Tour guides Yan White (left) and Sophia Karpaty (right). Image credit: Cerys Gardner.

New LGBTQ walking tours of Cardiff a success

Visitors are taken on an hour-long tour of the city centre’s queer past and present

CARDIFF’S queer past and present is being explored in new walking tours of the city’s LGBTQ+ history and they are already proving popular.

The first two tours, organised by the Queer Emporium, sold out with the second of those taking place tomorrow.

“Queer history is something that often gets overlooked,” said Yan White, (he/they), owner and founder of the Queer Emporium.

The tour showcases historical and current gay venues in Cardiff. One of these is The Golden Cross, a gay pub recently featured in the Doctor Who Christmas special. It also has one of only two tiled bars left in Wales. 

Then tiled exterior on The Golden Cross Pub. Credit: Cerys Gardner

Other stops include the former sites of King’s Cross bar and the infamous Tunnel Club. 

The tours are currently open to all ages. If they continue to be successful Mx White said they would consider running some for adults only, but emphasised the importance of younger people being able to access LGBTQ history. (Mx is a neutral title used by some transgender and non-binary people.)

Mx White said they also wanted something new to offer Cardiff’s LGBTQ tourists. He said the Queer Emporium gets a lot of visitors, especially from Canada, who come to them to ask for recommendations. 

The tours were launched as part of LGBTQ history month. They are run by Sophia Karpaty (she/they), a drag artist, and Mx White. 

Queer history is something that often gets overlooked

Yan White, Queer Emporium founder

Mx Karpaty said they enjoyed “being able to hear and tell stories” of Cardiff’s LGBTQ community. 

Mx White said: “It is important to have a project which engages with LGBTQ history that is live.”

Gay bar Kings Cross photographed in 2007, it closed in 2013. Credit: Dom Atreides, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Toby Drewitt-Jones attended the tour with his wife Tania Drewitt-Jones and a group of their friends from university. They all saw the tour advertised on Instagram and came along because “we want to support these guys”. 

Many people on the first tour had their own memories of these venues. Abby Palmer said she enjoyed the nostalgia of it. 

Mx White’s plan is to run more over the summer, based on feedback from these first two tours.

  • Future tours will be announced on the Queer Emporium’s Instagram