Microgapping in the West Midlands
From global gastronomy to subterranean worlds, The West Midlands throws up plenty of surprises. Walk in the footsteps of The Peaky Blinders; tuck into award-winning street food; and swim with sharks…if you dare.
1. Follow wild ponies
Another bucolic gem in the West Midlands is Sutton Park is a designated national nature reserve with a whopping 2,400 acres of wild flowers, lakes and woodland. Wildlife here includes cattle and wild ponies that you can find grazing on the land. Sailing, canoeing and kayaking are available, and fishing is permitted.
2. Dive with sharks
Ever wanted to go skydiving and shark diving? Or zip-wire out of a chinook helicopter? You can do all these things and more all in one place and thanks to a certain man – Bear Grylls. So in their own words, “Escape the ordinary and achieve something epic”.
3. Cosy up at Coombe Abbey
If you want to feel like royalty for the weekend, look no further than Coombe Abbey near Warwick. Nestled amongst 500 acres of parkland, the moated hotel has all the resplendence of a country pile with plenty of city sophistication, and an afternoon tea to die for too.
4. Join the Peaky Blinders gang
You’ve seen the show, now see the sights. Delve into the dark world of the Peaky Blinders as you’re led through time to Victorian Birmingham’s seedy underbelly. Explore industrial-age locations and find out all the gory details about the criminal gangs that gave Birmingham its infamy in the early 1900s.
5. Sample 100-plus gins
Those with a love for gin cocktails will find utopia inside 40 St Pauls. This high-calibre Birmingham institution is well stocked with a curated collection of 140 gins (and a few other non-gin drinks should any company you have prefer something else). The bar is limited to 24 seats, so be sure to book beforehand.
6. See a film at the UK's oldest cinema
Enjoy the newest releases or movie classics in the luxurious art deco surroundings. Choose from beers, wines, champagnes and even a traditional Parisian absinthe fountain at the art deco bar.
7. Tuck into award-winning food
From vegan tacos to dim sum, Birmingham’s street food brings all the epicures to the yard. Explore the city’s creative district before eating your way through one of the Club’s weekly events running from Thursday to Sunday.
8. Float through a secret labyrinth
What lies beneath the West Midlands, you ask? Only an unexpected subterranean labyrinth made during the Industrial Revolution, that’s all. Boat tours take you into the caverns to see ancient fossils and an intricate network of tunnels, all accompanied with music and light shows to make you feel like you’re in an Indiana Jones film.
9. Be wowed by famous paintings
Spend an afternoon exploring Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for free. See mummies from Ancient Egypt; an extraordinary collection of Pre-Raphaelite art and cutting-edge temporary shows all housed in a stunning Grade II* listed building.
10. Try Michelin-starred cooking
Part of the Michelin-starred Simpsons restaurant Eureka Kitchen is the place to learn some seriously good gourmet skills and have a blast doing it. Classes are in a friendly environment, and you’ll take a short champagne break before having a three-course lunch, which’ll include your delicious creations.