London may be calling but Liverpool is hot on its heels as the next big gay destination in the UK. In fact, Liverpool Pride, only three years strong, is the UK’s biggest free pride event outside of London, which doubled in attendance last year. Even the mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, is no less than supportive. “The Liverpool Pride festival is a huge success and a fantastic celebration of the incredible diversity that exists in the city,” he says. “It shows that Liverpool is a welcoming and diverse place to visit.”
Liverpool is also the only city in Britain with a branded gay quarter (including rainbow flags on the street signs) and the first of any city in the UK to be officially recognized as a “gayborhood.” Stanley Street Quarter is vibrant and welcoming to all communities but the LGBT visitor will find nightlife quite memorable, thanks to popular bars and clubs like Garlands and the buzzing G-Bar, Liverpool’s most popular gay bar.
Love is in the air for same-sex couples in Stockholm… literally! Stockholm was the first country in the world to marry same-sex couples aboard an SAS flight in 2011, where the lucky couple tied the knot at the Ice Hotel. And the promotions don’t stop with that. This year, the tourism board of Stockholm is launching “Win a Date with Stockholm” (www.winadatewithstockholm.com), where gay contestants can enter to win a date with a hot Swede (both gay and lesbian) in a themed itinerary.
Stockholm has made huge progress—and impact—with gay initiatives in the past few years, including promotions, a bear festival and of course it’s great nightlife. The city is now promoting city tours with locals. For instance, celebrated designer Patrik Janson designed a shopping in stockholm guide, a fun and creative way to highlight some of the best shops in the words of a local.
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