From an Anglo-Saxon treasure trove to a buzzing city with luxury shopping, sparkling entertainment and world famous curries, you’ll find a wealth of things to discover in Birmingham
Be a culture vulture
Whether you’re visiting with the family, a group of friends or with your partner, there’s so much to see and do on a short break in Birmingham. Discover the incredible treasures of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest cache of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found; trace Birmingham’s fascinating history from its medieval beginnings; and explore the city’s rich industrial heritage at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The gallery houses a superb collection of Baroque art and is home to one of the world’s largest collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork.
The award-winning Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum is full of inspiring exhibits for all the family. You can travel back in time almost 200 million years and come face to face with an ichthyosaur, a giant prehistoric sea monster, or journey through the solar system in the museum’s state-of-the-art planetarium. At the National Sea Life Centre, you can take an amazing undersea journey – just walk through a glass tunnel and watch green sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks and tropical reef fish swim right in front of your nose. At Cadbury World in the nearby suburb of Bournville, you can indulge your inner chocoholic and discover everything there is to know about the brand on a self-guided tour.
Indulge in some retail therapy
Birmingham has an extensive range of shopping options to suit all tastes and budgets. The city has some seriously impressive shopping centres with the Bullring at its heart. Here you’ll find the iconic Selfridges building, home to designer brands and, of course, the world famous food hall. The Mailbox oozes style and features Harvey Nichols and a host of other luxury retailers. Then there’s Grand Central, filled with quality high-street names, including one of the largest John Lewis department stores in the country. You’ll find many specialist independent retailers and boutique outlets in Birmingham’s elegant Victorian arcades. A must-visit is the historic Jewellery Quarter, which dates back over 250 years and is home to more than 500 jewellery businesses.
Take a sporting tour
Birmingham has a great sporting tradition and some of its best-known venues offer the chance to get closer to the action with behind-the-scenes tours. A tour of the legendary Edgbaston Cricket Ground, home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, is a must for any cricket fan. And if football is more to your liking then stadium tours are also available at both St Andrew’s, home of Birmingham City, and at Aston Villa’s Villa Park. Check out the changing rooms, the manager’s dugouts, and head down the players’ tunnel and out onto the pitch.
Eat like a king
From street food to fine dining, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Birmingham. It offers a wealth of culinary options to suit all palates. However, a visit to the city would not be complete without indulging in the city’s most famous dish – the Balti. Try one of the many restaurants in the famous Balti Triangle – Al Frash and Shabab Balti are both popular with locals, or enjoy a curry from the award-winning city centre restaurant Asha’s (owned by Asha Bhosle, the legendary Indian Bollywood singer). And it’s not just about India, you can find food from some 30 countries without leaving the city. Why not head to Chinatown and sample a selection of cuisines from across Asia?
If you’re looking to celebrate in style, Birmingham is home to five Michelin-starred restaurants, including Purnell’s – a chic, contemporary restaurant run by TV regular Glynn Purnell. You’ll also find fine food and stunning 360-degree views of the city at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse, Bar & Grill on level 25 of The Cube, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. And for something a little more down to earth try Chamberlains, a firm local favourite for fish and chips.
Be entertained all night long
From concerts to comedy, theatre and cinema, there are plenty of places to go in Birmingham after the sun goes down. The city’s music venues include the Barclaycard Arena, the O2 Academy and the Genting Arena, where you can enjoy the biggest names from the worlds of music and entertainment. If classical music is more to your taste then check the listings for Symphony Hall, widely regarded as one of the best concert halls in the world.
For comedy head for The Glee, an intimate venue which has played host to the likes of Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre and Jack Dee as well as Mumford & Sons, Adele and local girl Laura Mvula.
Theatreland is situated in the Southside area of the city centre. Here you’ll find the Birmingham Hippodrome, the UK’s busiest theatre and home of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The city’s other theatres include the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Old Rep and the New Alexandra Theatre. If you fancy a film, the Electric Cinema is said to be the oldest working cinema in the UK. You can watch new releases, classics and cult favourites from a luxury sofa with ‘Text Waiter Service’ so you can get your tipple topped up without leaving the comfort of your seat!
Whether it’s shopping, sports or food that excites you, our hotels in Birmingham can help you see it all.