We love Manchester. It is such a cool city with a very liberal and progressive vibe. This is where Emmeline Pankhurst started the movement for women’s right to vote in the UK in the 1920s, and where The Vegetarian Society was born in the early 1800s. Manchester also has one of the largest student populations in Europe, and has historically maintained a very strong left-wing anti-aristocratic sentiment.
Manchester is located in Northwest England, just over 2 hours from London by train making it very easy to reach. Whenever we’re in London, we always try to come here for a weekend to party on Canal Street. This is one of the few places in the world we feel very safe about walking the streets in public holding hands.
Here’s our guide to gay Manchester, featuring the best bars, clubs, events and hotels to stay.
Manchester gay village: Canal Street
Manchester’s gay village is compact, with loads of gay bars and clubs. The main focal point is the pedestrianised Canal Street which runs along the Rochdale Canal, minutes walking distance from the city’s main train station: Manchester Piccadilly. You will recognise it from the original UK version of Queer as Folk where Stuart, Vince and Nathan prowled the streets on their nights out.
Most of the gay bars and clubs of Manchester are based in the few streets surrounding Canal Street. Saturday night is the best night to go partying, and Thursday another popular night because this is when the gay sports groups go out to socialise. On weekday evenings, particularly on Fridays, the crowds tend to come in two waves – the just-after-work crowd at around 5-7pm, then another wave at around 10/11pm.
The Gay Village is also the focal point of Manchester Gay Pride, which is one of our favourite Pride events. It is the largest annual gay event in Manchester, taking place on the last week of August. It is definitely worth planning your trip around if you’re in the UK in August.