The perfect spot for a cottagecore lesbian staycation
BY ELLA PORTEOUS, IMAGE BY WEAVETALL
We’ve all heard of Lesbos in Greece, the sapphic paradise where 60% to 90% of the tourists are lesbian. Well, did you know that the UK essentially has its own version located in West Yorkshire? Just sadly without the gorgeous Greek beaches.
Nestled away in the countryside just eight miles west of Halifax, Hebden Bridge is a town famous for having a thriving LGBTQIA community. It is particularly favoured by lesbians and is even known as the lesbian capital of the UK.
For many years Hebden Bridge and its flourishing lesbian community were undiscovered by mainstream media. It wasn’t until an article was published by The Guardian in 2001 that the world became aware of the sapphic utopia.
In the article, Dr Darren Smith explains that he accidentally discovered the large lesbian community after conducting door-to-door interviews for his Ph.D. on the revitalisation of Hebden Bridge. “I found doors opened by one lesbian household after another, and I was being told the same tale of local acceptance and openness by them all.”
Dr Smith said that acceptance of LGBTQIA people in the Upper Calderdale Valley resulted in a significant number of queer women moving to the area from cities such as London and Manchester. We all know just how much lesbians love the cottagecore aesthetic, so it’s no surprise that this quaint town in the countryside is now home to an overwhelming number of queer women.
Hebden Bridge has since received a second wave of buzz online. Due to the rise in popularity of TikTok videos and Instagram Reels, lots of LGBTQIA people are visiting the town and documenting their trip, encouraging others to visit the LGBTQIA-friendly town.
Presenter and content creator Helen Scott recently documented her trip to Hebden Bridge on her TikTok, saying: “However you identify, get yourself to Hebden Bridge for your own queer adventure this summer.” We can’t argue with Helen, because her video makes the town look so wonderful.
Others have also recorded their time at Hebden Bridge, showing their favourite things about the town and giving their recommendations.
However, the Hebden Bridge wasn’t always this fabulously sapphic. The town was an incredibly busy place during the industrial revolution due to its mills and factories. Following the mass closure of the mills during the 1970s, activists and artists moved to the town. This began a movement of art and culture in Hebden Bridge, creating a climate of acceptance. Slowly, more LGBTQIA people began to settle in the town, creating the large queer community that lives there today.
It’s no wonder that Hebden Bridge is home to Happy Valley Pride, which is most famous for its Queer Arts And Pride festival. The weeklong event takes place annually in late July, celebrating artists from the LGBTQIA community in Hebden Bridge and around the world.
Despite this loving and accepting community, Happy Valley Pride started in 2015 after a piece of homophobic graffiti appeared in the centre of Hebden Bridge, acting as a reminder of exactly why Pride is so important. The organisation does amazing work within youth engagement, raising awareness about LGBTQIA issues within local schools to positively affirm and represent the LGBTQIA community.
From the queer-owned businesses, an accepting community, and quaint countryside vibes, how could you not fall in love with this sapphic paradise? Don’t mind me, I’m just off to browse house prices.
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