Words: Attitude staff; Image: Shutterstock
In partnership with Hilton Hotels
It’s the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK, baby! The first ever Pride march in the country took place in London in 1972, led by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and attended by around 2,000 LGBTQ+ people and allies. On top of this historic moment, this year is extra special for many cities because it marks their first event since 2019, following two years of devastating cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Returning with a bang, Pride parades and parties are happening all over the country, with unique themes, jam-packed itineraries, and, of course, superstar line-ups. The events aren’t just for locals — people travel far and wide for various UK Pride events, not only to see the likes of Christina Aguilera and Melanie C, but to celebrate at some of the world’s greatest LGBTQ+ parties.
For those travelling a long or a little way, you want the place you stay to be just as vibey and Pride-y as the celebrations outside. That’s why certain companies, like Hilton Hotels, have signed up to Pride 365, a collection of organisations that pledge to bring an end to pinkwashing by making inclusivity a priority all year round — not just during Pride. As well as fostering a safe, inclusive, and comfortable working environment for its staff, Hilton aims to provide welcoming and trustworthy accommodation for all of its guests.
So, to mark Pride kicking off in London this weekend, here’s a round-up of some city highlights, as well as a list of the best places to stay to make sure you have the best Pride possible.
Pride in London 2022 - What you need to know
Pride in London is officially back after two years off due to the pandemic (if you don’t include last year’s informal, DIY party, that is). Set to return to the capital on Saturday (2 July), the parade claims it will follow the route that the GLF organisers and protesters took during the UK’s inaugural pride event 50 years ago. (GLF veterans have contested the route and are actually hosting their own Pride event on July 1 — the official 50th anniversary.) Around 30,000 marchers will gather at Hyde Park Corner for 12pm BST before heading along Piccadilly, down Haymarket, and towards Trafalgar Square, before ending up on Whitehall.
Joining the main Trafalgar Square Stage’s star-studded all-day line-up are Drag Race UK stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney, and Tia Kofi, as well as Emeli Sandé — who came out back in April — and Ava Max. Meanwhile, the Leicester Square Stage is set to see a takeover by female-identifying non-binary and trans artists, including Dréya Mac, Siena Liggins, and GIRLI. The other two stages, Golden Square Stage and Soho Stage, boast the likes of Justin Vivian Bond, Drag Race herstory-maker Victoria Scone, the Beyoncé Experience, and so many more.
After being rocked by allegations of racism last year — sparked by the resignation of Pride in London’s director of communications, Rhammel Afflick, who described a “hostile environment” for Black people — Pride in London says its 2022 event aims to “give the voice to rightly express the continued fight for those injustices and inequalities that exist among us.” This comes after the organisation alleged it was partnering with UK Black Pride for this year’s iteration — a claim the latter has denied.
Where to stay
Galvin's at London Hilton on Park Lane (Image: Hilton)
Whether you’re travelling to London specifically for Pride, or just looking for an at-home weekend getaway, there’s plenty of Hilton hotels right on the route, so you never have to go far from the action. For those who’re planning a double Pride — GLF’s event on July 1 followed by Pride in London on July 2 — the London Hilton on Park Lane will enable you to roll right out of bed and straight to Saturday’s starting point at Hyde Park Corner. In keeping with this year’s historical Pride, the London Hilton was actually the first Hilton to open in the UK. If history’s not for you, though, there’s also a sky bar on the 28th floor, award-winning dining, and a spa — seems like a no-brainer to me.
Still, if you’re looking for slightly longer scenic routes to Saturday’s march, Conrad London St. James hotel is located — you guessed it — right by St. James’s park. Inside, you’ll find a foodie’s dream: a ‘London local’ serving luxury food grub fit for a queen, a marble-adorned, pink-hued cocktail bar, and a dedicated afternoon tea room (featuring a glass roof!).
Conrad London St. James (Image: Hilton)
If you want an escape from the Pride crowds while remaining in the heart of London, DoubleTree by Hilton – Tower of London is just a stone’s throw from the Tower of London. If you’ve ever been on Instagram, you’ll recognise the hotel's Pink Gin Terrace, a sexy feature of “London’s exclusive and most wild destination” rooftop bar, Savage Garden. For your post-Pride debrief drinks!