Attractions include legacies of its rich industrial heritage but a slew of new establishments and shops prove to be some of the best things to do in Birmingham, too.
Birmingham is a city perennially on the rise. It first rose into prominence during the Industrial Revolution and has kept the pace, always renewing and constructing to sustain the strength and allure of the city that is also a metropolitan borough of West Midlands and the second largest and most populous in England besides London.
Here is a top 10 list to get you started.
1. Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Barber Institute of Fine Arts by Elliott Brown
Surround yourself with the finest art works ever created and be overjoyed with a trip to this gallery that proves to be one of the best things to do in Birmingham. Splendid collections include Renaissance masterpieces, Rubens and Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Turner, and Picasso and Magritte. What more can you ask for? Your inner art enthusiast is sure to come out in full form!
Hours: Open daily at 10 AM to 5 PM
Location: University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TS, UK
2. Custard Factory
Custard Factory by HelenCobain
Once the home of British favourite Bird’s Custard, this open-space is now a bustling and vibrant shopping complex of quirky galleries, boutiques, vintage-clothing outlets, skateboard shops, and off-beat cafes. It is such a colourful and bright experience. Be sure you drop by!
Hours: 8.30 AM to 6.30 PM every Monday to Saturday
Location: Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA, UK
3. Cadbury World
Cadbury World by Elliott Brown
Not only is this one of the top things to do in Birmingham, it is also the sweetest! Who doesn’t want to go to a chocolate factory? Grab this chance and rediscover your childhood fantasies over Willy Wonka. Go on a tour around the aromatic factory and drool over the history of cocoa and the Cadbury family. Free samples are plenty, plus chocolate-themed rides, chocolate-making machines, and a 4D ‘Chocolate Adventure’ cinema with motion-sensor seats. It is a blast!
Price: £16.75 for adults and £12.30 for children
Hours: 9 AM to 4.30 PM every Sunday to Friday; 9.30 AM to 4 PM every Saturday
Location: Linden Rd, Bournville, Birmingham B30 1JR, UK
4. Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter by Floris Looijesteijn
A jewellery factory seemingly frozen in time, this museum captures the Smith & Pepper exactly as it is on its closing day in 1981 after 80 long years of operation. Get intimate with Birmingham’s history of the trade and be awed by master jewellers at work.
Price: £7 for adults and £3 for children
Hours: 10.30 AM to 5 PM every Tuesday to Saturday
Location: 75-80 Vyse St, Birmingham B18 6HA, UK
5. Soho House
Soho House by Tony Hisgett
Industrialist Matthew Boulton lived here until 1809. Within these chambers, world-changing ideas were born, propelling mankind forward in the greatest ways.
Price: £7 for adults and £3 for children
Hours: 11 AM to 3 PM every Wednesday to Sunday
Location: Soho Ave, Birmingham B18 5LB, UK
6. Library of Birmingham
Library of Birmingham by Martin Pettitt
Book lover or not, you just have to include a visit to the Library of Birmingham on your itinerary of things to do in Birmingham. Designed by Francine Houben, the library is every inch a post-modern architectural wonder. Its beauty sticks out of the city facade and lures you in for sure.
Inside, there is no shortage of wonderful things to marvel at. Highlights include the subterranean amphitheatre, spiralling interiors, and viewing decks and glass elevator to the 7th-floor secret garden. Of course, the library’s archives are also formidable with photography and rare collections including Britain’s most important works of Shakespeare.
Hours: 11 AM to 7 PM every Monday and Tuesday; 11 AM to 5 PM every Wednesday to Saturday
Location: Centenary Square, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2ND, UK
7. St. Paul’s Church
St. Paul’s Church by Bs0u10e0
At the heart of St. Paul’s Square in the Jewellery Quarter stands this 18th century Georgian church. Opened in 1779, this church features a painted window depicting St. Paul’s conversion and a beautiful stained glass window with a design inspired by the local jewellery trade.
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Monday to Friday; from 6 PM on Sunday
Location: St. Paul’s Square, Birmingham B3 1QZ, UK
8. National Sea Life Centre
National Sea Life Centre by Lee Haywood
Fun and lively, this inland aquarium is the largest in England. Visitors are entertained by over 60 displays of freshwater and exotic marine life including otters, turtles, and hammerhead sharks. Bring the kids and take them on additional behind-the-scenes or feeding tours – they will love it!
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Monday to Friday; 10 AM to 6 PM every Saturday and Sunday
Location: The Waters Edge, Brindley Pl, Birmingham B1 2HL, UK
Simpsons Restaurant by Tripadvisor
Sampling good British cooking completes the list of the best things to do in Birmingham. While going to Simpsons is a bit of a drive, it is well worth it. The Georgian dining room is filled with inventive, Michelin-star grade food, with plenty of options for children and vegetarians. Luxurious rooms are also available, plus cookery classes.
Price: Lunch starts at £35; dinner starts at £55
Hours: 12 PM to 2 PM and 7 PM to 9 PM every Monday to Thursday; 12 PM to 2 PM and 7 PM to 9.30 PM every Friday and Saturday; 12 PM and 4.30 PM every Sunday
Location: 20 Highfield Rd, Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 3DU, United Kingdom
1847 by Tripadvisor
Exciting, creative, and cutting-edge plant-based food takes front and centre in this modern vegetarian restaurant in Birmingham. Located in a Victorian shopping arcade, its menu features tantalising dishes like mushroom and liquorice pâté, wild-mushroom cappuccino, pear and fennel confit, cider-battered halloumi, passion-fruit and chia crème brûlée, and spiced clotted cream. Admit it – vegetarian has never sounded this good!
Price: 2-course menus start at £19.75; 3-course menus start at £25.50
Hours: 12 PM to 3 PM and 5 PM to 10 PM every Monday to Friday; 12 PM to 10.30 PM Saturday; 12 PM to 8 PM every Sunday
Location: 26 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham B2 5HU, UK
Budget – Jurys Inn Birmingham
Mid-Range – Hotel LaTour
Luxury – Mason’s Way
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