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13 November 2014

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You are in: Suffolk > People > Features > Gay Suffolk: A Personal Guide

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Gay Suffolk: A Personal Guide

Our county's famed for its countryside, stunning coastline and villages, but what happens if you're a member of another community – the gay one?

As lovely as it is,  scenery is not particularly helpful if you want to meet like-minded people.  So how do you meet other gay people in such a rural county? Here are a few suggestions.

Pubs, clubs and more!

Pubs are popular places to meet other people, probably due to the ability to pop on a pair of beer spectacles if you need to.  We have gay pubs in Honington (The Fox Inn), Ipswich (The Rose and Crown) and Mildenhall (The White Hart).  Depending on which part of Suffolk you are in it is only a short hop to the gay pubs in Manningtree (The Fox and Hounds), Cambridge (The Fleur de Lys, The Rose & Crown) and Norwich (The Castle, The Catherine Wheel, The Lounge).


Clubbers at Betty Ford's, Ipswich

If you prefer clubs you can try Betty Ford’s in Ipswich, The Dot Cotton Club and Life in Cambridge and The Loft or Absolution in Norwich.

Online chat

Another good way to meet other gay people when you live in a rural area is over the net. There are several popular gay websites such as Gaydar (which has over 1000 users in Suffolk , many thousands more in the bordering counties and is free to use) and Out In The UK which has social groups in the area.  As with all chat sites, you need to follow common sense with regards to meeting people for the first time.


Those who say Suffolk has no gay life outside the odd pub or club are simply not looking in the right places.  Ipswich has social groups for all ages. OUTreach is for 13-19 year olds, there's a youth group called Oasis (Out And Strong In Suffolk) and, for those who have left youth behind, there's the Ipswich Area Gay Group for the over-35s which organises dinners and social outings.  Other activities include a Women’s Group, a Workshop for Lesbians and a Non-Scene Social for those, well, not on the scene. For those who like leather there is the Gay Biker’s Motorcycle Club which covers East Anglia. There are many other UK-wide gay societies that either have a base in Suffolk or have outings in our county, such as the Gay Outdoors Club which has a Suffolk group.

Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten

Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten

You Don't Have To Be Gay, But It Helps

Of course a social event or place doesn’t have to be specifically gay to attract a gay following. The annual Aldeburgh Festival, founded by Benjamin Britten, his partner Peter Pears and Eric Crozier, is very popular with the gay classical music loving crowd.
If you are interested in health you can bet that your local fitness club boasts plenty of gay boys pumping iron ready for the summer. Why not get fitter and meet new people at the same time?

Lose your preconceptions

If you are a long standing resident of Suffolk and find it lacking in gay spirit one final suggestion is to re-visit some of these places with a fresh mind. Pubs, clubs, websites and social groups are only as good as the people who use them. If you want somewhere to be gay-friendly, you must first ask yourself if you are a friendly gay.

last updated: 26/11/2008 at 14:33
created: 19/01/2006

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Hey, does anyone know of anywhere for transexual young adults (age 20) to meet other like minded friends in or near Felixstowe? Thank You!

ipswich is haveing it 1st gay pride on the 3 sept 12pm to 6 pm

hi is there any gay places for teens in lowestoft?

miss peter
I am a older gay as others say there is very few ways for us older gays to meet in brandon (UNLESS YOU HAVE A CAR) any one know any places to meet like minded guys love to meet up with some of our cousins from over the pond, or from any other country

Will O'Neill
thank you for mentioning my pub (The Rose and Crown)

Hi PaulJust to let you know in Lowestoft there is a fornightly run gay friendly event named 'ReBranded' held at the Claremont Pier at The Edge bar - is really friendly and all welcome

Punk Junk
There is a big big feeling that gay bars and clubs are clicky- and there being only one or 2 pubs and the one club I can see why. But that said, if you actually go in one its not as clicky as people make them out to be.For the older gays out there betties in Ipswich is now offering a night aimed at over 30's. If a college student Suffolk New College now has an LGBT society. As does UCS. It's taking a while but suffolk is slowly catching up with the rest of the world.

Always remember
Gay and lesbian people who are new to the scene, or have not met people like themselves before,(maybe because they ate young) or young should remember that they reflect humanity at large. Some will be saints, some selfish, some real decent friends, some just different to you, some will be gangsters or bullies etc etc.Whatever minority you are in, (and you may belong to more than one minority) do not assume that because others are the same as you, that they are good people. You have a brain, take your time and look carefully who might claim to be your friends. It may be sad but that is how life is.

ive been in suffolk for ten years and there isnt much gay scene in suffolk for bears and mature guys..were do we all go..if we travel out of suffolk it starts being expensive when u have to use hotels..any advice guys

laura h
i want to find somewhere in lowestoft to go to make friends and meet someone maybe could you tell me where i could go

mr john douglas
hi im the new owner of the rose and crown it is now fully refurbished and is completly relaxed with karaoke on weds and friday and sundays all are welcome

where do mature gay men meet up? in suffolk

Hey! I'm 16, and already a member of Outreach, but really...what IS there to do for someone of my age who lives out in the countryside? How am I supposed to meet other people? I am not advertising myself lol, I am just saying that I am not the only one who feels like this: that there is no real way to meet other young gay people apart from by chance and going to a youth group (which not many people go to because it's not as well known as it should be [thanks to schools being afraid of putting up posters of it]). Wow, I'm not making much sense today, but I'm sure you all get the gist of what I'm saying. Bottom line, there needs to be more around here so people like me don't feel so isolated and alone and feel the need to while away the day on the computer trying to cure the loneliness. PS, 'hacker', don't rush him, it's a huge step for him to take and it can be incredibly daunting. I know, because I'm going through the exact same thing, and I have told only a couple handfuls of people that I'm gay. The best thing you can do for him is to just boost his confidence and make sure he doesn't feel 'guilty' or 'ashamed' or being gay. Good luck.

it seems in lowestoft if ur a teenager theres NOTHING for gay/les/bi kids, if there is anything in lowestodt only could some1 tell me about them soon plz.thanx

hi i'm from london and i was hoping if there was any places in london where young gay teenagers can go to aswell plz reply A.S.A.P.

John in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
My mom is from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. Are any of these pubs/ clubs located there?

James F , Ipswich
Hi there,I'm new to the area just wondering if anyone knows any cool places to go?

Im want to know any gay pub in colchester, wanna meet people here. Please write the names and if you can also the adress of these bars, cos Im new here and I wanna go dancing and meet some guys, or maybe just one guy...

dratsum and moi: don't be worried about telling the people around you, particularly those that love you. if anything, they already know, and if they're worth their friendship salt, they'll be really understanding and cool. and if they're not, then they don't deserve your time! parents can be tricky, mine are basically homophobic so i've not told them, but at the end of the day i don't think that matters because whom (and what!) i sleep with is my business. keep your respective chins up, and just be yourselves!£=-D

Lowestoft's not all that great really anymore :\ there is Greenfields which is very nice and does have a good atmosphere but it's not very big. And other than that...

Kev & Dean
Thanks Jon. Your words are reassuring. We're now living in Suffolk and hope to make lots of new friends.

dratsum, i totally understand.. although ive found living in town doesnt help either. i have a really wide group of mates, but none of them know. i dont feel i can tell them... i wind myself up about it so often :|

Just to reassure Kev & Dean I recently moved near to Eye with my partner and haven't regretted it in any way. Good Luck.

Kev & Dean
We are moving from South London to Halesworth area in a few weeks. We have done some research and found people to be very accepting but, from what you are all saying the prospects for a social life do sound a little bleak! Will we be the "only gays in the village"?

rosie u will find details of the womens group on the (suffolk gay and lesbian helpline )hope that helps

Hi there, We (partner and I, two females) are moving to Ipswich in April. We have a beautiful 18 month old baby girl and are wondering if there are any playgroups or social events for gay families.

Peter [British Columbia,Canada]
I only wish I had know of some gay haunts when I was searching Wangford,where my folks came from,years ago.

Hi, you mention the Women's Group, where do I find details about it, who is the contact person? :)

my best friend is gay i no he is but he wont tell his other friends please help i dont no what 2 do and i hate having to lie about it to my friends and i no he isnt happy not telling them

Hi.. I'm gay, 28 year old. I have the problem that I love going out, dancing etc... but bettys bar in Ipswich seems to be banning my mates (for no reason!! one because their mate acidentaly broke a window and the other because they had a relationship with a member!!) It means that I now don't feel comfortable going out to bettys (as some of my mates can't go!!!) but where else can I go locally, dance and be gay???

Kara - Outreach youth are looking to arrange regular get youth project sessions for 13-19 yera olds in lowestoft - - and are looking for young people to get involved.

im a teenage bisexual who lives in lowestoft n i was wondering if there are any youth clubs type activities i could meet other bisexuals/lesbians. xxx

Derek Sudbury
I agree with niel at brandon, everything seems to be aimed at young people there ought to be places to go and meet and chat for the more mature gays

I live in the middle of a small village. Every one knows every one- but no one knows that I'm gay. Being to young to drive and still living with parents the only way I have ever talked to like minded people are over the internet. Also being so far int he closet I might as well live in Narnia, it becomes much harder to jsut walk in to a gay/ lesbian bar.

Callum Try looking at

Ren Isaac
Hi Paul We have set up a new night for Ipswich where you can dance to funky house tunes and be entertained at the same time. We are hoping that you could help spread the word and help us gain support. If you would like any further information then please contact us on the e-mail or numbers below. Saint Genesius The Patron Saints of Dance Present A visual feast of performers and funky house sounds to delight, excite and ignite your soul. Be prepared to dance to ultimate sounds and be entertained at the same time. We welcome a G friendly crowd who appreciate individuality. Friday December 1st 2006 at the Curve Bar (Back Rooms) 58 Princes St, Ipswich, Suffolk. Doors open at 9.00pm till 1.30am Performances start at 9.45pm Ticket Event Only Your Main Acts Princess Knickers the Stunning Tassel Twirling Burlesque Dancer The Rhythmical Ipswich Dholis Drummers Championship Winning Funky House Dancers Spinning Sister the Phenomenal Poi and Glow Performer Off the Cuff Percush Nicky Fingers Exclusive Pam’s House DJ Artist in Residence John Lee Bird (Please visit website for additional acts) Coach Leaving for event from South Woodham Ferrers and Chelmsford For Tickets Call or Visit Saint Genesius Can’t Wait to Meet You x Kind regards Ren Isaac

aaron + tom
hey guyz, me and my buddy tom are new to the area and are looking for some places to go, trouble is we are devout muslims and find there isnt any places for us, any ideas hugs and kisses A&T xx

The Hide Bar in Bury St Edmunds is gay owned and gay friendly, but has a mixed crowd, mainly straight!

wot r young teenagers ment to do ?

Greenfields Wine Bar in Lowestoft, very gay friendly and nice bar staff

god some one help me ive jush moved from kent to woodbridge and it seems im the only gay in the village there must be some where we go around here god help me out please

i live in mildenhall and its not exactly a bunch of fun for a young gay teen. i go to ipswich to group called outreach, great for ppl aged 13 - 19 but i also agree there does not seem to be alot for mature people in the Brandon / Mildenhall, there is a gay run pub in Mildenhall, probabaly as close as you are going to get.

what about lowestoft anything there

The new globe inn high street lowestoft is a gay friendly pub, it has a freindly mixed crowd and all are welcome!

niel at Brandon,
something for the more mature gays in suffolk/norfolk would be nice or is there no such thing as a mature gay guy.looking at gaydor ,i begin to wonder.others, coments would be welcome.

The GayVenue @ Roberts Night Club Colchester CO27DG This Thursday 2nd March 06 we have an international DJ playing Funkydirtysexyelectrohouse.

The gayvenue at roberts night club in vineyard st colchester is aimed at gay, lesbian, transexual and transgendered, it,s on the 1st thursday in the month, it,s fast becoming the biggest night out in East Anglia.

Hi, I have only lived in Newmarket for nine months and I'm still surprised with the strong gay population it has. As mentioned in the article above, places such as the gym and websites such as gaydar are some of the many places to find new people in this rural area.

I can never understand why theres not been a long lasting gay pub in Ippy since the Olive closed down years ago. The Rose and Crown is on the market yet again - whats going on with this county!

Sean Traynor
Just to emphasise that The Fox Inn in Honington is a gay run, gay friendly, no attitude environment. I think people might be mis-lead by the "Gay pub" tag.

Hello all, In addition to the above article I noticed that this month's edition of Fyne magazine (available free from most gay bars and online) lists details of lots more UK wide gay social groups including walking groups, camping & caravanning, caving, climbing, biking, nature watching and water sports, together with their websites and descriptions.

hi im alex
yer i go to outreach its really good getting to know other gay and bisexual people

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