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The UK’s top LGBT festivals and events in 2016

Four students celebrating National Student Pride

Throughout the UK, there are so many ways to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) culture in 2016. Check out some of our favourite events!



Hogmanay celebrations
31 December–1 January, Scotland

Hogmanay is a big Scottish celebration for the New Year. In Edinburgh it’s a wild party with fireworks, concerts and a spectacular torchlight procession. Scotland’s first same-sex weddings were held at 00:01 on Hogmanay in 2014, giving LGBT Scots an extra reason to celebrate the date.


LGBT History Month
Throughout February, Nationwide
Find out more here or go to www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk

This annual event promotes equality and celebrates LGBT culture. There are exhibitions, film screenings, comedy, plays and events across the country supported by organisations including Amnesty International and the National Archives, while museums including the V&A and Tate Modern host special lectures and guided tours.

National Student Pride
5-7 February, London, England
Find out more here or visit www.studentpride.co.uk

Welcoming LGBT students from over 100 universities and colleges in the UK and beyond, National Student Pride features inspirational guest speakers, panel discussions, film screenings, a careers fair, and of course a big party. 

Students celebrating at one of many events during National Student Pride week (Photo ©National Student Pride)


BFI Flare
16-27 March, London, England

The British Film Institute’s annual London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival is 30 years old in 2016, so we're promised a fantastic line-up of classic and contemporary films. Most screenings are at the BFI’s home in the Southbank, with opening and closing galas in London’s cinematic West End. But if you are not in the UK... don't worry! BFI Flare holds online screenings every year, and you can get involved on social media too. 


SHOUT Film Festival
Date tbc, Birmingham, England

Championing LGBT arts and culture since 2009, SHOUT produce events throughout the year to showcase gay and lesbian film, visual art, music, theatre, literature and culture. Annual events include April’s SHOUT Film Festival, and look out for other events via their website.


Birmingham Pride
28-29 May, Birmingham, England

The UK’s largest two-day LGBT festival, Birmingham Pride is typically held over the Spring bank holiday weekend in May. The streets of Birmingham’s gay district pulsate with a carnival parade, live music, dance arena with big-name DJs, cabaret stage, women’s arena and a community village.


Pride Scotia
Date tbc, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland’s national LGBT pride festival, Pride Scotia starts with a march and rally, and afterwards is a festival encompassing live music from Scottish and international acts.

UK Black Pride
Date tbc, London, England

Europe’s biggest community-led, not-for-profit group for LGBT people of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin American descent, UK Black Pride features carnival-themed entertainment, arts and a big picnic.

Pride in London
Festival, 18-26 June (main weekend 25-26 June), London, England

The biggest day in London’s LGBT calendar is the annual Pride in London parade and street party. Bringing together hundreds of community groups, student unions, charities and campaigners, the parade route passes many London landmarks including Downing Street, the home of Britain’s Prime Minister.

The parade through central London in 2012, celebrating World Pride (Photo ©VisitBritain/ Nicolas Chinardet)


Bristol Pride
1-10 July (Pride Day 9 July), Bristol, England

A week-long festival, Bristol Pride is attended by more than 30,000 people each year. Pride Week events include a film festival and a comedy night, but the main event is the big parade and party on 9 July.

L Fest
15-18 July, Uttoxeter, England

Britain’s award-winning L Fest brings lesbian music, arts, comedy and cabaret to Staffordshire. In addition to entertainment on several stages, there are workshops, family activities, sports and games, a cinema, and club nights.

Northern Pride
15–17 July, Newcastle, England

Northern Pride is a three-day event in Newcastle. Over 7,000 people join the parade, plus there's a host of events in Exhibition Park throughout the weekend, where there will be a main stage, community market stalls, a youth zone, cabaret tent and dance tent.

Belfast Pride
27 July–7 August (Parade on Saturday, 6 August), Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ireland’s largest LGBT festival, Belfast Pride attracts over 50,000 people for a week of rainbow-coloured celebrations. The highlight is Saturday’s Pride Parade, extending from the gay neighbourhood around Union Street and Donegall Street, all the way to City Hall, then back again for a massive street party.

Belfast Pride in 2010, which attracted the biggest turnout yet (Photo ©Brian Morrison @nitb.com)


Pride Brighton & Hove
5-7 August, Brighton and Hove, England

The UK’s biggest Pride festival, every year Brighton Pride attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. The main day sees a huge parade through the city, followed by a massive party with a main stage, dance and cabaret tents, a community village and a fun festival atmosphere.

Liverpool Pride
Date TBC, Liverpool, England

From its beginnings in 2010, Liverpool Pride has followed a specific theme voted for by the people of Liverpool. Previous themes have included Rainbow Circus, Superheroes and Glam Fairytales, which explains why this event is one of Britain’s most visually flamboyant. The pride party features over 50 live acts across three stages.

Leeds Pride
Date TBC, Leeds, England

Yorkshire’s gay community celebrates at Leeds Pride. There’s a pride parade and two outdoor performance stages in the bustling city centre. With eight hours of entertainment, it’s sure to be a grand day out.

Pride Cymru
13 August, Cardiff, Wales

Pride Cymru ('Cymru' means 'Wales') features big-name Welsh and international pop acts performing live on the main stage, a cabaret garden, funfair rides and a family zone. There’s also a colourful parade through Cardiff city centre.

Pride Glasgow
20–21 August, Glasgow, Scotland

Scotland’s largest LGBT pride festival, Pride Glasgow is a two-day event held annually in August with plenty of entertainment on offer.

Manchester Pride
28–31 August, Manchester, England

In August, Manchester’s gay village plays host to one of the biggest dates in the gay calendar: Manchester Pride. The month-long Pride Fringe celebrates the diversity of LGBT life, including art, culture and sport. This leads to the Big Weekend, including a huge Pride Parade across the city.

Party lights at a National Student Pride event last year (Photo ©Ophelia Taylor)


Reading Pride
3 September, Reading, England

A free community event, Reading Pride kicks off with a parade through the city to King's Meadow, where you’ll find a full line-up of entertainment. There’s also a funfair, youth area and food, drink and market stalls.


Iris Prize Festival
12-16 October, Cardiff, Wales

During four days of international film screenings, panel sessions and parties, 30 short films by or about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people compete to win the top accolade, valued at £30,000.

Rainbow Film Festival
Dates TBC, Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Market Drayton, England

Held at venues across these pretty towns in Shropshire, the Rainbow Film Festival offers a host of premieres and special screenings of LGBT feature films and shorts.


Homotopia Festival
Throughout November, Liverpool, England

Supported by Britain’s Arts Council, the Homotopia Festival is an exciting mix of theatre, contemporary dance, exhibitions, debate, and cabaret.

Date TBC, Glasgow, Scotland

The largest multi-art festival of its kind in the UK, this LGBT festival spans comedy, music, film, theatre, visual art, literature, clubbing and community arts projects.

Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest
Date TBC, London, England

Taking place at venues throughout east London, this alternative, not-for-profit festival includes gay and lesbian feature films, experimental art, interactive walks and wild parties.


Winter Pride
Date TBC, London, England

A new date on London’s LGBT calendar, Winter Pride celebrates diversity through creativity. As well as parties hosted by gay clubs such as East Bloc, this not-for-profit social enterprise includes an art competition and a humanitarian award.

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Thanks to Visit Britain for their contribution to this article. Find out more about UK cities, culture and countryside at www.visitbritain.com or visit Love GREAT Britain on Facebook.