Pride in London is back and promises to be bigger and better than ever. Celebrating 50 years since the first Pride took place, this year’s London Pride is sure to be a dazzling rainbow-packed party.
From cabaret to comedy, boat parties to drag shows, history tours to cinema nights, Pride in London has something for everyone. So, whatever you’re into, be sure to enjoy the vibrant and diverse LGBT+ events the capital’s city-wide festival has to offer this summer.
What is Pride in London?
Pride in London is a month-long celebration of LGBT+ culture and community that takes place in the UK’s bustling capital every June/July. While Pride is most definitely about having fun and sharing joyful moments, it’s worth remembering that it’s also about raising awareness of the continued fight for justice and equality for LGBT+ people. London Pride is, after all, rooted in the Stonewall riots of 1969.
The Stonewall riots, also known as the Stonewall uprising, followed a police raid on 28 June 1969 of the Stonewall Inn, a gay-, lesbian-, and trans-friendly bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. Police harassed and roughly handled bar employees and patrons triggering six days of violent clashes and protests between the LGBT+ community and New York law enforcement. This pushback from LGBT+ people and allies was pivotal in paving the way for the gay rights movement across America and the world.
Inspired by the Stonewall riots, Londoners, in the face of similar police hostility, took to the streets in the first-ever gay Pride London march on 1 July 1972 in a show of solidarity for the LGBT+ community. 50 years later, the Pride in London parade is now the climax of Pride Month and one of the biggest and brightest Pride celebrations in the world.
This year’s London Pride parade takes place on Saturday 2 July and fittingly will retrace the original 1972 route in commemoration of the inaugural Pride march.
Celebrating the London Pride parade
The London Pride parade is the exuberant and joyful finale of Pride Month. A dazzling explosion of colour, music, and a celebration of diversity. Thousands of people of all genders, sexualities, and backgrounds gather to cheer and dance as hundreds of floats weave through the streets and a throng of performers sing and shimmy past in celebration of all things LGBT+.
Previous years have seen Ab Fab’s Patsy and Edina lead the Pride parade, Sophie Ellis-Baxter and queer icon Billy Porter headline the Trafalgar Square party, and even a romantic proposal from a police officer to his boyfriend in the middle of the parade!
This year’s theme #AllOurPride symbolises unity and the shared collective LGBT+ experience of the last five decades, celebrating 50 years of historic moments and events.
Although set to be a jubilant party, as Pride in London puts it, this year’s parade is a march designed to “make a powerful statement” on the continued fight for LGBT+ rights. Pride organisers are calling for the UK Government to ban conversion therapy for all LGBT+ people, give equal protection for LGBT+ people against hate crimes, and establish a national AIDS memorial to honour those lost in the AIDs epidemic of the 80s and 90s.
The parade kicks off at noon on Saturday 2 July at Hyde Park Corner. It will weave its way down Piccadilly Circus towards Haymarket, then through the iconic Trafalgar Square, ending at Whitehall Place. Check out the Parade map for a more detailed look at the parade route.
Don’t miss out on fun things to do at Pride in London 2022
Pride in London parties
Drag Race UK’s very own Lawrence Chaney, The Vivienne, and Tia Kofi provide top-class drag entertainment at this pre-Pride party. Expect a lip-syncing, death-dropping, belly-laughing extravaganza. And don’t forget your dancing shoes!
Friday 1 July at The Grand, Clapham Junction, SW11 1TT. The fun starts at 6 pm!
Following the Pride in London parade, the party ramps up with more than 100 performers and famous queer faces appearing across four stages in Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Golden Square and Dean Street.
Trafalgar Square hosts the main show and will see headliner Ava Max share the stage with Emeli Sande, Eurovision winner Netta (remember the “buck buck” song?), and noughties popstar Samantha Mumba.
Saturday 2 July at Trafalgar Square following the parade.
In the heart of Soho, you’ll find the popular LGBT+ friendly Duke of Wellington bar. They’re pulling out all the stops this year with their Pride Icons Party. Get ready to dance all day – and night— to top hits from Madonna, Gaga, Elton John and beyond!
Saturday 2 July from midday ‘til 1 am at Duke of Wellington, 77 Wardour St, W1D 6QA.
Finished the Pride parade and fancy a party on the Thames? Don your most fabulous glad rags and jump aboard! Dance the afternoon away with three hours of sing-your-heart-out Pride anthems. Think Madonna, Cher, Dolly and more.
Saturday 2 July, 1 pm at Tower Millennium Pier, Lower Thames St, EC3N 4DT. Grab a ticket for £35.
The Horse Meat Disco DJ collective is taking over the Roundhouse for an unforgettable night of joyous non-stop disco dancing. The aptly named Love and Dancing night pay tribute to the role of clubs in cultivating safe and welcoming spaces for LGBT+ people.
Saturday 2 July at Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, NW1 8EH. Tickets start from £22.50 and the party starts at 5 pm!
Pride in London cultural events
Forget your troubles and get happy with the inimitable gay icon that is Judy Garland. With screenings until 30 June, the BFI celebrates the talents of Judy Garland with some of her most enduring cinematic performances.
Screenings run until 30 June at BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT. Tickets range from £8 – £12.50, and you can take a friend for free with code ‘Judy241’.
For something a little more highbrow, take a tour of London’s exquisitely opulent Royal Opera House. Learn all about the LGBT+ composers, choreographers, and performers who helped shape the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet.
Tours run until 24 July at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD. Tickets cost £16.
Keen to embrace your creative side? Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned artist, enjoy the creative outlet of a body-positive and inclusive life drawing class. The class encourages life models and attendees from all backgrounds, gender representations, and sexualities – all are welcome.
Classes run every Sunday at Brewer Street Yoga, 20 Brewer Street, W1F 0SJ until 4 September and cost £15.
For the history buffs among you, take in a free walking tour of London’s Westend and Soho neighbourhoods. Meander the streets while being regaled with tales of Roman queer influencers, the early 1700s drag queens and secret gay soirees in the roaring 20s.
Tours run from 29 June and start at 11 am in Charing Cross and end around 1 pm in Soho.
Other fun things to do in London
If you fancy a break from all the Pride partying, then there’s no end to other fun activities to keep you entertained in London.
For the adrenaline junkies, you can find the best funfairs in London. Whether it’s adventure parks, fairgrounds, or theme parks – the city’s got you covered. London also boasts a vibrant music scene, so why not take in a classical concert at the Royal Albert Hall, a rock gig at Brixton Academy, or check out one of the many great London jazz bars?
If you’re travelling with a group of friends, there are plenty of fun and unique group things to do in London like hopping on a Boris Bike, visiting a city farm or checking out street food festivals. If it’s more of a girl’s trip, then there are plenty of girly things to do in London, too — like pamper days, bottomless brunch, or a night of belting out karaoke classics.
To sum up
See London at its best. You can’t be sure of fabulous weather, but you can be sure of a fabulous time. Whether it’s culture, partying, or throwing yourself all into the Pride in London parade, there are lots to embrace and enjoy in this spectacular 50th-anniversary celebration of London’s LGBT+ community.
For friendly and affordable accommodation in London, check out our Clink261 budget hostel or Clink78 backpackers youth hostel in King’s Cross. Or, if you’re travelling as part of a bigger group, our cheap group accommodation in London is sure to do the trick.