14 Top Attractions & Places to Visit in Birmingham, UK

Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated Dec 28, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Bryan Dearsley visited England in the spring of 2022 exploring The Midlands, including the city of Birmingham.

Birmingham is Britain's second largest city , and its location in the West Midlands makes it a great place to begin exploring popular tourist spots such as the Cotswolds and Malvern Hills areas. It's especially fun to embark on tours by canal boat : Birmingham's canals were a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution, and today this extensive canal network is used mostly for pleasure boating.

Gas Street Basin, Birmingham

The city has a larger canal system than Venice. Little wonder then that one of the top free things to do in Birmingham is exploring the preserved canals and historic buildings of the iconic Gas Street Basin .

These days, the city is best known for its jewelry and food stuffs, as well as its numerous cultural activities and festivals, and, most recently, for having hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games. A popular annual event here is the world's largest St. Patrick's Day Parade .

To ensure you can cram as much as possible into your itinerary, be sure to refer to our list of the top attractions and things to in Birmingham, England.

See also: Where to Stay in Birmingham

1. Explore Victoria Square & the City Center

2. see the birmingham back to backs, 3. visit the roundhouse & gas street basin, 4. take a tour of birmingham museum & art gallery, 5. see the blooms at birmingham botanical gardens, 6. get smart at thinktank, birmingham science museum, 7. take the family to the national sea life centre birmingham, 8. wander the jewellery quarter, 9. enjoy a concert at st. philip's cathedral, 10. barber institute of fine arts, 11. take a fun trip to the nec & resorts world birmingham, 12. see the cute creatures at birmingham wildlife conservation park, 13. satisfy your sweet tooth at cadbury world, bournville, 14. step back in time at black country living museum, dudley, where to stay in birmingham for sightseeing, birmingham, united kingdom - climate chart.

Victoria Square, Birmingham

The heart of Birmingham revolves around the pedestrian-friendly Victoria Square, an area that can be explored via the Birmingham City Centre Path. Along the way, you'll discover the attractive old Town Hall , built in 1832 and a masterpiece of Victorian architecture. Resembling a Roman temple, this impressive structure features 40 ornate Corinthian columns made of Anglesey marble.

It's been the center of the city's music scene since hosting the first performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah in 1847. Nowadays, its impressive Symphony Hall, with its world-class acoustics and stunning auditorium, regularly features A-list singers and performers and is also home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Victoria Square & City Center, Birmingham

Adorning the forecourt are two memorials, one to Queen Victoria and another to inventor James Watt. The Renaissance-style Council House , built in 1874, with its famous "Big Brum" clock (a slang phrase for Birmingham) is close by.

Other old-city sites to visit include pedestrian-only Chamberlain Square and the Central Library. The library is home to the largest Shakespeare collection outside the United States, boasting 50,000 volumes in 90 languages.

Birmingham Back to Backs

Well worth visiting and within easy walking distance of the city center, the Birmingham Back to Backs attraction is a unique collection of the small back-to-back homes once so prolific throughout the city. Built around a central courtyard — in this case, Court 15 — in the mid-19th century, these homes offer a unique insight into the often difficult conditions in which the working classes lived.

Interesting displays also provide an insight into these workers' important contribution to city life. Other highlights include a traditional 1930s sweet shop, along with a souvenir shop, or participating in one of the fun workshops held here regularly.

For a first-rate tourist experience, consider booking one of the attraction's two cottages for an overnight stay. Admission is by guided tour only.

Address: 50-54 Inge Street, Birmingham

Official site:

The Roundhouse

Birmingham is justifiably proud of its industrial heritage. Nowhere is this more evident than along its extensive canal network. Highlights of this remarkably well-preserved canal system include the Roundhouse.

Built in 1874 and originally used as a storehouse and stables, this horseshoe-shaped building today makes for a perfect base from which to explore the canals, whether on foot or from one of the fun guided kayak and bike sightseeing tours available. A small museum on-site shows the development and later preservation of the building.

Gas Street Basin

After a pleasant waterside stroll along Canalside Walk , you'll find yourself in Gas Street Basin. Constructed as an inland port for horse-drawn barges hauling cargo, this wide basin's surrounding old warehouses have been carefully restored and now house everything from restaurants to cafés and boutique shops.

Address: 1 Sheepcote Street, Birmingham

Official site:

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, opened in 1885, is considered one of the finest such museums outside of London. Its art treasures include a collection of works by Pre-Raphaelite painters, as well as artwork from the 17th to 19th centuries and sculptures by Rodin and James Tower.

There are also interesting displays related to the city's history, including archaeological finds dating back to the Stone Age, along with the impressive Pinto Collection with its 6,000-plus toys and other items made of wood. A gift shop is located on-site, and if you're interested in a great high tea experience, the exquisite Edwardian Tearooms is worth a visit.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

If there's time in your schedule, pay a visit to The Ikon Gallery , a contemporary art museum located in a heritage building that's worth exploring.

Address: Chamberlain Square, Birmingham

Official site:

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Another great tourist attraction that should be included on your West Midlands travel itinerary is The Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Spread across 15 acres in the affluent suburbs of Edgbaston, these 19th-century gardens are easy to get to from the city center and home to countless species. A visit is very much like stepping back in time, thanks to the perfectly preserved Victorian-era glasshouses and other period park features.

It's particularly well known for its collection of bonsai trees, including one that's over 250 years old. In addition to the more than 7,000 plants from across the globe, you'll also enjoy seeing a variety of wildlife, including rare tropical birds and a butterfly house. Other on-site amenities include a gift shop, a tearoom, plus playgrounds for the kids.

Address: Westbourne Road, Birmingham

Official site:

Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum

Families traveling with budding young scientists won't want to miss Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum. This award-winning museum includes a large number of fascinating science-related exhibits, many of them hands-on and interactive.

Highlights include an impressive collection of steam-powered machines, from locomotives to tractors, as well as industrial machinery, many related to Birmingham's important role as an industrial center through the centuries. Other fun displays include a chocolate packaging machine and the Spitfire Gallery, with its authentic WWII-era aircraft (including one of 10,000 Spitfires made locally).

Be sure to also visit the Science Garden, with its human-sized hamster wheel and kids' adventure playground. The Thinktank Planetarium, with its fascinating tours of the stars and planets, is another great way to keep the whole family entertained.

Address: Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham

Official site:

National SEA LIFE Centre

One of Birmingham's most-visited tourist attractions, the National SEA LIFE Centre is home to an impressive 60-plus exhibits related to marine life. Pride of place goes to the aquarium's massive million-liter ocean tank, with its unique underwater tunnel, which allows visitors an uninterrupted view of the diverse sea life on display, including everything from reef sharks to giant turtles.

All told, some 2,000 critters call the aquarium home, including numerous rare seahorses, giant octopi, lobsters, crabs, and stingrays. The attraction's big stars, though, are its playful otters (look out for Mango and Starsky), along with its penguins.

Housed in the impressive Penguin Ice Adventure habitat, these fascinating creatures are fun to watch as they frolic. A 4-D cinema is also on site and offers regular educational programming. If time and budget permit, book one of the fun behind-the-scenes or penguin-feeding experiences.

To make a full family day out of it, pop across the canal to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre . In addition to plenty of hands-on building brick experiences to enjoy, there's a fun 3-D cinema, an indoor playground, along with a café and a LEGO shop.

Address: The Water's Edge, Brindley Place, Birmingham

Official site:

Pen Museum in the Jewellery Quarter

The Jewellery Quarter is an area of Birmingham that is steeped in tradition. Here, more than 200 jewelers' workshops and silversmiths produce 40 percent of Britain's jewelry, chiefly in the vicinity of the Clock Tower on the corner of Vyse and Frederick Streets and around the Georgian church of St. Paul's.

Be sure to visit the area's top sightseeing spot, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter , which offers an insider's look at the trade in the fascinating Smith & Pepper Factory. Also worth checking out is the nearby Hall of Memory opposite Baskerville House, erected in 1925 to commemorate the 14,000 city men who lost their lives in WWI, and St. Paul's Square with its attractive church.

Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham

If time permits, be sure to pop over to the Pen Museum . Situated in the Jewellery Quarter's old pen factory, this first-rate museum showcases the city's former role as a hotbed of pen making along with the history of writing instruments. A special treat is having the opportunity to make your own steel nib using the same machinery and techniques used in the 19th century. Also fun is the reproduction Victorian schoolroom, where guests can practice their penmanship using traditional quills.

Address: Vyse Street, Hockley, Birmingham

Official site:

St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham

Built in 1715, St. Philip's Cathedral, the third smallest in England, began life as a parish church and was elevated to its present status in 1905. The cathedral was gutted during a bombing raid in 1940, but foresight saw its famous stained-glass windows by Burne-Jones (1884) removed a few weeks prior.

Returned to their rightful place when the cathedral was rebuilt in 1948, these significant treasures are now a highlight of any trip to Birmingham. Be sure to check the cathedral's website prior to your visit for details of talks, seminars, exhibits, and concerts.

St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham

Another religious structure worth visiting is St. Martin's Church . Dating from the 13th century, it also features windows by Burne-Jones.

Address: Colmore Row, Birmingham

Official site:

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Located close to Birmingham University, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts houses an excellent collection of art from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Highlights include masterpieces by the likes of Botticelli, Bellini, Tintoretto, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Manet, Monet, Gainsborough, Constable, and Degas.

The building itself should also be explored, especially for its excellent statue of George I. If time permits be sure to check out the institute's schedule of classical lunchtime and evening concerts. Guided tours are available, and a shop and café are located on-site.

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Official site:

National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and Resorts World Birmingham

A visit to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and Resorts World Birmingham makes for a fun day out. They are located a 25-minute train ride east of Birmingham, near the city's airport. Opened in 1976 and one of the country's largest and most important exhibition centers, the NEC regularly hosts musical concerts and a wide variety of consumer shows.

The real fun, though, takes place next door at Resorts World Birmingham . Opened in 2015, this large entertainment complex offers plenty of fun things to do for all ages. Designed to resemble a cruise ship, the attraction's seven-story-tall centerpiece is home to numerous restaurants, shops, a spa, and a hotel. If you've time, book a sumptuous afternoon tea in the ritzy Sky By The Water restaurant, so named for its great views over the complex grounds and its large lake.

A must-visit for families, the new Bear Grylls Adventure offers plenty of exciting experiences. Located between the NEC and Resorts World Birmingham, this thrilling indoor/outdoor attraction features everything from an assault-style climbing course to high ropes, axe throwing, archery, and even a shark dive, to name but a few.

Address: Pendigo Way, Marston Green, Birmingham

Official site:

Ring-tailed lemur at the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

A fun creature-focused attraction that's well worth seeing for those traveling with kids is the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park . This city-run attraction on the edge of Cannon Hill Park is a small zoo that's home to a variety of animals including red pandas, lemurs, and meerkats.

Established in 1964, the zoo has also become important for its research and breeding programs. A variety of fun experiences are available for kids, including some that allow unique hands-on experiences based around the care and upkeep of a variety of the gentler species.

At the very least, be sure to check the zoo's website for details of feeding times, when you can often see these cute creatures at their liveliest.

Address: Pershore Road, Birmingham

Official site:

Cadbury World, Bournville

Located in Cadbury's Bournville manufacturing site, just a short drive from Birmingham, Cadbury World is one of the area's largest and most popular attractions. It welcomes more than 500,000 visitors each year. With a focus on fun, visitors get to discover the history of chocolate, as well as the manufacturing process through a number of excellent themed interactive exhibits.

Along the way, guests learn the story of the Cadbury business, one of the world's largest confectioneries, as well as having a chance to enjoy theme-park-like attractions suitable for families. A highlight is exploring the Bull Street attraction with its replica shops reminiscent of the 1820s.

Be sure to also try your hand at making your own confectionary, as well as getting in some shopping in the world's largest Cadbury's sweet shop. Afterwards, be sure to spend a little time exploring the picture-perfect village of Bournville itself, built by the Cadbury family after 1860 specifically to house their large workforce.

Address: Linden Road, Bournville

Official site:

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

In the town of Dudley, just nine miles west of Birmingham, The Black Country Living Museum occupies a 26-acre site and offers visitors a vivid insight into the history of mining (hence the "black"). An old mine shaft and reconstructed turn-of-the-century industrial community consisting of 50 authentic buildings, many of them dismantled and rebuilt on the property, can be explored.

It's also fun to wander around the neighboring network of canals, a part of the adventure that takes place in an authentic narrow boat once used to transport coal.

Other highlights of this fascinating open-air museum include the chance to interact with costumed guides well-versed in the histories of the local people. There are also plenty of unique shopping opportunities, vintage trams, buses, and commercial vehicles, as well as a traditional English fun fair from the 19th century.

Located between Birmingham and Coventry, Sarehole Mill Museum is an old water mill that dates back to the mid 1500s. Located on the River Cole in Hall Green, it's fun diversion if you're able to get here, and contains fascinating exhibits on its history, as well as one that deals with J.R.R. Tolkien, who as a child lived only a few hundred yards away.

Address: Tipton Road, Dudley

Official site:

If you're looking to spend a few days sightseeing in Birmingham, we recommend these centrally located hotels in Birmingham located close to popular museums and tourist attractions such as the National Sea Life Centre:

Luxury Hotels :

  • The luxurious Hyatt Regency Birmingham is a high-rise hotel in the city center that's well worth staying at, featuring excellent city views, contemporary décor, spa facilities, an indoor swimming pool, and whirlpool.
  • Another good luxury option is the Genting Hotel , a four-star property that offers a mix of rooms and suites, a restaurant with great views over the city, and a spa.
  • The Edgbaston should also be on your list and is a delightful boutique hotel featuring elegant en-suite bedrooms, a great restaurant, and a posh afternoon tea.

Mid-Range Hotels :

  • The wonderfully named Staying Cool at Rotunda is a great centrally located mid-range-priced hotel offering a sleek design, serviced apartments, floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortable beds, and incredible city views. Fresh fruit for juicing is a nice added touch.
  • Hipsters and those who enjoy attractive old buildings should look into the Frederick Street Townhouse located in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, with cozy rooms, great beds, and old-style bathtubs.
  • For a truly unique experience, book into the new Boatel Birmingham , featuring accommodations for up to eight guests in three rooms aboard a classic canal barge.

Budget Hotels :

  • The Staybridge Suites Birmingham is a great choice for those seeking a cheap Birmingham hotel and features affordable suites with kitchenettes, a free breakfast, and fitness center.
  • So, too, is the Premier Inn Birmingham City Centre , with its budget-friendly rates, central location, wonderful staff, and great breakfast.
  • Be sure to also look for hotel deals at the Hilux Birmingham , an apartment-style hotel within walking distance of top attractions that offers quality bedding and clean accommodations.

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Easy Day Trips : The city of Manchester makes for a fun day trip from Birmingham, with its museums and revitalized city center being easy to get to by car or train. Lovely Liverpool is about the same distance (and as easy to get to), and is popular for its many Beatles-related things to do. Although a little further afield, Bristol can also be enjoyed in a day, with a stop at the beautiful Cheddar Gorge being a must-do along the way.


Great Weekend Getaways : The charming city of Chester makes for a great weekend getaway when in England, and is famous for its historic city walls and medieval architecture. Another historic cathedral city worth staying at is Durham , which also features a well-preserved castle and numerous cobbled streets. The northern city of Hull is not without its charms, too, including its museum quarter and excellent maritime museum.


England Travel Ideas : Be sure to set vacation time aside for a visit to England's capital, the city of London , a popular place to visit for its ancient castle (the Tower of London) and Buckingham Palace. The English Lake District makes for another great place to stay, famous for lovely Lake Windermere and its endless water sports and hiking opportunities. The lovely city of Winchester is another great option, especially as it's located close to the country's top tourist attraction, Stonehenge.

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20 TOP Day Trips From Birmingham By Train, Car & Coach!

Categories England , U.K

With Birmingham’s wonderful central location, there are so many day trips from Birmingham that can be done.

Whether you are looking for day trips near Birmingham that you can drive to with the family and have some fun at, or you are looking for day trips from Birmingham by train to a different part of the country for cities and culture, I’ve got you covered in this post full of days out in Birmingham!

Coach trips from Birmingham are also incredibly popular so below I have noted popular day trips from Birmingham by coach too!

From historical cities like York and Bath , iconic sights like Stonehenge and family fun attractions like Alton Towers , the Harry Potter Museum and Leicester National Space Centre .

This list of Birmingham day trips has been put together with the help of my fellow travel bloggers to help you explore the best of the Midlands and beyond on a Birmingham day trip!

Day Trips From Birmingham

Day Trips from Birmingham

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Map of Day Trips from Birmingham

Sometimes, it helps to see places on a map so here is a map with all of the below Birmingham day trip ideas on it so you can see how far you want to travel.

Day Trips Birmingham

1. malvern hills.

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a visit to a beautiful nature spot just a 1 hour drive out of Birmingham, there is no better place to visit than the Malvern Hills.

Stretching across the three counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire , there are plenty of different walks to choose from in the Malverns. You can walk the five hours end to end following the top of the Malvern Ridge from Chace End to North Hill taking in the main summits!

How to do a Malvern Hills day trip from Birmingham ?

The Malvern Hills are pretty easily accessible by train so they make one of the great day trips from Birmingham by train !

A train from Birmingham New Street takes you directly to Colwall, Great Malvern or Malvern Link from which you can walk onto the hills pretty easily. However, a car is best if you want to park at the base of the hills for a really easy walk.

The best car parks are at British Camp, Gardiner’s Quarry, or Upper Beacon Road car park.

Suggested by: Faraway Lucy

day trips from Birmingham, Malvern Hills

2. Bibury Village, Cotswolds

One of the best day trips from Birmingham has to be the  beautiful Cotswolds village  of Bibury. This riverside village is often dubbed the prettiest village in England and is famous for being home to Arlington Row.

Owned by the National Trust, Arlington Row, is a small but picturesque row of houses , so quintessentially English that they even feature on the inside cover of the British passport.

Other than this beautiful row of houses, Bibury is also home to Bibury Trout Farm. Spanning 15 acres of land, the trout farm is one of the oldest in England and visitors even have the opportunity to catch their own dinner! If you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, you can always purchase one of the deli products to take back to Birmingham.

How to do a Cotswolds day trip from Birmingham?

Bibury is south of Birmingham and takes 1 hour 20 minutes to reach by car via the M5. If you prefer to visit the Cotswolds by train from Birmingham you can travel to Cheltenham Spa Station and get a 30-minute taxi for the rest of the way.

Suggested by: Roshni from The Wanderlust Within

Day Trips from Birmingham, Cotswolds


When it comes to day trips from Birmingham by train , I really recommend booking your tickets in advance on The Train Line so you can get the best price! Tickets are always cheaper further out from your trip date rather than on the day itself. Check out train times and tickets on The Train Line here now!


For your coach trips from Birmingham, you can also use The Train Line to make bookings with all the top UK bus and coach providers and the best thing is, coach tickets are often much cheaper than train tickets so this will help you book a cheap Birmingham day out!

Check out coach times and tickets on The Train Line here now!

3. Warwick & Warwick Castle

Warwick is a small town located along River Avon which forms part of the West Midlands Region in England. The very first thing that comes to one’s mind when we hear Warwick is its magnificent castle founded by William the conquerer. To be very honest, Warwick is more than that, and there are many interesting things to do, considering how small the town is.

Seep through thousand years of jaw-dropping history as you walk through the rooms of Warwick Castle.  The castle is huge, sits right next to River Avon and is an unmissable attraction in Warwick. You come to Warwick to marvel at the Warwick Castle and hear about the stories of heroes and warriors.

Right next to the castle is the adorable The Mill Garden – a privately owned garden that allows public access. A great place to take a stroll or catch a glimpse of the castle.

Walk around the town centre admiring the half-timbered houses and myriad cafes and restaurants.  If you are looking for an indoor activity, St. Johns House and Market Hall Museum are lovely little museums that you can spend time in with your family.

How to get to Warwick Castle from Birmingham ?

 Warwick can be explored by car or public transport. It is only 45 minutes drive from Birmingham.

Alternatively, there is a direct train service by Chiltern Railways that connects Birmingham and Warwick and takes around 1 hour to reach. By coach from Birmingham , Warwick is just 30 minutes away.

Suggested by: Country Hopping Couple

Day Trips from Birmingham, Warwick Castle

4. Shrewsbury

Are you looking for a lovely relaxing place to visit on your day out from Birmingham? Shrewsbury is the perfect place to relax and wander.  The entire town centre is now within easy walking distance, bounded on all sides by the river loop.

The buildings in Shrewsbury are of all ages, many mediaeval and Georgian – and new ones too, all huddled together in a tiny half-square kilometre of space .  Much of the town centre is occupied by local shops, cafes, wine bars and restaurants. 

Some specific Shrewsbury highlights include The High Street , with bookshops, and cafes, Wyle Cop – steeply sloping and lined with jewellery shops, and others specialising in cookware, and fine foods, the vast Quarry Park with tree-lined lawns, and the river, and Mardol : an ancient street where you will discover the town’s most quirky old timber-framed structures, some dating back to the 13th Century.

Find time to enjoy a cup of tea on this Birmingham day trip before catching one of the many trains back to Bham.

How to get to Shrewsbury from Birmingham ?

There is a direct train from Birmingham New Street to Shrewsbury making this one of the easy and cheap day trips from London as the ticket cost is low, and Birmingham to Shrewsbury is around a 1-hour drive too.

It’s also one of the great coach trips from Birmingham because it takes just 1 hour by coach from Birmingham to Shrewsbury .

Suggested by: The Travelling Twins

day trips from Birmingham, Shrewsbury


If you need to hire a car for the day so you can go on the perfect day trip from Birmingham, have a look on Rental Cars here as they check for car rental with all off the big companies like Budget, Hertz & Aviv so you only need to check once to get the best price!

The list is long of things to do in Ludlow in this walled medieval town including a river walk, a castle, markets, and great food to try. You will notice the people who live there take very good care of their home with beautiful baskets of flowers everywhere and they keep it neat and tidy.

The castle square market is open daily, except Tuesday . They do vary the stalls with speciality markets on Thursdays and Sundays. The stalls are full of local produce and handmade items. You will find many tempting treasures that may be difficult to resist.

The walk along the river is beautiful, with great views of the castle from Dinham Bridge . There is a circular walk called the two bridges (or for the old times the bread walk) if you like to walk it is highly recommended. 

Ludlow is one of the great Birmingham day trips to enjoy a small-town, great food, beautiful surroundings, and so much more.

How to get to Ludlow from Birmingham ?

It is easier to reach Ludlow from Birmingham by car with a drive of about 1 hour 30 minutes.

There is a train from Birmingham New Street to Ludlow Station with 1 change which takes about 1 hour 45 minutes and Ludlow train station is a 10-minute walk from the city centre.

Suggested by: Blue Bag Nomads

day trips from Birmingham, Ludlow

6. The Black Country Living Museum

You don’t have to travel far out of Birmingham to have a fun Birmingham day out. For a unique day trip from Birmingham, head to The Black Country Living Museum . The Black Country Living Museum does what it says on the tin; it’s an open-air living museum dedicated to historical life in the Black Country. 

You can walk around Victorian-style houses and speak to its inhabitants (museum staff who are in character and experts on their subject), experience a class from 1912 or visit an old-fashioned pub and have a pint (!). You can even visit the sweet shop and get some vintage sweets!

This museum works almost like a functioning town. The cherry on top is a visit down into real coal mines. After a full day of time travel, you’ll need some fish and chips from the fish shop… they’re genuinely delicious.

The first time I visited the Black Country Museum , it blew my expectations out of the water, I could have wandered around there for days making it a great family day trip from Birmingham.

How to get there from Birmingham ?

You need to head to Dudley which is just a 30 minute drive from Birmingham , or this works as a great day trip from Birmingham by train because you can catch a train from Birmingham New Street to Tipton which takes around 20 minutes. Once you’re in Tipton, you need to walk about 15 – 20 minutes to the museum .

Suggested by: Ambers Destinology

Day Trips from Birmingham, Black Country Living Museum

7. Bourneville

Bourneville is the perfect day trip for families , or in fact, anyone with a love of chocolate! The area was created in the late 18th century when the Cadbury family relocated their chocolate factory there.

The family named the area Bourneville after the local river Bourn and added the French word for town ‘ville’. The area soon grew with the creation of a model village similar to that of Saltaire built by Titus Salt in Yorkshire.

In this village, the Cadbury family built housing, schools, parks, and even a village green for their workers to enjoy. This was revolutionary at the time as it meant the workers at the Cadbury factory were well paid and looked after by their employers. 

Today you can enjoy a stroll through the leafy streets and parks in this popular area of Birmingham .  

You can of course also visit the main attraction in the area – Cadbury World. Enjoy an interactive tour and learn all about chocolate production! And of course, enjoy lots of samples on your way around. Booking is essential especially during school holidays as this is a popular destination for families and chocolate lovers everywhere! 

How to get to Bourneville from Birmingham:

Only 12 minutes after leaving Birmingham New Street station by train you arrive at the pretty suburb of Bourneville.

Suggested by: UK Travel Planning

day trips from Birmingham, Bourneville

8. Harry Potter Studio

The   Harry Potter Studio Tour  in Watford is an absolute must for Harry Potter fans. This is where the actual Harry Potter films were made and is now a popular attraction full of old sets, costumes, props and more.

It’s a self-guided tour but it is perfectly designed so you follow the route through some of the most iconic Harry Potter sets including the Gryffindor Common Room , Snape’s Potions Classroom , The Great Hall, The Ministry of Magic and more.

The studios lift the veil on the magic so you can see exactly how they brought Harry Potter to life and it’s a thoroughly insightful and unforgettable experience. There’s a huge amount to look at and read as they’ve covered every little detail down to the sketches that brought these sets to life. What’s more, you get to experience some magic for yourself such as flying a broom in front of a green screen and sipping on Butterbeer. 

It’s estimated that the tour takes anywhere from 3 – 5 hours depending on how long you spend on the optional activities, lunch, gift shop etc, so it makes for the perfect Birmingham day trip!

How to get to the Harry Potter Studios from Birmingham ?

You can go from Birmingham to Watford where the Studios are in just 1 hour 40 minutes by train!

Suggested by: Laura of What’s Hot?

day trips from Birmingham, Harry Potter Studio

The gorgeous city of Oxford is easily visited on a day trip from Birmingham . The beauty of Oxford is its small, compact nature which means you can easily explore the whole city in just a day.

Oxford is a city with plenty of fascinating history and several buildings dating back over 1,000 years like the Saxon Tower of St Michael at the North Gate. This would have been the viewpoint from the city walls that protected Oxford from its enemies.

Other things to see during a day trip from Oxford include the Radcliffe Camera , Christ Church College where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed, the Bodleian Library which holds a copy of every book in the UK, The Sheldonian Theatre designed by Sir Christopher Wren and the Ashmolean Library, home to the lantern used by Guy Fawkes in the Gunpowder Plot.

While there are lots of things to keep you busy, one of the best things to do is relax in one of the many excellent Oxford cafes , sip a speciality flat white and watch this picturesque city go about its day.

How to do an Oxford day trip from Birmingham?

There is a direct train from Birmingham New Street to Oxford which takes just over 1 hour. Alternatively, you can drive from Birmingham to Oxford down the M40 in around 1 hour 20 minutes making it an easy day trip from Birmingham.

And for coach trips to Oxford from Birmingham you can get a coach there in 1 hour 10 minutes!

Suggested by: Where Goes Rose

Day Trips from Birmingham, Oxford

10. Castle Combe Village, Cotswolds

One of the top day trips from Birmingham is Castle Come Village in the Cotswolds! Without a doubt, Castle Combe is one of the most beautiful villages in England so it has to be visited at least once.

In fact, in 2001 Castle Combe has even named the most picturesque village in Great Britain so if you are planning a day trip from Birmingham with friends or family – this beautiful village will be really a great choice!

Well-preserved medieval stone houses and a beautiful market square perfectly define the character of the village. No wonder this Cotswold gem is very known amongst photographers from the whole country. Go for a walk around the village, have a pub lunch or one of the local tea rooms for the afternoon tea.

Castle Combe village, with its surrounding beautiful countryside, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Cotswold – a perfect place to visit from Birmingham during summer.

How to get to Castle Combe from Birmingham?

Car is the best way to get from Birmingham to the Cotswolds. The 100 miles journey from Birmingham will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive by car.

Suggested by: Darek and Gosia

day trips from Birmingham, Castle Combe

11. Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon is a medieval town located in the West Midlands . The town is also famous for being the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is the most famous English writer who is left with an impressive legacy including the plays ‘Romeo and Juliet ‘ and ‘ Hamlet ‘. Therefore, Shakespeare’s Birthplace is the most famous landmark in Stratford-upon-Avon and is also the main reason why many tourists visit the town.

Stratford-upon-Avon makes a wonderful day trip from Birmingham , especially for Shakespeare lovers. Not only can visitors visit his birthplace but they can also watch a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The theatre has contemporary plays of Shakespeare and as well as plays written by modern writers.

However, not everything in Stratford-upon-Avon is Shakespeare’s related; The charming town also has local shops, a beautiful church called Holy Trinity Church, a cool museum and even a butterfly farm. Indeed, the town has something to offer for everyone whether you are travelling with friends, kids or as a couple.

How to a Stratford day trip from Birmingham ?

Getting to Stratford-upon-Avon from Birmingham is relatively simple, it is a 45 minutes journey by direct train or you can drive and it will take roughly 45 minutes too . Be sure to use the Stratford Park and Ride option to get into the centre easily.

Suggested by: Luxury Voyager

Day Trips from Birmingham, Stratford Upon Avon

Only one and half hours away on the fastest train, London is one of the best day trip destinations from Birmingham . There is so much to do and see in London that you will leave wishing you had more than just one day. But sometimes time is short, and luckily, a lot of the main attractions in London are quite close to each other, so it is possible to cover quite a bit of ground in one day. 

If this is your first time in London, you’ll have to start at the Palace of Westminster or Houses of Parliament , of course. Aside from having Big Ben, you will be able to visit Westminster Abbey in the vicinity. Head to Trafalgar Square straight after that, where you will find the National Gallery, and walk through the Admiralty Arch down Pall Mall towards Buckingham Palace.  From the Palace, walk through Green Park to Piccadilly, Soho, Chinatown, Leicester Square and Covent Garden. All these famous areas are within a short distance from each other. 

If, however, this is not your first time in the capital and want to do something a bit different, there are some fun and unique ways to see London . You could have afternoon tea or a gourmet meal on board a bus while you tour London’s famous landmarks.

Or if you are a thrill-seeker , why not take a Thames Rocket and enjoy London from the river with an adrenaline-inducing boat ride? It’ll take you all the way from the London Eye to Tower Bridge. Whichever way you decide to spend a day in London, there are plenty of options on how to do it.

How to do a London day trip from Birmingham?

Getting the train to London is the best and quickest way to get from Birmingham to London and the fast train takes just 1 hour 30 minutes from Birmingham New Street Station to London Euston Station.

Suggested by: Brogan Abroad

day trips from Birmingham, London

13. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the most popular day trip destination s in the United Kingdom. The mystery behind the prehistoric monument’s origins and purpose is a major draw for tourists.

When you arrive at Stonehenge, take a trip to the visitor’s centre where you can find an exhibition dedicated to the history of Stonehenge and life during the times when Stonehenge was constructed.

After learning a little bit more about the monument’s history, grab a picnic lunch from the café and hop on the shuttle to the Stone Circle. Enjoy your lunch in view of the stones (also a great spot for people watching!) before getting a bit closer to admire the mysterious stones. 

How to get to Stonehenge from Birmingham ?

Stonehenge is just a little bit over 2 hours from Birmingham by car, making it easily visited on a day trip from Birmingham by car. It is possible to visit with public transportation; however, the journey can take around 1 hour longer.

When driving from Birmingham to Stonehenge, the majority of the trip is done by taking the M5 down to Salisbury.

If you’d prefer to use public transportation, you can take a train from Birmingham New Street to Bristol Temple Meads and from there to Salisbury before taking a taxi to the monument.

Suggested by: A World in Reach

day trips from Birmingham, Stonehenge

14. Bristol

If you’re looking for one of the most exciting cities in the south of England, then Bristol will tick all the boxes and Bristol is an easy day trip from Birmingham! The maritime city is steeped with history, particularly around the dockside. If you’re after something a bit more urban, then you’ll love the street art scene.

Bristol is famous for loads of things beginning with B; Blackbeard, Brunel, Balloons and Banksy. The notorious pirate Blackbeard is said to have resided in Bristol (under the name of William Teach), there are quite a few trails around the city about Bristol and pirateology.

Moving forwards a couple of hundred years, you can’t miss how much street art there is in the city. Bristol is home to Banksy, you can find his work dotted all over the city. However, the biggest hub of street art is in the   autonomous underbelly of Stokes Croft . Each year Bristol hosts UPFest: The Urban Paint Festival.

How to do a Bristol day trip from Birmingham ?

Bristol city is situated just under 90 miles south of Birmingham , journey times should be around 1 hour 30 minutes. You could also travel to Bristol by train, this takes around 1 hour 20 minutes .

Suggested by: Meet Me In Departures

day trips from Birmingham, Bristol

15. Peak District

Get away from it all and escape to the open landscapes of the Peak District National Park on a day trip from Birmingham. The Peak District is split into the green rolling hills of the White Peak and the dramatic escarpments and moorland plateaus of the Dark Peak.

The best way to spend your day in the Peak District from Birmingham is with a long walk in the hills. Dovedale is a popular choice for those visiting from the South, but it can get awfully busy at weekends. Instead, drive a little further into the National Park to Hartington or Monyash. Or if you want dramatic escarpments, head to Curbar or Stanage Edge.

If you prefer a more relaxed day out, head over to the Chatsworth Estate, one of the grandest houses in the country. Or ride the cable car up to The Heights of Abraham and explore the old mining caverns, amongst other  things to do in Matlock .

However you choose to spend your day, the best way to finish up is at a local pub with a pint of Peak Ale. 

How to do a Peak District day trip from Birmingham ?

From Birmingham, the heart of the White Peak is only an hour and a half drive away and if you don’t have your own car you can visit on one of the organised coach day trips from Birmingham.

Suggested by: Jenny from Peak District Kids

day trips from Birmingham, Peak District

York is our favourite city and it would make for a great day trip from Birmingham. The beauty of York is not only its history but its diversity. There is so much to do in York, there really is something to suit everyone.

As a family, we love the free National Railway Museum near to the train station. Other favourites include a visit to the Castle museum that has a historically recreated Victorian street. You can relive the lives and smells of Viking York on a ride through time at Jorvik Viking Centre.

Young and old will love finding out about something with a strong connection to York, chocolate. At the Chocolate story, you will learn all about the history of chocolate in the City and you not only get to taste different kinds of chocolate but you can make your own chocolate lollipop. If that doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth how about booking an afternoon tea at the popular Betty’s tea-room.

For lovers of water, you can catch a boat ride down the main river running through the City. For lovers of history, you can visit the stunning York Minster. If you are visiting with teenagers they can be scared silly in York Dungeons. Once you’ve worn yourselves out exploring there is a huge and varied choice of places to eat out. From Italian to Indian and from tea rooms to pubs. You will never go hungry on a visit to York.

How to do a York day trip from Birmingham ?

Birmingham New Street to York is just 2 hours 30 by direct train or you can drive from Birmingham to York in around 2 hours 15 minutes.

Suggested by: Yorkshire To Do With Kids

Day Trips from Birmingham, York

Bath works well as one of the day trips from Birmingham because once you are there it is easy to walk around Bath and explore this historical city.

Things to do in Bath on a day trip include visiting the Roman Bath Museum, and visiting the iconic circular houses in the Royal Crescent . Take a boat trip or a walk along the River and shop in Bath’s many independent shops.

If you are ready for a full day out you can combine a trip to Bath with a stopover in the Cotswolds or Stonehenge because they are all so close by.

How to do a Bath day trip from Birmingham ?

Birmingham to Bath by car is around 2 hours, it is also 2 hours by train from Birmingham New Street Station to Bath Spa Station with a change in Bristol making it an easy Bham day trip.

Suggested by: The Wandering Quinn

Day Trips from Birmingham, Bath River

18. Alton Towers Theme Park

Theme Parks in the UK are loved for their world-class rollercoaster rides , and they don’t come much bigger than Alton Towers , the largest theme park in the country and being just over an hour’s drive from Birmingham, Alton Towers is an absolute must-visit for adventure junkies on a day trip from Birmingham !

Situated near the village of Alton near Stoke-On-Trent , the site consists of a sprawling theme park, an indoor and outdoor tropical lagoon-themed water park , a luxury oasis spa, an extraordinary golf course, and a hotel complex.

Alton Towers is arguably the best adventure park in the UK , and boasts The Smiler – the world’s first 14-loop rollercoaster , and the Nemesis, perhaps the most memorable rollercoaster ride of my childhood, that carries dangling thrill seekers around 250 tonnes of tangled steel through corkscrews, spins and loops at 50 miles per hour. 

Get your tickets to Alton Towers here and start planning your day trips to Alton Towers from Birmingham!

How to get to Alton Towers from Birmingham ?

By car via the M6 the journey from Birmingham to Alton Towers is around 1 hour and 15 minutes. To get to Alton Towers by train from Birmingham , board the Newcastle-bound Cross Country train from Birmingham New Street Station to Derby which takes 33 minutes.

From Derby Railway Station, catch the X52 bus and step off at the 8th stop at Alton Towers Entrance. The journey is 2 hours and 10 minutes in total.

Suggested by: BRB | Gone Somewhere Epic

Day Trips from Birmingham, Alton Towers

19. Bear Grylls Adventure

One of the fun day trips from Birmingham is to the Bear Grylls Adventure , located at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre).

There is a wide range of adventure activities to choose from. If you’re after a whole day experience, you can book ‘ The Big 5 ’ which takes around 9 hours to complete! In this package, you’ll be able to learn archery , go indoor skydiving , scuba diving in a tank with sharks , test your nerves on a high ropes course and climb on an indoor rock climbing wall. All the activities can also be purchased separately, so you can build your own perfect package or just choose one!

All bookings also include free entrance to the ‘ Royal Marines ’ style timed assault course! It’s really tough going with some really tricky obstacles! Most of the activities to require a certain level of fitness, especially if you pick The Big 5 package, it’s like a full-body work out which you’ll definitely feel when you wake up the next day!

The Bear Grylls Adventure is a great day out if you want to challenge yourself and try something new!

How to get to Bear Grylls Adventure from Birmingham ?

Ideally located in the NEC it is really easy to reach from Birmingham city centre.

You can either drive for approximately 20 minutes or take the train to Birmingham International statio n, for approximately 20 minutes from Birmingham New Street and walk the last little bit.

Suggested by: Between England & Iowa

day trips from Birmingham, Bear Grylls Adventure NEC

20. Leicester National Space Centre

The National Space museum is an outstanding attraction easily accessible from Birmingham.

The first thing that strikes you about the Leicester National Space Centre is the rocket tower. The tower is 42 m (138 ft) tall and claims to be the only place to house upright space rockets indoors. It is an impressive introduction to the museum! The real star of the show is Sir Patrick Morre Planetarium.

The Leicester Museum has 6 interactive galleries that explore and educate about Space. Our Solar System gallery has an amazing model of the Mars Rover that you can drive. There are enough fun stuff and learning experiences here to keep kids and adults entertained for a good few hours which is why it makes one of the best day trips from Birmingham!

How to get to Leicester National Space Centre from Birmingham ?

When driving via the A6 from Birmingham you can reach the National Space Museum in around 1 hour .

Suggested by: Wyld Family Travel

Day Trips from Birmingham, Leicester Space Centre

FAQs About Day Trips from Birmingham:

Where can i go on a day trip from birmingham.

Because of Birmingham’s brilliant central location in the UK there are lots of places to go on a day trip from Birmingham like Bristol, Bath, Warwick, Cotswolds and the Peak District.

What places are 1 hour away from Birmingham?

For places that are 1 hour away from Birmingham or less you can go to Bourneville, Cadburys World, the Black Country Museum, The Cotswolds, Stratford Upon Avon, and Warwick.

What city is 2 hours from Birmingham?

Cities that are 2 hours away from Birmingham that are good to visit are Bristol, Bath, London by train, York, Sheffield, and Manchester.

I hope you now have lots of ideas of coach trips from Birmingham, day trips near Birmingham and some top Birmingham days out ideas!

If you need to hire a car for the day so you can go on the perfect day trip from Birmingham, have a look on Rental Cars here as they check for car rental with all off the big companies like Budget, Hertz & Aviv so you only need to check once!

  • More posts of mine that you will help you see the best of the UK:
  • Things To Do On A Day Trip To Oxford!
  • Things To Do on a Day Trip to Bath!
  • 25+ Day Trips from London By Train Ideas To Cities, Beaches & Europe!

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The 15 most fun things to do in Birmingham

James March

Jan 28, 2022 • 8 min read

The future of Birmingham street art mural showing a multicultural vision of the city in Digbeth on 31st March 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The mural depicts black and mixed ethnic people and relevant cultural references. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Birmingham offers green space, Michelin-starred restaurants, engaging street art and much more © Mike Kemp / In Pictures via Getty Images

Once a smoky industrial powerhouse known as the “City of 1000 Trades,” Birmingham in the 21st century is vibrant, diverse city that’s home to a plethora of distinctly local attractions. 

Whether you’re exploring Digbeth’s jaunty street art, sampling some of the country’s most unique gastronomy or strolling the city’s colorful canals, it’s the creativity and warmth of its people that brings out the best of Birmingham. 

Conveniently located smack-dab in the center of the UK , Birmingham is easy to reach – but much harder to leave. Here’s how to make the most of your time in Britain’s second city.

Stroll Birmingham’s finest stretch of canal

Birmingham was built around its vast network of canals, but if you want to see them at their finest then take a stroll along the meandering 45-minute stretch between Gas Street Basin and the University of Birmingham. 

The lively waterside bars, bistros and restaurants of Brindley Place and The Mailbox are ideal for refreshments but once you walk down the Old Line canal past Five Ways, the towpath turns into a bucolic cornucopia of overhanging foliage and sudden tranquility. The elegant university grounds are a treat to explore too, as is the underrated Barber Institute of Fine Arts . 

A narrowboat negotiates the corner on the Birmingham Canal Old Main Line at Salvage Turn Bridge by The Mailbox

Stay at a Grand institution

Once host to the likes of Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin, the Grand Hotel was the most opulent of Victorian Birmingham’s hotels, later falling into disrepair before closing for good in 2000. After a 20-year slumber, this local institution on Colmore Row re-opened in May 2021 following a £45m facelift. 

Originally opened in 1879, this Grade II-listed building still retains some of its wonderful period features, including the famous grand staircase furnished by gilded marble columns and the extraordinary Louis IV-style grand ballroom. The hotel’s stylish rooms also offer impressive views of the St Phillips Cathedral grounds (known locally as Pigeon Park).  

Uncover Digbeth’s street art

Digbeth sprawls out from the city center’s southwestern fringes and is crammed with some of Birmingham’s liveliest bars – and it’s impossible not to be struck by the quality and volume of the neighborhood’s extensive street art and graffiti. The rough-and-ready industrial streets around the Custard Factory form a perfect canvas for the city’s talented creatives to display their work. 

The scene is driven by superb local artists such as Annatomix and gent48 . Make sure to head to Floodgate Street, Gibb Street and Lower Trinity Street for some of Birmingham’s boldest street art.

Experience Victorian Birmingham at the Back to Backs

Talking in dramatic terms about Birmingham’s industrial past is easy; conjuring the feel of daily life from this era is hard. Except, that is, at one corner of the city center where you can get a vivid sense of working-class Birmingham’s living conditions over 100 years ago. 

Located on lively Hurst Street, the Birmingham Back to Backs are the last remaining example of the city’s 19th-century back-to-back terraced houses. Today, you can take guided tours led by passionate locals who will evoke the challenges – and joys – of life in these dense buildings. Make sure to book ahead of time – and don’t miss the 1930s-era sweets shop on the corner.

Purple and yellow flowers in the 7th floor “Secret Garden” roof terrace of the Library of Birmingham

Enjoy the view from the secret garden

With curvaceous oddities like the Bullring and the Rotunda giving Birmingham one of the UK’s more distinct skylines, it’s worth finding a spot to take it all in from above. The best viewing platform in the city isn’t in a skyscraper, but rather humbly located on the 7th floor of the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square. 

What the library’s Secret Garden lacks in towering height, it more than makes up for with genuinely panoramic outdoor views, plenty of room to wander and a beautiful elevated green space for summertime relaxing above the hum of the city.

Try a Balti in its hometown

Birmingham has more Michelin-star restaurants than any other city in the UK outside of London, yet the dish at the heart of the city’s character is a humble one-pot stew: the Balti. Devised by Birmingham’s Pakistani community in the early 1970s, the Balti is a fiery curry cooked quickly with the freshest ingredients over a searing hot flame. 

While you can now find Baltis on menus across the city, the Balti Triangle neighborhood a couple of miles south of the city center is the dish’s spiritual home. Head to original pioneer restaurant Adil’s or modern favorite Shababs on the Ladypool Road for a taste of the Balti at its best. 

A group of friends use a sheet to sledge in the snow-covered Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham

Get outdoors in the Lickey Hills

With more than 8000 acres of award-winning green spaces and parks, Birmingham is one of the greenest cities in Europe. But if you want to combine that green space with gorgeous panoramic views and charming woodland trails then head out to the Lickey Hills Country Park.

Just 10 miles southwest of Birmingham city center, the hills are easily reached by train, bus or car and are ideal to walk at any time of year. Make sure to head up to the almost 300m-high summit of Beacon Hill, where you’ll be treated to stunning views of Birmingham’s skyline to the north and the distant Malvern Hills to the south.  

Drink the Stirchley beer mile

Stirchley’s rise as craft-beer haven has been as pleasant as it is unexpected. With several splendid pubs and taprooms conveniently spaced apart, intrepid craft-beer aficionados can take on Stirchley Beer Mile and sample the finest this south Birmingham neighborhood has to offer. 

From Cork and Cage at the north end to GlassHouse in the south, with stops at vibrant taprooms Attic Brew Co and Birmingham Brewing Company  (to name but a few) along the way, there are a plethora of spots to enjoy IPAs to your heart’s content. 

Trace Birmingham’s diverse musical heritage

From the reggae beats of UB40 to Black Sabbath’s pioneering heavy-metal sound and Duran Duran’s bouncy new-wave pop, few cities in the UK have produced music as diverse as Birmingham. 

Whether locals know it or not, every neighborhood has contributed to the richness of the city’s music heritage.  Musical Routes aims to bring that to life with their gorgeous 3D wooden relief maps located at 30 train stations across Birmingham. Whether it’s artists, record shops, venues or recording studios, these unique artworks enumerate each depicted area’s special cultural contribution. 

Enter Paradise

If you want to spark an always-feisty debate in Birmingham, ask a local their opinion of the now-demolished Central Library. But whether you thought the city’s famous brutalist building was iconic or not, what took its place at Chamberlain Square makes an impression, too:  Paradise Birmingham . 

Amid gleaming new office towers, the cleaned-up square boasts a pleasant white sheen and has attracted quality restaurants such as Dishoom and Rosa’s Thai Cafe. The volume and color have now been turned up further with the fresh addition of Albert’s Schloss , a boisterous Bavarian-style bar and restaurant set across two floors.

Learn about how Birmingham became a jewelry capital

As a manufacturing powerhouse during the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham had many strings to its bow – with one of the most enduring bring the jewelry trade. Much of that was centered around the Jewellery Quarter, a handsome neighborhood that to this day produces 40% of the UK’s jewelry. 

With its immaculately preserved workshops and live demonstrations, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is a fascinating time capsule into Birmingham’s heritage. Make sure to explore the quirky bars and restaurants of the area too, including the aptly titled 1000 Trades and the enigmatic The Wilderness .

Christmas shoppers stroll through the historic Great Western Arcade in Birmingham, England

Hit the arcades

Birmingham isn’t a city short on shops, with the Bullring , Grand Central and The Mailbox offering a veritable smorgasbord of brands and boutiques. For a more evocative shopping experience, take a stroll through the city’s historic arcades.

Located across from Snow Hill Station, the Great Western Arcade is an ornate Victorian delight filled with independent sellers, while the Piccadilly Arcade across from New St Station has an even more interesting story. Dating back to 1925 and containing a lavishly painted ceiling fresco, this arcade was once an Edwardian cinema – which explains the sloping floor.

See an epic cathedral

Just a short 14-mile train ride north of the city in the nearby town of Lichfield lies one of the most unique cathedrals in the entire country. 

Dating back to the 14th century and soaring over 250ft above the town’s skyline, Lichfield Cathedral is one of only three three-spired cathedrals in the UK and is the only one that dates back to the Middle Ages. Spend time touring the charming cathedral grounds before finishing at award-winning chef Tom Shepherd’s sublime new restaurant Upstairs . 

Escape the city by kayak

Sitting quietly on Sheepcote Street and backing onto the Birmingham Canal Old Line, The Roundhouse has been a fixture on the canal towpath since 1874 and once housed stables and stores. Derelict for many years and now freshly renovated, the Grade II-listed building runs sustainable guided city and canal tours. 

Take the Green Escape Kayak Tour to get a new and eco-friendly perspective on Birmingham’s waterways and green spaces. 

See a real “Peaky Blinders” set

Led by the indomitable Tommy Shelby, the popular BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders has brought Birmingham (and its memorable local accent) to a global audience. Even though the show isn’t shot on location in the city, you can see an authentic historic Peaky Blinders set at the Black Country Living Museum . 

As well as seeing the famous canal-side and yard filming locations, visitors can explore a painstakingly recreated 19th-century industrial landscape. Fans of the show should try to time their visits with the regular Peaky Blinders Nights .

You might also like: The 6 best day trips from Birmingham A Peaky Blinders guide to Birmingham 10 reasons to visit Birmingham, Britain's second city

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The best things to do in Birmingham

By James March

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games has waited patiently for its turn in the spotlight, but locals know something special has been happening in Birmingham for several years already. Pierced by gleaming new tramlines and picturesque canal sides, Birmingham has undergone intense change and offers a variety of fun things to do.

From exploring one of the UK’s best small art galleries to taking a boat along its myriad waterways to visiting a nearby beach , the day is wide open with possibilities while Birmingham’s exceptional gastro scene comes alive when night falls. Whether it’s sampling Michelin star restaurants in the city centre or bar hopping out in lively neighbourhoods like Moseley or Stirchley, activities in Birmingham are always first-class.

Is Birmingham a good city break?

Yes. We've named the second city one of the UK's best  city breaks  and for good reason. There are plenty of things to do in Birmingham, having evolved into a cultural and commercial hotspot, boasting a bustling street life made up of quirky shops and delicious  restaurants . From promenading up and down Birmingham's revitalised canals to sampling craft beer at one of the city's booming breweries, this city is the perfect weekend getaway.

The 17 best things to do in Birmingham

Winterbourne House and Gardens Birmingham

1. Relax in Winterbourne House’s tranquil gardens

Built in 1903, Winterbourne House is a rare surviving example of an early 20th-century suburban villa and garden. And while the house itself is a quaint window into the life of the wealthy Nettlefold family, it’s the majestic gardens that are the standout feature here. From the shaded Nut Walk to the curious glasshouses, the gardens are a wonderfully serene spot to spend a balmy afternoon.

Address: 58 Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham B15 2RT Website: Price: £8.20

2. Taste Harborne’s neighbourhood cuisine

Birmingham’s neighbourhoods are increasingly where it’s at for quality independent cuisine and few do it better than Harborne. Sample delectable pasta dishes at Tropea, modern British tasting menus at Harborne Kitchen, expertly-cooked fish and chips at The Cods Scallops and fine-dining takeaway treats from Qbox. Harborne’s quality local options are a delight. Still hungry? See more of Birmingham's best restaurants .

Birmingham canals

3. Cruise the famous canals

The city’s snaking canals are perfect for a leisurely wander, but for a closer look, GoBoat offers a self-drive experience from their spot in Brindley Place. With their eco-friendly electric boats, the experience is relaxing and Route 2 – which heads down the Old Line towards the University of Birmingham – is particularly picturesque. Moor up for a picnic in Edgbaston and relax under the shade of weeping willows.

Address: The Water's Edge, Birmingham B1 2HL Website: Price: One hour is £95 - under £12 per person when seating eight

Attic Brew Co Birmingham

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4. Sample a growing craft beer scene

Craft beer fans are well-served (no pun intended) by Birmingham’s thriving taprooms and neighbourhood breweries. Attic Brew Co, Glasshouse and the Birmingham Brewing Company are all established in the city’s beer epicentre of Stirchley but don’t miss the outstanding breweries elsewhere. Burning Soul’s signature Ice Cream Pale is perfect for a summer day on their terrace in Hockley, while Digbrew pours Digbeth’s freshest beers.

Symphony Hall

5. Take in a show at the Symphony Hall

Considered to have some of the finest acoustics in the UK , the Symphony Hall in Centenary Square attracts some of the world’s biggest artists across several genres. Given a fresh new Scandi-style facelift that glimmers in the multi-coloured water fountains below, the hall also boasts a B:Eats, a laid-back cafe offering live music and sublime food (including the historic Brummie Bacon Cake).

Address: Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EA Website:

6. Explore Digbeth

With its industrial landscape providing a perfect canvas for the city’s finest street artists, Digbeth is Birmingham’s most distinct neighbourhood and The Custard Factory offers a plethora of bars and activities. But don’t sleep in the pubs across the other side of the High Street either. The Anchor is a beautiful old Victorian watering hole, while The Spotted Dog serves arguably Birmingham’s finest drop of Guinness .

The Barber Institute at the University of Birmingham

7. See some unknown masterpieces at the Barber Institute

The pleasant grounds of the University of Birmingham are an enjoyable afternoon stroll, but tucked away behind the School of Mathematics is the city’s best art gallery. Within the Barber Institute of Fine Art’s quiet Art Deco corridors is a splendid collection of lesser-heralded works from the likes of Van Gogh, Manet and Renoir. It’s free to enter and also offers revolving exhibitions.

Address: University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TS Website: Price: Free

The Electric Cinema birmingham

8. Watch a movie at the UK’s oldest working cinema

If you’re in the mood for a film on a rainy night, then skip the cookie-cutter multiplexes and head over to Station Street for a unique step back in time. The Art Deco exterior of the Electric Cinema dates back to 1909 and the red chairs lining its two auditoriums are evocative of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Order a beer or a wine from the hole-in-the-wall bar and sit back for a show in the UK’s oldest working cinema .

Address: 47-49 Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY Website: Price: £10 (for a standard ticket)

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

9. Visit a pop-up exhibition at BMAG

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery have always been a focal point for visitors, especially for its extensive Pre-Raphaelite art collections and the elegant Victorian Tea Rooms. But following recent renovations, it’s the museum’s unique exhibitions that display the creativity and local passion of its curators. This is perhaps best displayed by In The Que , a retrospective celebration of the legendary Que Club nights featuring photographs, flyers, posters and a thirty-five-minute film.

Address: Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH Website: Price: Free

Black Country Living Museum

10. Step back in time at the Black Country Living Museum

This region built its name and wealth on industrial might, and a stroll around the Black Country Living Museum brings a mesmerising 19th-century landscape back to life. Just 20 minutes from Birmingham, this immersive open-air museum of rebuilt historic buildings features gaslit streets flanked by over 50 shops and houses across a 26-acre village with costumed characters explaining the hardships of Victorian life. Keep an eye out for the actual canal yard used in the popular BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders .

Address: Tipton Road, Dudley DY1 4SQ Website: Price: £19.95

11. Soak in some luxurious views

103 Colmore Row’s sleek exterior climbs into the Birmingham sky, dwarfing all around it and showcases the city’s finest vistas. But the piece de resistance is that these views are experienced from the splendour of Orelle, a sublime French-inspired restaurant on the 24th floor with glorious floor-to-ceiling windows and a handsome navy colour scheme. While there’s more to see during the day, it’s best to visit at night when the city below is blanketed in shimmering lights.

Address:   Orelle, 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 3AG Website: Price:  Mains from £21

Great Western Arcade birmingham

12. Browse Birmingham’s historic arcades

While the bulbous Bullring dominates Birmingham’s shopping scene, a Victorian treasure is hidden away across from Snow Hill Station. Packed with everything from whisky stores to sushi joints, the ornate Great Western Arcade is an under-the-radar institution. Don’t miss the equally unique Piccadilly Arcade and its lavish ceiling fresco (also, the sloping floor dates from a former life as an Edwardian cinema).

Address:   Great Western Arcade, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B2 5HU Website:

Chamberlain Clock and Rose Villa Tavern Warstone Lane Jewellery Quarter Birmingham

13. Hear stories from the city’s untold past

Walking tours are great for going beyond the surface of a city and Kevin Thomas’s Heritage Walking Tours delve into some quirky and, at times, macabre Birmingham stories unlikely to feature in any guidebook. From unusual graves in the Birmingham catacombs to a tour of the Jewellery Quarter’s stylish art deco architecture, Thomas uncovers new sides to Birmingham with humour, passion and curiosity.

Address:  various locations Website: Price:  £15

14. Dance to Moseley’s summertime vibes

There are few festivals in Britain – let alone Birmingham – as cool as the Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival. Often bathed in  July ’s warm summer rays, Mostly Jazz is an eclectic three-day music festival held in the lush hillside setting of Moseley Park that’s been headlined in the past by the likes of Chic featuring Nile Rogers, Gregory Porter and The Specials. Soak up the sun and dance long into the night in Birmingham’s most bohemian neighbourhood.

Address:   Moseley Park, 93B Alcester Rd, Birmingham B13 8DD Website: Price:  Day tickets £61, three-day weekend ticket £156

Edgbaston cricket ground

15. Feel the passion at Edgbaston

Often described as having the best atmosphere of any English cricket stadium, Edgbaston is the gregarious home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club and T20 team the Birmingham Bears. Though it truly comes alive during England test matches and you’ll have ticked off a Birmingham sporting bucket list activity if you manage to snag tickets. Even better, try and get a seat in the boisterous Eric Hollies stand, where you may be sat alongside all manner of costumed characters.

Address:   Edgbaston Stadium, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7QU Website: Price:  Bears tickets start from £17

Sarehole Mill Hall Green Birmingham West Midlands

16. Hit the Tolkien trail

With his curiosity piqued by the city’s quirky architecture and mysterious woodlands, author JRR Tolkien lived in Birmingham during his formative years and took deep inspiration from local neighbourhoods like Hall Green and Moseley. Dating back to 1771, Sarehole Mill is an old watermill that fascinated Tolkien as a child and now acts as a unique suburban museum. It's from here that visitors can take a guided tour through the scenery that inspired him to write classics like  The Lord of the Rings .

Address:   Sarehole Mill Museum, Cole Bank Rd, Birmingham B13 0BD Website: Price:  £10 per person

Atelier bar in Birmingham

17. Order in some inventive cocktails

From luxurious creations at Digbeth’s  Passing Fancies to the almost-intimidating 140-strong selection of gins at  40 St Paul’s , Birmingham’s independent cocktail scene has never been stronger, or more distinct. The Scandi-inspired cream interior at  Atelier Birmingham looks like nowhere else in the city, while  Couch’s laid-back neighbourhood environment is an urbane antidote to every ostentatious cocktail bar stereotype.

How can I spend a day in Birmingham?

Start with a canalside breakfast at easy-going Juju’s Cafe. The relaxed family-run atmosphere means a warm welcome, while their moreish Porky Hash will set you up for the rest of the day. Cross over the bridge and head to Roundhouse Birmingham, where you can get a window into the city’s industrial past followed by a kayak tour of Birmingham’s canal network.

Birmingham Canal Main Line with Narrow Boats and Modern Apartments

Head back into the city and grab some generously-filled Japanese -style sandwiches for lunch at Gupshup, before perusing the quirky boutiques of the Victorian Great Western Arcade. Browse the unique and locally focused exhibitions at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery followed by a pint of cask ale at beer institution The Wellington.

Meander down vibrant Bennett’s Hill and sample Birmingham’s superb south Asian cuisine at The Indian Streatery. Share as much as possible, before wandering south to Digbeth’s smorgasbord of entertainment options. Pick your poison between neon putting at Golf Fang, shooting space invaders at NQ64 or sitting down to one of 500+ board games at Chance and Counters. But if all of that is too active, then either relax with organic wine at Wine Freedom or sit outside with a couple of obscure Belgian beers from Roberto's Bar and Tasting Club.

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  • 9 Quaint Towns And Villages...

Quaint Towns and Villages Near Birmingham, UK

The timber-framed buildings on Henley-in-Arden high street are a testament to its architectural heritage

Freelance Travel and Music Writer

Birmingham may feel like a concrete jungle at its centre – but it is flanked by picturesque towns and chocolate-box villages. We round up some of the villages within easy access of the UK ‘s second largest city that are well worth a visit.

Sitting pretty just a few miles south of Wolverhampton is Wombourne, a village with medieval roots. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, it used to be an agricultural village, but traces of its more recent industrial past are evident. On a summer’s day, a walk down the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal is a must, taking in the Bratch, a cluster of canal buildings.

places to visit near birmingham uk


places to visit near birmingham uk

With a population of just 125, Wishaw is a far cry from the bustle of Birmingham. Many visitors come here to visit the quintessential country pub the Cock Inn, while the Belfry Hotel and Resort is also popular with locals and celebrities who come for the world-class golf facilities. Kingsbury Water Park, with its 15 lakes, is less than a 10-minute drive away.


In the centre of the country, just a few miles north of Stratford-upon-Avon , is Henley-in-Arden, a medieval town steeped in tradition. You may have accidentally stumbled upon this town en route to Stratford or Birmingham and been pleasantly surprised by the selection of quaint pubs and boutiques, and its celebrated Henley ice cream. Henley-in-Arden’s long high street is a conservation area, with more than 150 buildings listed as being of special architectural or historical interest.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Lying in northeast Worcestershire, Alvechurch, just to the east of the bustling town of Bromsgrove, is easily accessible from Birmingham. One of the more overlooked areas of the West Midlands, it has pubs, canals perfect for summer walks and the Alvechurch Marina, which pulls in narrowboat owners. There are plenty of cosy cottages dating back 200 years and more in the heart of the village.

With a modest population of about 2,600, Clent is another of the region’s smallest towns. No visit here would be complete without a trip to the National Trust’s Clent Hills , perfect for family walks and panoramic views of Birmingham, while its bright carpets of bluebells and its pinnacle, the Four Stones, are sights to behold. Don’t miss out on a trip to the Fountain either; it’s a wonderful country pub with a welcoming atmosphere.


This place needs little introduction, but it’s one of the most historic of the lot. Proudly the birthplace of the world’s finest bard, William Shakespeare , Stratford-upon-Avon has rows of well-kept Tudor-framed houses, a pub dating back to the 14th century, the Royal Shakespeare Company for a spot of theatre and the River Avon for romantic boat rides. We dare you to get bored here.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Water, wildlife and walking fans in the West Midlands should definitely put Earlswood on their lists. Situated just south of Solihull, it is known for Earlswood Lakes, a trio of reservoirs. Visitors can take in the stunning scenery, try a spot of fishing and maybe spot a rare woodpecker. When you’re done with the outdoors, there are country pubs for the adults and a craft centre to keep the kids busy.

Last but not least, Kinver is a large Staffordshire village that boasts a wealth of history. Situated just a few minutes’ drive from Stourbridge, it is one of those chocolate-box villages that are almost too pretty to be true. Its most popular visitor attraction is Kinver Edge , a National Trust-owned site. In addition to the fantastic views from its summit, Kinver Edge’s tall woodland ridge boasts some amazing homes that were carved into the sandstone rock, which were inhabited until the 1950s.

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12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (11)

Perched in the heart of England, Birmingham is the country’s second largest city after London and one that’s great to explore… especially on a first time trip! With a handful of museums, country houses, parks and some incredible shopping spots, there really are so many amazing things to do in Birmingham.

Whilst growing up in rural Wales, Birmingham was often the biggest city to visit (about 3 hours away) and times I have such fond memories of! It’s a great city for exploring

That being said, a trip to a new city can be tough to plan, especially one that’s pretty large. That’s why I wanted to share some of my favourite things to do in Birmingham on your first ever visit.

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (1)

Take a look at some of the best things to do in Birmingham. I hope you love the city! 🇬🇧

1.) Visit St Philip’s Cathedral

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (12)

St Philip’s Cathedral is an architectural wonder for it is one of the few English baroque style churches in addition to being one of the countries smallest cathedrals. It’s just a short distance from the Jewelry Quarter so when you finish buying what attracts you there you can stroll over to this attraction.

Inside you should look up to the ceiling and you will discover 2000 soul boats hanging from above. Remember to take your camera.

2.)The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (9)

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is one of the best things to do in Birmingham, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse. ☔️

Once here, make sure to explore the rooms for Anglo-Saxon gold, Indian bronze statues and European culture while the big kids amongst us will enjoy the dinosaur exhibits and the Egyptian mummies in their coffins.

If you’re looking for a typical English brekkie in the city, pop over to the Grand Central Kitchen . It’s a no-frills kinda spot that really serves a hearty breakfast that’ll keep you full past lunch! It’s amazing.

3.) Explore Aston Hall

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (13)

Exploring Aston Hall is possibly one of the best things to do in Birmingham and probably one of the most significant to see. As one of the final Jacobean houses to be built, it has a history that’s just so great to explore.

Once here, make sure to visit the display rooms (including one featuring the role the house played during the Civil War) and the symmetrical gardens that are perfect for a little stroll.

After all that exploring, pop into The Wilderness (on Warstone Lane). The whole experience of getting into the dining area to the food served is just incredible.  Just make sure to book ahead, they’re nearly always full.

4.) Visit the Birmingham Symphony Hall 

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (4)

The Birmingham Symphony Hall is one of England’s finest concert halls with world-class acoustics in the stunning architecturally beautiful auditorium. In addition to listening to internationally renowned orchestras, you can also visit here to watch rock concerts, jazz musicians and even comedy shows. It really has something for everyone and productions are on a show almost every day throughout the year.

You should look at their website to see what is available when planning your trip. It’s a great way to end (or start) and evening in Birmingham. 🍸

If you’re looking for a bite to eat before heading over to Symphony Hall, pop into  The Meat Shack (on Thorp Street) that serves up some tasty baskets of burgers, ribs and loads of loaded fries. It’s the kinda place where you tuck in with your hands without any judgement. I love it!

5.) See the National Motorcycle Museum

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (11)

Now, heads up…if you’re not a motorcycle fan, you’ll probably hate this spot. But, if you are you’ll probably be itching to visit one of the UK’s larges motorcycle museums.

Featuring more than 1000 motorcycles from around the world that have all been restored to their original specifications. The oldest machine on display dates from 1898 and sits alongside some of the most powerful superbikes on the road today.

Just make sure you’ve got a passion for bikes before you visit!

6.) Spend the evening at the Gas Street Basin

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (3)

The Gas Street Basin is the area of Birmingham that was at the centre of England’s canal system. You can take a walk alongside these canals that are just five minutes away from the city centre. Today, all of the industry has been replaced by some pretty cool bars and restaurants, making a perfect place for you to take a stroll.

For a taste of fine dining, pop into  Carters of Moseley who serve up the best Orkney scallops and red mullet in all of Birmingham.

7.) Ride the Shakespeare Express

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (5)

The Shakespeare Express is a steam train operating from Birmingham to Stratford upon Avon helping to keep alive one of Britain’s institutions. Now, currently, the trains have stopped for this year and the team are renewing their passenger license (which will hopefully be ready for next year).

Make sure to check their website to see once this has been approved – it really is one of the best things to do in Birmingham.

There are only a few steam trains still in operation in the country and they help to captivate tourists with this return to the past. You can join them when you visit Birmingham and take a relaxing trip through the Warwickshire countryside while being served a delicious meal.

8.) Wander around Winterbourne House

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (2)

Winterbourne House and Gardens is located just a few miles from Birmingham and a great spot to experience a little history of this area.

Once here, make sure to stop off to see the art and crafts on display or wander through the house and observe the collection of antiques. When you have finished in the house take a stroll around the gardens with over 6000 plant species on display collected from all over the world. It really is one of the best things to do in Birmingham if you love beautiful gardens.

If all that exploring gets you hungry, pop into Adam’s on Waterloo Street. They serve up some of the best Michelin Star food in the city. Just make sure to book before heading over.

9.) Ramble through Sheldon Country Park

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (10)

Sheldon Country Park is an ideal setting for some proper rambling in the countryside, there are several trails differing in length from 2 to 5km or you can combine some interconnecting trails to make a long walk. Close to the park entrance you will find the Old Rectory Farm, this dairy farm dates from the 17 th century and has been fully restored.

Now, for any pane spotters our there, Sheldon Park is located right next to the Airport, which means there are ample opportunities to spot some planes landing and taking off.

10.) Shop at the Bullring

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (6)

Now, the Bullring is the centre of Birmingham and always a hive of activity. Once here, make sure to visit the iconic Selfridges store (with all the bubble-esque architecture), wander through the shopping areas and explore St. Martin’s Square.

That being said, if you want a less shiny experience, pop over to the Bullring Rag Market that hosts hundreds of temporary stalls selling everything from fruit and veg to clothing.

If all that shopping gets you hungry, stop off at  Viceroy Tandoori that conjures up some of the tastiest curries in the city.

11.) Gorge at the Great Western Arcade

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (8)

Built within Victorian-era, the Great Western Arcade has a long history in Birmingham. Nowadays, the arcade is still a thrive of activity where you’ll get a few high-street brands mixed in with independent boutiques.

Once here, make sure to stop off at Sushi Passion for, you guessed it, sushi. Also, chocolate lovers unite at Chouchoute Chocolaterie where you can totally gorge! It’s one of the best spots and things to do in Birmingham… every chocolate lover will surely agree?

12.) Chillout at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Birmingham, England (15)

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is one of the totally stunning things to do in Birmingham… especially if you love nature!

There are four glasshouses that are surrounded by large lawns and beds of flowers and shrubberies, whilst Inside the beautiful glasshouses are tropical plants from all over the world.

Depending on the season, the gardens also host a number of gigs and shows that you can book tickets for. Take a look at their website for the latest events.

Read more: the secret spots to visit in Birmingham

9 Amazing Secret Spots In Birmingham, England

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The 26 best things to do in Birmingham

From winding canal walks to some of the country’s finest restaurants, these are the best things to do in Birmingham

Given how big and sprawling it is, it remains somewhat perplexing that Birmingham manages to maintain such a modest rep. Having long shed its neglected post-industrial image, England’s second city is now one of the country’s most exciting and diverse travel destinations. Among its miles of gorgeous canals and awesome greenery, you’ll find characterful pubs, fascinating museums and some of the best restaurants in the country.

Home to heavy metal music, a nationally adored chocolate company, the world’s biggest collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings, several high-flying football teams and around three million legendarily hospitable Brummies, Birmingham doesn’t just have a bit of everything – it has a lot of everything. Ready to get out there and explore? Here are the best things to do in Birmingham right now.

RECOMMENDED: 😋 The best restaurants in Birmingham 🍻 The most charming pubs in Birmingham 🛏 The best hotels in Birmingham

This guide was recently updated by James March , a travel writer from Birmingham . At Time Out, all of our  travel guides  are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our  editorial guidelines . 

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Top things to do in Birmingham

Explore Brindleyplace and the canal quarter

1.  Explore Brindleyplace and the canal quarter

What is it?  Birmingham’s vibrant canal quarter is home to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, the National Sea Life Centre and the Ikon Gallery .

Why go?  The oft-quoted ‘more canals than Venice’ claim is a bit misleading – Birmingham is  much, much bigger – but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on a walk around the canal quarter. It’s a real Cinderella part of town, having been hugely redeveloped and crammed full of restaurants and bars.

Don’t miss:  Use the historic  Roundhouse  building as a base from which to explore by boat, bike or foot.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Cadbury World

2.  Satisfy your sweet tooth at Cadbury World

What is it?  England’s number-one chocolate-focused attraction. 

Why go?  For the best views of Brum’s chocolate factory, arrive by train (13 minutes from New Street) and take a deep breath – a sweet haze envelopes the red-brick, olde-worlde Bournville village, which was designed and built for the workers of England’s flagship chocolate brand. Cadbury World is the public bit of the factory: tours include a deep dive into the history of cocoa, a 4D cinema and a ride in the self-styled ‘Beanmobile’.

Don’t miss:  Have your Wonka experience in the demonstration area (yes, molten chocolate is involved; yes, you get to drink it). The world’s biggest Cadbury store also awaits, boasting concoctions unavailable anywhere else.

Mooch around the Jewellery Quarter

3.  Mooch around the Jewellery Quarter

What is it?  Pack a full day – and night – of fun in this increasingly popular part of town, where you’ll find everything from exhibitions to nightclubs.

Why go?  With more than 200 listed buildings and more than 250 years of history, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter should be on any Brum itinerary. According to English Heritage, Europe’s largest cluster of jewellery businesses is a ‘national treasure’. Museum nerds will love the  Museum of the Jewellery Quarter , the  Pen Museum  and  Newman Brothers Coffin Works . And with all the pubs, restaurants, galleries and independent boutiques here, there’s something for everybody else too.

Don’t miss:  If you’re making a night of it, check in to  BLOC , close to the ever-popular JQ nightclub. Try  Jam House , or if you have something even later and livelier in mind, Brum’s up-for-it generation descend upon the  Actress & Bishop  from about 1am, with no intention of making it a quiet one.

4.  Soak up the views from Orelle

What is it? A French fusion restaurant with some extraordinary views across the UK’s Second City.

Why go? Perched on the 24th floor of the imposing 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham simply doesn’t have anywhere else like Orelle . Huge floor-to-ceiling windows mean the city fans out below in all directions, while at night its twinkling lights look even more evocative. The food isn’t cheap but it’s well made and beautifully presented, but really, you’ve come here for the views, so drink them in. 

Don’t miss:  If you don’t want to eat, there are a few seats at the well-stocked bar available but bear in mind they’re first come first serve, and obviously busier at weekends. 

Find tropical plants, birds and butterflies at the Botanical Gardens

5.  Find tropical plants, birds and butterflies at the Botanical Gardens

What is it?  Fifteen acres of ornamental gardens, glasshouses and exotic birds in indoor and outdoor aviaries.

Why go?  The Botanical Gardens ’ exotic world of tropical plantlife makes for an excellent family day out. The glasshouses are filled with all manner of strange flora, while the lawns and shrubbery outside are perfect for a stroll during the sunnier months.

Don’t miss:  The butterfly house full of tropical insects from as far as the Philippines, Central America and tropical parts of Africa.

Discover city secrets on a walking tour

6.  Discover city secrets on a walking tour

What is it?  If the weather holds out, there is no better way to see Birmingham than on foot.

Why go?  There are some excellent guided walking tours, from  Positively Birmingham ’s Edward Burne-Jones pre-Raphaelite art tour to  Get Your Guide ’s  Discovering Birmingham Walking tour through the historic Jewellery Quarter.

… or, for the energetic, a running tour

7.  … or, for the energetic, a running tour

What is it?  Founded by an air steward with a passion for running in cities all over the world, Run of a Kind offers those with a bit of energy a great alternative way to get to know the city.

Why go?  With runs between 5km and 11km for beginners and those a bit more confident, the team sprint across Birmingham on a whistlestop tour of landmarks and hidden gems, including legendary LGBTQ+ venues, notable architecture and eye-popping street art.

Fill up in style at the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants

8.  Fill up in style at the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants

What is it?  Birmingham has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city outside the capital. 

Why go?   Purnell’s ,  Simpsons ,  Adam’s ,  Carters ,  Opheem  and – if you’re prepared to head just outside the city –  Peel’s , will all bamboozle you with their culinary delights. And with more high-end independents opening all the time, you could get in before the Michelin inspectors do. A quiet food revolution has been rumbling through Brum – now’s your time to sample it.

9.  Sample sours and stouts on the Stirchley Beer Mile

What is it? A journey through the creative craft beer joints dotting the Stirchley neighbourhood.

Why go? Stirchley might look like ordinary suburbia at first glance, but it hides a plethora of taprooms serving an eyewatering amount of styles. Enjoy waterside pints at Glasshouse and Birmingham Brewing , while Attic Brew Co’s spacious site is good for large groups and Cork and Cage do a fine line in lambics and gueuzes. Newcomers Deadbeat bring a low-key dive bar vibe.

Don’t miss:  If you’re hungry, then Eat Vietnam’s wonderfully rich noodles, curries and small plates are the perfect way to soak up all that beer.

10.  Lend an ear to the city’s homegrown musical talent

What is it?  While London and Manchester will always get more attention when it comes to music, Birmingham has given the world its fair share of talent, including UB40, Duran Duran and Black Sabbath – and it’s still bubbling up at the present with a thriving local music scene.

Why go?  Whether it’s house at The Mill , indie at The Sunflower Lounge , the Night Owl ’s northern soul or jazz at The Jam House , you’ll find something interesting within walking distance of the high street. 

See the inspiration for ‘Lord of the Rings’ at Moseley Bog

11.  See the inspiration for ‘Lord of the Rings’ at Moseley Bog

What is it?  A green idyll on the fringes of the city on the site of an old millpond. 

Why go?  Wander around this nature reserve full of plants, animals and insects, gnarled old trees and gorgeous carpets of bluebells each spring. The site is also of great archaeological interest, having two burnt mounds, the remains of an old mill dam and the foundations of Victorian greenhouses.

Don’t miss:  Book a JRR Tolkien-themed tour at Sarehole Mill , on the fringes of the bog: the ‘Lord of the Rings’ author grew up around Moseley Bog in the 1890s, and it’s said to be the inspiration for hobbit hangout The Shire. 

Tour the hallowed grounds of Villa Park

12.  Tour the hallowed grounds of Villa Park

What is it?  Take a tour of Aston Villa’s hallowed ground, or even catch a game. 

Why go?  There aren’t many football grounds in the world like Villa Park. The 42,000-capacity stadium has been home to the Villa since 1897, and it has an aura that few sporting institutions can match, especially when the Holte End is packed out and chanting along. Sign up for a behind-the-scenes tour or catch the boys in claret and blue play a Premier League game. 

Don’t miss:  Fancy a real treat? You can watch the match in comfort at  Eighty Two , the plush centre of football hospitality at Villa Park. 

Meet the city’s creatives at the Custard Factory

13.  Meet the city’s creatives at the Custard Factory

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What is it?  A restored Victorian factory, now a hub for creatives and independent businesses. 

Why go?  Alfred Bird invented custard powder in Birmingham in 1837, but these days, the old Custard Factory is a studio complex at the heart of Birmingham’s creative community. It’s home to many artists and is full of galleries, independent shops, cafés, restaurants, bars and the  Mockingbird Cinema . With its graffiti-strewn walls and regular arts events, the whole area is well worth a few hours of mooching.

Don’t miss:  Look out for regular open studio events to meet the designer-makers who make this place so special. 

Go behind-the-scenes at Edgbaston cricket ground

14.  Go behind-the-scenes at Edgbaston cricket ground

What is it?  The home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, plus numerous England fixtures. 

Why go?  There’s nothing as quintessentially English as a game of cricket, and Birmingham boasts one of the very best places to watch one. Edgbaston is renowned as one of the country’s most atmospheric international test grounds. 

Don’t miss:  Take a  tour of the stadium  to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Warwickshire and England changing room, the field, the media centre and more. 

Sink a pint in grand Victorian pub The Bartons Arms

15.  Sink a pint in grand Victorian pub The Bartons Arms

What is it?  A grand Victorian pub with original stained glass, engraved mirrors and snob screens.

Why go?   The Bartons Arms is a rare treasure among the mean streets of Newtown. Established in 1901 as a Victorian gin palace, it’s still beautifully ornate with original features such as Minton tiles, a grand horseshoe bar and a stunning wrought iron staircase climbed by the likes of Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin.

Don’t miss:  Book a tour or choose a pint from its fine range of Oakham ales and something spicy from the Thai menu.

16.  Time travel at the Birmingham Back to Backs

What is it? A quirky window into the living conditions of ordinary Brummies over the last 200 years.

Why go? Flanked by the colourful Hippodrome Theatre on one side and the lively LGBTQ+ bars of Hurst Street on the other, the Birmingham Back to Backs are in an unlikely location for a heritage site. But this communal courtyard with back-to-back houses is where ordinary folk once lived and guided tours take visitors on a journey from 1840 to 1970, to see how homelife evolved long before Nextflix and smartphones.

Don’t miss Not only does Court 15 Books have some fine second hand books for sales, there’s also regular free exhibitions upstairs.

Fill your bags at one of the city’s iconic shopping destinations

17.  Fill your bags at one of the city’s iconic shopping destinations

What is it?  A marketplace since the twelfth century, Birmingham is still a city for shoppers. 

Why go?  The  Bullring  is now a giant mall incorporating the iconic Selfridges building (looking like a part-amorphous blob, part-crash-landed UFO). Across town, the  Mailbox  is a classier joint with the likes of Harvey Nichols and Emporio Armani.

Don’t miss:  Most interesting are the independents, which you’ll find scattered all over town and in places like the splendid  Great Western Arcade .

Wine and dine at the Grand Hotel

18.  Wine and dine at the Grand Hotel

What is it?  A Grade II-listed Victorian hotel in the city centre

Why go?  The legendary Grand Hotel reopened in the summer of 2020 following an 18-year closure and a painstaking multi-million-pound restoration. The building has hosted a plethora of historical figures, from Winston Churchill to Malcolm X, and now you can explore its striking Victorian and art deco interiors, including the jaw-dropping Grosvenor Ballroom and a new rooftop garden terrace.

Don’t miss:  The brand new outdoor terrace in the central courtyard. 

Discover the treasures of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

19.  Discover the treasures of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Note: This venue is temporarily closed and will reopen in 2024. Check back for updates!

What is it?  BMAG is full of treasures – from Anglo-Saxon gold to more contemporary pieces. 

Why go?  Housing the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world and occupying one of the city’s finest buildings, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is not to be missed. Head up to the third level for a detailed, hands-on history of Birmingham and its people. 

Don’t miss:  The domed Round Room is often the location for free musical performances. Make time for a slice of cake at the refurbished Edwardian Tea Room.

See world-class theatre at the Rep

20.  See world-class theatre at the Rep

What is it?  The Rep is the jewel in the crown of Brum’s theatre scene; it’s a lively venue with an emphasis on diverse programming.

Why go?  A production house for well over a century, it’s got more decades under its belt than the National Theatre in London or its West Midlands neighbours the RSC. And with major-league director Sean Foley in charge, it shows no sign of slowing down.

Don’t miss:  While there’s edgier programming the rest of the year, its annual production of ‘The Snowman’ is a delightful seasonal cuddle.

Fill up on thalis at Raja Monkey

21.  Fill up on thalis at Raja Monkey

What is it?  A South Indian restaurant with a canteen vibe. 

Why go?  If you  really  want to dine like a Brummie, then a trip to a curry house is mandatory. The Balti Triangle – located south of the city centre – is famed for its long-established restaurants, but we suggest you head to Raja Monkey. This Hall Green spot serves thalis and street-food snacks like dosa and uttapam with cheerful informality. 

Don’t miss:  Try the thalis for a taste of what's on offer.

Marvel at the Birmingham Royal Ballet

22.  Marvel at the Birmingham Royal Ballet

What is it?  One of the five major ballet companies in the UK producing jaw-dropping shows. 

Why go?  The tenure of Carlos Acosta as artistic director is a major coup for Birmingham Royal Ballet. The company has an illustrious history, but the celebrated Cuban dancer has implemented bold plans to re-energise it. Expect plenty of risks and surprises, plus a mix of classic revivals and ambitious partnerships.

Don’t miss:  A single second of the action. No, seriously.  

Treat your ears to a concert at Symphony Hall

23.  Treat your ears to a concert at Symphony Hall

What is it?  Opulent concert hall that is home to the  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra . 

Why go?  This grandiose venue was opened in 1991 and has delivered a rich programme of gigs and concerts ever since. Fun fact: it was recently voted as having the seventh-best concert-hall acoustics in the entire world. 

Don’t miss:  If you don’t know your Schubert from your Haydn, ease yourself in by visiting during the festive December programme. The Hall looks even better for candlelit carols.

See the largest collection of British motorcycles at the National Motorcycle Museum

24.  See the largest collection of British motorcycles at the National Motorcycle Museum

What is it?  The world’s largest collection of British motorcycles.

Why go?  A must-see for all petrolheads, this Bickenhill museum has more than 1,000 different motorcycles, dating back to an 1898 Beeston Humber Tricycle. There are also plenty of pretty serious modern superbikes.

Don’t miss:  Book a guided highlights tour with an experienced guide to get a behind-the-scenes look. 

Follow in the footsteps of Birmingham’s baddest gang on the ‘Peaky Blinders’ tour

25.  Follow in the footsteps of Birmingham’s baddest gang on the ‘Peaky Blinders’ tour

What is it?  Stalk the very same streets as the real Peaky Blinders on these dedicated tours .

Why go?  Because you love the show and now want to follow in the footsteps of Birmingham’s most infamous criminal gang. Take a Peaky Tour in Digbeth and visit the lock-up at Steelhouse Lane police station where some of the gang were incarcerated.

Don’t miss:  Further afield at the wonderful open-air  Black Country Living Museum , you can see the TV show’s sets for yourself.  

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » 25 Best Things to Do in Birmingham (UK)

25 Best Things to Do in Birmingham (UK)

Birmingham can be found within the West Midlands, a county full of character. With a population of 1,101,360 residents as of 2014 it is the biggest city outside of London, and also the largest. Due to this it draws the attention of a wide number of travellers from around the world. The soul of this city really started with the Industrial Revolution, where it earned its place at the forefront of scientific developments. Now, it attracts the creative and the innovative, fuelling their minds with a wide variety of museums, parks and beautiful music halls. Read on to find out more about the adventures that you could have in Birmingham with our list of the 25 best things to do!

1. Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall

This concert hall really does reflect the sheer innovation and creativity that has gone into making Birmingham the city that it is today. Not only is it the UK’s finest concert hall, but it’s also well regarded to be one of the best in the world. With its picturesque auditorium and stunning, world class acoustics, it isn’t to be missed. Not only does it present some of the most prestigious international orchestras, it also houses a beautiful programme showcasing many different styles of music; everything from jazz to rock, and stand- up comedy! So there really is something for everyone with this beautiful building, and seen as it shows a show of some form or another almost every day of the year, it’s well worth having a look at what might be happening when you plan your trip.

Recommended tour:   Birmingham: Victorian Canals to Today’s City Walking Tour

2. National Motorcycle Museum

National Motorcycle Museum

Featuring more than 1000 motorcycles, all restored to the manufacturer’s original specifications, this Birmingham based museum attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year from around the world. The earliest machine within the 30 year old museum dates back from 1898, and stands out among the machines of a museum that also houses modern day superbikes. With more than 1000 motorcycles within the walls of the museum it is well worth a visit, showcasing the hard work of the family that put their efforts into creating the museum that they imagined more than 30 decades ago. This museum is well worth a visit for people who have a liking of beautiful machines.

3. National Sea Life Centre

National Sea Life Centre

As the most loved family day out in Birmingham, the National Sea Life Centre has really earned its place on this list. We all know just how hard it can be to keep children amused while travelling, with them getting bored at the drop of a pen, this place will surely capture their imaginations. With many events running throughout the year there is always something to do within the centre for children, involving everything from Dinosaur Detective events to events featuring their state of the art interactive rockpools. Within the giant tanks there are a wide variety of animals, from Jellyfish to Nurse Sharks, Octopi to Black Tip Reef Sharks, you can walk through a corridor with a glass top, running underneath an aquarium full of these creatures. But over the past several months, they’ve introduced an attraction that really will get many children excited, featuring the beauty of an Antarctic landscape…and Gentoo Penguins. You can stand and marvel and the cheekiness of these feathered friends. It should also be added that there are options to pay for VIP feeding experiences within the centre, but standard packages start at £12.50 per person, going up in price to add things such as collectables and photo packs.

4. Damascena Coffee House

Damascena Coffee House

Situated within the heart of Birmingham, this beautiful, little delicatessen is quickly building a pleasant reputation for it. While out shopping within the city centre it is well worth a visit, even if only for a quick drink. Step inside and you will immediately get a feel for the authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere that this coffee house presents. With pleasant waitresses who will more than happily make recommendations for you should you require them, they also cater for many specific dietary requirements. It’s well known that they’re also one of the most inexpensive places to eat at within the city, and if you’re just popping in for a warm drink you shouldn’t be spending more than £3 or £4.

5. Shakespeare Express

Shakespeare Express

Steam trains form one of the great British institutions, with just a handful of working steam railways still running throughout England. This is one of the most well known ones, capturing tourists simply with its beauty. Running from the heart of Birmingham to Stratford Upon Avon it really gives you the chance to see the best of both worlds. From the fascinating industrial past of Birmingham to the beautiful countryside of Warwickshire, where large amounts of land still go untouched. You can sit back and relax while going past working farms, stylish villages, stations and waterways that make up Shakespeare’s county. Dependent upon the time of day, you also get served a delicious meal with your journey. From a full English breakfast to a freshly cooked Roast Dinner with all the trimmings. Or if you’re travelling in the afternoon, you can experience another great British institution, High Tea. A wide selection of wine, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages is also available. So if you’re looking for a beautiful day that allows you to sit back and relax, look no further!

6. Escape Games

Ecape Room

Strictly for adults, the Escape Games are quickly spreading throughout the UK. Taking the locked in a room style games just one step further. Up to a group of 6 people are locked into a room, where a specific event plays out, one of the most notorious involves playing the part of an undercover detective who is captured by triads, locked in a room, and given an hour to escape. Another, not for the faint of heart, involves a murder taking place within a haunted house. This will give even the best of travelling puzzle takers a challenge! Prices do fluctuate throughout the year, so it’s worth checking before you make your trip.

7. Winterbourne House and Garden

Winterbourne House and Garden

The  beautiful thing about Birmingham has to be the amount of picturesque houses and gardens that it has to offer, and Winterbourne House is at the top of its league. Restored to its original Edwardian era arts and crafts splendour it really does prove itself to be a rather unique heritage attraction. You can look through the house and the intense number of beautiful antiques, or take a relaxing stroll through the beautiful botanic gardens, featuring more than 6000 plant species from around the world. Within the grounds you will find everything from a woodland walk, with numerous routes, to a 1930’s style Japanese bridge.

Book online : Winterbourne House and Garden Admission Ticket

8. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

For families travelling with children, do you often find that due to different tastes keeping your children entertained within museums can be quite a hard task? This museum might just be the one that wins them all over. Featuring beautiful collections of art, social history, archaeology and ethnography there really does seem to be something for everyone. It covers centuries of European history and culture, as well as being home to collections of international importance. Step through the doors and you can see everything from the most highly valued hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold, to the largest known collection of complete  Indian bronze sculptures. For the little archaeologists among you, there is a whole collection of Egyptian mummies and coffins, we would suggest that you look at current exhibits before making your trip, throughout the year dinosaur exhibits will pop up!

9. Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Hippodrome

Perfectly complementing the creative nature that Birmingham has to offer is the Hippodrome, as said by The Independent, ‘Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime, thank goodness, always one of the best in the land’. This famous pantomime venue features everything from ballet and opera, to family pantomimes and comedy. It is well worth looking at what might be coming up while you’re travelling, as they’ll even provide booster seats for small children who are sat behind tall guests. For the adults, pre-order interval drinks can be ordered at any of the bars, ready for you to collect from the foyer, so you won’t have to keep standing in a queue. If you arrive well before your show is to start, they also have their own independent restaurant with fantastic ratings that open two hours before each performance, but their menus are finalised a month before each show, so it’s worth looking on their website first!

10. Sheldon Country Park

Sheldon Country Park

If what you’re looking for is a beautiful walk, then look no further. Set in 300 acres of open grassland, wetlands, old hedgerows and some mature woodland, Sheldon Country Park is the perfect place for both short and long walks. Some walks are specifically designed, featuring 2km to 5km trails, although there are also some shorter ones. By the main entrance of the park, you can find the Old Rectory Farm, a 17th century dairy farm. The farm itself has been fully restored and operates as a demonstration farm, showing city dwellers traditional methods of farming. Animals kept there include Jersey cattle, pigs, goats, ponies, ducks and chickens. There are also plenty of lovely activities for young children there, especially in spring when the ducklings and chicks are around!

11. Grand Prix Karting

Grand Prix Karting

For both children and the big kids among us. The Grand Prix Karting venue within Birmingham is arguably one of the best within the UK, and one of the most famous outdoor go kart raceways. Situated just one mile outside Birmingham City Centre, it’s easily accessible by both the motorway, and public transport. Boasting state of the art race karts designed by professionals in the industry, it really isn’t an attraction to be missed!

12. Aston Hall

Aston Hall Dining Room

Situated within a public park on the north side of Birmingham, Aston Hall is one of the most important buildings within the city. As one of the last great Jacobean houses to be built, this seventeenth century red-brick mansion has stood the test of time, earning its place as a Grade I listed building. Perfect for adult travellers and families, this venue features a full programme of events, activities and trails that vary and change throughout each season. One of the most notable permanent features involves the display rooms that Aston Hall played during the Civil War, and throughout other notable moments of history. But one of the features that attracts the most tourists is Lady Holte’s garden, designed in breathtaking symmetrical patterns, and split into quarters with a water feature running in between each section before finally meeting in the middle, it was designed with the key intention of being both beautiful and peaceful.

  • 13.  Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Cadbury really are the heart of British chocolate production, with many of us still mourning the loss of their older, discontinued chocolate products. Perfect for anyone who likes chocolate, this chocolate themed day out isn’t to be missed. Starting with a 4D cinema experience you’ll be diving into a bowl of liquid chocolate milk, riding a Crunchie rollercoaster and taking to the skies in a Cadbury creme egg airship piloted by the caramel bunny. All without even leaving your seat! Both informative and fun, you’ll be finding out the secrets to why Cadbury chocolate is so delicious, and exploring the Aztec jungles to discover the origins of the cocoa bean, amidst trees and waterfalls. You can also take part of the tour with a live actor, playing John Cadbury, the man who opened the original Cadbury shop back in 1824. But the most important part of the day trip involves the world’s biggest Cadbury shop, and the Cadbury World cafe! Good luck not buying too much on that heavenly day out!

14. Great Western Arcade

Great Western Arcade

The Great Western Arcade is situated within the heart of the retail district of the city. As a Victorian shopping arcade it really has seen the test of time, suffering bomb damage in WWII that led to the rebuild of the original arched, glass roof to an apex construction. We would suggest visiting this arcade during the Winter months, when the Christmas decorations are simply stunning, giving a classic feel to this beautiful place. Featuring many independent retailers, spas and shops specialising in many different food areas it really is worth a visit on your trip, we’re sure you’ll find something that captures your fancy there!

15. Jewellery Quarter

Jewellery Quarter

The name of this beautiful quarter really does leave no room for mystery. Known as the gem of Birmingham it is steeped in history, and forms one of the most vibrant and lively locations. It dates back more than 250 years and still to this day is home to over 500 different jewellery businesses. Described by English Heritage as, ‘a unique historic environment in England – a national treasure’, which has a few, if any, parallels in Europe. Attracting thousands of tourists from all over the world, it is also frequented by journalists, keen to visit this historic, yet developing area. Art galleries can be seen on almost every corner.

Related tour : Discovering Birmingham Walking Tour

16. Two Cat’s Kitchen

Two Cat’s Kitchen

Do you enjoy fine dining, or have an occasion coming up that requires a beautiful surrounding and nice food? If so, this really is the place for you, with fine dining and surprisingly generous portions it certainly stands up among other restaurants within Birmingham. You get a small menu at the start of each meal, and servers who provide just enough service, but not too much, as well as a full wine list. What most people tend to love about this place is the atmosphere, it’s pleasantly warm but the dining room echos ever so slightly, making it seem incredibly sociable.

17. Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Do you love animals? Well this small, family run conservation park might be just the thing to add the beauty to your holiday. Featuring a wide range of animals, as well as plenty that are on the endangered list you really can see the effort that they’re putting into conservation. They have everything from ocelots to meerkats, from utila island iguanas to yellow breasted capuchin monkeys. Although not the biggest of zoos, they do charge a humble admission price of £5.50 per person, meaning that they should certainly be on your list of places worth stopping at!

18. Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses

Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses

Are you looking for a place that is both stunning and has places for children to play safely? This is that place. Four stunning glasshouses are surrounded by a large lawn with a range of beds and shrubberies, inside the glasshouses you can find an exotic tropical house, a subtropical house, a mediterranean house and arid houses. Within the Victorian public park there are 15 acres of landscaped greenery, a beautiful bandstand and plenty of play areas, although near the main entrance there is also a playroom for children connected to the tearoom. Events run in the gardens throughout the year, with the most notable ones celebrating the Chinese New Year and Christmas. But due to stereotypical British weather, this is one of those places you’ll need to make weather plans for, we would advise carrying an umbrella! Just incase!

19. Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Do you like jewellery? Are you perhaps fascinated by the thought of how jewellery was once made? The building features a guided tour around a real jewellery factory where very little has changed since the early part of the last century. You can see demonstrations of jewellery making techniques at the jeweller’s bench, where you might be taught a handy trick or two.  Perhaps the most fascinating part of the factory is the ‘Earth’s Riches’ showcase gallery, where you can see jewellery made from materials found in the natural world. From whale tooth and coral, to diamond and platinum. Original jewellery from local designers can also be bought within the museum shop. Entrance is just £7 for visitors aged 16 and above, including the guided tour, but anyone under 16 can get in for free!

20. Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Both a home for lovers of art, and lovers of architecture. This is one of Birmingham’s finest Art Deco buildings, purpose built and opened by Queen Mary in 1939. Designed by Robert Atkinson, one of Britain’s leading architects, you’ll walk through the doors and meet a central music auditorium, surrounded by corridors leading to separate parts of the gallery. Housing many world class painters it’s a gallery not to be missed. Including exhibits from artists such as Claude Monet and Frans Hals, you can find some of the most well known artists within each room. They also cater exhibits on other forms of art, including Ancient Roman coins, and Treasures of Ancient Egypt.

21. Gas Street Basin

Gas Street Basin

If you find yourself in Birmingham, looking to rest and break up your day, you should consider a stunning walk in the heart of Britain’s canal network. Days gone by it was alive with the sound of cargoes as diverse as chocolate crumb, glass and coal getting loaded and unloaded. Today surrounding the basin are modern bars and restaurants, providing a unique experience where industrial heritage meets modern, cosmopolitan living. It’s a great stop on your way to the heart of Birmingham’s shopping centres, as it’s just a five minute walk away from the shops that surround New Street Station.

22. Baddesley Clinton

Baddesley Clinton

Baddesley Clinton is an intimate estate set in the heart of the Forest of Arden, with over 500 years of fascinating history and unexpected sources. As a National Trust venue, it provides both a calm experience, and a learning experience. Over centuries it has protected those seeking to escape the outside world, and over the course of 2016 it focuses on the story of the Tudors and the Catholic priests, who lived there during a time when their faith, could have meant there life. Go from learning to strolling through the tranquility of the beautiful countryside, away from the centre of the city, life really is different, everything seems slower. It would be worth experiencing both sides of that coin on your trip.

23. St. Philip’s Cathedral

St. Philip’s Cathedral

An architectural splendour, this is one of the few churches built in the English baroque style which on its own sets it alone. But add to this that it’s one of the smallest cathedrals in England, cathedrals in general are ginormous buildings, almost touching the sky, this one is incredibly different. Situated just a short way off of the Jewellery Quarter, it is worth having a stroll to see if you’re within the area. If you do venture inside the cathedral, you’ll see the beautiful art installation of 2000 soul boats that now hang from the ceiling. Certainly a part of your trip that you’ll want to have your camera to hand for.

24. Cannon Hill Park

Cannon Hill Park

Cannon Hill Park has something that a lot of recreational parks don’t, which makes it an incredibly tourist decorations for thousands of tourists over the summer months. Unlike most large parks, it was built specifically for the recreation of the people of Birmingham, leaving it a beautifully structured feel over the 80 acres of formal parkland, but alongside that lay 120 acres of conservation and woodland plantation. If you have children, we would suggest taking them to look for the animals that live within the woods there, you could see anything from frogs to hedgehogs. We would also suggest going with young children on a sunny weekend, as there’s a mini fair that is weather permitting, and pedalo boats operate on the lake during the Summer. If you do find yourselves caught in a summer shower, then there are plenty of tea rooms where you can take refuge until it decides to stop.

25. Hen and Chickens PH

The Hen and Chicken Inn

While you’re travelling, it can be really easy to judge a book by its cover, we all do it. But this is one of those situations where you should completely ignore what it looks like outside, it was derelict for quite some time and the outside still looks tired. But upon stepping inside you will completely forget what the outside looks like. Providing a perfect atmosphere, and friendly service, you’ll quickly feel comfortable within the bar/grill. They serve a pleasant mixture of both English and Asian food, with something to satisfy your tastebuds. Generally it costs around £10 to £15 per person, not including your drinks, but if you ask the chefs there really nicely, they can also make you food that isn’t on the menu. It’s also situated just off of  the Jewellery Quarter, where you can find a wide range of nice pubs, so if a night out is what you’re looking for, it’s a great starting point.

25 Best Things to Do in Birmingham (UK):

  • Symphony Hall
  • National Motorcycle Museum
  • National Sea Life Centre
  • Damascena Coffee House
  • Shakespeare Express
  • Escape Games
  • Winterbourne House and Garden
  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
  • Birmingham Hippodrome
  • Sheldon Country Park
  • Grand Prix Karting
  • Great Western Arcade
  • Jewellery Quarter
  • Two Cat’s Kitchen
  • Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses
  • Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
  • Barber Institute of Fine Arts
  • Gas Street Basin
  • Baddesley Clinton
  • St. Philip’s Cathedral
  • Cannon Hill Park
  • Hen and Chickens PH

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15 of the best things to do in Birmingham

Discover the best things to see and do on a break in birmingham, from world-class sporting events to chocolate factory tours and more.

places to visit near birmingham uk

B irmingham: it’s either undiscovered or underrated. This former industrial powerhouse in the West Midlands is one of Britain’s most culturally influential hubs and with the 2022 Commonwealth Games shining a light on the city it’s only going to become stronger. From Gas Street Basin to Bournville and back, Birmingham has recreational canals, unrivalled chocolate, Lord of the Rings landscapes, world-class sporting venues, more green space than any other European city and a dish that’s been done the world over, but never better than here.

Overlooked region? Not any more. Accent jokes? Not here, bab. Welcome to Birmingham, the UK’s proud second city. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss.

Main photo: Birmingham Canal Old Line and the Library of Birmingham (Alamy)

Kayaking in Birmingham (Roundhouse Birmingham)

1. Kayak the canals

Speak to any Brummie and they’ll gush about Birmingham having more miles of canal than Venice, so why not kayak its once-bustling industrial canals? Thanks to a partnership between the National Trust and the Canal & River Trust, one of the city’s most well-known buildings has been brought back to life as a discovery centre for locals and visitors, and as a starting point for tours by foot, bike and on water. Two regular kayak tours depart from the Roundhouse; take in the city centre’s most prominent sights including Gas Street Basin, or opt for a tranquil wildlife tour on the outskirts.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (Alamy)

2. Visit Birmingham’s museums

There’s no time like the present to visit Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Following a two-year closure the world-renowned museum and gallery is back open with a local twist: the reigns have been handed over to local creatives. Here you’ll find exhibitions with Birmingham and the wider region at its heart, with other top museums in the city including the brand new West Midlands Police Museum, opened off the back of Peaky Blinders ’ success, and Brum’s long standing interactive science museum, Thinktank.


Pedalos on the boating lake at Cannon Hill Park (Alamy)

3. Explore Birmingham’s favourite park

With an arts centre, café, cinema, swan boating lake, mini golf, grade II listed bandstand, and an adjoining nature centre home to adorable wallabies and red pandas, it’s no surprise that Cannon Hill Park is Brum’s most popular green space. A couple of miles outside Birmingham city centre and a short walk away from Edgbaston cricket ground, this family-friendly park is a Brummie staple and well worth a day out.

4. Jog around the sights

Juggling a career as cabin crew and an enthusiasm for fitness isn’t easy. Run of a Kind founder Lucy Canham’s quest for keeping fit on her travels has seen her jogging around the likes of Las Vegas, Cape Town and Shanghai. Having always wondered why there was nothing similar back home, Canham decided to set up running tours of her beloved Brum; think local street art, chocolate and leafy routes, all of which are fairly priced and suitable for all abilities.

Kevin Thomas hosts Heritage Walking Tours

5. Join a quirky walking tour

Most cities have walking tours, but few can rival those in Birmingham. On Kevin Thomas’s Heritage Walking Tours you’ll learn about the history of the city and the people that made it, and delve into Birmingham’s oddball (and often gruesome) quirks such as its letterboxes, lost pubs, hidden catacombs and even its plague pits. Yes, really. Sure, you could plod around on a generic tour of the major city sights but why do that when you could tag along with a character like Kevin?

Aston Hall (Alamy)

6. Go back in time at Aston Hall… if you dare

This 17th-century Jacobean mansion house on the city’s edge is one of the West Midlands’ finest — and most haunted — buildings. Built for local landowner Sir Thomas Holte, Aston Hall was constructed between 1618 and 1635 and would later house the son of famous engineer James Watt. Several spooky spirits are supposedly spotted at Aston Hall, making it one of the UK’s most haunted historic sites. Daily tours are available, but visit at Halloween for a fright.

A chef cooks a balti at Shababs Balti Restaurant (Alamy)

7. Go for a Brummie balti

It would be sacrilege to visit Birmingham and not enjoy its most famous dish: the balti. The dish is only authentic if it’s cooked and served up sizzling hot using the same steel pan throughout. Thankfully, many balti houses in the city keep up this practice; head to Shababs or Shahi Nan Kebab House in the Balti Triangle, or Royal Watan in Selly Park.

Cricket fans arrive at Edgbaston (Alamy)

8. Soak up England’s best cricket atmosphere

No sporting fan should visit Birmingham without soaking in the unbeatable atmosphere in the Eric Hollies Stand at Edgbaston. Dubbed “The Fortress”, 25,000-capacity Edgbaston Stadium has played host to many a memorable England victory but is predominantly the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club and T20 team the Birmingham Bears, whose regular matches attract fans in their thousands. Don’t forget to join the conga.

The shopfront of Birmingham tailors George Saunders (Alamy)

9. Experience 1800s Brum

Step back into the 19th century at this unassuming local history bolt hole. Located on Hurst Street in the city centre, the Birmingham Back to Backs is the city’s last remaining example of back-to-back houses: a series of terraced, multi-storied houses centred around a communal courtyard for its residents to enjoy. On your visit, a local tour guide will help you retrace the footsteps of those who endured cramped conditions in these small houses — original artefacts are still in place — from the mid-19th century until as recent as the 1970s. Don’t miss the second-hand bookshop as you leave.

Bournville Village (Alamy)

10. Gorge on chocolate at Bournville

A lot can be said for a stereotypical chocolate box village, but Bournville really is one — in every sense of the word. Built for the workers of the Cadbury factory in 1895, Bournville Village is a picture-perfect suburb home to quaint shops, a tranquil park and, of course, the factory itself. Tours of Cadbury World include chocolate samples and a walk through some of the chocolatier’s most famous television adverts, gorilla included.

Sutton Park (Alamy)

11. Go wild in Sutton Coldfield

Proudly one of Europe’s largest urban parks, Sutton Park sprawls over 2,400 acres of woodland, wetland and rare lowland heathland. It’s officially designated as both a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest and houses wildlife rare to the region, such as muntjac deer and wild ponies. Several waymarked walking trails take you around its lakes and ponds — and a handful of pubs and restaurants also make Sutton Park worth going out of your way for.

The Bear Grylls Adventure

12. Go even wilder with Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls is renowned for his outdoor survival practices, and thanks to his adventure centre in Birmingham you too can now learn the ins and outs. Unleash your competitive side in the survival-themed escape rooms; release your inner child on the outdoor high ropes or beat your fears by snorkelling with sharks — yes, in Birmingham. The choice is yours, but remember, in the words of Bear himself: “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing.”

Sarehole Mill (Alamy)

13. Trace Tolkien’s footsteps

Few outside of Brum knowJRR Tolkien grew up in these parts, but even fewer know that the characters and locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were inspired there. Living in the then-Worcestershire hamlet of Sarehole between the ages of four and eight, a young Tolkien would play in the land surrounding the mill and roam the expansive forest-like wetland of Moseley Bog, the latter being the inspiration for The Shire region of Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth. Tours of Sarehole Mill and LOTR-themed walking tours run regularly.

Hockley Social Club (Richard Hammersley)

14. Sample the West Midlands’ best street food

Birmingham may have five Michelin stars but it’s the street food that’s enjoyed a revolution over the last decade, with Digbeth Dining Club firmly at the forefront. Having left Digbeth to branch out across the city, DDC now has two permanent street food hubs in Herbert’s Yard (Longbridge) and Hockley Social Club (Jewellery Quarter). Each week, resident and guest vendors sling everything from fried chicken to bao buns, and loaded dogs to handmade cheesecakes into starving mouths. Not literally.

The Chamberlain Clock in the Jewellery Quarter (Alamy)

15. Search for gold in the Jewellery Quarter

Whether you’re after a gold ring or a pint of golden ale, the Jewellery Quarter has it all. Housing Europe’s largest concentration of jewellers, this relatively small district produces 40 per cent of the UK’s jewellery and is your one stop shop for that wedding ring or anniversary present. All shopped out? It’s also home to a fairly large concentration of bars, pubs and restaurants. Handy, that.

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Top Things to Do

The Top 10 Things to Do in Birmingham, England

Birmingham is one of England's most up-and-coming cities. Located in the West Midlands region, the city was formerly an 18th-century manufacturing center, with many traces of its industrialization still seen today. It's found midway between London and Manchester, making it a great destination on a longer England trip, or Birmingham is great as a long weekend stay. From its museums, like the expansive Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, to its culture, like the renowned Birmingham Symphony Hall, Birmingham has a lot to offer its visitors. Here are ten of the best things to do in Birmingham.

Explore Cadbury World

Courtesy of Cadbury World

England's most famous (and most beloved) chocolate comes from Cadbury, which American visitors will know for their Cadbury Cream Eggs. Birmingham is home to Cadbury World, a popular visitor attraction that details the history, making of and legacy of Cadbury. It features a self-guided tour through several whimsical exhibitions, and you can even visit the world's biggest Cadbury shop. It's best to book tickets in advance online, especially if you prefer to visit on a specific date, and don't miss Cadbury World's afternoon tea, which includes several chocolate treats. Kids will also enjoy the character dining opportunities with Cadbury mascots, like character breakfast or character afternoon tea.

Visit the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Courtesy of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery houses a vast collection of international objects, from fine art and ceramics to natural history and archaeology displays to exhibitions on local and industrial history. The museum, which opened in 1885, is housed in Grade II listed landmark building, an experience in itself. Explore more than 40 galleries, or enjoy a treat in the museum's Edwardian tea rooms. It's great for kids and adults alike, and it's best to give yourself a few hours to see everything in the building. Best of all: The museum is free for all visitors.

Go Back in History at the Black Country Living Museum

Black Country Living Museum, found about 10 miles west of Birmingham, is an open-air living museum that details the area's history. It features 40 carefully reconstructed shops, houses, and industrial areas that represent the Black Country's story, and visitors get a tangible experience with the smoke, smells, and noises of the time. Opt for the audio tour to better understand how Black Country was developed and scour the buildings for over 80,000 authentic items. The museum will be of particular interest to fans of "Peaky Blinders" as you can book tickets to its special Peaky Blinders Nights, which tell the tales of Birmingham's famous street gangs. Drive to the museum or take a train from central Birmingham to Tipton, a quick mile walk away.

Stroll Around the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Located in Edgbaston, on the edge of Birmingham's city center, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens make for a great day out, especially during the spring and summer. The 15-acre botanical garden features four large glasshouses, which contain several types of climates: tropical, subtropical, Mediterranean, and arid. There is also a playground, gift shop, and tea room, as well as a garden center, in case you get inspired to do some gardening of your own. The gardens also host family-specific activities, like annual events and special children's trails through the plants. Tickets can be booked online in advance, but you can also show up the day of.

Tour Aston Hall

Courtesy of Birmingham Museums

Immerse yourself in the 17th century at Aston Hall, a historic manor house with over 30 rooms to explore. The surrounding gardens are particularly picturesque, and it's a great place to learn more about Jacobean England. Aston Hall, which is supposedly one of the most haunted places in England, often hosts special events, augmenting a visit to the house. Look for family-friendly offerings, as well as literary-themed events throughout the year. The estate can be accessed by car, but visitors can also take public transport from central Birmingham. Walk from Witton Station or Aston Station, or hop on the number 65 bus from the city center.

See a Show at Birmingham Symphony Hall

Birmingham Symphony Hall, home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, is a renowned concert hall, ideal for visitors interested in seeing live music during their stay in town. The hall is relatively new, opened in 1991, and it hosts all genres, from classical to kids music to country. There are also recurring live poetry events, comedy, dance and theater performances, and more. Check the calendar for what's on during your visit. The venue is also located centrally, with lots of restaurants and bars nearby to enjoy before or after a show.

Go Underwater at the National Sea Life Centre

Head to the center of town to discover the National Sea Life Centre, an immersive aquarium that boasts the U.K.'s only 360-degree underwater tunnel. Inside, there are sharks, giant turtles, sea otters, penguins, and dozens of colorful fish. There are numerous types of tickets available for the family-friendly attraction, including general admission, multi-attraction tickets that include Sea Life and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham, and a parent and toddler ticket. Be sure to check the aquarium's website for any current promotions or discounts before booking.

Hike Through Sheldon Country Park

Take a quick drive out of town to Sheldon, home of Sheldon Country Park, for some nature and fresh air. Spanning 300 acres, the park consists of open grassland, wetlands, and woodland and also boasts the Old Rectory Farm, which is open to visitors year-round. There is a scenic nature trail that threads through the park, an ideal hike for travelers of all abilities, and regular ranger events for kids. Old Rectory Farm is a working farm that showcases traditional farming, so you can get up close and personal with Jersey cattle, pigs, goats, and ponies with free admission. Follow the Sheldon Country Park's walking route for a laidback stroll.

Ride the Shakespeare Express

All aboard the Shakespeare Express, part of Vintage Trains. The historic steam train takes guests between Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, and Birmingham, with a dining car onboard that offers breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea. Tickets are available on select dates only, so be sure to plan well ahead of your desired journey. If the train isn't available, Stratford upon Avon is less than an hour's drive south from Birmingham, making it an easy day trip for those who want to learn more about the Bard's life.

Visit Gas Street Basin

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The vibrant Gas Street Basin neighborhood of Birmingham is perfect for a night out or a shopping spree. Located in the city center, where the Worcester and Birmingham Canal meets the BCN Main Line, the area is filled with local pubs, cocktail bars, restaurants, and shops. It has a cool industrial feel, and boats still use the canal today. Look for the Canal House, a vibrant pub, and Mediterranean eatery Noel’s Bar and Restaurant. Because Gas Street Basin is so central, there are also many hotels in the neighborhood, including the Hyatt Regency Birmingham, which overlooks the basin.

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23 Best Things to Do in Birmingham, UK – a Local’s Guide [2024 edition]

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Looking for the top things to do in Birmingham today?

Birmingham is one of England’s most vibrant and diverse cities. The UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham (known by the locals as Brum), offers visitors a huge array of attractions and activities to enjoy.

Families in particular will find an abundance of kid-friendly things to do in Birmingham to keep the little ones entertained for hours.

From world-class museums and galleries to fascinating heritage sights, thrilling theme parks to peaceful gardens and parks, Birmingham packs plenty of varied and diverse things to see and do for everyone.

Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

🏨 Accommodation: I recommend ✈️ Flights: for the cheapest flights, I use Skyscanner 🚗 Rental Car: I recommend Discover Cars 🛡️ Travel Insurance: for the best deals I rely on SafetyWing

Birmingham Essentials Checklist:

✅ A good quality raincoat (it tends to rain a lot in the UK) ✅ A decent pair of walking shoes (there’s a lot of walking in this city) ✅ A hoodie or warm sweater (to wear under your jacket, it can be cool or chilly here) ✅ A good quality compact camera (for taking great pics)

And with so many free and budget-friendly attractions, you can experience the best of Birmingham without breaking the bank.

Birmingham is currently seeing an influx in tourism thanks to the hit TV drama Peaky Blinders, based on the real-life gangsters that dominated the Gas Street Basin region in the early 20th Century.

Being a Brummie myself (the term for a lifelong Birmingham local), means I know the city like the back of my hand, so I can recommend all the best spots to visit, where to find the hidden gems, and all the top things to do in Brum.

🌆 Do you like Peaky Blinders? Then this offer is for you!

The tour gives you an opportunity to learn about the history of gangs in Birmingham and other cultural and historical facts about this city. Plus, a distant cousin of the real-life Birmingham Gang will show you around the city and teach you the ropes of being a Peaky Blinder. Don’t miss such a unique opportunity!

👉 Overview:

Short on time? Though I thoroughly enjoyed all the activities here, these stand out as my top personal picks in Birmingham:

📍 1: Cadbury World

Get an inside look at the history and making of Cadbury chocolate – the UK’s favorite chocolate, at one of the region’s most popular attractions. Don’t miss the tasting room! Book your tickets HERE

📍 2: National SEA LIFE Centre

One of the city’s hottest attractions: SEA LIFE is home to over 2,000 sea creatures. Features interactive displays and underwater tunnels for 360-degree views of the deep. Book your tickets HERE

📍3: Walking Tour of Gas Street Basin and Canals

Take a walking tour along the Victorian canals of Gas Street Basin where the Peaky Blinders once ruled and discover the cultural heritage and industrial history of Birmingham. Book your walking tour HERE .

There are four categories of places to visit I want to highlight in this article:

➡️ 19 General Things to do in Birmingham ➡️ Other things to see and do around Birmingham ➡️ What to do in Birmingham when it’s raining ➡️ Free things to do in Birmingham

Let’s examine each of these top activities in Birmingham more closely, and see why they suit different visitor interests and personalities.

Top 23 Things to Do in Birmingham England

The ultimate locals guide to all the most fun things to do in Birmingham for adults, kids, families and couples , what to do in Birmingham today, and more.

1. The Custard Factory & Street Art Scene

The Custard Factory is home to a range of independent shops, cafes and bars as well as a variety of creative and digital businesses.

photo of the street down the center of the custard factory

The site was originally a large factory complex built by Alfred Bird, the 19th century inventor of egg-free custard.

One of the best things you can do in the city is explore Digbeth – home to Birmingham’s growing street art scene – there are countless murals and wall art of all sizes all over the district: on old factory buildings, in the hidden alleyways, on the bridges and archways.

The beauty of this place is that new murals and artwork are being spray-painted all the time, often replacing/overlapping existing murals, which means the region is constantly visually changing on a weekly basis.

Personally, this is one of my favorite Birmingham sightseeing activities as there is always something new and different to see every time I’m there. Digbeth is truly one of the hidden gems in Birmingham for tourists.

If you’re a fan of vibrant, impressive and politically-charged graffiti art like myself, this is a place well worth checking out. You can book tickets for a guided city tour of Birmingham here:

📍 The Custard Factory ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Free Opening times: Mon – Fri: 8am til 5pm How to get there: from Grand Central: 12-minute walk down to Digbeth. By bus – numbers 2, 3, 4A, 5, 6, 17, 60 and 97 stop in Digbeth (10 mins journey)

Digbeth street art

2. Discover Cadbury World

For chocolate lovers, a trip to Cadbury World is a must on any list of things to do in Birmingham with kids.

bright purple cadbury world main entrance sign

Situated in the city’s southern district of Bournville, Cadbury World is one of the major tourist places in Birmingham.

Get an inside look at the iconic chocolate company on this self-guided museum tour. Walk through interactive zones tracing the history and evolution of the Cadbury brand. See how deliciously smooth Dairy Milk chocolate bars are made, watch the pouring of molten chocolate, and smell the enticing aromas.

👉 Pro Tip: Book tickets ahead of time online during peak seasons. Make sure to grab a warm melted chocolate drink and stock up on discounted chocolate in the gift shop!

You’ll discover the origins of the cocoa bean amidst the trees and waterfalls of the Aztec jungles, add to that magical Cadabra rides, a 4D Chocolate Adventure zone, and free chocolate for all, its easy to see why Cadbury World is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Birmingham.

📍 Cadbury World ( Google Maps location ) Admission: from £18.95. Book your tickets HERE Opening Times: Mon – Fri: 10am til 3pm | Sat & Sun: 9:30am til 4pm How to get there: from Grand Central, the train to Redditch stops at Bournville station. Bus numbers 61, 63, 11A and 48 take 35 minutes and stop at Chapel Lane. By car – it’s 25 minutes.

3. The National SEA LIFE Centre

Within the Brindleyplace development along Birmingham’s picturesque canal network, you’ll find SEA LIFE Birmingham, home to over 2000 beautiful, fun and cheeky sea animals. It’s among the city’s top indoor attractions for families.

national sea life centre front view

SEA LIFE Birmingham is very hands-on and interactive for kids. Touch pools, puzzle trails and virtual reality experiences make it entertaining as well as educational. Check out talks and feeding demonstrations to learn about the animals.

A perfect day out for all, the SEA LIFE Centre is not only one of the most popular family-friendly activities in Birmingham, its also ranked one of the best aquariums in Britain ! It’s easily one of the must-see attractions of Birmingham.

📍 National SEA LIFE Centre ( Google Maps location ) Admission: £19 (Order your tickets here: ) Opening times: Mon – Fri: 10am til 4pm | Sat: 10am til 6pm | Sun: 10am til 5pm How to get there: from Grand Central, the metro takes you to Library in 14 minutes. On foot it’s 19 minutes, and by car is 11 minutes.

4. Stroll around the Jewellery Quarter

No visit to Birmingham is complete without exploring the historic Jewellery Quarter and seeing master craftspeople at work. A former industrial district, the Jewellery Quarter is home to over 100 retailers, diamond dealers, and workshops, as well as the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter , and the Coffin Works.

An 18th Century church sits in the centre of St. Paul’s Square, and the surrounding area is rejuvenated with Indie stores, trendy bars, chic cafes and art galleries, along with modern Indian, Spanish and Italian eateries.

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Muesum Of The Jewellery Quarter

A perfectly preserved 18th-century jewellery workshop that offers a unique glimpse into working life in the Jewellery Quarter. It’s an excellent place to get yourself a beautifully personalized, hand-crafted jewelry gift on request. You can book a Jewellery Quarter guided tour here:

I’ve taken many walking tours through the Jewellery Quarter over the years and can attest to the fascinating blend of heritage, arts, and dining here.

📍 Jewellery Quarter ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Museum (Factory and the galleries) – adult £7, child £3 Opening times: Tue – Fri 10:30am til 5pm

The Coffin Works

A fully restored, Victorian coffin fittings workshop that’s also home to the Newman Brothers Museum. Costumed guides lead you around the factory where you will experience the sights, sounds and smells of factory life and hear the stories of workers, owners and trade.

📍 Coffin Works ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adult £7.50, child £4.50 (under 5s FREE), family (1 adult, 3 children) £12.50 Opening times: Wed – Sun 10:45am til 3:15pm (closed Mon – Tue) How to get there: From Grand Central, the metro stops at Jewellery Quarter (9 minutes). Bus 101 takes 12 minutes from Newhall Street. By car: 11 minutes.

👉 Read more: 130+ Charming Quotes about England

5. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Situated in the heart of the city next to the Town Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a large Victorian building with a domed, Round Room.

birmingham museum and art gallery

Seeking the best galleries and museums in Birmingham? Look no further.

The Art Gallery has an extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelites paintings from the 14th Century onwards, and the Museum hosts huge exhibits of antiquities and artifacts from Ancient Egypt, Ancient India and Central Asia, the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, as well as the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, making this one of best museums in Birmingham for art lovers.

📍 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Free (except some exhibitions) Opening times: Mon – Sun: 10am til 5pm How to get there: from Grand Central, the metro takes you to Town Hall in 6 minutes. Its 8 minutes walk up Stephenson Street and then Pinfold Street.

🚶🏽‍♂️ Birmingham day trips & excursions: Check out this Guided Walking tour of Birmingham:

6. Take a Canal Boat Trip

There’s no better way to experience Birmingham than by cruising the city’s canals and discovering the rich heritage of the city that sparked the Industrial Revolution more than 200 years ago.

birminhgam canals black and white photograph of gas street basin

Without a doubt one of the more unique Birmingham activities, starting from Sherborne Wharf, take a trip on one of three luxury passenger narrowboats as it winds its way around the bustling heart of Birmingham.

Fans of the Peaky Blinders will get a chance to witness the old coal factories and cobbled streets around Gas Street Basin, that once brought the city alive with blazing fires, smoke and noise as seen in the hit TV series.

Alternatively, you can take the Victorian Canals to Today’s City Walking Tour for a guided walk where you’ll learn the importance of the canals to the Industrial Revolution, or if you like, you can even go paddleboarding on canals in Birmingham and the West Midlands .

📍 Sherborne Wharf ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adult £8, senior £7, child £6. Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children): £22 Times: Canal Boat trips depart from the International Convention Centre Quayside at 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm, and 4pm daily, from Easter to end of October. Trips run at weekends only throughout November, January, February and March. How to get there: from Grand Central, bus numbers 9, 12, 13, 13A, 23, 24, 126, X8 and X10 stop at Crescent Theatre (15 mins)

🛶 Did you know: There are more canals in Birmingham than in Venice! For more fun facts, head over to 38 Interesting Facts about Birmingham

7. Explore the Bullring Shopping Centre

Situated right in the heart of town, the Bullring is the UK’s largest city-based shopping center and one of the best malls in the country.

bullring birmingham photo inside the mall

It has a host of well-known high-street fashion stores and household shops, as well as popular restaurants and cafes. Its convenient location makes it easy to drop by lunch or a quick coffee break while on your day tour, and there’s free wifi too.

For a breathtaking view of the city, I recommend ascending to the observation deck of the iconic Selfridges building, which opened in 2003.

The Bullring and surrounding area are also well-known for international food outlets, and you can discover some of the best Italian restaurants here.

📍 The Bullring ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Free Opening times: Mon – Fri 10am til 8pm, Sat 9am til 8pm, Sun 11am til 5pm How to get there: from Grand Central, it’s right across the road, 2 minute’s walk.

8. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

For LEGO fans, the Legoland Discovery Centre is a must on your Birmingham itinerary. Located right beside the Bullring shopping center, it offers hours of LEGO-themed fun.

a photo of the front entrance of the legoland discovery centre in birmingham, uk

There are rides like the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride and Merlin’s Apprentice Ride. Multiple built worlds use over 1.5 million LEGO bricks to create sites from famous landmarks to fantasy lands.

Let kids run wild in the brick pits with tons of LEGOs to build their imaginations. Check out MINILAND, showcasing Birmingham in LEGO form.

Book your tickets below and save money when you book in advance!

📍 LEGOLAND Discovery Centre ( Google Maps location ) Opening times: Mon – Sun 10:30am til 2:30pm, Sat-Sun: 9:30am-5:30pm ➤ Book your tickets to LEGOLAND here:

9. Thinktank Science Museum

Birmingham’s Thinktank Science Museum makes learning incredibly fun and interactive for both adults and kids.

a photo of a spitfire plane raised inside the thinktank museum

With four floors spanning science and technology, there are thousands of hands-on exhibits to try. From steam engines to robotics, there’s something for every interest.

The state-of-the-art Planetarium offers an otherworldly experience. Especially popular with kids are the Science Garden with giant outdoor science experiments and the Kids City roleplay zone.

📍 Thinktank Science Museum ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adult £15, child £10 (concessional tickets available) Opening times: Wed – Sun 10am til 5pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) How to get there: from Moor Street station, walk to the museum in 10 minutes.

10. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens features four unique glasshouses as well as 15 acres of sprawling stunning gardens.

birmingham botanical gardens

Wander through formal rose gardens, an arid Tropical House, herb gardens, rock gardens and more. Have a picnic on the lawns, and let kids run free in the adventure playground.

Located beside Westbourne Road just outside the city centre, the Botanical Gardens provide a tranquil escape. Make time to visit the Tea Room for home cooked lunches and cakes.

As one of the top free things to do in Birmingham, the gardens are accessible for all. Donations are welcomed to sustain this oasis.

📍 Botanical Gardens ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adult £7.40, concession (children, seniors, students, disabled & helpers): £5.25 Opening times: Mon – Sun 10am til 5pm How to get there: from Grand Central, buses 23 and 24 stop at the Botanical Gardens (23 mins). By car it takes 9 minutes. ➤ Book your tickets to Winterbourne House and the Botanical Gardens here:

11. Watch a Movie at the Electric Cinema

Why not catch a movie at the UK’s oldest working cinema?

front view of the electric cinema in birmingham, uk

Built in 1909, the historic Electric Cinema offers movie listings of all the latest releases including 3D showings. There’s optional upgrades to sofa seating at the front or right at the back, and there’s even a waiter text service during the film.

📍 The Electric Cinema ( Google Maps location ) Admission: £11.50 (standard), £8.50 (concession), £12.80 per person (front row sofa), £15.20 per person (back sofa, minimum 2 persons) Opening times: Mondays: 5:30pm til late, Tue-Sun: late morning til late evening How to get there: from Grand Central, it’s just across the road (on Station Street).

🗺️ Want free printable PDF maps and guides for traveling around Birmingham? Head over to Birmingham Tourism & Travel Guide (Free PDF Maps)

12. Spend a Day at Drayton Manor

For a theme park experience, Drayton Manor is a top contender for best things to do in Birmingham with toddlers and young kids.

people on the shockwave rollercoaster at drayton manor theme park

Just 30 minutes from Birmingham by car, Drayton Manor packs in themed lands, rides for all ages, live shows and a zoo.

Thomas Land brings the beloved tank engine tales to life with 25 tot-friendly rides. Bigger thrill rides like Shockwave and Apocalypse get the adrenaline pumping.

Younger kids love the Carousel, Jolly Buccaneer ship and Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster. With tickets from £34 for adults and £29 for kids, it’s an easy fun-filled day trip.

Considered one of the best theme parks in the UK , Drayton Manor Resort is one not to be missed. Book your ticket using the link below to save 30%!

📍 Drayton Manor ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adults £29 (when booked in advance). Book your tickets here . Opening times: Mon-Tue: 10am-3pm, Wed-Fri: 10:30am-4:30pm, Sat: 10:30am-6pm, Sun: 10:30am-5pm

13. Visit the RAF Museum

Aircraft enthusiasts of all ages will be in heaven at the Royal Air Force Museum. See over 100 aircraft from WWI biplanes to supersonic jets and military helicopters.

a spitfire plane on display at the raf museum

Located in Cosford, The RAF Museum is also one of the top things to do in Wolverhampton . Get up close views onboard the aircraft and chat with knowledgeable RAF veterans.

Interactive exhibits let you try aviation simulators, a 4D motion ride and an official RAF aircraft ejection seat.

Best of all, standard admission to the RAF Museum is free, making it one of the best things to do in Birmingham on a budget. You only pay for extras like simulator rides.

📍 The RAF Museum ( Google Maps location ) Admission: FREE Opening times: 10am-5pm daily. How to get there: take a taxi or bus from Birmingham Grand Central to the RAF Museum Cosford. It’s a 40 minute drive.

14. Savor the food of Chinatown

As one of the most diverse cities in the UK, Birmingham’s Chinatown is a sprawling melting pot of cultures and cuisines.

view of one of the restaurants in chinatown birmingham

With everything from food markets, restaurants and cafes to bars, clubs, hotels, a casino, and entertainment venues, the Chinese Quarter is a gem in the heart of the city and boasts some of the top restaurants in Birmingham for foodies.

Theaters like the The Alexandra, The Victoria, and the Hippodrome host world-class musicals, operas, dance shows, stand-up comedy, and Birmingham’s favorite pantomime. Also in Chinatown is Birmingham Royal Ballet – the UK’s premier touring ballet company.

Having sampled cuisine all over Birmingham, I can confidently say Chinatown offers some of the most mouthwatering and authentic Asian food in the city.

Aside from sprawling indoor food markets, there’s Chinese hand-made noodle bars and sizzling Korean hotpot restaurants, Cantonese all-you-can-eat buffets and many more – Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Thai, Indonesian, you’ll be spoilt for choice. I highly recommend dropping by one of several cute Taiwanese cafes for a hot, bubble milk tea.

My current favorite eatery is Dezhou Style Braised Chicken which serves delicious authentic homemade Szechuan style noodles, I always go for the cumin and coriander beef stir fry. Check out their rave reviews here:

📍 Chinatown ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Free (charges apply for events at the Hippodrome and Alexandra theaters. Opening times: All hours How to get there: Chinatown is located just 5 minutes walk from Grand Central and is adjacent to the Bullring.

👉 Read more: Here’s a guide to all the closest beaches to Birmingham

Top 10 Budget Restaurants and Independent Cafes in Birmingham

15. Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

For a fun day meeting exotic animals, head to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. Home to over 200 species, it focuses on endangered animals.

front entrance of the birmingham wildlife conservation park

Walk through Amur tiger and red panda enclosures and the lemur wood forest walkway.

Don’t miss feeding time opportunities and keeper talks to learn about the animals. Kids will love letting lemurs eat from their hands!

General admission is £9.95 for adults and £8.95 for kids, with annual passes available for repeat visits to see new arrivals.

📍 Chinatown ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adults £9.95, children £8.95 Opening times: 10am-5pm daily How to get there: take a taxi or bus from Birmingham Grand Central, around a 35 minute drive.

16. Explore the Black Country Living Museum

Immerse yourself in England’s Industrial Revolution at the Black Country Living Museum.

28 Unique Things to Do in the West Midlands

This impressive open-air complex recreates a 19th century workers town with historic buildings, shops, and coal mines. Costumed guides share stories of what life was like.

Interactive experiences like riding a vintage fairground carousel, exploring the mines, and having fish and chips in a traditional chip shop bring the past alive. Admission is £19.50 for adults and £11.25 for kids, providing a full day’s edutainment.

📍 Black Country Museum ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adult admission £19.50, Child admission £11.25 Opening times: 10am-5pm daily How to get there: take a train from Birmingham Grand Central to Dudley Port station (20 min ride). Then take a 15 minute taxi or bus to the museum.

17. Take a Trip to West Midlands Safari Park

West Midlands Safari Park combines a safari drive-through with theme park elements. Drive your own car or ride the Safari Skyway on a tour encountering elephants, tigers, giraffes, white rhinos and more roaming freely.

a giraffe arching its neck over a car at west midland safari park uk

Then enjoy attractions like the Land of the Living Dinosaurs with giant moving prehistoric creatures. Thrill rides, stage shows, a sea lion presentation and lemurs also feature.

West Midland Safari Park also ranks among the 20 best zoos and safaris in Britain , all the more reason to bring the family along for a memorable day out.

Tickets start at £25 for adults and £20 for kids, making it one of the pricier but worthwhile family days out near Birmingham.

📍 West Midland Safari Park ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Adult admission from £25, Child admission from £20 Opening times: Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun: 9:30am-6pm How to get there: located in Bewdley, around 1 hour drive from Birmingham.

18. Visit the Lapworth Museum of Geology

Dinosaurs and rare fossils take centre stage at Birmingham University’s Lapworth Museum of Geology.

a t-rex skeleton on display at the lapworth museum of geology

One of the UK’s finest geology museums, it houses over 250,000 specimens spanning 3.5 billion years of the Earth’s history.

Marvel over dinosaur skeletons, massive mammoth tusks, and meteorites. Interactive displays engage kids in learning about minerals and fossils.

Best of all, standard admission to Lapworth Museum of Geology is free, making it one of the top things to do in Birmingham on a budget.

📍 Lapworth Museum ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Free Opening times: Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun: 12pm-5pm How to get there: take a train to University Station from Birmingham Grand Central (12 min ride). The museum is a 10 min walk from the University.

19. Wander around the Ikon Gallery

Lovers of modern art will appreciate Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery. Housed in a striking Victorian building in the city’s creative Brindleyplace district, it hosts constantly changing exhibitions.

view of the front of the ikon gallery birmingham

Expect to see thought-provoking conceptual installations, paintings, photography, and sculptures from British and international artists.

Ikon Gallery’s Family Saturdays program offers free art workshops for kids. While no permanent collection is displayed, the temporary exhibitions provide adose of culture and creativity.

📍 Ikon Gallery ( Google Maps location ) Admission: Entry to Ikon Gallery is free, making it accessible to all art fans. Donations are encouraged. Opening times: 11am-5pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) How to get there: it’s a 16 minute walk from Birmingham Grand Central.

Other Things to See & Do in Birmingham:

20. Birmingham Symphony Hall – enjoy live music at one of the world’s best and most magnificent concert halls.

23 Best Things to Do in Birmingham, UK - a Local's Guide [2024 edition] 1

21. The National Motorcycle Museum – for motorbike fans, this museum holds the world’s biggest and most impressive collection of antique and modern British motorcycles. Buy your tickets in advance HERE .


22. Cannon Hill Park – this sprawling national park sits in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham and is one of the biggest parks in Europe.


23. Alton Towers – outdoor activities in Birmingham for adventure seekers doesn’t get any bigger than Alton Towers – considered the UK’s #1 theme park. Perfect for kids, families and young couples alike. Read how to get to Alton Towers from Birmingham here .


➤ Related post: 20 Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Derby

Read more: Thors Cave Walkers Guide in the Peak District

What to Do in Birmingham When It’s Raining

Searching for the best things to do in Birmingham when it’s raining? These indoor destinations make for fantastic rainy day fun:

➡️ Visit an indoor museum or gallery – Birmingham has several good options like the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Thinktank Science Museum, or the Ikon Gallery. They offer a chance to explore the city’s culture and history out of the rain.

➡️ See a show or concert – Catch a play, musical, concert, or comedy show at venues like the Birmingham Hippodrome, Symphony Hall, or The Alexandra.

➡️ Go shopping at the Bullring – This large indoor shopping center has over 160 shops from department stores to boutiques. You can browse for hours protected from the elements.

➡️ Take a class – Look for indoor activities like cooking classes, pottery workshops, or martial arts lessons. It’s a good way to pick up a new skill.

➡️ Relax at a spa – Treat yourself to a spa day at places like Malmaison Birmingham or the Woodhouse Day Spa. Saunas, massages, and pools provide the perfect escape.

➡️ Grab a drink or some traditional grub at a pub – Historic English pubs like The Old Crown or The Woodman let you enjoy Birmingham’s social scene with a pint.

➡️ See the Sea Life Centre – This aquarium houses over 2,000 creatures including sharks, penguins, otters, and more. Great for kids and adults.

➡️ Try an escape room – Test your puzzle-solving skills at an escape room like Escape Live or Escapologic. It’s an interactive indoor activity.

➡️ Go bowling – Hit the lanes for bowling, darts, and arcade games at places like Hollywood Bowl or the Utilita Arena Birmingham.

So don’t let the rain dampen your Birmingham visit! The city has plenty of indoor options to keep you entertained.

Things to Do in Birmingham for Free

Seeking out what to do in Birmingham for free? The below cost-free options from this collection offer epic fun without emptying your wallet:

➡ Take a walk along the Birmingham Canals – The city has 35 miles of canals to explore on foot, great for scenic strolls.

➡ Visit the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – This museum houses an impressive collection of international art, artifacts, and interactive exhibits. Free entry.

➡ Check out the Library of Birmingham – Newly renovated, England’s largest public library offers interesting architecture, an outdoor amphitheater, gardens, and free exhibitions.

➡ Tour St. Philip’s Cathedral – Dating back to 1715, this historic cathedral has beautiful stained glass and stonework and even offers free guided tours.

➡ Relax at Cannon Hill Park – Ride the mini railway, rent a boat, play sports, or just enjoy nature walks in this 250-acre park.

➡ Window shop at the Bullring Markets – The indoor and outdoor markets have over 200 stalls of crafts, fashion, and delicacies to browse.

➡ Enjoy views from Lickey Hills Country Park – Great hiking trails and panoramic views just 10 miles southwest of the city center.

➡ Catch free entertainment at the Mailbox – This upscale shopping destination offers free comedy, jazz, and cinema events.

➡ Find street art and cool cafes in the Jewellery Quarter – Birmingham’s creative hub with unique public art installations.

➡ Attend free festivals – From ArtsFest in September to Birmingham Pride in May, the city hosts many free festivals.

Soak in Birmingham’s culture, sights, and entertainment without emptying your wallet!

Whats on in Birmingham this weekend?

For all the top cultural events in Birmingham this weekend, click here to view a calendar of the latest and most up-to-date events and festivals happening in and around Birmingham this weekend.

You can also head down to Broad Street to experience the liveliest nightlife in Birmingham for partygoers.

Places to visit near Birmingham

For more days out West Midlands and the Black Country area offers a broad range of activities, for those looking for things to do further out from Birmingham. Here’s some of the best things to see and do:

📍 Twycross Zoo (near Tamworth) 📍 Drayton Manor Theme Park (Tamworth) 📍 Shakespeare’s Birthplace &  Butterfly Farm (Stratford-Upon-Avon) – one of the best kid-friendly day trips from Birmingham 📍 Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & The Cotswolds 📍 Warwick Castle (Warwick) 📍 Cannock Chase Forest – Area of Outstanding National Beauty (Cannock) 📍 Explore the City of Caves and National Justice Museum of Nottingham

Birmingham Attractions Map

Check out the highlights of Birmingham city center and their locations on this map below:


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General Information about Birmingham

  • Area: 267.8km squared
  • Weather: 8C (winter), 24C (summer)
  • Population: 1.1 million (2nd in UK)
  • Founded: 600AD
  • International Airport: Birmingham (BHX)
  • Famous Residents: Ozzy Osbourne, Led Zeppelin, UB40, David Edgar (poet), Benjamin Zephaniah (writer)

Birmingham FAQs:

Below are some commonly-asked questions about Birmingham, UK.

How to spend a day in Birmingham?

To spend a day in Birmingham, visit top attractions like the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, take a canal boat tour, dine at the Balti Triangle, and end with drinks at independent bars in the Jewellery Quarter.

Is it worth visiting Birmingham?

Birmingham is worth visiting for its free museums, extensive canal network, unique Jewellery Quarter, excellent food scene featuring Michelin-starred restaurants and Balti cuisine, and lively nightlife.

What is on in Birmingham for free?

Free things to do in Birmingham include exploring parks like Cannon Hill Park, admiring the library architecture, joining a free walking tour, people-watching at the Bullring, and visiting the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

Is one day in Birmingham enough?

While more time in Birmingham is better, one day is enough to see some key sights by following an efficient itinerary of its compact city center. Top picks are the canals, Balti Triangle, Cadbury World and the Museum & Art Gallery.

Is Birmingham a walkable city?

Birmingham city center is very walkable, with most attractions located within close proximity. Several pedestrian routes like the Hip Hop Heritage Trail connect major sights.

How long is Birmingham City Walk?

The Birmingham City Walk is a signed 2.3 mile self-guided trail around the city centre, passing 19 highlights like Victoria Square and the Town Hall. As a local, I’ve taken visiting friends and family on the Birmingham City Walk countless times over the years and can confirm it takes about 2 hours.

Is Birmingham a cheap city?

Birmingham is one of the most affordable UK cities. Free museums, cheap public transit, and food/drink deals make it accessible. Hotels and Airbnbs are also very reasonably priced.

🏨 Where to Stay in Birmingham?

Below are my top recommendations on where to stay in Birmingham:

📍 $ Budget option: Wray and Whyte House (double & twin room, family-friendly) – Fabulous 8.6

📍$$$ Luxury option: The Class Place (Apartment with Terrace) –   Good 7.9

Birmingham tourist information

How to get there.

Air: The main airport is Birmingham International (BHX), 14 miles away from Birmingham. Click here for airport transfers to Birmingham.

Getting around Birmingham

There are a number of excellent public transport options around the city, as well as an extensive road network with the M5 and M6 being the main motorways passing through the region.

Cycling: There are new and updated networks of cycle routes in the city center.

Bus: Buses are easy to use and run regularly from numerous stops. An adult trip costs £2 (cards are accepted).

Train: The main station is Birmingham Grand Central (New Street) right in the heart of the city and has great transport links to the rest of the UK. You can get a train from London to Birmingham in just 1.5 hours!

Car: Birmingham’s roads are very easy and convenient to navigate. You can hire a rental car here .

Tram: there is an excellent tram network that connects Birmingham to the Black Country region (Wolverhampton, Dudley, West Bromwich).

Best time to visit Birmingham

Early May to late September is the best time to visit, with July-August the warmest months. Rain falls throughout the year, with the wettest month being November, and the driest month being July.

Conclusion: Birmingham Things to Do

Birmingham is a superb city to visit for anyone traveling to the UK and I would recommend an itinerary of at least three days.

It’s such a flexible and ideally located city being in the heart of England, and close by to London (1.5 hours by train or car), as well as being in the heart of the Midlands region, and close to other major cities like Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool – all 2 hours away!

Essential West Midlands Travel Resources:

For more useful West Midlands travel guide information, check out these articles:

✪ 20 Best Things to Do in Wolverhampton, England ✪ Ultimate Packing List for the UK (+ Free Checklist) ✪ 28 Memorable Things to Do in the West Midlands ✪ 8 Epic Places to Go Paddle Boarding in the West Midlands ✪ 41 Interesting Facts About Birmingham, UK ✪ A Guide to Brummie Slang Words & Phrases ✪ 13 Top Mazes in and around the West Midlands

Further Reading: UK Travel

  • Learn how you can Visit Stonehenge for Free
  • Here’s the 10 Best Things to See & Do in Bath, England
  • Read up on 23 Wonderful Things to Do in Stoke, UK
  • And here’s my Traveler’s Guide to British Slang Words

places to visit near birmingham uk

Billy Read is the owner and author of BRB Gone Somewhere Epic, a travel blog that helps travelers discover unique destinations and travel experiences on a budget. With more than 10 years of global travel filled with accidents, Billy aims to help readers avoid making the same mistakes as he did, and make the most of their epic trips.

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20 Fun Things To Do in Birmingham, UK by

20 Fun Things To Do in Birmingham, UK

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If you are taking a trip to Birmingham, England, you may be wondering what to do. We understand; when mentioning we planned to visit Birmingham to family, friends and fellow travelers, there wasn’t the typical enthusiastic responses and passionate suggestions. So, we pondered how to fill our travel itinerary for the second-largest city in the United Kingdom.

Despite Birmingham playing a key role in the Industrial Revolution – and being home of both the (fictitious) Peaky Blinders and the (real-life) author JRR Tolkien – it has yet to gain traction as an international travel destination.

That said, the city is well known for its spectacular festivals, which is precisely what prompted our Birmingham, UK trip. We were lured there by one of the top events: The Birmingham German Christmas Market . We love German-style holiday fairs – and Birmingham’s proclaims to be one of the best. So, when we made plans to be in London for Christmas , we tacked on an extra trip to Brum!

From London, the two-hour train trip to Birmingham takes longer than the flight to Frankfurt. The irony didn’t escape us. However, we are always intrigued by new experiences – and having already visited the actual Frankfurt Christmas Market , we were eager to join the festivities in a different locale.

It came as a bit of a surprise when we discovered an astounding number of fun things to do in Birmingham, UK beyond the holiday fair. In the end, we spent 4 days sightseeing in Birmingham and soaking up the various vibes.


Things to do in Birmingham, England, UK

Our list of the best things to do in Birmingham, United Kingdom features the famous sights, fantastic attractions and fun activities from our own personal experiences.

We traveled as a couple, but there are plenty of things to do in Birmingham with kids, and we highlight the best ones in our list. As budget-conscious travelers, many of our recommended activities are free things to do in Birmingham. In fact, we found it to be quite affordable, especially compared to other UK cities.

Save, Pin or Bookmark this Birmingham Travel Guide to plan your trip to the UK!

#1 Admire Victoria Square

Victoria Square and Fountain, Birmingham, England, UK

Marking the city center, Victoria Square is one of the top things to see in Birmingham. Ringed by ornate architecture – including both the historic Council House and Town Hall – Victoria Square is a vast, pedestrian-only public space. At the center is a tiered fountain, called The River.

View of the Chamberlain Memorial, Birmingham, UK

Top Travel Tip: Don’t miss Chamberlain Square, which is adjacent to Victoria Square and tucked behind Town Hall. Once a marvel of Victorian architecture, now it hosts a mishmash of architectural styles, statues and monuments – including the 1880 Chamberlain Memorial Fountain.

#2 Appreciate the Art at Birmingham Museum

Exterior of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, UK

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – or BM&AG – is housed in part of the Council House building. The entrance is situated on Chamberlain Square beneath the soaring Big Brum clocktower. Inside, the exhibition space features an impressive collection of artworks and historic displays.

Paintings in the art gallery include pieces by well-known artists, such as Edgar Degas, John Constable and Francis Bacon. Meanwhile, the museum exhibits are dedicated to history, stretching from ancient times to the modern history of Birmingham.

Sightseeing Tip: There is no fee to enter BM&AG and it tops many lists as one of the Best Free Things To Do Birmingham, England!

#3 Attend a Live Performance

Exterior View of Birmingham Town Hall, UK

Music and live performances are a big part of Birmingham culture – and there are a multitude of music venues in the city center.

Two of the best places to catch a show are Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall, which are right in the heart of downtown Birmingham. Visitors can check out the full lineup of events – featuring both paid and free entertainment – on the B:Music website .

Utilita Arena and O2 Academy are two other concert halls in central Birmingham that host musical acts – along with a slew of other smaller, more intimate venues.

Travel Foodie Tip: The B:Eats restaurant at Symphony Hall churns out tasty and classic Birmingham food! We share more tips on what and where to eat in Birmingham later in the article.

#4 Get a Good Look at the Birmingham Library

Exterior of the Birmingham Library, UK

It may sound strange, but visiting the library is one of the coolest things to do in Birmingham, England. The Library of Birmingham has earned a barrage of accolades – for the building itself to the collections it contains to the rooftop garden – and it’s absolutely free to visit.

Located on Centenary Square, the library’s contemporary architecture is unusual and evocative. Inside, the space feels as much as a museum as a public library. Of the many collected works, the most impressive is the Shakespeare Memorial Room, housing one of the most significant Shakespeare collections in the world.

View of the Birmingham Library Garden, UK

Not to be missed are the two rooftop terraces. The 3rd floor balcony offers benches for reading and overlooks the square below, while the 7th floor ‘Secret Garden’ boasts a spectacular green space and panoramic views of the city.

Trip Tip: Looking for more things to do around the Birmingham Library? Check out the City Center Gardens for a quiet escape – or pay tribute to fallen soldiers at the Hall of Memory on Centenary Square.

#5 Stroll along Gas Street Basin Canal

Walk Gas Street Basin Canal, Birmingham, UK

The Canals of Birmingham are a remnant of it’s industrial past – a time when these waterways were essential for transporting goods. Today, however, the tow paths are pedestrianized – and walking the canals ranks as one of the top Birmingham things to do.

The city boasts 35 miles of these channels, which tops the total length of canals in Venice, Italy. The most picturesque waterway is the Gas Street Basin Canal (which is labeled on Google Maps as the Birmingham Canal Old Line).

The Distillery on the Canal, Birmingham, UK

The revitalized route passes by old brick warehouses which have been converted into restaurants and bars, as well as the retail and entertainment areas, Brindley Place and Mailbox.

Tip for Your Trip: Hop aboard a canal cruise with Brindley Cruises for history lesson on the extensive network of canals in Birmingham!

#6 See the Exhibits at Ikon Gallery

Ikon Gallery Building, Birmingham, UK

The Ikon Gallery is a Birmingham must-see for contemporary art fans. The museum displays rotating artworks by local and international artists in a variety of mediums, including paintings, photography, sculpture, film and mixed media.

Established in 1964, The Ikon is one of the top museums in Birmingham, UK – and it is free to visit the exhibitions.

Top Tip : Ikon Gallery is housed in a beautiful neo-gothic brick building that was designed in 1877 as a school.

#7 Sit and Relax with Rock Stars

Bench at Black Sabbath Bridge, Birmingham, UK

Since the middle of the 20th century, Birmingham has churned out a number of chart-topping bands. Musical acts like The Moody Blues, Duran Duran and Fine Young Cannibals all hail from Birmingham.

But here’s an interesting fact: The heavy metal music genre was born in Birmingham, UK. It happened in 1968 when locals – Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill – formed Black Sabbath.

As a tribute to the heavy metal band, the city erected the Black Sabbath Bench on the Broad Street bridge above the Old Line Canal. The bench is graced with images of the band members so visitors can take a seat with the rock stars.

Photo Tip: Use the QR code on the bench to access a live stream camera to take photo of you and your travel crew while sitting with the lads on Black Sabbath Bridge!

#8 Eat, Drink and Shop at Mailbox

The Mailbox, Birmingham, England, UK

The Mailbox Birmingham is one of the city’s best renovation projects. Once a sorting facility for the Royal Mail, the space has been refurbished into a fashionable entertainment district complete with a luxury movie theater, boutique shops, trendy canal-side restaurants and hip bars.

Top Travel Tip: Watching a flick at the upscale Everyman theater at Birmingham Mailbox promises a personalized cinema experience. It is firmly one of the Fun Things To Do Birmingham on rainy days!

#9 Walk through a Historic Arcade

Entrance to Great Western Arcade, Birmingham, UK

Arcades – covered walkways lined with high-end shops – were fashionable in the 19th century and a few have survived to this day. Walking through the elegant and stylish shopping arcades is one of the fun things to do in Central Birmingham.

The Piccadilly Arcade dates to 1926 and features a beautiful, hand-painted ceiling mural. Plus, it’s a fantastic place for window shopping or picking up a special souvenir.

Entrance to Piccadilly Arcade, Birmingham, UK

Great Western Arcade is even more charming. The Victorian-style passageway was built in the late 1800s for the railway and many of the original elements (like the elaborate entryway) remain.

Trip Tip: Visitors who like seeking out these hidden gems can find two more covered shopping lanes in the city: Burlington Arcade and City Arcade.

#10 Listen to the Roar of Ozzy the Bull

Ozzy the Bull, New Street Station, Birmingham, UK

A mighty bull might seem an unlikely mascot for a British city, but Ozzy is a symbol of Birmingham. When the city hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2022, a 33-foot-tall mechanical bull – then called Raging Bull, now called Ozzy – became an icon of the event. The head-moving, tail-swishing, roaring bull, which is made of factory machine parts, is a nod to Birmingham’s industrial past.

Ozzy the Bull (named after Ozzy Osbourne) now resides in the center of New Street Station greeting both visitors and local Brummies on their return home. Catching the bull in motion is one of the fun things in Birmingham…for both kids and adults!

Tip for your Trip: As the bull is Birmingham’s mascot, Ozzy isn’t the only one in town. Visitors can also find a 6-ton, bronze bull called The Guardian at the Bullring Shopping Center – which is next on our list of Birmingham, England things to do.

#11 Go Shopping at Bullring Shopping Center

Exterior of the Bullring Shopping Center, Birmingham, UK

Shopping has long been one of the top activities to do in Birmingham. The city evolved from a simple market town in the 1100s into a thriving marketplace by the Middle Ages. The Bull Ring – a 16th century bullpen next to St. Martin’s Church – was the epicenter of the city’s trade. When a modern mall was built on the site in 2003, they kept with tradition and named it the Bullring Shopping Center.

Bull inside Selfridge’s, Birmingham, UK

At Bullring Mall visitors will find all of the popular name-brand retailers – including flagship stores for H&M, Victoria’s Secret and London-based River Island. Selfridge’s is also housed at Bullring, and while the interior offers a sensational dose of creativity, it’s the silver-dotted exterior that truly makes the mall one of the top tourist attractions in Birmingham, UK.

Top Tip: Shoppers will also find a number of stores in the vicinity of Bullring. Most notable is the Primark on High Street, which ranks as the largest Primark in the world. The gargantuan size of the store has even earned it a spot in the Guinness World Records.

#12 Meander through the Birmingham Markets

Fresh Fruit, Open Market, Birmingham, UK

Shopping in Birmingham isn’t limited to malls and department stores; the city hosts fantastic markets, too. Situated on the south side of the Bullring & Grand Central Shopping Centre are the Bullring Markets: Open Market, Rag Market and Indoor Market – and they are three of the best markets in Birmingham.

The Open Market, an open-air produce bazaar under a canopy, is vibrant and full of color. It’s a great place to pick up fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables.

The building next to the Open Market houses the Rag Market, which boasts an astounding 350 vendor stalls hawking an abundance of household goods. Patrons can shop for everything from work boots to lingerie to kitchen appliances to kids’ toys – all under one roof. 

Fresh Fish, Indoor Market, Birmingham, UK

Next to the Rag Market is the Indoor Market, a mecca of fresh seafood, butchered meats and pungent scents!

Sightseeing Tip: While shopping at Bullring Markets is one of the fun things to do in Birmingham City Centre, take a moment to step inside St. Martin’s Church. The Victorian church dates to the mid-1800s and the stained-glass windows are gorgeous. 

#13 Check Out the Chinese Quarter

Street in the Chinese Quarter, Birmingham, UK

One of the top things to do in Birmingham is to explore the Chinese Quarter. During the 1950s, the city saw in influx of Asian immigrants – and by the 1980s, Birmingham had its own Chinatown.

Today, the district is awash with Asian eateries, red lanterns and a towering pagoda. Stop in one of the stores – like Day In Supermarket – to shop for an array of Asian goods, grab a bubble tea at Xing Fu Tang or settle in for a feast at the Ming Moon Buffet.

Chinatown Cheese Onion Ham Bun, Birmingham, UK

While in the Chinese Quarter, pop into the Birmingham Back to Backs Museum (ticket required) to see how people lived in Birmingham in the 1800s.

Travel Tip: Just to the south of the Chinese Quarter is Gay Village, the heart of Birmingham’s LGBTQ community and an exuberant nightlife destination.

#14 Step Back in Time at The Old Crown Pub

Exterior of The Old Crown Pub, Birmingham, UK

The Old Crown Pub is as classic as they come. It ranks as the oldest secular building in Birmingham – dating to the year 1368 – and it’s a fine spot for a pint and traditional pub food.

The cozy interior features an ancient brick fireplace and old wooden beams across the ceiling, the beer garden exudes a fun vibe in the summertime, and they even have accommodations available upstairs.

More Drinks for your Trip: Drinking craft beer is one of the fun Birmingham, England things to do and later in the article we highlight our favorite places for a pint of locally produced brew.

#15 Explore Red Brick Market in Digbeth District

Red Brick Market, Digbeth, Birmingham, England, UK

Artistic and offbeat, Digbeth is Birmingham’s bohemian district – and it is flush with all things fun and funky!

By day, the Red Brick Market is the top attraction in Digbeth. A shopping extravaganza of independent retailers, Red Brick gathers more than 50 traders under a single roof. From second-hand threads to creative handmade goods, Red Brick is one of the most unique places in Birmingham.

Items for Sale, Red Brick Market, Digbeth, Birmingham, UK

After dark, Digbeth bars are the hip place to hang out. Roxy Lanes has games (like bowling, shuffleboard and beer pong), Golf Fang has glow-in-the-dark indoor putt-putt (along with cracking cocktails) and NQ64 at Custard Factory has nostalgic arcade games.

Top Tip: Watching an independent film at Mockingbird Cinema in Digbeth Custard Factory is another one of the fun things to do in Birmingham at night!

#16 Seek Out Amazing Street Art

Discover Digbeth Street Art in Birmingham, UK

Graffiti and street art are quite prevalent in Birmingham – especially in Digbeth. Visitors looking for interesting things to do in Birmingham can spend a couple of hours seeking out the best street art murals in the city.

Floodgate Street – and the train arches that cross over it – is one of the best places for the artistic expressions, but impressive murals are found all over Digbeth. Travelers who want to make the most of their time can join a Street Art Tour led by a local guide. 

Sightseeing Tip: Street art isn’t limited to Digbeth. In fact, Banksy, the most well-known street artist in the world, painted a mural in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter (a district we visit a bit later).

#17 Go inside the Gorgeous Birmingham Cathedral

Interior of the Birmingham Cathedral, UK

The Birmingham Cathedral Church of St. Phillip was built in 1715 – and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Although rather small – it’s the third-smallest cathedral in the United Kingdom – it is well worth a visit.

The highlight of the church are the four stained-glass windows, which were created by artist Edward Burne-Jones in the late-1800s. The windows add a punch of color to the otherwise stark interior.

Budget Travel Tip: There is no ticket required; visiting the cathedral is one of the things to see in Birmingham for free!

#18 Discover the Jewellery Quarter

The Stone Room, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, UK

A unique enclave in the city of Birmingham, the Jewellery Quarter attracts all types of visitors. Architecture aficionados will appreciate the buildings – more than 200 of them are listed on the conservation register. History buffs can enjoy the JW Evans Silver Factory – a factory-turned-museum where time stands still. Foodies might indulge at the Hockley Social Club.

But, of course, the main draw of the district is the independent jewelry workshops and sparkling showrooms. Discover the JQ on your own or join a fun walking tour that features a few hidden gems (pardon the pun!).

Top Tip: Visitors can learn more about the history of crafting jewelry in Birmingham at the informative Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

#19 Creep into the Brookfields Cemetery

Catacombs at Brookfields Cemetery, Birmingham, UK

Visiting Brookfields Cemetery (also called Warstone Lane Cemetery) is one of the quirky – if not a bit creepy – things to do in Birmingham, UK. Founded in 1847, some of Birmingham’s most notable citizens have been interred here.

A stroll through the burial grounds reveals headstones that are leaning, broken or covered in moss (which definitely adds to the eerie factor). At the center of the graveyard is an unusual and beguiling attraction: Catacombs. The burial chambers were built into the side of an old quarry, but unfortunately, there is no way to enter them.

Travel Tip: The nearby Key Hill Cemetery, which resembles a park more than a burial place, is also worth checking out.

#20 Step out on St. Paul’s Square

Exterior of Saint Paul's House, Birmingham, England, UK

Built in the 1770s, St. Paul’s Square was designed to attract Birmingham’s upper class (and that it did). Standing at the center of the lush square is St. Paul’s Church – and gorgeous Georgian residences encircle the green space.

Those looking for more historical things to do in Birmingham should visit the church – it’s a Grade I listed site with a stained-glass window that dates to 1791. After marveling at the beauty of the area, saunter into the award-winning 40 St Paul’s or the bar at Saint Paul’s House for a spectacular gin cocktail or a cup of tea. Does it get any more British than that?!

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View of Centenary Square, Birmingham, UK

We have shared our top picks for what to do in Birmingham, UK, but there are a few more attractions to mention. These activities came highly recommended by Birmingham locals!

Go to a Quirky Museum

Those who are intrigued by odd attractions and are searching for unusual things to do in Birmingham might want to take a tour of The Coffin Works Museum, which details how coffins are made.

Watch a Movie at a Vintage Cinema

The cinema scene in Birmingham is in full swing – and theaters range from historic to posh. For a unique, vintage experience, watch a film at The Electric Cinema. The theater, which has just two screens, opened in 1909 and is the oldest working theater in the United Kingdom.

See Penguins at National Sea Life Center

Visit the National Sea Life Center, Birmingham, UK

Rated as one of the top things to do with kids in Birmingham, the National Sea Life Centre offers visitors a chance to see penguins, otters and seals – and a highlight is walking through a 360-degree Ocean Tunnel.

Play at Legoland

Another one of the highly-rated things to do in Birmingham for kids, Legoland is an exciting entertainment center complete with a 4D cinema and hands-on workshop.

Learn at ThinkTank Birmingham Science Museum

The ThinkTank Science Museum is one of the family attractions in Birmingham that appeals to guests of all ages. From the Planetarium to the mini-city to the Science Garden, visitors can easily spend an entire day discovering the exhibits.

Follow the Footsteps of the Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders Mural, Birmingham, UK

Fans of the Peaky Blinders television series can set off on their own to find Birmingham filming locations and places of inspiration for the show – but it is probably much more fun to join a guided tour. On this tour , ‘Edward Shelby’ leads participants to the must-visit places in Birmingham while telling enthralling stories of Birmingham’s gangs. 

Embark on the Birmingham Tolkien Trail

JRR Tolkien – author of The Lord of the Rings – lived in Birmingham and used many of his real-life Brum experiences as inspiration for his fantasy novels. While most of the sights are outside of the city center, visitors with a car can use this free guide to find the top places to visit in Birmingham, England relating the Tolkien. 

Join One of the City Walking Tours

Old and New Buildings in Birmingham England, UK

Our best things to do in Birmingham, England is arranged so that it can be used as a self-guided walking tour. For those who would rather someone lead the way can join a local guide for a tour of Birmingham – like this highly-rated tour . 


Statues of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch, Birmingham UK

After you’ve seen the sights and enjoyed the activities in the city center, there are several things to see near Birmingham that are just a short drive, train or bus ride away.

Aston Vila Soccer Team and Stadium

Aston, on the north side of Birmingham, hosts a Premier League soccer team, Aston Villa Football Club. Established in 1874, it is one of the oldest clubs in England. Villa Park is a fantastic place to watch a match – but you can also take a tour of the facilities.

University of Birmingham Campus

The University of Birmingham campus sits to the south of the city center – and it can be reached on foot (via a canal walk) in just 30 minutes. Visitors can use this self-guided tour  to discover the top campus sights.

Additionally, there are museums (like The Barber Institute of Fine Arts) and parks (like Cannon Hill Park) on and near campus.

Cadbury World Chocolate Factory

Cadbury Chocolate – one of the world’s most recognizable brands of the confection – is a Birmingham original, dating to 1824. Today, you can learn the history of the brand and about how the chocolate is made at Cadbury World.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens in Birmingham date to the year 1829. The grounds feature more than 7000 plants, multiple Victorian glasshouses and numerous ornate, themed gardens. Tickets are required for entry.

Warwick Castle

Often touted as one of the best things to do near Birmingham, UK, the Medieval Warwick Castle is a fascinating place to visit. The stunning 1,100-year-old castle sits on the Avon River – about a 30 minute train ride from Birmingham.

Stratford Upon Avon

The birthplace of William Shakespeare and a bucolic village, Stratford Upon Avon is a lovely place to see. Good public transit lines make it one of the easy things to do near Birmingham, England!



One of the great things about Birmingham is the food! The city is known for its exceptional and diverse cuisine – and we are highlighting a few of the must-eat dishes.

A spicy Indian dish, Balti was invented in Birmingham in the 1970s. A congregation of Balti restaurants – known as The Birmingham Balti Triangle – sits to the southeast of the city center, but you don’t need to go that far to get a taste. We recommend eating Indian food at Manzil, a longtime favorite Birmingham restaurant.

Brummie Bacon Cakes and Birmingham Soup

When the weather is cool, a bowl of Birmingham Soup is the perfect meal. Made with beef and vegetables, the dish is hearty and satisfying, although no one could tell us exactly what makes it a special ‘Birmingham Soup’!

The soup is sometimes served with a Brummie Bacon Cake – which we would surely enjoy all on its own. Similar to scone, the savory and tangy cakes are made with Worcestershire sauce and ketchup – and cheese and bacon are added into the batter, as well. Both Birmingham foods are available at local cafes – but we thoroughly enjoyed the meal at B:EATS Café at Symphony Hall.

Pork Scratchings

Pork Scratchings – a dense, calorie-laden snack similar to pork rinds – are a West Midlands specialty. They go particularly well with beer – and as such, many pubs offer Pork Scratchings as a bar snack…but you can also pick them up in the grocery store.

Full English Breakfast

A Full English Breakfast is a great way to start a day in British city, and Birmingham is no exception. The best place for a delicious Full English is at Grand Central Kitchen, where they serve the complete meal at fair price.

Street Food: Falafel and Kebabs

Birmingham Food, Top Falafel, UK

A fresh and tasty falafel wrap is a fantastic midday meal. In Birmingham, the Top Falafel food truck churns out the best in town.

Kebabs, on the other hand, are a sensational late-night treat. The best kebabs we had in Birmingham were at the inconspicuous and highly rated Yummy Meal.  

British Restaurants: Rudy’s Pizza, The Ivy, Dishoom

Eat at Rudy’s Pizza, UK

Birmingham is home to quite a few restaurants that are popular British chains, but don’t let that be a deterrent, as the food is fabulous!

Rudy’s Pizza (which hails from Manchester ) makes outstanding woodfired pizzas. The Ivy (which started as a café in London’s Covent Garden in 1917) is a chic eatery featuring classic British fare with a contemporary twist. Dishoom (which also got it’s start in Covent Garden) is a wildly popular Indian restaurant modeled after the raucous 1960s cafes of Bombay, now Mumbai.


Bar at Sommar Brewery and Taproom, Birmingham, UK

While there are numerous places to go in Birmingham, UK for a pint of beer, we think the best bars are craft brewery taprooms – and there are quite a few in Birmingham City Center!

Sommar Brewery and Taproom

Pints at Sommar Taproom, Birmingham, UK

A Birmingham City Centre brewery, Sommar is dedicated to brewing fresh beer on a weekly basis. The brewery has two taprooms in Birmingham – one on Waterloo Street on the east side of Victoria Square and the other on the canal next to the Utilita Arena.

PureCraft Bar and Kitchen

Featuring craft beer from Purity Brewing Company – as well as other UK and international craft brewing companies – PureCraft pours fresh suds from 16 keg taps and 8 cask, plus more than 50 in bottles and cans.

Indian Brewery

Pint at Indian Brewery, Birmingham, UK

The Indian Brewery Company is a Birmingham based establishment that combines two of their passions: Craft beer and Indian food. The colorful taproom-and-restaurant is located in the arches in the Snow Hill district – just northwest of the city center.

North Brewing Company Taproom

Pints at North Brewing Company Taproom, Birmingham, UK

North brews their beers in Leeds but has several taprooms – including one in Snow Hill, Birmingham. The beers are tasty, the staff is helpful and the space is bright. If you’re hungry, they serve freshly steamed buns from Little Bao Boy.

Pint at Kilder, Birmingham, UK

A cool craft beer bar in the train arches beneath the Moor Street Station on the edge of Digbeth, Kilder offers an ever-changing rotation of some of the best craft beers in the UK and beyond. They share the space with Original Patty Men, a top-rated burger spot in Birmingham, if you’re feeling peckish!


To make it simple to find the best places to go in Birmingham, England, we created a map with all of our recommended attractions. Use this link to Google for an interactive version of the Birmingham map. 

Things To Do in Birmingham, UK Map

Planning a Trip to Birmingham, England

Exterior of the Custard Factory, Birmingham, UK

Now that we have covered what to do in Birmingham – as well as what to eat and drink – we want to answer a few frequently asked questions so that you can best plan your trip!

Where is Birmingham, UK?

Birmingham is situated in the West Midlands region of England, which is about 120 miles northwest of London. In the next section, we share advice on how to get there.

Why Visit Birmingham, UK?

Travelers go to Birmingham for several reasons – from vacation, to work trips, events and concerts. Its location also makes it a great base for exploring more of the UK and the multicultural population enhances the diverse culinary scene.

How Many Days in Birmingham?

Determining how many days to spend in Birmingham will depend on your interests and overall timeframe for your trip. Generally speaking, we think visitors should spend a weekend in Birmingham, although 3 days in Birmingham would likely be perfect.

When is the Best Time to Visit Birmingham?

With the city’s busy event calendar, there are fun things to do in Birmingham year-round! Offering plenty of attractions that are both indoors and outdoors, travelers can plan a trip to Birmingham any time of year and be entertained!

Does Birmingham Have a Bad Reputation?

Post-WWII, Birmingham was booming, but that quick growth led to poor planning and a lot of unfortunate buildings. When the economy crashed in the late 1900s, unemployment and crime were rampant – and Birmingham’s reputation tanked.

Birmingham locals catch a lot of flak amongst other UK citizens, as well. They get lambasted for their heavy accents and cheeky attitudes (neither of which we actually noticed).

Currently, Birmingham is in a period of regeneration and aggressive building (just count the cranes). Revitalization is leading to a major makeover. Therefore, as one local put it, “If you haven’t been in the past five years, you haven’t been to Birmingham.”

Birmingham, UK Travel Tips

Ozzy Street Mural, Birmingham, UK

Use our tips below to help organize all the specifics of your vacation to England. If your trip is part of a broader visit, be sure to also read our guide to Planning Travel in Europe .

How To Get To Birmingham

Birmingham can be reached by plane, train, bus or car from destinations around the UK and globe. The Birmingham International Airport (BHX) is located east of the city – and offers non-stop flights to more than 140 destinations. Travel to and from the airport is made easy with direct trains, buses and taxis.

Where To Stay in Birmingham

We think the best place to stay in Birmingham is in the City Centre so that sightseeing is right outside your door.

The 5-star Grand Hotel offers exquisite accommodation, and it is well-located on the north side of Cathedral Square. The posh hotel is a bit pricey, but the service is second to none.

The Briar Rose is a JD Wetherspoon hotel that offers affordable rooms that are comfortable and clean. It is well positioned in the city center on a popular dining street.

What To Pack for your UK Trip

What to pack for a trip to Birmingham, UK will depend on what time of year you visit. However, there are a few essentials you will want to be sure to pack in your suitcase (or backpack ). Now grab your FREE Checklist!  

Walking Shoes

As you navigate your way through Birmingham and the surrounding districts, you will want wear a pair of comfortable travel shoes . I like to wear these versatile sneakers , and Kris prefers trail shoes .

Travel Camera

Whether snapping photos of the unique architecture, vibrant street art or your food, you will take the best pictures with a real travel camera . We use a Canon Rebel with a 18-135mm lens for our travel pics. It is easy to use and comes at an affordable price, making it one of the best cameras on a budget . 

UK Weather Gear

Rain is always a possibility in Birmingham and throughout the UK. Regardless of season, it’s a good idea to pack a lightweight raincoat and travel umbrella .

When you pack for your Birmingham trip, be sure to bring a good day pack for your sightseeing adventures. I’s also best to carry a bag that will keep your valuables safe. We like to use zippered backpacks   – read our reviews for the best day bags to choose the right one for you!

European Travel Insurance

Plans can go awry and things can go wrong, which is when travel insurance may help. If your trip isn’t already insured, check the rates and robust coverage at World Nomads . 

Organize Your Birmingham Trip

As you make plans for where to stay and which tourist attractions in Birmingham to see, you will need to stay organized. We recommend using our Travel Planning Printables – in order to stay on top of the details of your trip! 

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Start planning your trip to the UK ! Search for the lowest airfares , the best accommodations and fun things to do …then start packing !   Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning Page for more advice – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides Page !

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places to visit near birmingham uk

Places to visit in Birmingham

Find the best things to do in Birmingham throughout the year with our guide to England’s second biggest city. Packed to the brim with museums, mega arenas and fashionable shops, the city is ideal for a romantic weekend break or a getaway with the kids. Take a boat trips on the canals, treat yourself to the finest Michelin-starred restaurants that the city can offer. Visit the world-famous Cadbury's World and indulge your sweet tooth, then head to the city centre for a shopping session at the Bullring.

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places to visit near birmingham uk

Top things to do on a city break in Birmingham

From panoramic hotel views to pinball-themed bars, find the best places to visit in England’s second-largest city.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Visit Europe's largest library

The Library of Birmingham houses a million printed volumes, the largest number held by any public library in the UK.

Location: Birmingham, West Midlands

places to visit near birmingham uk

Discover green Birmingham

Birmingham has more than 8,000 acres of award-winning green spaces and parks – more than any other European city.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Uncover hidden treasures in the historic Jewellery Quarter

Explore this creative industrial hub in Birmingham and admire Georgian and Victorian architecture.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Rainy Day Activities: Watch films in style at The Electric Birmingham

Lounge on a sofa with a drink in hand and watch the latest blockbusters at the UK's oldest working cinema.

places to visit near birmingham uk

A shopping weekend in Birmingham

Enjoy great shopping and cutting edge art on a break to this buzzing city.

A family watching chocolate being made at Cadbury World, Birmingham.

Go chocolate crazy at Cadbury World

A must-visit destination for chocoholics of all ages, Cadbury World in Bourneville near Birmingham is full of fun indoor activities and things to do when it rains.

places to visit near birmingham uk

October events: Laugh out loud at Birmingham Comedy Festival

Watch stand-up performances from some of the world’s top comedians, then learn the tricks of the trade for yourself.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Step into the magical world of JRR Tolkien

Celebrate this great literary mind by exploring his childhood haunts, the inspiration for literary classics Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Enjoy a 360-degree Champagne view of Birmingham

Luxury and fizz, at the top an icon of Birmingham's exciting modernity.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Boat through the history of a worldwide treasure

Enjoy a trip through the heart of Birmingham via its watery wonders.

places to visit near birmingham uk

December events: Visit Birmingham's famous Christmas market

Have a Teutonic shopping experience, all washed down with a cup or two of Glühwein!

places to visit near birmingham uk

Discover where the 18th century’s greatest minds would meet

This lavish Georgian house in Birmingham was once the home of the industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton, leading member of the Lunar Society.

places to visit near birmingham uk

Fall in love (all over again) at Malmaison Birmingham

Topping the list as England’s fastest growing Valentine’s Day destination, where better to rekindle a romance than in Birmingham?

places to visit near birmingham uk

Get clued up on healthy cooking at Harborne Food School

Learn how to cook healthy, sustainable food at Birmingham’s newest food school.

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Experience an on-stage extravaganza at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Plan a theatre trip to Birmingham and enjoy classic performances by the famous Birmingham Royal Ballet, comedy, drama, opera and fun-filled musicals.

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Visit world-renowned artefacts on a budget break in Birmingham

Being on a budget break in Birmingham isn't a problem at all as there’s so much to see and do for free.

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Birmingham's Bullring, books and boutiques

Enjoy contemporary architectural and cultural gems as well as its shopping and nightlife.

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Enjoy a weekend of free outdoor arts across Birmingham

Head to the Birmingham Weekender this September, where the city centre will be bought to life with music, dance, theatre, art, literature, food and fashion.

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Make it a Resorts World romantic break

Romantic breaks should be about luxury, indulgence and relaxation, so it’s a good job Birmingham has all of these in abundance.

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Meet the new arrivals in Birmingham

There are bundles of new baby animals to make the acquaintance of from all corners of the globe at Sea Life UK Birmingham and Dudley Zoological Gardens.

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Head to Birmingham for a summer of festivals

This summer the streets, parks, bars and squares of Birmingham will be filled with melody as the city plays host to some fantastic music festivals.

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places to visit near birmingham uk

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Grand listed buildings, riverside panoramas – and a city bursting with both pop and culture. Trips to this Merseyside city start at Liverpool Pier to snap the trio of iconic buildings.

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I visited gorgeous village near Birmingham for a pub lunch and can see why locals are concerned

I went for a pub lunch in beautiful Berkswell and couldn't help but feel saddened by what I saw

Emily Chaplin

  • 04:25, 28 APR 2024

Photo shows the old pub

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The pub looked so cosy and inviting, we almost sacked off our walk altogether and skipped straight to lunch. A thick layer of moss covered the tile roof and wild vines were snaking their way up the white brick walls on all sides.

The centuries-old pub hadn't been left to go to ruin by any means - that much was clear from the many hanging baskets filled with yellow flowers out the front. The way nature had been allowed to take over only added to The Bear Inn's charm.

Berkswell seemed to me the definition of a 'leafy village'. Tall trees separated the main road from adjoining fields and residents' front gardens were sheltered by tidy bushes or framed by freshly-mown lawns. Homes ranged from impressive brick structures to little bungalows and black-and-white timber-framed cottages that oozed character.

Read more: I went to an old market town 30 minutes from Birmingham and felt like I'd gone back in time

Don't miss out on updates about food and drink and things to do in Birmingham with our daily City Life newsletter

Compared to the overgrown pub, the village green was neatly-pruned and looked immaculate. The grassy centre is home to one of Berkswell's most unusual features - wooden stocks used to punish unruly locals until the mid-19th century, only these ones have five holes instead of four, apparently because one of the village's most prolific offenders back in the day only had one leg.

Photo shows the village green

We made the 25 minute journey from Birmingham for a Sunday morning walk, taking in part of the the Millennium Way, and a pub lunch afterwards. Our route set off from the village green and past Berskwell Village Stores and Tea Room, which is said to be one of the oldest shops in Warwickshire. It serves up coffee, cake, breakfasts and lunches alongside a Sunday roast and supper club.

We passed through the peaceful churchyard of St John's, across a long wooden plank path with a stream running alongside it and followed the footpath through a vast green field with a view of planes flying into land at Birmingham Airport. The track crossed a patch of woodland with bluebells growing on either side then opened onto grassy land, where our picturesque walk took an unexpected turn.

Photo shows a wooden plank path with fields on either side

Apart from the path, the rest of the field was cordoned off. Wire fencing, mounds of upturned earth and construction vehicles blocked our view across the sweeping countryside. As our route veered around the edge of the Sixteen Acre Wood, we passed a row of uprooted trees.

Signs attached to the fence told us the works were part of HS2's plan for a super-fast railway between London and Birmingham, a project that will create tens of thousands of jobs, but has proved controversial in Solihull's rural villages disrupted by road closures, construction noise and dust and the loss of parts of their green surrounds. I couldn't help but feel sad, seeing this gorgeous green haven being dug up.

Photo shows fenced off field and uprooted trees

Our trek eventually looped back round to the pub and I was hoping a Sunday roast could lift our spirits. The Bear Inn was even more characterful inside - the low, wood-beamed ceilings made it feel cramped, but in a cosy way, and the dining area was separated into little nooks with old photos hanging on the wall. It looked like a proper, traditional country inn and felt authentic, not just decorated to look that way.

The Sunday menu featured the main pub grub classics and burgers, but our minds were already set on a roast. My husband had the roast turkey, which came with a pig in blanket, and I ordered the mushroom wellington, which was swapped for a mushroom and ale pie because they were out.

The place was packed - a few big groups celebrating special occasions and others who, like us, seemed to be fresh from a walk, with muddy boots and some with dogs - but the service was quick and it wasn't long until our food arrived. My pie had a lovely, boozy flavour and the veg was all cooked nicely. My husband said the meat was the best part of the meal, though our roasties were a little dry.

Photo shows the two roast dinners

Our plates weren't piled high, but it was enough to fill us up with room for dessert. We shared the salted caramel sundae, which was packed with gooey goodness, and felt like big kids fighting over the last chunk of chocolate brownie. Lunch came to just under £25 including two soft drinks, which seemed very reasonable.

Our day trip to Berkswell had been an insightful one - a reminder of the tranquil landscape that's right on Birmingham's doorstep, but we'd also seen first-hand why locals in this part of Solihull are concerned for the future of their peaceful paradise. Berkswell had to be one of the most beautiful villages I've seen this close to the city, so it's no wonder the people who live there are keen to protect it.

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You are here > Home > Inspire Me > Birmingham Blog > 11 Events in Birmingham and the West Midlands You Can’t Miss This May

11 Events in Birmingham and the West Midlands You Can’t Miss This May

places to visit near birmingham uk

May is nearly upon us, and Birmingham is buzzing with events, promising a month of fun for locals and visitors alike.

From music festivals and performances to literary gatherings and world-class sport, there's something for everyone to enjoy in our vibrant region. We’re even being treated to two bank holidays and a half term in May, so get ready for your calendar to be jam-packed! 

Let's dive into our top picks of things to do this May in Birmingham and the West Midlands.  

Sidewinder Festival - The NEC, May 4  

Get ready to dance through the day and night at Sidewinder Festival 2024, hosted at the NEC in their fabulous outdoor event space! Featuring the biggest names in UK Garage, Bassline, House, and Hiphop, the festival is the perfect way to set the tone for a fun-filled summer.  

The Stratford Literary Festival - 2-7 May  

Bookworms are in for a treat this May as the Stratford Literary Festival returns to inspire audiences from near and far. Immerse yourself in a world of words with captivating author talks from literary legends, thought-provoking workshops, fascinating panel discussions, and so much more!

Whether you're a die-hard bibliophile or simply curious about the literary scene, this festival has something for everyone.  

Elbow - Resorts World Arena,  May 10  

Get ready for an evening of musical magic as Elbow takes the stage at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena! Known for their heartfelt lyrics and captivating performances, this iconic British band promises to deliver an unforgettable concert experience for fans old and new, performing smash hits including Grounds for Divorce and One Day Like This.  

England v Pakistan Women’s IT20 - Edgbaston Stadium, 11 May - and England v Pakistan Men’s IT20 - Edgbaston Stadium, 25 May  

In May, Edgbaston will witness an electrifying clash between the men's and women's teams of England and Pakistan, featuring renowned figures in international cricket alongside emerging talents!

This highly anticipated IT20 encounter marks the inaugural showdown between England and Pakistan at Edgbaston, promising a thrilling match that is sure to go down in history.  

places to visit near birmingham uk

Matilda in Concert - The NEC, 12 May  

Experience the magic of Roald Dahl's classic tale as the film Matilda comes to life in a spellbinding concert at the NEC! This unique film-with-orchestra experience will delight audiences of all ages, taking place under the grand Big Top tent to add even more magic to the occasion.  

Sister Act the Musical - Birmingham Hippodrome, 13-18 May  

Get ready to raise the roof with singing and laughter as Sister Act the Musical takes centre stage at the Birmingham Hippodrome! Follow the hilarious escapades of Deloris Van Cartier as she transforms a struggling convent choir into a sensational musical act.  

Flatpack Film Festival - 10-19 May  

The annual Flatpack Film Festival is back and better than ever, with an eclectic range of boundary-pushing performances, screenings, walks and installations produced by wildly talented individuals from all over the globe!

From indie gems to cinematic classics, this festival showcases the best in contemporary filmmaking through screenings, workshops, and special events.

Kicking off on May 10th at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, expect surprises, laughs, and a true celebration of all that film has to offer.  

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Birmingham Pride - 25-26 May  

Join the vibrant celebration of love, diversity, and equality at the iconic Birmingham Pride! With colourful parades, live performances, and an electric atmosphere, you won’t want to miss out on the party this May. The line-up includes the amazing Sophie Ellis-Baxter, Gok Wan, Tia Kofi, and so many more!

Whilst you’re in the city for Birmingham Pride , make sure you explore everything Birmingham has to offer from unique activities and diverse food, to world-class shopping and fascinating history.   

Brick Fest Live - The NEC, 25-27 May  

Calling all LEGO®️ lovers! Brick Fest Live comes to the NEC at the end of May,  so get ready to immerse yourself in a brick-tastic world at the largest hands-on LEGO®️ event of its kind.

From massive sculptures and rare collectables to live demos and building zones, Brick Fest Live promises a day filled with creativity and imagination. With over a million bricks on display and ready for play, you’ll never want to leave!  

Comedy at the Castle - Warwick Castle, 24th, 25th, 26th May  

Looking for a laugh? The Midlands' biggest open-air comedy festival returns to the iconic Warwick Castle in May! Taking place inside the extraordinary castle grounds, the 3-day festival in collaboration with Close Up Comedy will welcome world-class comedy once again along with thousands of visitors.

What’s more, Digbeth Dining Club will be fuelling the fun with award-winning street food and bars, making it a recipe for an incredible evening!

And the foodie fun doesn’t stop there this May as Digbeth Dining Club’s Summer Tour ‘24 is popping up at various locations throughout the month of May, including at the Waterfront Merry Hill, Lichfield, Bearwood, Tamworth, and Sutton Coldfield.  

places to visit near birmingham uk

Dirty Dancing Bottomless Brunch - Millennium Point, 25 May

Transport yourself back to the summer of 1963 with a Dirty Dancing Bottomless Brunch at Millennium Point!

Enjoy delicious food and unlimited drinks as you relive the iconic moments of this beloved 80s classic surrounded by amazing vibes. It might even have you attempting *that* dance move with your pals!

There’s not a dull moment this month in the region! Check out more things to do in Birmingham and the West Midlands during May .

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