Southampton is a vibrant city, with a wonderful combination of history, natural beauty, and dynamic modernism. As one of the main hubs of no-fly cruising in the UK, it is incredibly popular with visitors and tourists from around the world.
Southampton also boasts a diverse LGBTQ+ community and is full of excellent LGBTQ-friendly places to visit and things to do. Whether you are new to the area or just visiting, finding interesting, welcoming, and tolerant spaces in Southampton is a breeze. So if you are packing your bags for a visit to this gorgeous south coast city, or arriving as a first-year student, here are some of the best LGBTQ-friendly places to go and things to do in and around Southampton.
The Art House Café
The Art House Café is a unique, independent performance venue and social center located in the city center. It’s a great spot to grab a coffee or have a meal, but the main attraction is its fascinating and creative events program. The café is known for supporting local artists and musicians, and it’s also a popular venue for LGBTQ+ events. The Art House Café is committed to creating a safe and inclusive space for all, and it’s a great place to meet like-minded people.
Additionally, The Art House Café is a zero-waste venue. They use only biodegradable or compostable cups, plates, and utensils. They also offer a range of vegan and gluten-free options on their menu.
The Edge & Box Bar
The Edge & Box Bar an award-winning venue and Southamton’s premier LGBTQ+ nightclub located in the heart of the city’s nightlife district. The club has a fun, friendly, and alternative atmosphere and is known for its drag shows and themed parties. The Edge & Box Bar is open every night of the week, with different events and DJs on each night. It’s a great place to dance, have a few drinks, and meet new people.
The University of Southampton
The University of Southampton has an active LGBTQ+ society that is open to students, staff, and alumni and is one of the best places to meet like-minded people and discover the best of the city’s LGBTQ scene. The society is committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ people and their allies, and hosts regular events, including socials, talks, and workshops. It’s a great way to meet new people and get involved in the community.
The University of Southampton also has some excellent facilities that are open to the public, including a swimming pool, gym, and sports hall. It’s also home to several cafes and restaurants, making it a great place to hang out or grab a bite to eat.
The Southampton Pride Parade and Festival
The centerpiece of Southampton’s annual LGBTQ events calendar is the Pride Parade and Festival. Taking place every year in August it is a vibrant, riotous, and incredibly friendly event that celebrates the city’s LGBTQ+ community. The festival takes place in the city center and includes a parade, live music, and various stalls and activities. The event is open to everyone, and it’s a great way to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community and have fun. Southampton Pride is entirely volunteer-run, and its profits go towards supporting local LGBTQ+ charities and organizations. And if you aren’t in town during August, don’t panic! There are several smaller Pride festivals over the summer organized by other local organizations which can be a lovely way of celebrating in a slightly more low-key way.
The London Hotel
The London Hotel is one of Southampton’s most popular LGBTQ bars and home to some of the best cabaret shows on the south coast. An unpretentious, welcoming venue it is known for its drag shows and queer-themed events, making it one of the best spots in the city center to visit as an LGBTQ traveler, whether for a casual drink or a more serious night out.
Harbour Lights Picturehouse
This independent, arthouse cinema is a delightful spot for cinephiles and has a superb program of artistic, award-winning, and highbrow movies. It also regularly offers LGBTQ-specific screenings, making it a great place to get a little culture under your belt. With a superb harbor location, it is also just a really nice place to grab a drink or a bite to eat!
Southampton has a vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community, and there are plenty of safe and welcoming spaces to explore. Whether you’re looking for a pub, café, nightclub, or festival, there’s something for everyone.