Rugby Visitors Guide to Birmingham

Library of Birmingham, England

Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square. Photo © lloyd-horgan

There are just so many things to do in Birmingham, so many great restaurants, and lots of history and culture. If you’re coming for one of the rugby matches this year, you should definitely make the most of this city.

1. Shopping

One thing that attracts people to Birmingham each weekend is the shopping.

Of course, there’s the huge Bullring Shopping Centre, between New Street and Moor Street stations, which has over 160 shops including Selfridges. It’s got three car parks too, if you plan to buy big things.

Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham

Bullring by night. Photo © atosan

But there are also plenty of shops around the centre, along New Street, High Street and Corporation Street.

And then there’s the Mailbox on Commercial Street, which has a Harvey Nichols and an Everyman Cinema (more on this place later).

As well as all of your well-known stores, you can also find vintage and independent shops in Birmingham. There’s something for everyone.

Travelodge has several central Birmingham hotels, including the Bullring, right near the main shopping district.

2. Food and Drink

You’re spoilt for choice when choosing a restaurant in Birmingham.

The city is made up of people from lots of different cultures, which means that there are plenty of different cuisines to choose from.

Around the Bullring you’ll find reliable good-value restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Nando’s and Wagamamas. But if you look a little further to just beyond New Street, you can find some amazing places to eat.

On Bennetts Hill, there’s Bodega, a South American restaurant famous for their burritos and cocktails. And just a little further up there’s The Lost and Found, a botanical Victorian-inspired bar that also serves some delicious food.

Fried spring rolls

Hot spring rolls. Photo © VICHAILAO

Birmingham also has its own Chinese Quarter. My favourite is a buffet restaurant on Hurst Street, Ming Moon, which has the most fantastic range of dishes and a delicious chocolate fountain too. Kids (or people under 1.4m) eat cheaper, so it’s a good family option.

If you’re after something a bit fancier, you can head over to the Mailbox and enjoy your meal next to one of Birmingham’s stunning canals. There’s plenty of choice in the Mailbox, but my favourite is Malmaison for a spot of Sunday brunch.

3. Live Music

If you’re into your live music like I am, you can always find something to entertain you in Birmingham.

Right in the city centre you can find the Barclaycard Arena which houses a lot of big music concerts and comedians (Muse, Morrissey, Peter Kay, etc.).

And then there’s the O2 Academy, which is a much smaller venue.

There are also some even smaller venues in the Digbeth area of Birmingham (about a 5 minute walk from New Street train station), where you can often catch a live band for less than a tenner.

4. Things To Do

Add some culture to your day with a visit to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which now has its own gallery dedicated to the Staffordshire Hoard.

Or head to the National Sea Life Centre for the otters, sharks and turtles (book online to save on tickets).

And then there’s Villa Park, home of the Aston Villa football club, for those of you who can’t get enough sport.

Want to get the best view of the city? Go to the top floor of Birmingham’s new library off Paradise Circus – it’s hard to miss as it’s black and yellow.