Make the most of a trip to Birmingham and pack days with historic tours, stylish shopping and fun family attractions.
In the city centre close to Birmingham New Street station, bustling shopping streets lead to regal Victorian town squares. To the west lie the fashionable boutiques and welcoming cafés of the elegant Jewellery Quarter, while just a short hop from the city’s centre is the famous Balti Triangle offering spicy post-match feasts. Under an hour’s drive from this central West Midlands city is the leafy riverside town of Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of Shakespeare.
Pledge allegiance to a local football team on backstage stadium tours of Birmingham City and Aston Villa football clubs. Those with a sweet tooth can indulge at Cadbury World, where you can trace the history of the first chocolate bar and take a Willy Wonka-style tour. The National Trust Back to Backs tour evokes the Victorian era inside workers’ redbrick terrace houses, and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter offers a historic glimpse into the city’s fascinating jewellery-making heritage which is over 200 years old and still producing around 40% of the UK’s jewellery. Then move on to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, home to one of the largest collections of pre-Raphaelite art in the world.
Explore the city
Book yourself on a Blue Badge Guided Tour, where a friendly and informative guide will take you on a tour around the city and into Birmingham’s historic past.
If you weren’t able to bag yourself a ticket, head to one of Birmingham’s lively pubs and bars to watch the game; The Trocadero is the perfect choice for evening of hearty pub grub and craft beers whilst you watch the game, or visit 24 hour sports bar Rileys Birmingham for a game on one of their pool tables, and a beer or three as you watch the match on the big screen. For a night on the tiles, head to The Rainbow Venues, which hosts some of the biggest DJs in the industry. Mechu is a classy option, a luxurious and exclusive venue to see and be seen at with a glass of champagne. The Edgbaston is a boutique hotel with three gorgeous Art Deco cocktail lounges – get in a Gatsby mood there.
Great for families
Kids come face-to-face with mesmerising oceanic creatures such as octopus, stingrays and jellyfish, and can even hold crabs and tickle starfish at the interactive National Sea Life Centre Birmingham. On the other side of the city, budding scientists can handle fossils and play in the laboratory at the hands-on Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum.
Admire Birmingham’s futuristic Selfridges store, clad in thousands of shiny aluminium discs, at the iconic Bullring Birmingham – its distinctive design was inspired by a Paco Rabanne sequinned dress. For specialist souvenirs like pens, cigars and chocolates sold under Victorian arched roofs and stone masonry, there’s the chic Great Western Arcade. The Mailbox is the place to go for designer shopping and chic cafés and restaurants.
Explore the area
Continue the adrenaline rush of high-octane rugby games with the bounty of scary rides at Drayton Manor Theme Park and Alton Towers Resort, both within easy reach of Birmingham. Those after a more leisurely pace can chug alongside the river by steam train on a Severn Valley Railway excursion. Or step back in time at the Black Country Living Museum where you can ride a tram through a recreated Victorian village.
Rainy days are well catered for at StarCity entertainment – a vast entertainment venue with activities such as indoor adventure golf, a 25-screen cinema, five-a-side football and two 12-metre climbing walls. Five miles away, you can get your adrenaline pumping at F1K Indoor Karting, Birmingham’s premier indoor Go Karting circuit. And to experience Land Rover’s legendary all-terrain expertise in safe, thrilling and true-to-life driving adventures you can visit Land Rover Experience Solihull.
Did you know?
Birmingham was central to the Industrial Revolution, with inventions like the industrial steam engine emerging from the area, fundamentally changing the way the world works.
Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice! Discover pretty locks and wharfs, marvel at restored industrial buildings and explore green and peaceful suburbs on city centre canal boat cruises.
Where to stay
Where to eat
With four Michelin-starred restaurants Birmingham now boasts more than any other city in the UK outside of London. There’s a burgeoning street food scene too. Overall the culinary cultures of no less than 27 nationalities are represented here.
Getting there and around
Located right in the heart of England, Birmingham is incredibly easy to reach by air, rail or road.
Air: The nearest airport is Birmingham Airport. Regular trains take 10 minutes from neighbouring Birmingham International station to the city centre, and there are also National Express coach services and the number 900 bus
Rail: Birmingham New Street station is around one hour and 25 minutes from London Euston station
Road: The exit to Birmingham is at junction 6 of the M6 and the city is also linked by the M5, M40 and M42
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