We all know that UK is one of the most gay-friendly countries in Europe. We have already wrote travel guides through the capitals of England (London) and Scotland (Edinburgh) So now it is time for us to discover the third part of the Great Britain – Wales and its capital Cardiff.
Cardiff is perfect for a weekend – the city is rather small and all the gay venues are compact and located around Charles Street and Churchill Way in the city centre, all within walking distance of each other.
An historic pub with a traditional glazed tile exterior, The Golden Cross is popular with a predominantly male, 30-something crowd – indulging its camp side with karaoke, cabaret and occasional strippers. Mary’s is a luxury bar with a plush interior, cutting edge design and a great atmosphere allows you to just sit back, relax and watch the world go by on St Mary’s Street. Eagle is Cardiff’s small-but-tough men-only gay bar, with occasional theme nights and something to suit every fancy. Locker Room is Cardiff’s gay sauna, complete with steam room and a range of other facilities. WOW Bar appeals to a young, student crowd with DJs, live music, cabaret and drinks deals. Spread across two floors and a roof terrace, The Kings is a large, modern bar attracting a young gay/lesbian/mixed crowd – it’s the official pre-bar to gay dance club Pulse, which attracts a similar young, mixed crowd of party people and university students. For drag aficionados, Minsky’s Showbar is popular with hen nights, stag nights and birthday celebrations as well as cabaret-loving gays and lesbians.
If you like historical places, Cardiff is definitely for you. Cardiff Castle and National Museum Cardiff are well worth visiting, if you can drag yourself away from the shops. The city centre is criss-crossed by charming Victorian and Edwardian arcades, each one full of specialist retailers whose eclectic wares include violins, buttons, Welsh cheese, surf gear and designer fashion. The vast St David’s shopping centre has all the mainstream names, including John Lewis.
But if you prefer to sit at home and to watch TV series rather than to visit museums, it does not mean that you will get bored in Cardiff. Here in Cardiff Bay you’ll also find the Doctor Who Experience, an interactive ride into one of Britain’s most enduring TV shows. First broadcast in 1963, it was revived in 2005 by Russell T Davies (the Welshman behind Queer As Folk), and soon earned praise for its positive portrayal of its many LGBT characters and their relationships – in fact, each of the main characters in spin-off series Torchwood had a same-sex encounter during the first season.
Wales’ biggest LGBT event is Pride Cymru, a loud and proud celebration that includes music, a funfair and market, a good deal of dressing up, and lots of fun. In 2016 it’ll be held on August 13 at Cooper’s Field. The annual Iris Prize Festival (12 – 16 October 2016) is Cardiff’s queer alternative to Cannes. During four days of international film screenings, panel sessions and parties, 30 short films by or about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people compete to win the top accolade, valued at £25,000.