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One day in London - happens to be on day of Pride Parade - 1 million people!

So as is somehow often the case for me as I plan our travels, I've placed us in London for one day on July 7th. We then fly home to Seattle on the 8th. I was going to have us go into London for the afternoon and evening of the 7th but now I see that I've managed to set us up to be in London for the Pride parade and there will be over 1 million people on the streets celebrating.

I've seen a few Pride parades and they are a lot of fun to watch. So I'm game for heading into town and just strolling around instead of hitting a site or two. But have any of you been in London for Pride? Is it just too crowded and chaotic on the parade day? I don't know how to gauge the crowd of a million.

We're considering a change of plans - just going down to Brighton for the afternoon and evening.

Should we keep the plan with London? Should we consider yet another destination?

Posted by
644 posts

London is so big, that unless you are right on the parade route, you’re unlikely to notice much. The tubes my be a little busier on the lines/stations that are close to the fun, but again, nothing to be concerned about. Do something in a different area of town if you want ‘less’ busy, but London is crazy busy at the best of times anyway.

Posted by
6239 posts

I never tire of London.

Have you been to London before?

Have you researched the parade route?

Pretty certain if you go early you’ll be able to visit iconic Parliament Square and walk up Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace without knowing PRIDE was taking place.

I’d chance it as I suspect in hindsight you’d regret not spending time in one of the greatest cities on the planet.

Here’s a link to TimeOut which provides intel on the activities. https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/a-beginners-guide-to-pride

Posted by
2118 posts

Oh - I should clarify - yes. we've been to London before and seen the basics. This stop is just a positioning night for us. We're coming in from Sicily at 1pm and then fly out the next day for Seattle. So we just have an afternoon and evening. I didn't think we'd get into London from our hotel at Gatwick until around 4pm so I wasn't planning any actual sites - just some wandering, although I hadn't chosen a neighborhood yet. I'm certainly open to suggestions on a neighborhood to check out for a few hours and dinner.

Posted by
4583 posts

I've been in London during Pride, you can literally turn a corner and not even realise that it is on. London is so huge that a parade of a million people (a bit of an exaggeration in my opinion) will not have a big impact.

Posted by
3252 posts

London is no different from NYC, for example, during the LGBT pride parade. There are COUNTLESS neighborhoods outside of the parade route that are not swarmed with crowds. Nearly every Sunday in June has a parade down 5th Ave in which millions congregate. It doesn't mean that the rest of the city is packed. It's the same for London.

Posted by
2118 posts

Thank you all for this info! It's much appreciated. I can't even imagine what an extra million people of the streets of Seattle would do. I know....much much smaller city but it's a staggeringly large number.

In the midst of my research I've become pretty intrigued by Brighton. Easy access from Gatwick and looks like a very nice place to spend an afternoon wandering. I'll have to work on the travel partner - he's a big London fan and I'm in the camp that just feels overwhelmed there due to size.

Posted by
4583 posts

I'm a bit bi-polar with London, I love it and hate it in equal measures but if I wanted to get out and go somewhere else to wander about then Brighton is a good option. However, as has already been mentioned, on a summer weekend Brighton can be very crowded. The South Coast in general is swamped in summer so it might be worth considering somewhere a bit more inland, The South Downs, The New Forest etc might be more peaceful and relaxing.

Posted by
2118 posts

All these helpful replies! Thank you. I've looked up all the suggestions. I'm leaning towards Brighton, despite the crowds, as it's a quick train ride and an easy walk from the train station to the area of interest for us. It looks like a nice size for a visit of a few hours. Now I just need to get the partner off London. I was ok with London but we won't get there until around 4pm and some places are already close to their closing time...for example the British Museum, which we didn't have time for last time. I'm not one to "wander" in London - too big for me - wandering there just wasn't rewarding (vs. Paris or Venice where I really enjoy wandering).

So Brighton I think it is! Thanks for the input.

Posted by
2118 posts

Emma - Noted! A good idea. Gatwick Express to Victoria Station, nice 1.5 mile walk to Covent Garden area. Walk, eat, wander, walk back to Victoria Station....a good outing and should be back to hotel by 9. I'll present it as an option vs. Brighton.

Posted by
4583 posts

One advantage of going to Brighton on that day is that half the population of the Kemp Town area of town will probably be parading in London :-)

Lol