Britain’s second-largest city Birmingham brims with exciting possibilities. The city boasts beautifully restored Victorian buildings, picturesque canals, and glitzy, futuristic real estate. And it also boasts a fantastic heritage in the form of the Jewelry Quarter. What’s more, Birmingham is also home to a diverse and vibrant LGBTQ+ population and also hosts the UK’s biggest two-day Pride festival. This was evident by the fact that we found no dearth of choices for gay hotels in Birmingham, UK, to stay at.
The origins of Birmingham’s gay scene go back to the 1980s with the rise of Birmingham Gay Village, one of the liveliest gayborhoods in England. Centered around Hurst Street next to the Chinese Quarter, Gay Brum, as it’s also known, is the epicenter of the inclusive gay life in the city. Along with Oriental-influenced architecture, Hurst Street also has some fabulous gay street art, which now occupies pride of place on our Instagram. The city celebrates the spectacular Birmingham Pride, which is the UK’s second-biggest Pride event after the London Pride, besides a gamut of other LGBTQ-centered festivals. These include SHOUT, which celebrates queer culture and arts, the Gay and Lesbian Pride Ball, and the Christmas Ball.
To that end, here’s a comprehensive guide to gay Birmingham.
Table of contents
- The Fountain Inn
- Birmingham Central Backpackers
- Leonardo Royal Hotel Birmingham
- Clayton Hotel
- Staying Cool at Rotunda
- Radisson Blu Hotel
- Malmaison Birmingham
- The Cube Hotel
- StayCity Aparthotels Jewellery Quarter
- ibis Styles Birmingham center
- Hampton by Hilton Broad Street
- Our Verdict!
- Just So You Know:
- Get Some Culture in Birmingham:
- Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Birmingham:
- Best Gay Saunas in Birmingham:
The Fountain Inn
The Fountain Inn is a longstanding Birmingham Gay Village institution. This gays-only bar-cum-hotel is where we crashed to dive headfirst into Birmingham’s gay scene. The gay-owned and operated inn has been a favorite with the LGBTQ set for years now, and it shows.
Fountain Inn calls itself an “independent gay bar and letting rooms,” but the vibe is so much more than that. The place was practically the epicenter of all the exciting action in the Gay Village. We loved chugging beer and meeting people at the fabulous, traditional Fountain Inn bar, which even has a beer garden. There’s even a separate, men-only lounge with gaming machines and pool tables. It’s one of the best ways to relax while staying here.
When it comes to staying, we could choose between standard and suite rooms. They are simple and elegant, with wooden floors, wet rooms, comfy beds, and tea-coffee facilities. Plus, suites boasted more foot space with living areas. We had access to a complimentary coffee station with hot drinks, biscuits, and fresh fruit. What’s more, the fabulous posse of Gay Village bars and cruising clubs is right down the street.
Check Rates on:
Birmingham Central Backpackers
Best value for money. The bustling Birmingham Central Backpackers is one of the most unique hotels in Birmingham. One of the best things about this award-winning gay-friendly hostel is the staff itself. They’re extremely friendly, helpful, and sensitive, and nothing was ever too much trouble for them!
Then, there was the place itself. We loved the zany common room and bar area, which is the lively social area for the hostel. It’s where we ended up meeting many interesting people. What’s more, the colorful and spacious dorms match the laidback, welcoming, and social vibe that the hostel has going on. The best bit was that they even had a little garden for summer BBQs, which was perfect since we were in Birmingham for the summer.
The hostel is an easy 15-minute walk from Gay Brum. We were able to explore this fascinating neighborhood on this interesting 2-hour Discovering Birmingham Walking Tour.
Check Rates on:
Leonardo Royal Hotel Birmingham
We couldn’t find a better centrally-located hotel in Birmingham than the Leonardo Royal Hotel Birmingham, one of the city’s largest hotels. Don’t be fooled by the 1970s Brutalist monolithic concrete exterior, for the interiors are contemporary and plush to the hilt. We were welcomed in the sprawling, open-plan foyer, all done up in blacks and light greys. The social spaces, like the bar and lounge, have a wonderful relaxing vibe to them. There are lots of private spots with sultry low lighting and grey, lime green, and purple hues to get the conversation going.
The rooms were the epitome of comfort, complete with all mod-cons and super-snug beds. Since we wanted to enjoy terrific views of the Birmingham skyline, we specifically requested rooms on the higher floors. While there’s a hearty paid breakfast waiting, the room-only packages were helpful for those mornings when we felt lazy. Finally, what also makes the hotel great is its location, which is a 20-minute walk from Hurst Street.
Check Rates on:
Most non-chain luxury. We liked the sleek and chic Clayton Hotel because it’s not a chain hotel, and yet offered one of the most luxurious stays we’ve ever had. Despite being removed from the city center and its bustle, it was close enough to the main attractions.
The hotel impressed us right as we walked in. The floor-to-ceiling windows, high-backed plush velvet chairs, and large black lamps were extremely pleasing to the eye. However, it was the giant ceiling-hung circular lights and circular orbs on the glass staircase that were hard to tear our eyes away from. While the staff quickly checked us in, we captured some ridiculously amazing photos for the ‘Gram.
The rooms at the Clayton are peppered with rich, muted colors, dark wood, and leather, apart from featuring super-comfy beds. The larger ones even have mini-fridges and separate sitting rooms. All of them, however, have hi-tech mod-cons, a touch-control system, and a media hub, allowing guests to connect personal devices to the surround sound system. The lovely lounge bar is great for grabbing a bite.
Check Rates on:
Staying Cool at Rotunda
Coolest hotel. The Brummie beauty that is the Staying Cool Hotel was extremely hard to beat when it came to location, comfort, and pizzazz. The ultra-cool hotel is undoubtedly one of the grooviest LGBTQ-friendly hotels in Birmingham.
The design hotel is located within the 24-story cylindrical Rotunda building, which housed an office in the 1960s. The decor is distinctly space-age, complete with glowing droplights that change colors. We loved the room designs that blended swinging 60s and contemporary chic designs and ranged from mini-studios to penthouses. The apartments were peppered with splashes of vibrant colors complemented by glass tables, wool-fabric sofas, and large photographs. Moreover, slick Bose speaker docks and Sky TV ensured ready entertainment. What’s more, the stays use renewable energy, and energy/water conservation is right on point. If that wasn’t enough, all of them also had a selection of coffees and teas, fresh milk, and cereals.
“Staying cool came naturally at this chic hotel, and we loved everything about it. Whether it was the slick mod-cons in the rooms or the amenities, Staying Cool is the place to stay at.”WOW Travel
Staying Cool is extremely well-connected too. The Grand Central metro station is a four-minute walk, while the dazzling gay scene at Hurst Street is a mere 10-minute walk. Also, most of Birmingham’s attractions are a 10-15-minute walk.
Check Rates on:
Radisson Blu Hotel
Best Gay Village chain hotel. Are you looking for a modern, comfortable, chain hotel stay in Gay Brum? You’d do well to choose the sleek Radisson Blu, as staying here allowed us to explore the Gay Village as well as the city.
As we walked past the bold glass exterior later, we saw a relaxing foyer with an urban-chic vibe. Statement designer furniture, elegant oversized drop lights, and warm woods dotted the hotel. There was even a bright wall collage of 20th-century cultural icons. The small gym worked perfectly well for the workout crowd. Meanwhile, the restaurant serves up a delicious menu, along with a hearty paid breakfast in the morning.
Rooms at the Radisson boast tons of natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Creams/whites and greys are complemented by vibrant carmine reds, complete with comfy beds and lots of space. Business rooms even have a work desk, which is perfect for those in the city for work.
Check Rates on:
Staying at the edgy Malmaison was a splashy, hedonistic staying experience! The buzzing, gay-friendly designer retreat was once Birmingham’s Royal Mail sorting office. The sultry vibe began right from the low-lit lobby with vibrant modern art, wood paneling, and stone floors. A grand movie-esque staircase led to the plush brasserie bar. There are tons of public areas designed for both intimacy and entertainment. We loved the pamper packages at the spa, while the aptly named ‘Work + Play’ zone is ideal for both business and meet-cutes. Those who are fitness freaks will love the comfort of the small gym on-site.
All that said, it was the rooms and suites at the Malmaison that really upped the glamorous and sexy quotient. We could choose between bedrooms and suites, complete with velvet-upholstered beds and pop-art posters. Since we wanted the complete Malmaison experience, we chose one of the four open-plan luxury suites. They have not only roomy sitting areas but also alluring ensuite bathrooms. Our room had a hot tub right in the room – now that’s what we call a sexy holiday!
If you get out of this foxy space to explore the streets of Birmingham, most of its best attractions are within walking distance. All Centenary Square attractions, Grand Central Metro Station, the Chinese Quarter, and Gay Village are all 5-10 minutes away.
Check Rates on:
The Cube Hotel
The Cube Hotel sits on the top two floors of the dazzling bronze and gold geometric forms of the eponymous Cube building. The gay-friendly hotel is an oasis of urban cool and is infused with beautiful Scandi interiors and decor.
Indulgence is the highlight of this hotel, which offered us a choice of complimentary chocolates, fruit, and water at check-in/check-out. The Cube’s spa has a sauna, pool, and steam room and is wonderful for soaking away all tiredness. After all, it’s one of the best hotel pools in Birmingham. Since we were here with our partner, we chose the “Heavenly” treatment, which featured a facial and a massage. What’s even better is that we had our treatment in a couple’s suite, allowing us to indulge in an hour of relaxation with our partner.
The alfresco rooftop lounge was our favorite place on the property. We’d grab a cocktail here before heading out to the city’s gay scene. What’s more, we could even do a bit of celebrity spotting at Marco Pierre White rooftop restaurant, which is a hotspot for footballers’ wives. The rooms and suites done up in creams and greens are refreshing and soothing and feature fantastic views of Birmingham’s skyline from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Perfectly positioned between Gay Village and the Jewelry Quarter, the Cube Hotel is the perfect indulgent base for an all-around exploration of Birmingham.
Check Rates on:
StayCity Aparthotels Jewellery Quarter
Budget-conscious gay travelers looking to explore historic Birmingham will love the convenience and prices at StayCity Aparthotels Jewellery Quarter. We were able to soak in the sounds and sights of the vibrant Jewellery Quarter, with the gay scene also being a 20-minute metro ride away.
The apartments at this StayCity outpost feature comfy rooms, kitchens, living rooms with sofa beds, and even balconies. There’s even space to spread out with sitting and dining areas, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV. Furthermore, the accommodation even has weekly housekeeping, making this budget stay an amazing option for travelers. With Hurst Street and its gay bars like Eden and The Fox a stone’s throw away, gay guests at StayCity even have entertainment right at their doorstep.
Check Rates on:
ibis Styles Birmingham center
One of the best LGBTQ-friendly hotels in Birmingham city center is Ibis Styles Birmingham Center. We loved many things about this comfy, budget, chain accommodation in a central location. For one, it doesn’t have a chain hotel aesthetic. This is thanks to the bold artwork celebrating local Brutalist architecture and interesting color schemes. The design might be French, but the feel is innately British since murals of Birmingham’s most prominent attractions are hung all over.
Rooms at this Ibis outpost feature all mod-cons and are extremely spacious, considering the hotel is budget accommodation. A vibrant lounge with a dizzying array of yellow and bright green patterns made for a great place to relax and have a cuppa. The gaming area is an interesting space where we struck up interesting conversations with the other hotel guests. The Ibis even laid out a hearty and delectable continental breakfast.
The Library of Birmingham, the City Gardens, and the Birmingham Museum are all right across from the hotel. Moreover, the Jewelry Quarter and the Gay Village are both within walking distance.
Check Rates on:
Hampton by Hilton Broad Street
Are you young, budget-conscious gay travelers looking to stay in the city center? Do what we did and stay at the Hampton by Hilton. Located on the bustling Broad Street, the gay-friendly hotel has a stellar central location, complete with some of Birmingham’s liveliest bars and fast-food outlets.
What we loved was the hotel’s vibrant interiors, which clash beautifully with the 1960s concrete exterior. It boasted a bright ambiance with local photographs, plants, recessed lamps and spotlights, groovy carpets, and stained wood floors. For a budget hotel, we had everything they needed. There’s a cleverly used breakout area that features an array of modern, comfy furniture. It was great for catching up with people we knew in the city. There’s even a compact fitness center and a quiet, good-sized business center. There’s even a very American ‘hydration point,’ and Birmingham’s water is very, very good.
The rooms and suites are spacious with tea/coffee-making facilities, large mirrors, bright-patterned carpets, and fresh egg-white walls. If you want great views of the city, do ask for a higher floor room if they have one. Young gay travelers like us will love the fact that Hampton by Hilton is a mere 20-minute walk from Birmingham’s fabulous gay bars at Hurst Street. Also, the city center attractions at Centenary Square are just five minutes away.
Check Rates on:
Are you having a hard time zeroing in on one hotel from this awesome list? Here’s a specialized shorter list to help you choose.
- Best value for money: Birmingham Central Backpackers
- Most non-chain luxury: Clayton Hotel
- Coolest hotel: Staying Cool At Rotunda
- Best Gay Village chain hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel
Just So You Know:
- Apart from gay bars and clubs, Birmingham’s Gay Village even has sex shops, an adult cinema, and even a sexual health clinic.
Get Some Culture in Birmingham:
- Birmingham Pride: The weekend-long LGBTQ+ festival is the largest two-day pride festival celebrated in the United Kingdom. Held in the Gay Village on Hurst Street, the festivities usually include a carnival parade, street entertainment, music, and dance events.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Birmingham:
- The Village Inn – This is one of the most popular and longest-running bars or, rather, gay spaces in Birmingham. It lies in the heart of Gay Brum and is home to some of the most amazing and diverse queer talent in the UK. On weekends, they have live cabaret shows.
- Nightingale Club – This ‘gay superclub’ has one of Birmingham’s largest outdoor spaces. It has drag shows, DJs, and even a weekend street food market.
- The Loft Lounge – This long-running, laidback Gay Brum mainstay has fantastic cocktails and a steamy after-dark dancing scene.
- Eden – This relaxed, trendy gay bar has a gorgeous outdoor garden, great beers and spirits, and an exciting, upscale crowd. It strives to bring you the best in LGBTQ entertainment from all over the UK.
- Missing Bar – This lively Victorian-style LGBTQ+ ‘party bar’ is known for its DJ nights and Go-Go dancers.
- The Fox – This bar is perhaps Gay Brum’s only dedicated lesbian bar and attracts a great crowd of women of all ages. Karaoke nights turn into a fun-filled singalong scene where men are also welcome.
- Boltz Club: This members-only men-only cruising club has darkrooms, theme nights, and even ‘watersports’ for members.
Best Gay Saunas in Birmingham:
Birmingham doesn’t have an extensive gay sauna scene right now. However, for those looking for one, the Spartan gay sauna is a 15-minute drive from Birmingham.