converted into a very reasonably priced guesthouse. The bathrooms are equipped with a luxurious range of toiletries and you’re not far from the action in Kemptown either. The contemporary décor adds a nice touch to a very pleasant place.
The Pink Pavilion, Madeira Place, Kemptown
tel: +44 1273 603618
Address: 12 Madeira Pl, Brighton BN2 1TN
This cute boutique hotel is handy for the seafront, the nightclubs, the festival at Preston Park and almost anything else that you could want during your time in Brighton. They’ve only got 9 rooms, so we’d recommend that you book well in advance if you want to ensure your stay during Brighton Pride.
Camping/Campsite For Brighton Pride
Of course, if you want to get properly traditional for a festival weekend in Brighton, then nothing beats camping. There is an official Pride Campsite at Whitehall and you can book in advance for all 3 days of the weekend.
Be warned that there may be long lines to get into the campgrounds during the busiest parts of the weekend and it can be really beneficial to get there early if you want to make sure you get to all the things you want to do in the weekend.
Camping prices can vary depending on how many nights you want to stay, what facilities you need and how many people will be staying on your pitch. It will almost certainly work out cheaper than staying in a hotel or Airbnb for the weekend but it’s not cheap either.
The good news is that there’s a regular bus service between the campground and the festival, so you don’t need to worry about arranging transport to the Brighton Pride venues.
Kids under the age of 12 are welcome but must be supervised (and by someone who is at least 21 years old) at all times, they don’t count toward the headcount for a pitch when booking though.
Kids from 13-18 do count toward the headcount when you book your pitch, but they still have to be under the watchful eye of someone 21+ at all times.
It’s best to book your camping tickets online as there are no guarantees of spaces if you just turn up on the day.
You can also book for private showers if you don’t want to use the communal shower facilities.
A Brief History of Brighton Pride Festival
Brighton and Hove Pride was founded back in 1972 when there was a local demonstration held by members of The Sussex Gay Liberation Front in October of that year. It became a full Pride March in the early part of 1973.
It was 18 years before Brighton saw another Pride. The Conservative government of 1991 had passed a law banning the teaching of anything touching on homosexuality in schools, the infamous “Clause 28” and Brighton had had enough.
Pride 1991 took place on a May weekend and culminated in a picnic at Preston Park. The city had yet to fully embrace the ideals fostered by Brighton Pride and the next 6 years saw many ups and downs before, finally, in 1997 – Brighton Pride became a permanent fixture on the calendar in Brighton, though it had to move to August to do so.
In 2010, the event saw more than 160,000 people arrive in Brighton to celebrate but the Pride movement was still struggling to find its financial footing. Over the last decade, things have become much more professional and not only can it always pay its own way, but Pride has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities in the city too.
Pride 2019 brought a record-breaking crowd to Brighton and there’s an expectation of another bumper year in 2020. Brighton has been transformed in the space of 50 years from an intolerant British town to one of the world’s most accepting cities and everyone is now proud of Pride.
Parking For Brighton Pride Weekend
You know that Brighton Pride is going to see some serious action when you Google “Parking For Brighton Pride Weekend” and find that the National Car Parks body is already taking bookings for the event. Yes, it pays to be prepared for an event as big as Pride.
See Our Free Parking Guide Here
The problem is that Brighton itself is a fairly small city and for much of the year, it has perfectly adequate parking but on Pride weekend – the city sees its population nearly triple! The two closest car parks in the city to Pride are Brighton Centre Russell Road and Brighton Theatre both of which have about 500 parking spaces each plus a small number of disabled priority spaces. That’s 1,000 parking spaces for half a million party-goers.
You should be aware that because of the traffic volumes, Brighton & Hove council also close off some roads into the city and they do so at different times across the weekend.
All parking bays on the streets near the parade are suspended through the weekend (and possibly on the days before and after it too). If you park in one of these bays, you can expect to find your vehicle towed.
If you want to park farther afield, there are a limited number of additional car parks within Brighton and Hove (though you may then need transport from the car park to Pride itself). You can also use the Park and Ride facilities, though you need to take into account the road closures.
If you’re coming to Brighton’s Pride weekend, then you’ll be in good company. This is the largest event of its kind in the United Kingdom and Brighton is a city where LGBTQ+ people feel safe all year round.
You’ll be greeted with a joyous celebration of human beings living in harmony whatever their sexuality may be, and the festival will welcome some of the biggest acts in the world to add a huge hit of excitement to the proceedings.
We hope you find our guide useful in sorting out the arrangements so that when you arrive in Brighton, you can concentrate on having fun.