I was born in Birmingham and have lived here my entire life, and over the years I’ve familiarised myself with my home city and everything it has to offer. People tend to judge this city before actually experiencing it. So why would you want to visit Birmingham? Here are 10 things the second city has to offer to its visitors:
Brindley Place and The Canals
Did you know that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice? Built around the 1700’s and 1800’s there are 35 miles of canals to cover.
You can hire your own boat, take a relaxing walk along the banks or visit the many bars and restaurants located in Brindley Place. The Sea Life Centre is also located along the banks and is suitable for a family day out.
The Museum and Art Gallery
One of the city’s most iconic buildings, the Museum and Art Gallery is a great day out for anyone. It’s filled with exhibits from Ancient Greece and Egypt, a large collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and includes a section on the history of Birmingham and its people. For the art lovers out there, it houses the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world.
Whilst visiting the museum be sure to pop in to the Edwardian Tea Rooms for an authentic afternoon tea experience!
Peaky Blinder tours
Now known worldwide thanks to the TV series starring Cillian Murphy, the Peaky Blinders were a gang that roamed the streets of Digbeth in the late 19th early 20th century. As of now there are no planned dates for any official Peaky Blinder tour, but you can walk those very same streets yourself and have your own tour.
Be sure to check out the Lock-up at Steelhouse Lane Police Station where some of the real Peaky Blinders were held at one time.
The Custard Factory?
Digbeth was once an industrial part of the city and is now fast growing as one of the trendiest. The Custard Factory in Digbeth, the former home of Birds Custard is now home to many creative studios and small businesses.
The graffiti sprawled walls of the Custard Factory is also home to many bars, cafes and entertainment facilities including The Mocking Bird Cinema, Ghetto Golf (Crazy Golf with your mates and a few drinks) and holds regular arts events for independent artists to show off their work.
Located on the fringes of the city, this beautiful nature reserve is perfect for a quiet walk by yourself or with the family. J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the world famous Lord of the Rings books grew up around the Bog in the 1890’s and it is said to be his inspiration for the Shire, the home of the Hobbits and the Old Forest in his books.
The Botanical Gardens
15 acres of gardens, glasshouses and aviaries Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens is perfect for a relaxing day out. It is home to a variety of tropical birds, different kinds of interesting and unusual flowers and the outside lawns are ideal for picnics or walks. The peaceful atmosphere paired with the enticing smells of the flowers make for a lovely experience overall.
The Botanical Gardens also hosts weddings, music events and outdoor theatre for all of the family to enjoy.
The Bartons Arms
Widely regarded by Brummies and visitors alike to be the best pub in Birmingham. Built in 1901 as a Victorian Gin Palace it still has its original stained glass windows. It serves a range of award-winning craft beers including a permanent range of cask Oakham beers for the real ale lovers out there. If you fancy a bite to eat, or you’re feeling peckish try the authentic Thai cuisine prepared by real Thai chefs.
The pub is famous for the visit of Laurel and Hardy in 1954, the comedic legends stayed at the pub in-between shows at now demolished Aston Hippodrome on their final tour of the UK.
Have your very own Willy Wonka experience at the home of the famous chocolate brand! Tours of the chocolate factory are an ideal day out for the family with plenty of fun activities to keep everyone occupied. Away from the factory the beautiful model village of Bournville which was built for the factory workers by John Cadbury is lovely to walk around.
If you’re coming from the City Centre, take a train from New Street Station on the Cross City Line and Bournville is just 4 stops away. Be prepared for the smell of melting chocolate to hit your nostrils as soon as you arrive.
The first one opened in 1972 and is considered a Brummie institution, it relocated in 2014 to a larger venue but is still as iconic as it was before. Your Birmingham experience just isn’t complete if you haven’t had a night out at Snobs. A combination of cheap delicious drinks and great music is what makes Snobs a classic night out for those spending a weekend in the city.
The club has three floors each playing a different genre of music, so there’s something for everybody, and with just a £5 entry fee you’re getting a good deal.
The Birmingham Hippodrome
The Hippodrome has hosted an abundance of live theatrical performances from opera and ballet companies, touring West End shows such as The Lion King, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Les Miserables and pantomimes at Christmas since it opened.
Located next to the Chinese Quarter with many bars and restaurants to choose from, you can make your trip to the Hippodrome a night to remember.
I hope you enjoyed this quick guide for things to do in my home city. If you ever happen to visit you can be assured of a warm welcome If any of these places or experiences pique your interest, come and visit!
Ben is a Social Media Executive, with a passion for watching and writing about TV shows and films. When away from the laptop, he enjoys meeting up with friends at the pub, going to football matches and watching comedy shows.