It’s no surprise that the bustling city of Birmingham is one of the most popular choices for stays in the UK. The busy city is a gem for both leisure and business trips with some of the largest tech and creative businesses being located here. There are also lots of scenic areas with plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors which makes it popular for visitors and guests. From the nightlife to the museums, the restaurants to the clubs, there is something for everyone in this delightful, West Midlands city.
As the second largest city in the UK with a population of over 1.1 million people, Birmingham has an incredible history and a vibrant modern culture. To some it’s the home of Peaky Blinders, to others, it’s the home of chocolate, but however you see it, there’s a lot to love about Birmingham and a lot to explore.
When you book your stay in Birmingham, whether you’re staying for business or leisure, you’ll want to put together a list of things to do and places to visit. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you, so without further ado, here are our top 10 things to do during a stay in Birmingham.
Now we’ve all eaten Cadbury’s chocolate at one time in our life. From dairy milk bars to chocolate buttons, to toffee eclairs, the taste of Cadbury’s is iconic, and what better way to enjoy your stay in Birmingham than visiting the place where it all began?
If you’re excited for some insight into how the company got started and how their beloved chocolate was made, then this could well be the place for you. The attraction is one of the most popular in the country and families flock there every year to enjoy some chocolatey fun. It’s the perfect day out for kids and adults alike.
From the origins of the cocoa bean to the first adverts, Cadbury World really is packed with history. Along the way, you’ll get to learn new things, enjoy exciting rides, and even try some chocolate which, let’s face it, is always a bonus.
If you want to learn how Cadbury became one of the most popular chocolate brands in the world, then make sure to pay a visit to Cadbury World in Bournville. It’s open every day with extended hours on Saturdays and Sundays and is easily accessible from the centre of town.
The Jewellery Quarter
The Jewellery Quarter is - if you’ll forgive the pun - a gem. It’s a beautiful area in St Paul’s Square where jewellery lovers will be able to find over 100 retailers, diamond dealers and workshops.
And while you’re shopping, you’ll also be able to stop by some delicious eateries. With its charming and trendy atmosphere, the area boasts a wide selection of bars, cafes and art galleries giving the location a modern, hipster vibe.
And of course, no trip to the Jewellery Quarter would be complete without checking out the museum where you can learn all about the working lives of the district. At the workshop, you can see first-hand how jewellery is made, and you can even get some of your very own hand-crafted jewellery to take home with you.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
For all the history and art lovers out there, you really won’t want to miss the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery. Situated right in the heart of Birmingham, the gallery’s stunning display is one of the best experiences the city has to offer.
From the outside, the building is unmissable with its beautiful Victorian design, while on the inside, the Art gallery is renowned for its incredible collection. In particular, you won’t want to miss its paintings and artefacts from across the world including the Roman empire and Ancient Egypt. The museum also boasts the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold in the world.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the museum and art gallery is completely free to visit. There really is no excuse not to check out this incredible place.
Bullring shopping centre
If you love shopping Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre will blow you away. Put simply, the Bullring is the largest shopping centre in the country and you’d better believe that’s pretty big. Drawing in thousands of customers every year, Bullring is the perfect place to find every brand you can imagine all in one location.
Of course, at least a part of what makes Bullring so famous is its iconic Bullring statue outside. The statue is known across the world, and international shoppers are always excited to visit the biggest high street in the UK.
Whether it’s clothing, toys, household goods, or independent brands, Bullring has something for everyone. And if you’re wanting to make a day trip of it, then why not check out Bullring’s wide selection of restaurants? Whether you want a Mexican, Chinese or Italian, you’ll find all the best of international cuisine packed into one location.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
And if you’re looking for some outdoor time in this famous city, then you can’t go wrong with the botanical gardens. These beautiful gardens are stunning and draw in many tourists who are excited to see an expertly curated botanical display. In fact, many people visit the city just to see the gardens themselves.
The gardens have outdoor areas and glasshouses, a tropical rainforest and a Mediterranean zone. Every glasshouse is different and every one has something special you won’t have seen before.
There’s also good news for those of you with kids. The botanical gardens have an excellent playground where you can let the little ones run wild while you enjoy the display. There’s also a teahouse which is ideal if you’re looking for a bite to eat, and a gift shop where you can pick something up to take back home.
Furthermore, just as with the museum, the Birmingham botanical gardens are free to visitors, and well worth a visit if you’re in need of a day out.
Birmingham is a city that embraces its diversity, and nowhere is that more apparent than Chinatown.
From its casino to its bars, Chinatown is full of life and activity with entertainment aplenty. You’ll find a wealth of theatres hosting all kinds of shows, including the UK’s top touring ballet company, Birmingham Royal Ballet.
You will also find countless Asian restaurants. Whether you want to sit and enjoy food in a noodle bar or fancy hanging out at a buffet, Chinatown has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for Japanese, Thai, or Indonesian food, you’ll find it here, all within five minutes walk of the train station. Chinatown truly is a vibrant, energetic, and creative place to be.
Sea Life Centre
For those who love aquatic life, you will be in your element when visiting the National Seal Life Centre in Birmingham. This stunning centre is home to over 2000 remarkable sea animals. From sea turtles to sharks, the Sea Life Centre boasts one of the most impressive aquatic displays in the world.
Between its 4D cinema, and many hands-on experiences, the centre is a great place for a family day. Why not walk along the 360° tunnel, and experience sea life from a new perspective?
The centre also has a cafe and gift shop and is only a quick metro away from the grand central station.
Peaky Blinders Tour
It might be the UK's second-largest city, but for many people around the world, Peaky Blinders is the show that put Birmingham on the map. The massively successful show is set in Birmingham and is based on the iconic criminal gang and their antics and a lot of fans of the show are now visiting the city to see the real-life areas where the gang carried out their business.
Due to its popularity, there is now an influx of tours offering to take you around the city to the various hot spots. You can join a tour which takes you around the streets where Tommy Shelby and his peers once walked. The tour, which is located in Digbeth, allows you to visit various areas including the Steelhouse Lane police station. For fans of the show, this is a great way to reminisce on parts of the series and find out the true story of the gang. If you’re looking to visit the show’s sets, they are now located at the Black Country Museum just outside of Birmingham in Dudley.
Visit the Canal for a boat ride
The canal quarter is a wonderful part of Birmingham with plenty to discover and enjoy. It’s home to some of the most renowned restaurants and bars drawing in thousands of visitors with their delicious menus. It’s also full of history with the canals playing a massively important role industrial revolution. While you’re here, you can get a boat ride which will take you around all the most iconic parts of the area.
While on the boat ride, you will learn all about the history of the city while getting to enjoy the views of the cobbled streets. By the end of your ride, you’ll have learned all sorts of facts to tell your friends as you explore the city together.
The Electric Cinema
And finally, for cinema fans, a visit to Birmingham isn’t complete without a visit to the Electric Cinema. The oldest cinema still running in the UK, the electric cinema offers a truly traditional cinema experience. The cinema which was built in 1909 still shows all the latest blockbusters and indie films, but there’s something extra special about watching great movies in a classic cinema.
You can also upgrade to a nice cosy sofa and sit back with a big bucket of popcorn. There are various showings throughout the week and they show different films depending on what’s on at that time. It really is a must-go for movie lovers.