By Ferne Arfin
United Kingdom Travel Expert, about.com
The days when Pride parades and events for the lesbian and gay communities were rare, avant-garde events, colorful, daring, outré and sometimes even a little dangerous to the participants, are fading into memory. Today, the celebrations have grown to include bisexual and transgender communities as well, all under the umbrella LGBT, and the parties, events and parades have grown in number, becoming almost mainstream.
Thankfully, most of the events and most of the parades are usually still pretty colourful and outré. What fun would they be if they didn't at least try to emulate Mardi Gras some of the time.
The UK's LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community celebrates summer as colorful Pride Festivals spread to cities and towns all over Britain.
The season usually gets underway with a huge festival in Birmingham at the end of May and motors along with several big festivals every month - including a cluster of great ones in July and August.
If you are planning a vacation to Britain and want to include an LGBT event in your itinerary, this run down of Pride events and festivals will help you plan. The name of each festival in this list is a link that will take you to the latest information.
- Birmingham Pride - The biggest Pride event in the Midlands takes place over two days in May. Visit their website for the latest information about dates and events.
- Oxford Pride - This one-day affair is usually the earliest one in June and kicks off a month of very colorful events.
- Blackpool Pride - This runs in mid-June and in 2014 ran concurrently with the European Same Sex Dance Championships. Blackpool, as Strictly Come Dancing fans will know, is the spiritual home of British ballroom dancing.
- Cumbria Pride hosts a big street concert and an after party at a local venue in mid June.
- Pride Scotia Edinburgh - Edinburgh's event is held every two years, so the next one to look forward to will be in 2016. It's usually near the end of June and, this being Edinburgh afterall, there's a Festival Fringe as well.
- [post_ads]York Pride is a day long event near the end of June.
- Suffolk Pride - This group, with headquarters in Ipswich, held its first Pride event in June 2014 with a parade and an afternoon festival on the waterfront after. Watch their website to see what's next.
- Pride in London - One of Europe's biggest non-ticketed events is held at the end of June. Expect a hot carnival with music, dancing, costumes, floats and a huge crowd of spectators. the 2014 event marked the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
- Sheffield Pride - At the end of June, thousands join the Sheffield Parade and after party. There's a marketplace to meet organizations of interest, entertainment, food and drink and kids activities if you are coming along with your children.
- North Wales Pride - This two day festival with entertainment usually has camping available. It's held at the beginning of July and in 2014 had a Rio theme in honor of the World Cup.
- Bristol Pride - Includes a whole week of entertainment, talks, comedy,film and theatre in July, culminating with a Pride Day festival and Pride Night fund raising entertainment event (July 12 in 2014).
- Northern Pride, Newcastle Gateshead - This celebration takes over two separate sites for three days (from July 18 to 20 in 2014). There's so much going on that you can even download an App from their website.
- Pride Glasgow - Pride in Glasgow 2014 runs from July 19 -August 3, right alongside the Commonwealth Games, so Glasgow will be in a very merry mood. Later, in October, Glasgow's gay cultural festival, Glasgay, turns the spotlight on theatre, visual arts, film and dance.
- Norwich Pride - Lots of events in the week before lead up to the parade and celebrations (July 26 in 2014). It's not all party party. There's a Pride Village with stalls - lots of info, help and stuff to buy. Then Proud Schools at the Forum will show how Norwich schools are tackling homophobia and transphobia in the classroom and playground. Picnic with family and friends and watch entertainment before the parade. Then more entertainment into the night.
- Belfast Pride - A whole week of events at the end of July and into August (July 25 to August 2 in 2014).
- Brighton Pride - The "gay capital of England" only sets aside one day for its summer Pride festival, but the Brighton Pride Arts& Film Festival (from July 18 to August 3 in 2014) gets everyone in the mood for the parade (August 2 in 2014). Expect top acts to lend support. Alison Moyet, Stooshe and Paloma Faith have taken part in past Brighton Pride events .
- Liverpool Pride - Celebrating its 5th year on August 2 in 2014, the Liverpool parade should be really something to see with its theme of Glam Fairy Tales.
- Pride Cymru, Cardiff - Mid August (August 16 in 2014) is the day set aside for Cardiff's "Mardi Gras."
- Manchester Pride - August 22 -25. The Manchester group stages a ten-day festival of art, culture, music, sport, film and heritage events in mid August culminating in four days of non-stop partying in Manchester's Gay Village (August 22 to 25 in 2014).
- Cornwall Pride - Love and Marriage is the theme of the 2014 festival on August 23 when the Southwest's gay community celebrates the legalization of gay marriage in England and Wales.