Just two hours north of London and halfway between Liverpool and Leeds, Gay Manchester is one of the most vibrant, cosmopolitan, friendly, and unique cities outside of London. The epicenter of gay Manchester is Canal Street. As the name implies, one of Manchester’s historic network of canals runs alongside this narrow, pedestrianised street.
This gritty, industrial city was transformed in the eyes of gay men and lesbians throughout the world when Russell T Davies set his groundbreaking TV drama Queer As Folk on the cobbles of Manchester’s Canal Street. Manchester was of course a great gay city before Queer As Folk – but the show nevertheless changed the world’s image of Manchester: from grim Victorian factories and rain-lashed streets, to a glitter-dusted gay Elysium. In less time than it took for young Nathan to lose his virginity to confident scene-queen Stuart, Manchester’s reputation as a must-visit gay destination was secured.
Manchester is much more manageable than London, with a straightforward public transportation system known simply as the tram. It will take you places that your feet don’t want to. Visit the champion Manchester FC’s gift shop at the largest concentration of sporting venues in Europe known as SportCity. Wander bustling Chinatown, or climb the medieval walls at Castlefield.
Manchester is widely derided as a rainy, industrial mess, but the city has a newfound energy that is hard to resist. And there are less rainy days than the UK average here – it’s just usually cloudy or gray in the winter and relatively more sunny and warm in the summer. So grab your brolly, and tally ho!
Manchester Gay Scene
Home to a thriving and world-renowned gay scene, Manchester has an energetic yet cool LGBT vibe and its vitality is expressed through its fascinating architecture, world-class attractions and, most of all, the spirit of its people.
Located just south of the city’s historic Chinatown, Manchester’s gayborhood, known simply as the Village, is both party central for the city’s thriving “out and proud” GLBT community and a living, breathing piece of social history. By day, it is a tranquil canal-side retreat where both locals and visitors dwell in the cafes and restaurants.
By night, you can indulge yourself with delicious cocktails in the sophisticated Taurus or meander through the gothic labyrinth of Via; sip a pint of ale at Churchill’s or sing along with a local drag act at Hollywood Showbar. Manchester has the largest gay community outside of London, and in many ways feels more unified and supportive than its bigger sister. This is one of the most celebrated gayborhoods in Europe, and it has been attracting more and more people each year.
Manchester loves to celebrate diversity with a variety of festivals and events, including Manchester Pride, Queer Up North and the Great British Bear Bash. Don’t miss the monthly “Out in the Past” Heritage Trail, following the twists and turns of Manchester’s LGBT heritage spanning 200 years. This bold but humorous experience steps back in time to an illicit gay culture of private bars and secret meetings on towpaths. The aforementioned Manchester Pride is a 10-day celebration that takes place during the last week of August, offering an international crowd a packed ten days of Man-chester fun!