With award-winning museums, top-class entertainment, fabulous shopping and a vibrant international food scene, Birmingham is the perfect destination for a short break away
Why visit Birmingham?
Birmingham is a thriving, multicultural city renowned for its famous Balti houses, buzzing nightlife and lively music and arts scene. There are always things to do in Birmingham, with festivals, concerts, exhibitions and sporting events taking place throughout the year. The city centre is compact and its quarters are diverse and exciting to explore. At its centre is the shopping district, packed with big names, luxury brands, high-street favourites and eclectic independent outlets.
Brindleyplace has an enviable canalside location next to the Barclaycard Arena and the Symphony Hall. It’s packed with attractive restaurants and bars, making it an ideal place to go for pre-concert meals and drinks.
You’ll find Theatreland in the Southside area of the city. It is home to the Hippodrome (the UK’s busiest theatre), the Electric Cinema (the oldest operating cinema in the country) and numerous other comedy clubs and theatres.
Why not book a foodie trip to Birmingham with friends? The famous Balti Triangle is a must-visit destination for many food lovers and a great reason to visit the city. Birmingham boasts five Michelin-starred restaurants and a vibrant international food scene. As well as a range of authentic restaurants, Chinatown has some of the city’s hippest nightspots. If it’s nightlife you’re looking for then Broad Street is Birmingham’s most dynamic entertainment destination and the Gay Village is full of bustling pubs, clubs and bars.
If it’s shopping you’ve come for, then Birmingham has it by the bag-load. Birmingham’s biggest and most popular shopping destination, the Bullring is your one stop shop for everything from designer buys to high street bargains. The centre is also full of restaurants and cute cafés for you and your group to rest and refresh during your shopping spree.
If you fancy taking a break from shopping in favour of some more cultural hang outs, the city’s quarters are steeped in history and a Birmingham break wouldn’t be complete without exploring its rich heritage, so why not visit the city’s award-winning museums and galleries to discover more?
A brief history of Birmingham
Birmingham’s roots can be traced back to the 7th century, when it was a small Anglo Saxon hamlet. During the 12th century, it started its rise to prominence when the lord of the manor, Peter de Birmingham, was granted the right to hold a weekly market. By the 16th century, Birmingham had changed from a market town to an industrial centre, with development due largely to its central location, transport links and natural resources.
The early part of the 20th century saw electrical engineering and car manufacturing become the city’s dominant industries and they went from strength to strength during the post-war boom of the 1950s. Birmingham’s population grew too, with communities from the Indian sub-continent and the Caribbean making it their home. Over the past 30 years, the city’s economy has shifted away from manufacturing and many former industrial buildings have been transformed into some of Birmingham’s most vibrant art and nightlife venues.
When’s the best time to visit?
The city hosts an exciting array of festivals and events throughout the year, and if you’re in the know, you can plan your Birmingham city breaks to make the most of them.
The award-winning International Dance Festival takes place every other year and for four weeks in May, the city’s streets, squares and venues are filled with performance from some of the most talented artists from around the world. The Birmingham Pride festival also takes place in May.
Summer is a great time to visit. A whole host of events take place throughout the city during July, including the Music For Youth Festival, the Birmingham Caribbean Festival and the Birmingham & Solihull Jazz And Blues Festival. The jazz festival features top-class international and local musicians, and you can catch them, often for free, in the city’s restaurants, bars and public spaces.
If you’re planning an autumn weekend break, Birmingham sees the return of its Comedy Festival in October – 10 mirth-filled days with performances from established comics, as well as new local acts. In the past, the festival has featured the likes of Michael McIntrye, Ross Noble, John Bishop, Miranda Hart and Alan Carr.
Should you need any help getting into the festive spirit, then a visit to Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market & Craft Fair should do the trick. It’s billed as the largest authentic German market outside Germany and Austria, and runs from the middle of November. You can sing along with Chris, the magnificent singing moose, eat German bratwurst and enjoy a nice hot glühwein.
How to get around
Birmingham has a compact and pedestrian-friendly city centre and is easy to explore on foot. There are cycle lanes on routes across the city, and the bus network is extensive, with regular services and frequent sightseeing tours, too.
So if a mix of shopping, sports and food sounds like a perfect weekend break, our hotels in Birmingham can help you see it all.