As London gears up to celebrate 50 years of Pride, we look at some of the best ways to celebrate this month
The Queer’s Platinum Jubilee
Village Underground, June 3
Unorthodox and Mandidextrous team up to bring you a drum and bass night like no other. With a queer-focused, diverse line-up headlined by IMANU, helped by Nathan X, the iconic John B and Scottish legend, Mrs Magoo, Village Undergound will be packed to the rafters with dance troupes, aerialists and pyrotechnics to make sure this night goes off with a bang.
Tickets £19 + booking fee
Village Underground, 54 Holywell Ln, London EC2A 3PQ , tickets
Ministry of Pride
Ministry of Sound, July 2
Gay icon and Instagram meme-master, Fat Tony joins forces with Ministry of Sound to bring you Ministry of Pride 2022, featuring a day and night of big-name DJs and performers. From 2pm - 10pm, the daytime terrace party sees Joshua James, Raw Silk, Shay Malt and others behind the decks, with Amy Adele, Ashley Reece Cain and Matthew Miller Jones taking to the stage, and as you'd expect from one of London's best known nightclubs, the shenanigans will carry on into the early hours for those with staying power. Early bird tickets have sold out, but there are plenty of options from day-only tickets through to VIP tables and booths, so go as big as you want for the ultimate Pride celebration.
Tickets from £14
Ministry of Sound, 103 Gaunt St, London SE1 6DP, Tickets and info
Proud and Loud
Royal Albert Hall, June 4
Celebrating 50 years of Pride with a line-up of LGBT+ icons, Royal Albert Hall welcomes BGT star Calum Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Cat Burns and Ariōn to its hallowed stage for an evening of unabashed power pop. Funds from the show go towards Pride in London’s Unity Fund and they promise special guests and plenty of surprises on the night.
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP, tickets
Brockwell Park, June 3-4
The Don of LGBTQ+ festivals, Mighty Hoopla needs no introduction. Brockwell Park becomes a sea of glitter, feathers, spandex and alcoholic overindulgence for a lineup including Steps, Basement Jaxx, Natalie Imbruglia, Sugababes, Jessie Ware and Sink The Pink. Tickets are still available but limited in numbers, so get in there quick - and book the Monday off work.
Tickets from £65
Brockwell Park, Brockwell Park Gardens, London SE24 0NG tickets
JOIN THE QUEENS!
Bottomless Drag Bingo
Harringay Arms, every Saturday
Harringay Arms’ Bottomless Drag Bingo is as wild as you’d expect from a venue that dishes out all-you-can-drink Prosecco, Espresso Martinis and Passionfruit Martinis. Pizza also comes as part of the deal, but the real stars of the show are Elsie Crumpet and Cherry Liquor, who promise to grab your balls and check if your numbers are coming up. The bingo takes place every Saturday and starting times differ from week to week, so check before you make your way there (you can book tickets in advance from EventBrite).
The Harringay Arms, 153 Crouch Hill, London N8 9QH, tickets
Woolwich Works, until June 4
If camp, daft and outrageous burlesque tickles your pickles, head down to The Grotteaux before it closes on June 4.
You might’ve picked up on the festive-sounding name - this is a Shotgun Carousel show that was cancelled because of that pesky pandemic - but that means Pride month has just been given a welcome bonus show, so we’re not complaining!
It’s hosted by drag icon, Lilly Snatchdragon, who’s been named as THE top UK Burlesque Performer and has performed sold-out shows at The Bush and Garrick Theatres, and she’s joined by Cleopantha, who was named number 5 burlesque figure in the world last year and Dosa Cat, a choreographer famed for her Kathak dance style. That not enough for you? FINE. You can also have Symonè, who holds the Guinness World Record for ‘longest duration on high heeled skates while spinning three hula hoops.’ Sure, competition might not be strong for that one, but don’t pretend you’re not impressed.
All that adds up to one hell of a show that merges cabaret theatre, live music and a healthy dose of raucous absurdity that straddles world cultures, the whole LGBTQ+ spectrum and people from all walks of life.
Woolwich Works, The Fireworks Factory, 11 No 1 Street, Royal Arsenal, London SE18 6HD, tickets
Queer Queens Cabaret
Londoner Hotel, June 2
A five-star party in a five-star venue, Queer Queens Cabaret are serving up seven acts for their Jubilee-themed evening of debauchery. Starring wild-child, Kitty Bang Bang, Cardiff’s Marmalade, Bones, circus performer Norvina Michaels, the hilarious Jen Ives and drag superstar Don Trolley. If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, you’ll get a free Cabaret Gin cocktail on arrival to warm you up for a right royal knees up.
The Londoner Hotel, 38 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DX tickets
GET SOME CULTURE!
Moment of Grace
Hope Theatre, from June 28
Princess Diana's visit to there UK's first AIDS unit in 1987 was a turning point for the way in which the disease was viewed, in this country and abroad. Her handshake with a patient became an enduring image that cemented Diana's status as the caring, empathetic face of the Royal Family, while showing the world that AIDS sufferers didn't need to be locked away from human contact.
Now, 35 years on from that moment, Bren Gosling's award-winning play tells the story based on testimonies and interviews with those who were there on the day. It is a personal journey for Bren, who was diagnosed with AIDS in the 1990s, and he says the production "brings home the importance of compassion and human touch when all else falls away, something which resonates particularly today in our emergence from the current pandemic."
Tickets from £10
The Hope Theatre, 207 Upper St, London N1 1RL, tickets
Gay Bar: Jeremy Atherton Lin in Conversation
Foyles Charing Cross, June 13
The gay bar has a rich and storied history at the centre of the LGBTQ+ movement, from leather parties in the Castro to dark rooms and sweaty discos in London. Jeremy Atherton Lin’s book, Gay Bar: Why We Went Out is a fascinating exploration of the gay bar’s importance to the movement and the troubles such establishments have had to endure over the years.
On June 13, Foyles on Charing Cross Road will host a Q&A with Jeremy, followed by a book signing. Expect to learn about the history of gay bars, their status in society today and the importance of claiming queer spaces, hear stories about the renegades and party boys who lived and loved in these spaces, as well as Jeremy’s own experiences.
Ticket and book £13
Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DT, Tickets
Eltham Palace, June 17
For a more sophisticated Pride celebration, head to the beautiful, Art Deco Eltham Palace in South East London for Queer Walls. The venue was formerly a Tudor Palace, but guests will only be transported as far back as 1939, when Stephen and Virginia Cortauld (played by drag king, Adam All and femme queen, Apple Derrieres) invite you to join them and their bohemian friends for a cocktail party that’s very likely to descend into chaos before the night is out.
Eltham Palace and Gardens, Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich SE9 5NP, tickets
Poetry LGBT Open Mic Pride month Special
Two Brewers, June 29
Take the mic yourself or just head along to listen to new and established writers, poets and creative thinkers. There’ll be up to 20 performers on the night, and if you fancy having a go, you’ll need to email in advance to book your slot on stage. Arrive before 7:30pm and you’ll bag a spot in the raffle - arrive late and you’ll be one of those bastards who turns up and makes a scene half way through someone’s poem.
Two Brewers, 114 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UJ
Welcome to Queer Britain
Queer Britain, all month
Art fans have plenty to choose from this month and there’s nowhere better to start than in Kings Cross at the newly opened London’s first LGBTQ+ museum, Queer Britain (we covered the opening here), which offers free exhibitions by LGBTQ+ artists and shows exploring the culture and struggles of the gay rights movement. Their first exhibition is called Welcome to Queer Britain and includes photographs by Allie Crewe and Rover Taylor as well as portraits by Sadie Lee and Paul Hartfleet.
2 Granary Square, London N1C 4BH, Queer Britain
Bad Gays launch event
Glass House London, June 11
Why do we only celebrate heroic gays? That was the question posed by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller in when they launched their hugely popular podcast, Bad Gays, which bucked the trend by talking about evil and complicated queers in history. Thousands of listeners agreed, and they followed up their success by writing Bad Gays: A Homosexual History. Join Huw and Ben for a unique panel chaired by the formidable Juliet Jaques, at LGBTQ+ venue, Glass House.
Glass House,118 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6DG, tickets
Let Me Hold You & The Queen’s Jubilee
Queercircle, from June 9
Across town in Greenwich’s Design District is Queercircle, an LGBTQ+ art space that will take the form of a main gallery, library and project spaces when it opens on June 9. It’ll kick off with Let Me Hold You, a solo show by Michaela Yearwood-Dan, and The Queen’s Jubilee, which explores “how drag evolved from performative gesture to a way of life”.
Building 4, 3 Barton Yard, Soames Walk, Design District, London SE10 0BN Queercircle
Queer Frontiers: An Exhibition Celebrating the Work of Ashton Attzs
100 Bishopsgate, June 1 - July 15
Large-scale city landlords might not seem like the most obvious Pride allies, but kudos to Brookfield Properties, who are launching a multi-site exhibition of the works of 24 year-old queer, black artist, Ashton Attzs. A former winner of the Evening Standard Art Prize, Attzs’ colourful pieces are celebratory explorations of Pride, the trans-rights movement and subjects of freedom and self-love. You can check them out at 100 Bishopsgate, and learn more about the pieces and exhibition here
100 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 1GT
LGBTQ+ New Comedian of the Year finals
Clapham Grand, June 14
Treat yourself to a belly laugh or ten at the grand final of the LGBTQ+ New Comedian of the Year. Nine of the best acts Britain has to offer will fight it out on stage in front of judges Vinegar Strokes, Zoe Lyons, Stephen Bailey and Skisa. The finalists cover all bases - trans, non-binary, pansexual, lesbian, and one who claims to be the world’s only left-handed, Irish, Indian gay comedian. Sounds like history in the making.
The Clapham Grand, 21-25 St John's Hill, London SW11 1TT, UK, tickets
TAKE A WALK!
LGBTQ+ Guided Walking Tours in London
Pride might be best known for parties, but it’s also a great reason to get out and reconnect with the gay rights movement, learning more about the places and people who made it happen. London has its fair share of LGBTQ+ history - and thankfully, plenty of people who’ll literally walk you through it.
A FREE Queer & LGBTQ+ History Tour leaves from Clermont Hotel in Charing Cross at 11am on Sundays and promises to guide groups through historic sights relating to Roman queer influence, the AIDS crisis and Gay Pride itself, while also taking in sombre locations including The Admiral Duncan, where a homophobic bomb attack devastated the community and Molly Houses - 18th century meeting places for gay men.
The LGBTQ+ History Tour of Bloomsbury takes a literary look at gay culture, leading guests to a legendary LGBTQ+ bookshop and learning about The Bloomsbury Group of free-loving intellectuals, cross-dressing Victorians, banned lesbian novels and even a secret, gay language.
Meet at Trafalgar Square at 10am on Fridays for the Queer History Walking Tour, which explores the West End and particularly Soho, London's most famous LGBTQ-friendly district. You'll be taught about pioneering drag queens from the 1700s, secret gay soirées of the 1920’s, and the infamous development of Soho.
And celebrating the 50th Pride march, on June 30 the LGBT+ History in Marylebone tour explores one of London's most upmarket neighbourhoods and the many queer icons who have lived there. From rock stars to royalty and royal spies to writers, Marylebone has seen plenty of LGBT+ legends pass through its pubs and fancy houses over the years.
Pride Ride 2022
South Bank, June 25
If you've not been on an IBikeLondon outing before, it's not your average bike ride. Huge groups of cyclists head out behind a fleet of 'Disco Bikes,' which are exactly what the name suggests - bikes fitted with booming speakers that take the party to the streets. They're hosting a special, Pride Ride on June 25 for LGBTQ+ friends and allies and they'll be pumping out classic Pride tunes as you pedal your way through central London. It's completely free and kicks off at a pleasingly leisurely time of 1:30pm from the meeting point outside the National Theatre on the South Bank. Expect plenty of rainbow flags, a whole lot of fun and beautiful views of the Thames in the summertime.
Outside the National Theatre, South Bank, Register now
LGBTQ+ Sports Fair
LSBU Student Centre, June 10
There’s no better way to get fit, make new friends and find likeminded people than sports, so why not use Pride month to join a new team?
This sports fair by Out For Sport gathers London’s grassroots LGBTQ+ sports and fitness clubs under one roof and invites them to pitch their sporting prowess (or, let’s be honest, social calendar) to attendees. Whether you fancy yourself as a footballer, athletics superstar, gym bunny or just a keen cheerleader in it for the fun, there’ll be something here for you. A bar and DJ will also be on site, just in case things get a little too sporty and you need a drink,
LSBU Student Centre, 103 Borough Road, London, SE1 0AA, register
NHD Big Gay Market
Ninth Life, June 25
An art and craft market that supports local LGBTQ+ artists and artisans takes place at the brilliant Ninth Life pub and performance space in Catford. The venue has a long history of supporting the movement - we even turned up for a drag queen story time to find out all the queens had overcooked it at Pride the day before and could’t get out of bed, but take that as a brilliant endorsement of its quirkiness rather than a complaint. It’s a great bar to spend the afternoon and has a beer garden you won’t want to leave.
Details on traders will be released nearer the time - keep an eye on the website for more info.
The Ninth Life, 167 Rushey Green, London, SE6 4BD, Ninth Life
London's LGBTQ+ bookshops
If you want to celebrate Pride without the crowds, why not take a little time to read up on the gay rights movement, or pick out a book by an LGBTQ+ author?
Gay's The Word on Marchmont Street is a longstanding pillar of the literary community, having stood on the same spot since 1979. More than just a bookseller, the shops provides a meeting space for community groups and hosts regular events - although their schedule has been scaled down since the pandemic. Keep an eye on their website or head in store to talk to staff about what's coming up this month.
A newcomer to the scene, Common Press in Bethnal Green only opened its doors in 2021. It's owned buy the brilliant Glasshouse team and comprises a cafe and bookstore in one, so you can pop in for a quick purchase or spend the day browsing and chatting with friends.
While Boomarks in Bloomsbury isn't technically LGBTQ+ specific (it's a socialist bookstore), it prides itself on having an extensive collection of products by, and for, the community. You'll find texts on women's liberation, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender amongst its 135,000 books.