Nick Brooks-Sykes – Director of Tourism at Marketing Manchester
You may have heard of Manchester, UK before – whether it’s from our football teams, our music, or our local heroes like Alan Turing or Emmeline Pankhurst, we’ve been shaping ideas around the world for centuries. However, something you may not have heard about Manchester is that we have one of the biggest and most outspoken LGBT+ communities in Europe, and we’re a thriving hub of LGBT+ culture.
Take Manchester Pride Festival, which is a standout example of the city at its best. Taking place every August in the heart of Manchester’s City centre, the award-winning four-day event celebrates every aspect of LGBT+ life whilst simultaneously tackling important issues affecting the community in our region and around the world.
And whilst Manchester Pride is the go-to event of the year and an excellent reason to visit, there are many more reasons to take a trip to Manchester and catch our LGBT+ culture year-round!
Art festivals such as Queer Contact (February); tribe-specific events like Sugar and Spice (March); The Great British Bear Bash (April); and Sparkle Festival (July) – the world’s largest free event for the trans community; are a few of the many events happening across our diverse region every year. There are plenty of events to discover in the more low-key Greater Manchester boroughs too, with Pride festivals in Bury, Bolton and Salford, to name a few.
Then of course nationally the UK is one of the most welcoming and progressive countries in the world for LGBT+ rights, as highlighted by VisitBritain in their recent Love Is Great campaign.
But whilst many visit the city for its strong LGBT+ offering, Manchester has so much more for a perfect city break. The city is currently experiencing a cultural awakening; with recent openings like the award-winning Whitworth Art Gallery, theatre and arts centre, and the world-leading Manchester International Festival (which returns next summer), all adding to the already bursting cultural scene in the city.
We’re also changing quicker than any other city in the UK; a property and investment boom has brought major changes to governance and infrastructure, including a new Mayor with new political powers. Today young people are flocking to the city to take advantage of its thriving economy, unrivalled student experience and smart jobs which, in turn, is helping the city to gain accolades as the UK’s most liveable and vibrant city.
It’s difficult to keep track of bar and restaurant openings and I would be here all day if I tried to list them; there are countless new hotel openings to keep up with tourist demand; new festivals and events have emerged to cater for the culture-hungry demographic; and investment in sport has made Manchester one of the most sporty and fittest cities in the UK.
And then lastly, if all this isn’t enough to win you over, thanks to our central location and growing international airport Manchester is the global gateway to the North of England. If you’re looking for classic rolling English countryside, quaint rural cottages or smaller cities with a real party atmosphere, Manchester’s the place to start your trip.
With easy connections to the North of England and destinations like Liverpool, York and historic Chester on our doorstep, our connectivity means you can easily explore more of the North of England on your visit, and even get to London or Edinburgh within 3 hours by train!
So if it’s been a while since you last visited Manchester, or if you’ve never been before, now is the time. See you soon!