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ONE BIG GAY MIXOLOGY OF A SUMMER IN BRIGHTON UK!

Is your idea of a ‘gay holiday’ or ‘gay travel’ a week or two spent rubbing shoulders with muscle bound hunks or athletic College jocks, often all squeezed on to a Cruise ship or into a small ‘gay friendly’ resort?

A quick look at the photos on a Gay Travel Agent’s website might have you thinking that’s all there is on offer if you want a holiday in the company of like-minded guys.

Nothing wrong with hanging out on holiday with Abercrombie & Fitch models and American Football players obviously (assuming they really are awaiting your arrival when you get there!) but the prospect of being trapped on a testosterone fuelled Cruise ship and constantly bumping into guys they’d rather avoid is off-putting to many ‘gay holiday’ virgins.

The dilemma is that until recently the only alternative has been a “straight” trip somewhere with the possibility of seeking out the local gay nightlife on arrival, depending on whether it’s the parents, straight friends or gay friends you happen to be travelling with!

So it was good to hear recently of ‘GMen Brighton’ [http://www.gmenbrighton.com], a new short-break learning holiday concept in Brighton UK this Summer, intended to give gay and bisexual men from the UK, Europe and worldwide an alternative to the typical gay travel “24/7 clubbing” packages, but with plenty of nightlife available for those who want it!

The city of Brighton & Hove is a seaside resort on the South coast of England in the United Kingdom (just an hour south of London on the train and close to Gatwick Airport) with a reputation for being super-friendly and accepting of all sorts of alternative lifestyles.

With reputedly the largest gay population in the UK outside of London, Brighton is sometimes referred to as “Soho on the Sea” and is an ideal location for the new GMen Brighton short-break holiday package, designed to give gay and bisexual men of all ages the opportunity to meet, socialise, have fun and relax in a more natural environment and atmosphere than that offered by most gay holidays.

The idea is to offer courses over 3 days on themes like Mixology (Cocktail Making & Spirit Appreciation), Stand-Up Comedy, Cooking, Kayaking, Wine Tasting, Conversational Spanish and French etc, with participants learning lots of new skills with other like-minded men, with plenty of opportunities to socialise and make new friends and an optional evening social programme organised by the GMen Hosts.

You spend your days learning how to make a great Mojito, how to taste wines, how to do an Eskimo roll with like-minded men, making new friends and contacts… and your evenings sightseeing around Brighton, relaxing in your hotel or joining in a tour of the bars and clubs. (Social events organised by the GMen team over the 3 night stay include a ‘Welcome Drinks Party’, ‘the BIG Night Out’ and the ‘GMen Beach BBQ Party’.)

No question GMen Brighton promises a pretty special opportunity to meet other gay and bisexual men away from the usual “meat market” gay scene, while giving scene goers ample opportunity to explore the best of Brighton’s gay nightlife.

For anyone who hasn’t been yet, Brighton UK is an ideal location for a short-break holiday, with its busy shopping areas, arts and entertainment venues, massive choice of cafes, pubs and restaurants, Royal Pavilion, long pebble beach, Pier, Marina and other seaside attractions.

Of particular interest to gay and bisexual visitors is Brighton’s Kemp Town area near the Brighton Pier, nicknamed ‘Brighton’s Gay Village’ because of the concentration of gay and lesbian friendly shops, cafes, pubs and nightclubs.

A walk around the Kemp Town area can be entertaining, beginning at the bottom of St James’s Street (Kemp Town’s main shopping street) at the excellent gay-friendly Red Roaster Café serving up great coffee in a bright and airy art-lined room.

Then walking up the hill along St James’s Street (heading east) there are various shops for browsing including a Prowler store and on a nearby side-street is the wonderfully eccentric Tea Cosy, famous for it’s Royalist décor and Tea Room Etiquette which includes the immortal line “The un-savoury habit of dunking biscuits’ is strictly prohibited and will result in you being ask to leave the tea rooms…” And so on!

Visiting the Tea Cosy is guaranteed to be a memorial experience whether you opt for the “William and Harry Quick Tea” or the “Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, Queen of Hearts, 10 year Anniversary, Your Death Has Torn Our Lives Apart, Fairwell Dear Princess Queen Of Hearts, Forever In Our Thoughts, Memorial Afternoon Tea” or one of the other Menu options.

There are lots of typical British pubs to explore in the Kemp Town area with your new GMen Brighton friends and the GMen Hosts. Many of Kemp Town’s bars and pubs have at least a splash of Rainbow if they’re not actually flying the flag over the door!

Depending on your taste the Bulldog pub (older, bearish clientele) on St James’s Street might be worth a look, or head towards the sea and the stylish Legends Hotel on the Marine Parade, with its large bar and basement club. Walking back west towards Brighton Pier you’ll find the Charles Street bar and the R-Bar serving a younger mixed crowd, and round the corner (past Harry Ramsden’s World Famous Fish & Chip shop!) is the Vavoom late-night bar and the Revenge nightclub, now sporting a new rooftop terrace. (See the GMen Brighton website for a guide to gay cafes, bars and clubs in Brighton.)

Brighton is also famous for the annual Brighton PRIDE Festival, this year taking place between Saturday 31 July and Sunday 8 August 2010. The week builds up to the Pride Parade on Saturday 7 August 2010 when over 100,000 people celebrate diversity and party together with the Main Park Event taking place in Brighton’s Preston Park.

If you have never attended Brighton PRIDE before it is recommended as an amazing spectacle, whether you come to Brighton for a day trip on Saturday 7 August or stay for the weekend and head for St James’s Street which is closed for street parties on the Saturday and Sunday with all the local pubs and clubs open 24 hours (or so it seems!) for non-stop Brighton PRIDE parties.

GMen Brighton is offering special discounts on accommodation over the main Brighton PRIDE weekend and it might be an idea to combine both, taking a short-break learning holiday with GMen Brighton before or after the Brighton PRIDE weekend - for what would undoubtedly be one incredibly memorable weekend in Brighton this Summer! See you there!

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://www.gmenbrighton.com
http://www.brightonpride.org
http://www.gayprideeventsdirectory.com