Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Queer Birmingham Travel Guide

Birmingham is the second largest populous city in the United Kingdom. It has a thriving LGBTQ+ scene with famous gay club nights and Birmingham Pride – the UK’s largest two-day LGBTQ+ festival. If you’re planning a trip to this city, here’s a queer travel guide for Birmingham, which includes a rundown of the best neighborhoods, hotels, and events in the city.

(Photo Credit: dynasoar / iStock)
(Photo Credit: dynasoar / iStock)

Daytime Diversions

Birmingham is renowned for its shopping. The Bullring, in the heart of the city, was the UK’s first indoor city-center shopping complex when it opened in the 1960s. Completely rebuilt in 2000, the shimmering  The Bullring & Grand Central is one of Britain’s biggest shopping malls. With more than 200 retailers and more than 460 restaurants and cafés, there’s plenty for discerning shoppers.

Just north of the city center, the Jewellery Quarter has Europe’s largest concentration of jewelry traders, producing 40% of all jewelry made in the UK. It’s the ideal place for anyone planning a romantic gesture on their trip (wink wink).

If you’re new to Birmingham, you probably didn’t know that it has miles of canals that offer walkers and joggers an alternative route to see a different side of the city. The bustling hub of the canal network, Gas Street Basin, has colorful narrow boats and busy cafés, restaurants, and bars located in revamped warehouses less than a mile from the Gay Village.

Out & About

On the city’s south side, Birmingham’s LGBTQ+ scene is situated on Hurst Street, just minutes from the Hippodrome theatre, the Bullring, and the Chinese Quarter. In addition to pagodas and oriental-influenced architecture, vacationers can see gay street art – look out for a sparkly, rhinestone-encrusted rhinoceros on the roof of Wynner House.

To mingle with Birmingham’s stylish 30-something crowd, head to The Loft, a plush bar with velvet couches, chandeliers, and exposed brickwork. Missing is a lively gay party bar with themed events and DJs or if you’re looking for cocktails, contemporary lesbian bar The Fox is a popular choice. A former car showroom, Sidewalk retains its huge plate-glass windows and warehouse-style décor and is popular with a predominantly younger mixed crowd.

Stylish Stays

Hotel Indigo
Occupying the 23rd and 24th floors of the distinct Cube building, the bedrooms of the four-star Hotel Indigo maximize their elevated status with private balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows and are located less than a mile from the Gay Village. Guests have access to the club and spa, thermal pools, and treatment rooms, including the Champagne Nail Bar  f­or luxury manicures while guests enjoy a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne. And the cherry on the cake is celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s MPW Steakhouse Bar & Grill located on the top floor. It’s also known as a Birmingham hotspot.

Staying Cool at the Rotunda
Staying Cool offers serviced apartments on the top four floors of a Birmingham landmark, the Rotunda building. Available in four configurations, from studios to two-bed penthouses, this funky self-catering option is a great choice for a chic, centrally-located stay. 

BLOC Hotel
For budget-savvy vacationers, BLOC Hotel describes itself as pared-down chic. The 73 rooms are stylishly efficient with featured amenities such as powerful drench showers, comfortable beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, super-fast Wi-Fi, and HD TVs. BLOC Hotel is conveniently located a little over a mile from the party atmosphere on Hurst Street.

LGBTQ+ Events

Championing queer arts and culture, SHOUT produces several annual events to showcase LGBTQ+ film, visual art, music, theatre, and literature. Annual events include the SHOUT Film Festival but look out for other events via their website.

Birmingham Pride (Usually last week in September)
The UK’s largest two-day LGBTQ+ festival, Birmingham Pride. The streets of Birmingham’s Gay Village pulsate with a carnival parade, live music, a cabaret stage, a women’s arena, and a community village.

Check out the Visit Britain website for more information and travel inspiration to help you plan your trip to Birmingham.

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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