Britain's second city, Birmingham is conveniently located in central England, easily accessible from London and most other major cities. Once at the heart of the global Industrial Revolution, the city is now leading the way in culture, shopping, dining and more. So, if you're looking for things to do in Birmingham, you’ll discover plenty to satisfy every interest...
Famous British chocolate-maker Cadbury is based in Birmingham. At Cadbury World you can go on a 4D chocolate adventure, take a ride in a Beanmobile and watch big vats of chocolate being made into your favourite bars. And the best bit – you get to taste test a warm pot of melted Cadbury Dairy Milk with sprinkles of your favourite topping. Try doodling your name in chocolate in the Have A Go zone and end your tour in the world’s biggest Cadbury store!
This impressive museum is a great starting point as you’ll find out all about the city’s integral place in the history books, plus how it’s evolved over the years. It’s worth devoting at least a couple of hours to it so you can explore the vast Pre-Raphaelite collection of paintings, prints and drawings – one of the largest in the world – plus the Staffordshire Hoard, the biggest stash of Anglo Saxon gold ever found. Hundreds of pieces of the hoard are on display and there are a number of exciting hands-on exhibits detailing the many conservation techniques that have helped to release its secrets.
The Bullring shopping centre is instantly recognisable as the entire building is adorned with thousands of shimmering aluminium discs – perfect for that prize-winning Instagram shot. But don’t hang around outside too long, as there are lots of shiny new things to buy inside. Peruse more than 160 shops, including a branch of luxury department store Selfridges, the biggest designer brands and an abundance of popular high-street retailers.
Find the gem of your dreams in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter. Be sure to pop in to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, which is built around a carefully preserved workshop. Then get shopping for the perfect rock! It’s not just for soon-to-be-weds though, as while the quarter is home to one of Europe’s largest concentrations of manufacturing jewellers, it’s also home to hundreds of independent specialist retailers and craftspeople, from florists and chocolatiers to tattoo artists!
Did you know Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice? Take a walk by one and stop for a refreshing pint at a canal-side bar. For an even more leisurely experience, hop on a colourful narrowboat for a gentle cruise along the historic waterways.
Birmingham’s Balti Triangle, in the southern part of the city, is a cluster of restaurants all making curry in this unique way. The balti was invented in Birmingham, inspired by traditional Kashmiri recipes, and refers to a quick cooking process using a thin pressed steel wok. Check out this handy directory to explore the region’s balti options.
Lots of BBC programmes are produced from their broadcasting centre in Birmingham. You can take a tour and see how all the TV and radio magic is made behind-the-scenes. And if you’re a budding broadcaster - you can even have a go at presenting your own show.
Hit gangster drama Peaky Blinders, starring Cillian Murphy, follows the Shelby family and much of the action has been filmed in Birmingham. Eagle-eyed fans of the show will recognise parts of the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley - an open-air recreation of what life was like for local people during those first days of industry in the region known as the Black Country. Walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters at the museum and see why creator Stephen Knight called it the “home of Peaky Blinders”.
The Birmingham Back to Backs attraction is a courtyard of houses conserved to show what life was like for dwellers of these back-to-back residences from when they were built in the 1840s up until their last occupants left in the 1970s. As you step through the doorways, you’ll meet different characters from each era, further flavouring your experiences of the past. You can even spend the night in one!
Birmingham is a great base for further exploration of central England – within easy reach of the city you’ll find medieval Warwick Castle, complete with daily shows and interactive attractions, and William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. Explore the home where the famous Bard grew up and discover how his works have shaped the world we live in today.
For more practical information on Birmingham, visit our Birmingham destination page.