9 LGBTQ+ friendly days out for families in Gloucestershire

Discover some of Gloucestershire's LGBTQ+ friendly attractions, offering fun and inclusive days out for the whole family while proactively supporting the county's LGBTQ+ community.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Discover LGBTQ+ friendly days out for families in Gloucestershire. Image © Clem Stevens
In partnership with Slimbridge Wetland Centre  |  wwt.org.uk/slimbridge
Slimbridge Wetland Centre

With over 100 acres of habitats to explore, WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre is home to a world of wetland wildlife, family attractions and prime birdwatching spots. Visitors can meet the world's rarest goose, see live bird demonstrations and experience a canoe safari, while little ones will love splashing through Welly Boot Land.

From historical sites and cultural centres, to wildlife parks and world-famous festivals, Gloucestershire is home to some of the country's leading visitor attractions for family days out.

We're fortunate that so many of these venues provide a safe and welcoming space for people of all sexualities and gender identities — with SoGlos sharing a handpicked selection of our favourite LGBTQ+ friendly destinations for families in this hot list.

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

One of Gloucestershire's most accessible and inclusive attractions, which has won awards from VisitEngland for its commitment to providing memorable visitor experiences for all, Slimbridge cultivates a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ visitors by providing inclusivity training for staff and gender-neutral restrooms.

The wildlife reserve, which is one of the UK's nine WWT wetland centres, passionately believes nature is for everyone and continues to show its support for Gloucestershire's LGBTQ+ community as an ally sponsor for Pride in Gloucestershire.

Pride in Gloucestershire

Pride in Gloucestershire facilitates the ultimate LGBTQ+ friendly days out, hosting various events to connect, celebrate and champion the county's LGBTQ+ community — including its annual Pride celebration at Gloucester Park, this year taking place on Saturday 14 September 2024.

Free to attend, with spectacular main stage line-ups featuring local artists and drag acts, the main event kicks off with a Pride march through Gloucester; while the charity takes its Pride celebrations on tour every summer to reach rural areas of Gloucestershire, too.

Go Ape in the Forest of Dean

Offering the chance to reach new heights and swing through the trees, Go Ape makes adventure accessible — warmly welcoming people of all sexualities and gender identities to its two Forest of Dean sites at Beechenhurst and Mallards Pike.

The LGBTQ+ flag has pride of place in all Go Ape cabin windows across the country; there's space for staff to display their preferred pronouns on their name badges; and Go Ape has invested in big improvements to its equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives to support LGBTQ+ employees, particularly in the last three years.

Westonbirt Arboretum

With over 2,500 tree species in its collection, diversity helps Westonbirt Arboretum's magical forest to thrive — and the same goes for its community of visitors. Westonbirt creates a welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ families and offers gender-neutral toilets and baby changing facilities in both women's and men's restrooms.

The arboretum is managed by Forestry England, which won the Includability D&I Star Award for outstanding efforts in diversity and inclusion awareness and support in the workplace for 2023. As well as inclusivity training, it even has its own Rainbow Canopy network for LGBTQ+ staff members to provide mutual support and advise the organisation on how it can continuously improve. 

Cheltenham Festivals

With the ethos that 'culture is for everyone', Cheltenham Festivals programmes meaningful talks, performances and events with LGBTQ+ creatives into its four annual festivals — from collaborating with Pride in Gloucestershire to promote LGBTQ+ visibility in science and cyber, to providing a platform for LGBTQ+ artists at its legendary Jazz Festival.

Cheltenham Literature Festival, taking place from Friday 4 to Sunday 13 October in 2024, has a long history of featuring LGBTQ+ authors and themes too, including panels on LGBTQ+ representations in literature — with its VOICEBOX stage playing host to free, pop-up content to amplify young voices and explore big issues.

The Wilson in Cheltenham

Cheltenham art gallery and museum The Wilson regularly hosts exhibits and events that centre LGBTQ+ artists and creators — and even has a dedicated panel of local art workers who meet twice a year to ensure it is delivering the widest possible range of inclusive and accessible exhibitions for visitors.

Its current exhibition explores the life of art collector, Mattei Radev, providing an insight into the LGBTQ+ community he was part of and its impact on contemporary art; while families can discover free activities, creative workshops and diverse events at its forthcoming Family Inclusivity Day on Saturday 17 August 2024.

The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury

Tewkesbury's friendly cinema and theatre, The Roses, prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive venue, with diverse programming and opportunities for LGBTQ+ stories and performers to take centre stage.

Notably, its family-favourite pantomime Snow White featured a joyous gay romance between IT hacker Ted and eco-conscious woodcutter Jim, played by non-binary actor, Elliott Wooster. 

Gloucester Cathedral 

Gloucester Cathedral has publicly stated its commitment to diversity and social justice, affirming its support for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion within the church — and welcomes all people, regardless of faith, gender identity and sexual orientation, to visit its landmark cultural venue.

The cathedral also shows its solidarity with the county's LGBTQ+ community as the starting point for Pride in Gloucestershire's annual march through Gloucester city centre.

Gloucestershire Libraries

As well as cataloguing works by LGBTQ+ authors and making LGBTQ+ literature accessible for all, Gloucestershire Libraries shows its support with a packed programme of events during Pride Month. 

Across the county's network of libraries throughout June 2024, visitors were able to join for Drag Queen Story Hour or get involved with creative workshops hosted by LGBTQ+ artists to create collaborative artworks encapsulating themes of love, queerness, self-expression and identity — all to be displayed in a special exhibition when complete.

In partnership with Slimbridge Wetland Centre  |  wwt.org.uk/slimbridge

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