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From the mountains of the Lake District to stylish London neighbourhoods, LGBTQ+ films can inspire British adventures for one and all.
Dig into the Jurassic Coast with Ammonite
Pioneering 19th century paleontologist Mary Anning spent most of her days hunting for fossils on the coast of Southwest England’s county of Dorset, and Kate Winslet portrays the peculiar figure full of a rugged, curious spirit. Ammonite also depicts a speculative love story between Anning and geologist Charlotte Murchison, during which they head out to the area’s rocky coast together and fall for each other as they fill baskets with found fossils. Discover the area that stretches from East Devon to Dorset for yourself, along with the geological wonders of its shores.
1. Lyme Regis Museum
Standing on the site of Mary Anning’s former home where she held her own fossil shop, this museum built in 1901 stands in the heart of the small town of the same name, boasting an impressive collection, the breadth of which far out does the burg’s size. Visit the Mary Anning Wing chock full of her findings and life’s story, located in an updated terrace made of glass and zinc to withstand the seaside’s elements, with a sweeping view of Lyme Bay.
Bridge St, Lyme Regis DT7 3QA, lymeregismuseum.co.uk
2. Jurassic Coast Trust
If you want to take a deep dive into the area’s rocky history, there’s no better group to show you around the coast. They will uncover its secrets for you during one of their geology trips, which consist of a guided day on a boat cruising along the coastline. This organization is also a great resource if you’re looking to go it alone, serving up plenty of useful info about this UNESCO World Heritage site and how to collect fossils responsibly.
3. Charmouth Fossil Shop
Erosion means that fossil deposits continue to appear on the beaches along the 95 miles that make up the Jurassic Coast, and the owner of this shop, Tony Gill, was an avid amateur hunter of the formations before doing so professionally. This Charmouth spot is a treasure trove packed with relics of the past, including trilobites, ammonites, marine reptile and fish fossils, along with plant and wood ones, all of which make great souvenirs of your time in a part of the world that often feels like an open-air museum.
Lower Sea Lane DT6 6, Charmouth, charmouthfossils.com
4. Natural History Museum
When in London, before catching your return flight home, set aside an afternoon to head to this museum that has one of the most comprehensive collections of natural relics and findings in the world. Among them, you can spot the plesiosaurus skeleton found by Mary Anning in the Fossil Marine Reptiles gallery. When Anning discovered the otherworldly creature, it was the first of its kind and, though she never found her rightful place in the scientific community, it ensured her a spot in the history books.
Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London, nhm.ac.uk
Where to stay
If you’re yearning for a peaceful place to lay your head between bouts of fresh marine air, the Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis has 25 homey rooms on a beautiful property where the garden overlooks Lyme Bay. Curl up by the fire in a plush wing-back chair or just take in the view of the lapping waves while sitting in their restaurant where you can enjoy afternoon tea, Sunday lunch and plenty of local seafood.
Pound St DT7 3HZ, Lyme Regis, hotelalexandra.co.uk
Spend the Day in Fleabag’s Dartmouth Park
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is beloved by countless fans primarily because of the booze-loving, sexually fluid nameless character she wrote and brought to life on the stage before turning the tale into the Emmy Award-winning TV show Fleabag. Set mainly in the trendy London district of Dartmouth Park in the North London’s Camden borough, there are plenty of spots for a day of wandering and stopping in for a pint or two (or three) that would make the fun-loving character proud.
1. Bold Café & Restaurant
One of the recurring settings for this dark comedy is the slightly nutty guinea-pig-themed café that the nameless lead character opened with her deceased best friend. Though in real life it may be light on the guinea pigs, you can sit in the café that was used as its filming location for a tasty lunch of homemade spinach and feta borek and a mezze platter, or sip a Turkish affogato on their patio. Worry not, the food at this eatery is far more inspired than in its fictional counterpart.
20 York Rise, @bold_nw5
2. Tate Modern
Godmother is one of the show’s best characters, portrayed by the amazingly talented Olivia Coleman who plays underhanded viciousness to a t here. In the memorable episode of Godmother’s sexually explicit art exhibit opening, we’re taken to this legendary museum that’s well worth the trip south of the Thames. Within the modern building that’s a work of art in and of itself, you can catch shows spanning hundreds of years, from the making of sculptor Rodin to a theatrical exhibit by contemporary artist and activist Lubaina Himid, to name a tiny fraction.
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, tate.org.uk
3. Dartmouth Arms
Thanks to a homey atmosphere set by a record player, houseplants and comfy booths to lean back on, this lovely pub is the perfect spot in Dartmouth Park for an evening with friends, plenty of wine, pints and food to share, including boards that mix Scandinavian bites like gravlax with the locally beloved sausage roll. And if you like the cozy but sleek atmosphere here, you can replicate some of it at home thanks to their curated Spotify playlists.
35 York Rise, London, disappearingdiningclub.co.uk
4. Waterlow Park
In the centre of this neighbourhood sits a 26-acre green space with a history that dates back to the 17th century when a notorious Earl owned a house on the grounds. Nowadays, the expansive destination with three separate ponds is open to all, and it’s the perfect spot to spend a sunny, relaxing afternoon (especially if you maybe had a few too many the night before). Stroll between the orchard’s fruit trees, make your way along the park’s Tree Walk Map to spot the various leafy species or find a shady spot on the banks of Middle Pond for a quiet rest.
Highgate Hill, Highgate, London N6 5HD, waterlowpark.org.uk
Where to stay
Wearing two hats, The Bull and the Last is both a gastropub and hotel, and it’s the spot to stay in the area if you’re looking to have a fun night out with plenty of pints, scotch eggs and wine on tap, followed by a Fleabag-style stumble straight to bed upstairs. Rooms are simple, stylish and bright with freestanding tubs that will make you want to soak away an afternoon.
168 Highgate Rd, London, thebullandlast.co.uk
Travel the Lake District on a Supernova-inspired road trip
In the beautiful and heartbreaking film Supernova, we are introduced to Sam and Tusker, a gay couple that has been together for decades and is facing its hardest chapter yet, as the latter suffers from early onset dementia. The Lake District shines throughout the film with its sweeping hills and valleys, sparkling waters and soft light, making it the perfect setting for a touching story of love and devotion in which the duo goes on a final road trip together.
1. Buttermere Lake
Featured in a scene where Sam and Tusker step out of their camper van to watch the afternoon sun make the quiet waters shine, this iconic lake is the perfect stop to stretch your legs after a long drive and quickly immerse yourself in the natural beauty that made the area famous. Consider setting aside two or three hours for a full walk around the body of water, to see it from all its breathtaking angles.
2. Sun Inn
Make like the movie’s two stars, Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, and check out this quaint hangout in the picturesque town of Bassenthwaite where the duo was spotted having lunch while filming. The casual spot serves up stick-to-your-ribs pub grub, like chili, beer-battered cod and slow-cooked lamb shoulder, to be paired with the obligatory pints. It’s the kind of meal you’ll crave to replenish energy after a long day of exploring the surrounding nature on foot. Bassenthwaite, CA12 4QP, suninnbassenthwaite.co.uk
3. Keswick Market
If you’re looking for a lively, but laid-back way to spend a sunny afternoon in the heart of the Lake District, this beloved town market takes over Keswick’s square on Thursdays and Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Take your time and browse between over 70 stalls where you can get your hands on plenty of local crafts and tasty treats like homemade chocolate and orange fudge, sample some Indian pickles or tuck into a hearty steak pie.
Market Square CA12 5JD, Keswick, facebook.com/keswickmarket
4. Dove Cottage
While in this picture-perfect area, a trip to the home of Romantic poet William Wordsworth should find its way onto your itinerary so that you can take in all the sublime sights that inspired his work. Check in for the author’s 250th anniversary celebrations, set to include readings on the grounds. You can also book a tour of the estate, stroll through the garden orchard and learn all about Wordsworth at the on-site museum.
Town End, Grasmere, Ambleside LA22 9SH, wordsworth.org.uk
Where to stay
Travel back in time at The Punchbowl Inn, a beautiful rustic and gay-friendly place to spend the night tucked away in the rolling hills around the sleepy town of Crosthwaite. Here, you’ll sleep under the building’s ancient oak beams put up in the 17th century and restored in 2005. There’s also a gastro pub on the premises, so you can indulge in Lancashire cheese soufflé or an elegant slice of lemon tart in their sunny garden.
Crosthwaite LA8 8HR Kendal, the-punchbowl.co.uk
See Sheffield’s stages, in step with Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Based on a hit musical about a high school boy who dreams of playing dress-up forever and stealing the show as a drag queen, the film version of this queer ode released in February also shines with all the glitter, eyeshadow and sequins you could hope for. Make like Jamie and head to the South Yorkshire town where the story is set for a few nights out, lit by the stage’s spotlights.
1. The Lyceum Theatre
Over the summer, the hit musical is coming home to Sheffield with Layton Williams in the titular role, taking the stage at this gorgeous theatre that originally opened in 1897. With a long history in the world of the dramatic arts, this is the only surviving establishment outside of London built by architect W.G.R Sprague, as well as being the last Edwardian theatre in town. From Hairspray to Chicago and Heathers, musicals are the name of the game within these storied walls.
55 Norfolk St, Sheffield City Centre, sheffieldtheatres.co.uk
2. The Montgomery Theatre
This Surrey Street institution has long been a local pillar as a theatre and arts centre, hosting community events like dance troupes and amateur opera, as well as concerts and shows passing through. Dark comedy Rita, Sue and Bob Too on its Yorkshire Tour is slated to grace the stage of this 19th-century theatre come fall, while student-aged summer theatre projects take over the space throughout the summer, and the exhibition space remains open for changing art show bookings.
Surrey St, Sheffield City Centre, themontgomery.org.uk
3. Leadmill Comedy Club
You won’t have a hard time spotting this go-to thanks to its red neon sign that has become synonymous with good times. Though you can often catch live music and stand-up acts lighting up the crowd, the bar is a great place to catch drag acts too, including queens like Drag Race runner-up Gigi Goode and the darkly funny Myra Dubois who loves talking about her funeral. A hub of local culture since 1980, this has been where the party’s at for decades.
6 Leadmill Road, Sheffield, leadmill.co.uk
Named in honour of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s party-packed novel, this bright street-level haunt bounces with parties and people cheersing or sharing plates of tandoori cauliflower, masala okra fries and aubergine flatbread, so bring that showtime excitement to your table to match the energy. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more hush-hush where you can chat about the production you’ve just seen, head upstairs to cocktail lounge Daisy’s for fresh-fruit-filled house creations.
73-75 Division St, Sheffield, thegatsbybar.co.uk
Where to stay
Named after inspirations from the natural world, many of the rooms at Brocco on the Park look out onto lush greenery. With cozy reading nooks throughout, you’ll want to stow yourself away and enjoy their complementary homemade cakes or biscuits. The property’s restaurant is also listed in the Michelin Guide, so make sure to book your table to taste their delectable smorgasbord menus.
92 Brocco Bank, Sheffield, brocco.co.uk
Step into Manchester’s queer history with It’s a Sin
1. Clampdown Records
You’ll see the sign for this record store in plenty of scenes in the show, since it’s located right next to the fictionalized Pink Palace. Sitting pretty on fun-to-walk Paton Street that features heavily on-screen too, you can drop in here to browse their extensive collection of new and used vinyl that includes plenty of rock, punk, jazz, indie, soul and funk picks waiting for your perusal, just beyond their red door.
9-11 Paton Street, Manchester, clampdownrecords.com
2. Beacon of Hope
Built in one of the city centre’s few green spaces, Sackville Gardens, this memorial is in the gay village and was designed as a response to the AIDS crisis. The space is made up of three different successive parts: Follow the exhibit designed as a journey from the Tree of Life and continue along to the three tiled and slightly moss-covered plinths that symbolize the different stages of life. Then, to end, you’ll arrive at a platform that houses the towering metal Beacon of Hope structure, complete with a time capsule filled with messages from the loved ones of people affected by HIV and AIDS.
41 Sackville St, Manchester, beacon-of-hope.org.uk
3. Victoria Baths
The exterior of these former Turkish baths that were opened in 1906 can be seen prominently in “It’s a Sin” and it’s no wonder, given its striking two-toned brick facade. The former municipal pools have a winding history of falling into disrepair and being rescued by a reality TV show that lead to a huge restoration starting in 2007. Nowadays, you can get a guided tour of the Edwardian structure or attend one of the artist-led exhibitions that run throughout the year.
Hathersage Rd, Manchester M13 0FE, victoriabaths.org.uk
4. People’s History Museum
As the UK’s national centre for chronicling the history of working people, this museum includes important artifacts of LGBTQ+ British history in their extensive archives, like the papers of human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and the campaign group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM). The museum also works in collaboration with the Outing of the Past festival that hosts worldwide celebrations of LGBTQ+ history and online events, like Migration, Race & Empire: LGBT+ histories tour.
Left Bank, Manchester M3 3ER, phm.org.uk
Where to stay
Part hotel, part show bar, you can easily spot the New Union Hotel, a pillar of Manchester’s queer community thanks to its bees and rainbows painted on its exterior walls in the gay village. Rooms are simple, but clean and comfy, and they’re the perfect place to spend the night when you want to be in the heart of the action after an evening of karaoke, dancing or cabaret downstairs.