Top places to visit on a city break in Birmingham

Our guide on the best things to do in Birmingham

Despite being home to some of the UK’s best restaurants and attractions, visitors tend to only scratch the surface of this England’s second-largest city. Our guide highlights some of the best staycation ideas and places to visit in Birmingham, from panoramic hotel views to pinball-themed bars.


Browse Birmingham's finest jewellery

Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham

St Paul's Square in the Jewellery District, Birmingham.

Home to over 700 jewellers, retailers and museums, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter has become something of a crown jewel over the past 250 years. Whether you’re in the market for something new and sparkly at long-time institutions like Mitchel & Co and Victoria James; want to learn more about the city’s history with metalworking and jewellery; or simply want to take in the atmospheric rows of independent coffee shops and bars, this northern section of the city is a must-visit destination.

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The Jewellery Quarter is also home to a variety of quirky museums, giving you the chance to go behind the scenes in a variety of industries, including the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, the Pen Museum and the Coffin Works. With an Explorer Pass, you can visit all three over the course of two days at a reduced price.

Find out more about Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter

Treat your tastebuds to Cadbury's finest

Cadbury World, Birmingham

Explore the rich and tasty history of Cadbury at one of the UK’s most unique attractions. Cadbury World takes you on a journey through time, starting with the very origins of chocolate and how it became a global phenomenon through to mass production in the heart of Birmingham. Featuring plenty of tasting opportunities, this magical tour through a former Cadbury factory will be memorable for all ages.

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Feeling more adventurous? The Bear Grylls Adventure Centre is the first of its kind in the world, offering a variety of high-octane activities, from Europe’s tallest high-ropes to shark-diving. Found in the east of the city (near the National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham Airport), surrounded by outlet stores and upscale resort hotels, the Adventure Centre is ideal to build a day out or a mini-break around.

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Indulge in culinary artistry

Opheem, Birmingham

A chef preparing a meal at Opheem, Birmingham.

Often underrated as a gourmet destination, Birmingham bursts with a wide variety of cuisines and cooking practices, ranging from exotic street food to high-end Michelin star restaurants. Enjoy top of the range sushi in the mini but mighty 10-seater Gaijin Sushi (be sure to book in advance!); experience the best in British nose-to-tail cooking at the Michelin-starred Purnell’s; or discover a unique Michelin-style twist on Indian cuisine at the highly rated Opheem.

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For a more traditional British option with modern twists, you can book one of several unique afternoon tea experiences across the city. For a touch of Indian flavour, head to Zindiya Streatery & Bar for freshly brewed masala chai, Bombay sandwiches and aloo tikka chaat. For a more indulgent option, Three Church Road near Edgbaston’s botanical gardens offers all the classics (scones, finger sandwiches, breakfast teas) with a glass of champagne in charming surroundings.

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Become a craft beer and pinball wizard

Tilt, Birmingham

Craft beer, speciality coffee and pinball collide at Birmingham’s Tilt – one of the UK’s most unique bars. Set across three floors, Tilt has a mix of vintage and new pinball machines, all available at just a quid per game. Thirsty? Tilt has a range of craft beers from across the globe, with some of America and Europe’s finest available, while coffee lovers can enjoy seasonal brews from local guest roasters.

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For something extra-Instagrammable, head to Sky by the Water. This rooftop bar has incredible views of the Birmingham skyline, along with covered pods for when it’s chilly. For something slightly closer to the city centre, be sure to pay a visit to Brindleyplace  – the affectionately known Canal District is known for its waterside bars and restaurants.

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Stay in one of Birmingham's most iconic buildings

Staying Cool at Rotunda, Birmingham

Stay in one of the key features of Birmingham’s city centre skyline with Staying Cool – 35 stylish, 1960s-inspired apartments found in the upper levels of the Rotunda. With stunning views across the city and all the luxuries you would expect in a modern hotel, Staying Cool’s apartment suit all staycations, from family-friendly suites to romantic getaways.

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The Edgbaston is a curious but sleek mix of cocktail lounge and boutique hotel with 20 individually designed bedrooms. Victorian architecture meets art deco interiors, and with three cocktail lounges on-site, the Edgbaston has everything under one roof for an indulgent hotel break. Other swish hotels in Birmingham include Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, both of which have spas.

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Explore the city's history by boat

Brindleyplace, Birmingham

Gas Street Basin, a historic canal-side landmark in Birmingham.

With over 35 miles of canals, Birmingham is said to have more canals than both Venice and Amsterdam. True or not, the tangle of waterways provides a unique way to get around and see the city’s industrial roots and modern developments from a different perspective. Alternatively, hop on a Water Bus and continue your adventure across Birmingham in style.

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More of Birmingham’s history is revealed at historic houses such as Aston Hall, a Grade1-listed Jacobean house whose period rooms filled with locally made textiles, paintings, furniture and metalwork. If you want to venture out and explore more of the West Midlands, Stratford-upon-Avon is just south of Birmingham and is best known as Shakespeare’s Birthplace and is now home to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The entire town feels is a picture-perfect living memorial to England’s most famous playwright.

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27 Aug 2021(last updated)

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    Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham

  • 2

    Cadbury World, Birmingham

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    Opheem, Birmingham

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    Tilt, Birmingham

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    Staying Cool at Rotunda, Birmingham

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    Brindleyplace, Birmingham

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