Bristol in South West England straddles the River Avon and is one of the largest cities in England. The city is awash with the past, right from heritage structures, derelict docks-turned leisure venues, and an iconic suspension bridge. Moreover, Bristol is famous for its quirky, alternative character and a counterculture vibe, thanks to a world-class street art scene. But, what’s most surprising about it is that it’s one of the most gay friendly cities in not just England, but the world. In fact, gay accommodations and hotels in Bristol, UK range from luxurious to achingly cool ones. So, if you’re traveling to this port city, then you don’t have to worry about choosing cookie-cutter accommodations, for you have a gamut of interesting choices.
It’s no surprise that Bristol boasts a tolerant and liberal attitude and a lively and welcoming gay scene. It not only has the gay Frogmore Street but an entire Gay Village in the form of the Old Market neighborhood. What’s more, the city boasts not only the largest gay club in Southwest England but also the only bespoke bear bar in the United Kingdom! Additionally, what also makes Bristol such a great city for LGBTQ travelers is that it offers exciting ways to explore outdoors. So, while you have miles of cycle trails, you also have waterways where you can canoe and paddle-kayak. The best part? You can even soak in naturally heated waters, just like Bristol’s famous neighbor Bath.
Lying just two hours east of the fabulous gay capital of London, Bristol should also definitely feature on your gay sojourn of England. To that end, here are the top 11 gay accommodations and hotels in Bristol, UK.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Bristol
You can’t find a better chain gay hotel in Bristol than the Radisson Blue Hotel. The 18-story high-rise hotel offers all essentials you’d expect from a modern hotel, along with sweeping views of Bristol. With the harbor on the doorstep and gay Frog Lane a mere five-minute walk away, the Radisson is the ideal gay hotel for exploring the city center of Bristol, UK. Besides a 24-hour reception, the hotel even features a rather late check-out of 6 p.m., which is quite a nifty feature. A gym aside, the hotel even has a bar and restaurant which serves excellent English staples. While standard and superior rooms don’t include breakfast, for a mere GBP 12 (16 USD), the generous, high-standard breakfast buffet is actually a steal-deal.
Nearly all rooms and suites offer spectacular views over the city, which is one of the main reasons why you should stay here. If you can splash, we’d suggest going for the Business Class rooms or the Harborside Suites. They have more room and additional perks like Nespresso machines, larger bathrooms, free newspapers, etc.
Future Inn Bristol
If you’re looking for a centrally-located, low-frills gay accommodation in Bristol, then the Future Inn Bristol is perfect. The modern hotel sits right next to the flashy Cabot Circus shopping complex (hence free parking). Moreover, it’s one block away from the gay scene at Old Market, with the Bristol Bear Bar a mere three-minute stroll away. Despite a no-frills focus, the hotel does feature minimalist décor, room service from the restaurant, and prints of Bristol landmarks. What’s more, the 24-hour reception is helpful. Although breakfast isn’t included, it’s a nice spread to consider digging into; think cooked options, yogurt, pastries, muesli, cereal, and so on.
Since the focus is on business travelers, the design is cookie-cutter with plush beds, a small work desk, and modern bathrooms. however, the rooms do feature kettles and tea-trays, flatscreen TVs, hairdryers in the bathroom, etc. If you want some peace and quiet, go for the rooms at the rear that face the quieter courtyard.
Brooks Guesthouse Bristol
Inviting yet affordable rooms and a shot at urban rooftop glamping is what makes Brooks Guesthouse one of the most unique gay hotels in Bristol. It sits in a converted office building in the heart of Bristol’s historic quarter, with galleries, museums, churches, and markets a stone’s throw away. The best part? Bristol’s gayborhood is a five-minute walk. So, exploring Bristol by day and its gay nightlife at night is one alluring reason to choose to stay at Brooks Guesthouse.
The other reason is the guesthouse itself! Part of a four-B&B chain in England, Brooks oozes a young, hip urban vibe, just like its previous life as a backpacker’s hostel. The breakfast room and a sociable, open-plan lounge with a sun-kissed courtyard are the ideal places to mingle. A sumptuous complimentary breakfast is a fantastic perk, and the staff goes all out with à la carte dishes like a full English breakfast, bacon sarnies, eggs Florentine, and more. Furthermore, it’s complemented by breakfast staples like pastries, juices, granola, and even an array of breads.
The rooms might be on the small side, but they’re unfussy and feature quirky wallpapers, goose-down duvets on soft beds, and even a TV and coffee/tea-making trays. However, the highlight is the urban glamping experience they offer in the form of the British made ‘Rockets’ set two stories above street level. Moreover, they all feature mini showers, double beds, Old City views, and groovy mood lighting.
YHA Bristol is the perfect budget gay accommodation in Bristol for exploring the town. It occupies a most enviable position in the bustling heart of the city and is the perfect base for younger LGBTQ travelers. The facade and interiors of the industrial-chic hostel is a reminder of its days as a wharfside grain warehouse. Think whitewashed walls, old-fashioned paned windows, and a red-brick facade. The ground-floor Grain House café with a graffiti mural wall is the perfect place to mingle with fellow travelers. The staff is a cheery lot, and help you with everything from insider travel tips to bike hire and boat trips. While breakfast isn’t included, it’s quite a bargain for 6.25 GBP (8.09 USD), along with a 10 percent discount if booked beforehand. Free Wi-Fi completes the amenities.
As you’d expect from a budget hostel, the rooms are bare-bones, but with eye-popping waterfront views. Nevertheless, they do want comfy bedding and spotless shared bathrooms. What’s more, you also have the choice of private doubles, triples, and even quads and more if you’re traveling as a group.
Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Experience Bristol in its old-world glamor at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, one of the most historic gay hotels in Bristol. The hotel lies right next to the gothic St John’s Arch, which is one of the original gateways to the city. And even after a ‘modern’ facelift, the Victorian heritage of this century-and-a-half-old Bristol stalwart is still palpable. The Grade I-listed building dates back to the late-19th century. In fact, the hotel is famous for once having hosted Winston Churchill and for refusing bar entry to a jacketless Rolling Stones! So, it won’t be surprising if this were the most characterful and historic gay hotel in not just Bristol, but the whole of the UK!
The refurbishment has added artworks that not only reflect Bristol’s past but also its penchant for street art. On the other hand, you’ll also find salvaged items like typewriters and wooden boxes, as well as original architectural details. Across the road, you have access to a pool, as well as a gym, a sauna, and a steam room. Interestingly, there are two on-site beehives, and honey is a prominent addition in some of the cocktails at the bar. Plus, the bar also serves a crowd-pleasing British continental menu.
Choose from three kinds of rooms, including suites, all of which feature vibrant furniture, dark-green walls, and high ceilings. They also feature local artworks, which is a nod to the city’s artsy side. Bathrooms while compact, are eye-catching and some even have baths.
The Berkeley Suites offer luxurious and private gay accommodations in Bristol just down the street from the biggest gay club in Southwest England, OMG. This stylish aparthotel is set in a Grade II-listed red brick building and is also handy for exploring both the city center and the quaint village of Clifton.
Berkeley Suites pretty much combines the best features of a posh boutique hotel and a grand Georgian apartment. The design is quirky, chic, and bang-on-trend; think sleek white walls, anglepoise lamps, bohemian fabrics. etc. Even though there’s no traditional hotel service, the USP is oodles of privacy and all the extra space. All suites feature concealed mini-kitchens, two bedrooms, and door-delivered food hampers. In fact, the ‘Essentials’ comprising croissants, orange juice, milk, cereal, and bread is perfect for breakfast. Moreover, there’s a ton of thoughtful extras like digital projectors and espresso machines. Although there’s no restaurant on-site, you get a 20 percent off at the Square Kitchen right opposite at the Berkeley Square Hotel.
All swish suites are divided into sitting rooms and bedrooms and are decked out in mid-century style furniture. Since the building is a converted one, you’ll find some unusual, yet Instagram-worthy touches like fireplaces in glass-walled bathrooms!
The Kyle Blue
The Kyle Blue is one of the quirkiest yet affordable gay hotels in Bristol right in the city center. It’s actually a Dutch river-barge-turned-upmarket hostel that’s docked in Bristol’s historic harborside. In fact, it’s moored bang in the middle of the Floating Harbor, with some of Bristol’s best sights a leisurely stroll away. If you’re an independent LGBTQ traveler or a backpacker looking for a memorable experience in the town, then this would be it.
A lot of thought and care has gone into transforming the boat into a stylish, yet comfortable place to stay. The modern space is decked out with cute porthole windows, fitted carpets, and plush grey sofas. The top deck features a lovely lounge area with a Sandi-chic feel and excellent views of the river. There’s even a self-catering galley kitchen where you can whip up quick and cheap meals on your own. Moreover, free hot chocolate, coffee, and tea are an excellent touch.
Just like a hostel, you can choose from private cabins or four/five/seven-bed bow/stern cabins. The unique architecture of the vessel will necessitate squeezing along hallways or ducking your head, but that’s part of the fun. Also, the four shared bathrooms are immaculate and spotless. Navy-blue pillowcases and in-built wooden beds add to the nautical theme.
Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin
There’s no better-located gay accommodation in Bristol than the Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin. The hotel lies in one of the prettiest areas of Bristol, Clifton Village, and enjoys magnificent views of the incredible Clifton Suspension Bridge. The 1898-built Grade-II grand Victorian structure has spent time as a spa before transforming into the hotel it is today.
The makeover by the du Vin brand has left striking lounging spaces all over, like the red-tinged bar and lounge with excellent bridge views from its large windows. Even the glass-walled restaurant, again with bridge views, makes for inviting space. This is particularly true in the morning when you’re digging into a superb breakfast of juice, pastries, homemade granola, and à la carte wonders like egg and sausage muffin. and poached egg and avocado. A striking marble staircase leads down to the function rooms. Free Wi-Fi, room service, and a fabulous bar with a terrace overlooking the bridge round up the amenities here.
The rooms, including the garden rooms and suites, have excellent views of both the bridge and the village, do don’t be disheartened. Dark-green and blue walls are dotted with amusing paintings, while the stunning white-tiled bathrooms feature bespoke products. Super-comfy beds, a coffee machine, and a basket of treats complete the offerings. Moreover, the freestanding in-room tubs are a great romantic addition. If you can splurge, then go for the rooms with balconies.
If you’re looking for an apartment-style gay hotel in Bristol for exploring the town, then the Beech House is ideal. These cool yet super-comfortable apartments lie on a leafy boulevard in buzzing Clifton and feel more like a boutique hotel along with tons of privacy. The best part is that most of Bristol’s main attractions are within a 20-minute walk.
Beech House is a collection of 14 apartments and studios in a grand converted Victorian villa in Clifton Village. They’re all different, but share the same chic style, sash windows, marble/cast-iron fireplaces, and both vintage and modern furniture. The décor is no-expense-spared one, complete with embroidered fabrics and gilded, silky wallpapers. Post an independent, no-fuss check-in, you’ll find the house immaculately prepped for you despite no full-time staff. Besides washing machines, the apartments also have fully-equipped kitchens. Moreover, you’re even given a welcome pack of instant porridge, fresh fruit, biscuits, and milk.
You can choose from either suites or studios, which are spread from the lower ground to the top floor. Some have views of a giant birch tree out front, while others have Juliet balconies. All of them are spiffy to the hilt and furnished with a flourish of state-of-the-art mod-cons. The highlight is the contemporary Mews Houses in the back garden, complete with open-plan living spaces and mini terraces that overlook the grassy lawns of a water feature.
Number 38 Clifton
If you’re looking for a romantic gay accommodation in Bristol to stay with your partner, then look no further than Number 38 Clifton. One of the loveliest gay hotels in Bristol, UK, this elegant Georgian townhouse sits on a small hill overlooking the city. The city center and the gay neighborhood of Old Market is no more than a 20-minute drive.
The lovely Georgian merchant’s house has 180-degree views of both the city and the vast green space that is the Downs. A B&B more than a hotel, the place pays homage to Bristol’s seafaring history with maritime paintings and other eclectic curios. Period and new-world furniture blend beautifully together. Even though facilities are on the down-low (it’s a guesthouse, after all), the staff is unfailingly helpful. What’s more, there’s room service from nearby restaurants, as well as drinks and tea on-site. The B&B does do a lovely breakfast-in-bed and can arrange for spa treatments too. Lounging spaces include the comfy lounge with a fireplace for chilly nights as well as the rear sun terrace.
The rooms (read: loft suites) are amongst the largest and best rooms in Bristol with glamorous bathrooms with baths, light-filled spaces, and excellent views. The huge beds, bespoke toiletries, and cotton robes are thoughtful touches.
If you’re an LGBTQ traveler looking for privacy and space, then the Paintworks Apartments offers you both, and then some. One of the best apartment-style gay hotels in Bristol, the digs comprise five chic, urban loft apartments in a converted paint factory on the banks of the River Avon in the Creative Quarter. It might be away from the city center, but that’s a mere 10-minute journey by car.
Uber-cool, elegant, urbane – words fall short to describe this trendy space. The place’s former industrial life is evident in the cobbled courtyards and red-brick exteriors. Moreover, they blend beautifully with vintage décor, Edison-style lightbulbs, and seek glass interiors. Everything is designed to spoil you, right from the exposed brickwork and walk-in wet rooms to the flourish of high-tech mod-cons and super-fast Wi-Fi. The best part? Every apartment has its own parking space, which is a blessing in the town. With every place also boasting its own high-end kitchen, mealtimes are a breeze. if you don’t want to lift a finger, then there are excellent restaurants nearby.
Each of the five apartments features a distinct theme, from stripped Scandi to Manhattan loft. Think native curios, modern murals, and sprawling bedrooms with plush beds. Bathrooms are equally modern, with some even featuring bathtubs.
Just So You Know:
- Bristol had a gay rights activist back in the 1890s. It’s first gay club called Moulin Rouge opened in 1970.
Get Some Culture in Bristol:
- Bristol Pride – The fortnight-long Bristol Pride champions diversity and equality across South West England. Festival events include everything from film screening to parties to a great parade.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Bristol:
- OMG Bristol – OMG is not just the largest gay club in Bristol, but even South West England! It boasts excellent drinks and a fabulously large dance floor.
- Bristol Bear Bar – BBB is supposedly the sole, purpose-built bear bar in the United Kingdom! Moreover, it welcomes everyone from otters to bears, along with their admirers.
Best Gay Saunas in Bristol:
- Lads Locker Room – This excellent modern gay sauna features an adult shop, a bar, a cruising area, a dry sauna, and a jacuzzi, among others.