Pride 2022: Your ultimate guide to celebrating in London from discos, entertainment stages to drag nights

·7-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Fifty years ago this Friday, London’s first ever Pride march set off from Trafalgar Square. Led by the Gay Liberation Front and joined by some 700 members of the LGBT community, it was a landmark moment for equal rights in the UK; a bold expression of political resistance and radical celebration, demanding a freedom to love for all.

Half a century on, Pride in London has grown into one of the biggest events in the capital’s calendar, with around 1.5 million people attending last time round. That was back in 2019 — the pandemic forced two years of cancellations — but the long wait will only add to the poignancy of this weekend’s 50-year anniversary.

On Saturday, a parade will trace part of the original 1972 route, starting at Hyde Park Corner and heading towards Piccadilly Circus, before turning south and ending at Trafalgar Square. That’s where you’ll find one of four entertainment stages — there’s more info on the line-up below.

This isn’t the only Pride celebration coming up soon. On July 9, London Trans+ Pride (@londontranspride) will arrive at Wellington Arch, just across from Hyde Park, while UK Black Pride comes to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on August 14 (ukblackpride.org.uk).

This coming weekend, though, is set to be a busy one, promising everything from fundraising feasts to all-night raves — and with things selling out rapidly, the time to book your spot is now. It’s a great chance to celebrate all that’s been achieved in the past five decades, and reflect on how much there is yet to be done.

Pride In London stages

 (Reuters/Henry Nicholls)
(Reuters/Henry Nicholls)

There are four free-to-attend stages dotted around central London, each offering eight hours of entertainment from midday Saturday onwards. Trafalgar Square will be headlined by Ava Max with Emeli Sandé and Samantha Mumba, among others. Head to the Golden Square stage to catch the likes of Cat Burns and Siena Liggins, or make a beeline for Dean Street to see Justin Vivian Bond in the headline slot. Leicester Square, meanwhile, will be dedicated to LGBTQIA+ women and non-binary artists. That’s just a snapshot; head to prideinlondon.org for the full line-ups.

Free, noon-8pm, July 2, WC2N, W1R, W1D, WC2H, prideinlondon.org.uk

Queercircle

Plenty is made of how many queer cultural spaces London has lost in recent times, so it’s heartening to see a new one popping up. Queercircle, which opened the doors to its Greenwich home earlier this month, has two installations running at present, including an exploration of the 50-year anniversary of Pride as viewed through a drag lens. The space is open every day except Monday, from 10am to 6pm.

Free (donations welcomed), open now, SE10, queercircle.org

Brown Suga

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

Talking of new: here’s a fresh LGBTQIA+ venue hosting an even fresher club night. Glass House, a multi-disciplinary space in Shoreditch, will welcome Brown Suga this weekend, welcoming QTIPOC, queer women, non-binary and trans folk for alternative Pride party. Expect tunes ranging from dancehall to Afrobeats spread across two dance rooms — one of which is booze free — lip sync competitions, and even a bookshop. Going alone? Head down from 8-9pm for a friendly mixer before the night gets into gear.

£10, 8pm-3am, July 2, E2, moonlightexperiences.com

Horse Meat Disco

Pride and disco are a match made in clubbing heaven, which means this night at the Roundhouse should ascend to some higher plane. Led by Pride veterans Horse Meat Disco, with Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard dropping in for a DJ set, the stage will be full of live performers, from self-described “human confetti explosion” Lucy Fizz to drag queen TeTe Bang.

From £22.50, 5pm-11pm, July 2, NW1, roundhouse.org.uk

The Clapham Grand

The Clapham Grand is a perpetual favourite in the south London queer scene, so it’s fitting that the venue is going all out this weekend. Limber up at the pre-Pride party on Friday night, headlined by Drag Race UK’s The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi — who are all taking to the Trafalgar Square stage on Saturday, as well — and head back across the river after the march for the official after party: Victoria Scone, Elektra Fence and Pavie Valsa will be appearing respectively as Elton John, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears.

From £14.75, July 1 & 2, SW11, claphamgrand.com

HE.SHE.THEY

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

Fabric is the backdrop for this rave from queer party-starters HE.SHE.THEY. The music is a serious part of what they do, with house and techno the specialities, but it’s all about inclusivity and experimentation here. “We welcome all those who wish to turn a look from clothing to make-up, latex to PVC, harnesses to headgear,” they explain. Anna Wall and Taahliah are among the DJs spinning on the night.

From £15, 11pm-6am, July 2, EC1M, heshethey.me

Duckie at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Queer venues in London don’t come much more iconic than the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and the same goes for its famous Duckie series. But after 27 years, the seminal Saturday night shindig is calling it quits (at the RVT at least; it’ll live on in other forms), with resident DJs Readers Wifes doing the honours. Advance tickets have, unsurprisingly, already sold out, but there will be some left on the door for those who get down early and raise a toast to almost three decades of glorious parties.

£8 OTD before 10.30pm/£10 after, July 2, 9pm-4am, SE11, vauxhalltavern.com

The Standard, London

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

This King’s Cross hotel is stepping up for Pride, with four days of fun. On Friday, cocktail bar Sweeties will be taken over by The Rimmers, a spin-off of popular queer night Buttmitzvah, while on Saturday, the Double Standard bar will host south London collective UOKHUN?. On Sunday, things go to the rooftop with Jungle Kitty, serving up Afrobeats, dancehall, house and more, and Monday closes things off with musician and writer Tom Rasmussen in conversation with Zooey Gleaves.

July 1-4, WC1H, standardhotels.com

Latinx Pride After Party

Exilio, the LGBTQ+ Latinx dance club, will be representing its community during Saturday’s parade — keep an eye out for its carnival butterfly troupe of dancers, drummers and DJs — before taking those vibes over to Jerusalem Bar and Kitchen in Soho for the after-party. It promises an array of UK-based Latin musicians and dancers, covering folk to samba, as well as plenty of food and drink to keep the energy levels high.

From £15, 6pm-3am, July 2, W1T, exilio.co.uk

 (Clive Dix/Rex Features)
(Clive Dix/Rex Features)

Pride of Passage: Strawberry Hill, Sexuality and the Grand Tour

If your Pride weekend looks like it’s going to be spent mainly on the dancefloor, you can still start things off in a rather more scholarly way thanks to this lecture at The London Library. Helmed by the World Monuments Fund, in collaboration with Strawberry Hill House and Queer Britain, it will take a “fresh look” at the life and legacy of Horace Walpole, delving into his work, correspondence and sexuality — while also highlighting the need to tell LGBTQ+ narratives when exploring history.

Free (donations welcomed), 7pm-8pm, June 29, SW1Y, eventbrite.co.uk

Homostash

A proud owner of facial hair above the lips, or a fan of those who are? Homostash is the rave for you, combining a love of moustaches with a penchant for seriously fun parties. This night, taking place at Colours in Hoxton, will be spread across two floors, one dedicated to techno and another focusing on disco. DJs including Tafkanik and Antonio Mingot will be behind the decks.

From £13, from 9.30pm, July 2, N1, colourshoxton.com

Nazar

Carving itself a glorious niche as the UK’s first LGBTQ+ Bollywood club night, Hungama is one of London’s essential parties. They’ll be in charge of the Southbank’s riverside terrace for this free party, alongside the Nafs Space collective, curating a line-up of queer DJs and performers from the South Asian, Middle Eastern and SWANA diaspora.

Free, from 5pm, July 2, SE1, southbankcentre.co.uk

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting