8 things to do at London Pride 2022
Marking the 50th anniversary since the first official celebration of gay pride in England back in 1972 is Pride in London 2022 (or London Pride as it’s commonly called). This momentous milestone culminates in a long-awaited in-person march through the city on the final day of the Pride festival.
After being absolutely Zoomed-out from virtual concerts, festivals, and parties alike, the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies from around the world are ready to welcome this major celebration with much excitement and anticipation. There’s much to do and see at London Pride, so dust off your heels and wigs, kweens; here are our top picks.
1. March for Pride
Integral to London Pride is its marquee event, the Pride Parade, where tens of thousands of people will be marching alongside 300 floats and groups, singing and dancing through the streets of Central London. With 2022 being a significant and commemorative year for the LGBTQIA+ community in the U.K. (deemed the “year of queer” by organizers), expect razzle, dazzle, bells, and whistles as this Parade aims to showcase the evolution of the Gay Pride movement, making it a most memorable one for the history books.
At the last Pride Parade of 2019, a Royal Air Force plane roared past, spraying colored vapor across the sky in honor of the event. We can’t wait to see how 2022’s will top that. Stay on after the Parade for a huge bash at the massive Trafalgar Square stage.
Sensible shoes are advised. Otherwise, come decked in every color of the rainbow (or not); strap on your leather; beat your face; or throw on the teensiest of budgie smugglers—be it gay, straight or everything in between, celebrate the community’s diversity, history, and culture, as well as the triumph of how far the community has come.
Check the Pride Parade route on their website and join in this jubilant act of solidarity.
2. Participate in Pride Festival events
The Pride Festival—a month-long series of myriad events, concerts, performances, and activities organized by the community for the community—kicks off on June 4, 2022. Event details and dates can be found on the Pride in London website, and via their new exclusive LGBTQIA+ events platform, Coming Out.
3. Support Pride’s Got Talent
Fancy yourself an armchair critic? Cheer on emerging LGBTQIA+ performers with Pride’s Got Talent. Into its tenth year, this exciting singing competition—with a category each in music and cabaret—is an invaluable platform for aspiring acts to showcase their talent in front of industry-bigwig judges who have the actual ability to develop the careers of winners and promising non-winners. You never know—you might witness the birth of the next Sam Smith or Adele here.
4. Brunch with drag queens
As RuPaul’s Drag Race UK has shown, there are many talented drag queens in the United Kingdom. Why not have a boozy boisterous brunch with some of the city’s most beloved queens during London Pride? Weekend drag brunches are gaining popularity in London, from West End show tunes to cabaret brunches.
We recommend Keela Kraving's Bottomless Drag Brunch where you can quaff unlimited bubbly and enjoy a delish brekkie whilst blonde bombshell Keela and her pals entertain you with their “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent”. Brunch has never been such a riot.
5. Catch a drag show
If brunch is not your thing (yes, hangovers can be nasty), try a drag show, a must-do activity, especially during Pride. From the West End to East London, in restaurants, pubs, and clubs, there are always drag shows somewhere. If star power is your jam, then performing for one night only on June 26, 2022 in London is RuPaul Drag Race’s fave kooky Puerto Rican queen, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, with her show, Are You Ready For My CuCu?
We also recommend The "New-Normal" Drag & Cabaret Show which promises a rip-roaring Saturday night of drag, comedy, and cabaret entertainment as well as great food and bottomless bellinis (yay!). Held at Soho Zebrano restaurant, expect co-hosts Vanity von Glow and David Lewis to banter, and pull you into their musical numbers; we understand there’ll be “loads of audience participation”.
6. Just for laughs
For a jaw-aching good time, chuckle it up with stand-up comedy shows in the city. A queer comic however isn’t as common, so render your support during Pride month; catch Clandestina Queer Comedy, a stand-up comedy series created by queer women and held on every second Thursday of the month.
Get tickets to watch six award-winning comedians led by the hilarious Ria Lina on June 9, 2022, at Kindred, a premium West London members' club where their yummy drinks and good food will put you in the mood for laughs.
7. Drag Bingo
Someone must have thought, “Let’s organize a Bingo night and have drag queens host it! It’ll be a blast!”, and they’d be absolutely right. Drag Bingo has somehow exploded in popularity in London. For a different type of Saturday night, check out That’s Drag Bingo Show on June 18, 2022, at club Brixton Jamm.
Serving you sass and camp, along with oodles of squeals and comedy courtesy of three hostesses, Orange Gina, Ariel Bold, and Magik (with a ‘k’), this event promises to be “raucously randy”—these risqué queens will be trotting out their very own special bingo machine: the smoking hot DRAG-on. Ooooh. Stay on after Drag Bingo to dance the night away.
8. Party in Soho
Away from the main procession of Pride Parade, Soho always enjoys a carnival atmosphere with people bunting, dancing, and engaging in some serious day-drinking (no judgment). When night falls, the numerous gay bars and clubs in Soho play host to the revelers.
Rated #1 by the Tripadvisor community is Comptons of Soho, a traditional pub and Soho institution, beloved for being the heart and soul of the LGBTQIA+ bar scene. Here, you can enjoy a pint or a cabaret act.
Also regularly voted as one of the best gay bars in London is Ku Bar; a modern bar occupies the ground floor whilst the floor below houses a club blasting electronic dance music.
Venture outside of Soho to the hugely popular Royal Vauxhall Tavern, South London’s oldest gay establishment. Duckie, held on every Saturday night, features different, quirky performers from tap dancers to drag queens taking to the stage to tantalize guests. On June 11, 2022, you can be dazzled by Miss High Leg Kick, an Olivier Award-winning artist whose humorous dance moves are marked by—you guessed it—high kicks.
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