Every August Bank Holiday weekend you’ll find rainbow flags covering Wales’ capital city as Cardiff gets ready to host Pride Cymru. The city first started this celebration of the city’s LGBTQ+ community in 1999 when over 5,000 people gathered in busy Bute Park on Saturday for an evening of festivities and fun. Over the years, Pride Cymru has gained a huge amount of support and recognition from the community, partners and attendees from Cardiff, Wales and further afield. The number who attend the event has grown each year and now peaks at around 20,000 revellers.
Whether you’re going to join the crowds lining Cardiff’s streets to watch the parade, heading to the festival site to see some of pop’s biggest names or enjoying the atmosphere in the city’s small gay scene around Charles Street, you’ll find it easy to get the party started at Pride Cymru. Ready and raring to start making your Pride plans? Check out our guide to Cardiff’s biggest and best celebration and find out what’s in store. And if you’re looking for somewhere to get ready in style, don’t forget that there’s a Premier Inn just around the corner ready to help you get decked out in rainbows.
If you’re looking for a weekend packed with music, festivities and plenty of colourful costumes, you’ve come to the right place. There are lots of events throughout the weekend but at the centre of the celebrations are two must sees.
Pride Cymru Parade
Each year you’ll find a crowd of over 7,000 people stretching for a mile along the streets of Cardiff watching the Pride Cymru Parade. This visually spectacular annual celebration of equality and diversity achievements, showcases Cardiff’s support for the LGBTQ+ community and includes floats, costumes and banners, all designed around the year’s theme. Get swept up in the warm, welcoming atmosphere of the cheering crowd, sit back at a bar en route and take in the full view of the fantastic floats or get dressed up and join the parade, the choice is yours!
Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend
Last held in 2011, Cardiff’s Big Weekend was always one of the key events in Cardiff’s cultural calendar and a favourite with music buffs and festival fans alike. Turning the City Hall Lawns and the streets surrounding the civic centre into a carnival of colour, with funfair rides, amusements and entertainment from some of the biggest names in music, it really was a big weekend! And now Pride Cymru has brought it back, reinventing the event and making it bigger and better than ever before. This mega-mashup of Pride and Cardiff’s Big Weekend offers three days of pure party atmosphere and extravagant entertainment in the heart of the capital. Are you feeling proud and ready for a party?
Whether you’re looking to enjoy the parade or party in the park, you’ll find Cardiff ready for you on Pride weekend. Read about the facilities you’ll find at Pride Cymru and other important information, so you can start planning your fun.
Pride Cymru takes place every August Bank Holiday weekend. Although times can vary each year, you’ll always find the parade kicking things off at 11am on the Saturday. Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend runs throughout the weekend with a different line up on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On the Saturday peak entry times are usually after the parade has finished between 12.30pm and 4pm. If you want to avoid the queues arrive a little earlier or later and you’ll still have loads of time to enjoy hours of entertainment.
You can bring a bag with you to Pride, however it will need to be searched as you enter the Big Weekend site. This can cause slight delays but staff will do all they can to get you inside and ready to party as swiftly as possible. Once you’re inside you’ll find all the festival facilities you need, including staffed baby changing facilities located in the Family Zone for those with little ones.
Everybody is welcome at the Pride Cymru party. And in this spirit, the team behind the event do all that they can to ensure anyone who requires additional support in accessing events, services and facilities throughout the city gets it. To make sure everyone can attend the festival, deaf or disabled ticket holders that require full time assistance will receive a ticket for their personal assistant at no additional cost.
Each year Pride Cymru provide a Quiet Zone / Access Area. This is not only a meeting place but a safe space and an information point, if you need to get support or report any incidents. The area will be manned at all times by a British Sign Language interpreter and an access steward to offer support. In the area, you’ll find accessible portaloos, wheelchair/scooter recharging points, watering/feeding and toileting facility for guide and other assistance dogs. The main event has a viewing area solely for the use of disabled and deaf Pride goers plus one other and there is a programme of British Sign Language interpreted performances throughout the day, so no one misses out.
You can bring your own food into Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend site, but you’d be missing out as there are always some delicious options available. From tasty burgers made from locally sourced meat to healthy vegan mezes, classic chips to trendy gourmet hot dogs, you’ll find something to tickle your taste buds within the festival grounds. And don’t forget, as you’ll be partying in Cardiff’s compact city centre, you’re never far from an array of exciting eateries, great pubs or buzzing bars.
Like the city centre, Cardiff’s gay scene is small and compact but with lots going on. You’ll find the main focus is around Charles Street and Churchill Way, where a few venues that are all within walking distance of each other draw in the crowds.
The Golden Cross
This historic pub has a very traditional exterior covered in glazed tiles, but on the inside you’ll find a buzzing gay bar. Popular with a predominantly male, 30s crowd, the Golden Cross likes to indulge in camp with karaoke and cabaret.
Appealing to a young, student crowd, WOW Bar has great DJs, lots of live music, cracking cabaret and drinks deals throughout the week. Head to this stylish little place during cheeky hour for pre-club cocktails.
Spread across two fabulous floors and a roof terrace, The Kings is a large, modern bar attracting a young gay, lesbian and mixed crowd. If you’re visiting for Pride weekend, take a trip to Kings to enjoy a Pop Paradise and Saturday Night Party!
After you’ve enjoyed drinks at The Kings, head to its adjoining gay club Pulse. Attracting a similar young, mixed crowd of party people and university students, you’ll find pop, chart, R’n’B and EDM, as well as one of the UK’s biggest Pride after parties.
If you’re a drag aficionado, head to Minsky’s – Cardiff’s oldest and best showbar. Popular with stag and hen parties and birthday celebrations, as well as cabaret-loving gays and lesbians, you’re in for an evening of exciting entertainment at Minsky’s.
Taking place in Cardiff’s city centre, you’ll have no trouble getting to Pride Cymru.
There are plenty of car parks in the city centre, if you’re driving to Cardiff. However, it can be very busy and roads are closed during the parade so it’s best to park a bit further out of the centre and give yourself lots of time to get in.
The parade and festival are on plenty of bus routes through the city centre. Just remember that traffic may be disrupted, particularly during the parade, so leave plenty of time if you don’t want to miss out on any of the action.
If you’re getting the train to Cardiff, you’ll have a choice of two stations in the city centre. Whether you’re getting the train to Cardiff Central or Queen Street Station, you’ll have about a five-minute walk to the parade or festival site.
We have a huge range of fantastic Premier Inn hotels in Glamorgan, South Wales for the discerning business and leisure traveller. If you're jetting into Cardiff on business, check into our airport hotels. For students there are hotels near Cardiff University and a collection of budget hotels
for the price conscious. Whichever part of Cardiff you’re planning to visit, there's sure to be a selection of comfortable Premier Inn hotels nearby.