Get in the pink and party

Gone are the days when those who saw life through rose-tinted spectacles were penalised for their sexual persuasion. If you want to join the party, these are Britain's pinkest spots.

Blackpool

You only have to step off the train in Blackpool to know it's gay-friendly. Across the road is the Flying Handbag bar, a glittering introduction to the scene, decked out with neon pink and blue flashing lights. There are 53 gay hotels in Blackpool with names like Trades, Peaches and Cream and Fantasy, and seven gay bars. Four are owned by Blackpool's curators of campery, In The Pink leisure services, whose most celebrated gay establishment is Funny Girls, a grandiose trannie bar with cabaret acts and dancing divas in the appropriately named Queen Street. The town's most famous landmark, Blackpool Tower, is a particular favourite. There was a petition to paint it pink a few years ago but the council felt the erection was camp enough already.

Brighton

A thriving gay community has transformed the notion of seaside kitsch into something that the Victorians certainly never envisaged. Donkey rides and fish'n'chips have been usurped by any number of gay and gay-friendly clubs, shops, hotels, saunas, restaurants and bars, attracting a clientele from across the world. One particular delight is Wild Fruit at the Paradox Club that hosts an eclectic set of theme nights. Recent successes include militaria, water-sports and panto. The Zap Club - a popular venue for gay and straight clubbers - plays host to big-name DJs. Brighton also offers support groups for every conceivable section of the gay community including lesbians, trannies, parents, drug-users and those living with HIV.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh has had a flourishing gay culture since the first gay and lesbian centre opened in the 1970s. The newly dubbed "Broughton triangle" on Calton Hill is at the fluffy heart of things, with a multitude of cafes and clubs to choose from as well as one of four gay hotels. Still in relative infancy is the Over the Moon Brassiere, the place to have a pre-club tipple among a flouncy, friendly crowd. Open every night is CC Bloom's, the beer-soaked old chestnut of Edinburgh's gay club scene, with regular features, including ABBA, Katrina and the Waves and men in dodgy vests. A top monthly knees- up is JOY at Wilky House, a glam night for both gays and straights. Other monthlys are 100% Bent at The Gallery, which is as it suggests, and Design Divas at The Venue, a gals only affair. Stage shows in the past have included comediennes enticing the audience to do inventive things with cream cakes.

Cardiff

More of a gay street than a gay village, the heart of Cardiff's modest but strong gay scene is based around Charles Street. They really do flee the hills and valleys for this kitsch culture-fest. A great venue is The Exit Bar with a loud and lascivious crowd and even louder music. Opposite is Club X, an industrial looking club where the tough girls hang out. If you fancy something a little more sultry, try The Locker Room, a sweltering and saucy gay sauna and health club. Cardiff's long-established gay pub, King's Cross, is lacking in glam but makes up for it in friendly atmosphere. As they say endearingly in Wales, "You're chopsy fra cabbage" roughly translating as "Look at you, you big Queen".

London

The Metropolis boasts the most eclectic gay scene in the country - it really is a case of too much but never enough. Oh Soho mio, heralded as the gay village of Britain with Old Compton Street as its throbbing main- artery. After a de rigeur visit to The Freedom Bar for a quick voddie lime and soda, your shopping can be done under one roof with the recent arrival of the tres chi-chi Prowler Soho in Rupert Street which claims to be "Europe's first gay superstore." London's gay scene is not solely confined behind the designer walls of Soho as clubland indicates. A newish darling is Popstarz at the Leisure Lounge, playing Britpop and trashy Eighties music to a lager-fuelled crowd. Duckie and Viva Apathy challenge the established commercialism of Soho while the old boys of the club network, The Love Muscle and Heaven, are still popular as ever.

Sarah Barrell and Fiona Sturges

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?