Birmingham is our local city but there is a lot more to it than what it is known for – mainly the funny accents. It is England’s second city and home to Cadbury’s chocolate (they even built part of Birmingham, Bourneville, for their workers!) These are some of of our favourite things to see and do in Birmingham that we think you should check them out too!
“More Canals Than Venice”
It’s a well known fact that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice. You can take a tour of the canals with Sherborne Wharf or Away2Canal or you can simply follow them by foot. Our favourite part of the canals in Birmingham is at Brindley Place where you can eat and drink right next to the water but if you follow one canal it can take you on many adventures through the city and beyond!
Treat yourself at The Bullring
Not actually a Bullring, but a huge indoor shopping centre! All your shopping needs are met in the Bullring with a 4 floor Selfridges and everything from Topshop to Michael Kors. This is where we tend go on a day out shopping because just outside the centre there is a high street of shops too…basically the shopping is endless. Last year the renovation of New Street station meant that the old building was transformed into Grand Central – a magnificent hub for all things retail, including one of the biggest John Lewis’ in the country.
Make your own nib at the Pen Museum
A weird one you may think but if you are a designer like Alice this will be right up your street (a little something for everyone!) For an entry fee of only £2 (YES £2!!) you can visit the Pen museum in its original red brick workshop to obviously learn about how the pen has evolved but also have a go at the manufacturing processes (you can even go home with your own nib that you have made!) For those of you that like a little fancy dress there is a victorian school room to practice your lines.
Eat all the chocolate at Cadbury World!
You’ve all heard of Cadbury right? Well, in Bourneville, South Birmingham there is the Cadbury Factory! We both went here on a school trip whilst learning about the Aztecs – Because why not bribe children to learn with chocolate? Cadbury World takes you around the factory, learning about the history of chocolate and the Cadbury family. Its like walking around Willy Wonka’s Factory but without the Oopma Loompas. The best part of the tour is the factory room where you see the chocolate being packaged. In this room you can also write your name in melted chocolate or even have a melted chocolate shot. If you think that’s not enough chocolate, they also hand out chocolate bars as you walk round. Our top tip for Cadbury World is to avoid holidays, as it is very popular and can be very crowded.
This home used to belong to industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton. It has been beautifully restored to its magnificent Georgian self with some impressive pillars and furniture. however, the best part about this house… this is where the famous Luna Society met on occasion (For those of you who don’t know who the Luna Society is look here). With members such as Erasmus Darwin, James Watt and Josiah Wedgwood it is crazy to think that some of our countries greatest minds have sat in a room and discussed their findings in the very room you can visit.
Have A Special Cinema Experience at The Electric Cinema
This is the UK’s oldest working cinema! You can sample the Electric Cinema’s very own ale and look out for special events and Q&A sessions with directors if you’re a real buff. Alice recently visited to watch Signing in the Rain as part of their Cinematic Time Machine season which is continuing throughout 2016- keep an eye on their website for tickets though as they sell out quickly!
See the views from the top of The Cube
We recently went into the well know Cube building to have afternoon tea in Marco Pierre White’s restaurant that is situated on one of the top floors. The views across Birmingham city centre really how how mixed the city is with the old and the new buildings reflecting the history of Birmingham. The best bit, you don’t even have to book a table to go up and see the views, you can go up for completely free! Although we would recommend the afternoon tea if you want to make a day of it.
See the views from the top of the Library
Birmingham’s new library is the largest in Europe! With its hidden rooms and roof top gardens who wouldn’t want to get lost in it. Within the library they have the Shakespeare Memorial Room, this room was originally built in 1882 and has moved around the Birmingham libraries but the original wood carvings are still there. The library is free to enter and gives you the ultimate workout if you choose to take the stairs up to the top floor. Learning and exercise, what more do you need?
Birmingham has some of the best live event arenas in Britain. To name a few we have Genting Arena, NIA, O2 Academy, The Hippodrome, The Alexandra Theatre, Rainbow Rooms and many more. Just some of the events we have been to in Birmingham include seeing tours such as Beyonce, The Script, Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift and Bombay Bicycle Club (yes we have a very eclectic taste in music!) Thats not all either! Some of the biggest events in the UK are held at the NEC such as Crufts, Clothes show live and the Good Food show. Looking for something a bit more classical? See the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Hippodrome, Alice went to see them perform the Nutcracker last christmas!
Get your festive on at The German Christmas Market
The Birmingham German market is the biggest German Christmas market outside of Germany! Opening towards the end of November and continuing till Christmas it is popular with both locals and tourists. The extensive creperies, sausage and pub stalls are great to have a catch up with friends and getting your festive feeling on! Have a hot chocolate or gluhwein while browsing the many gift stalls with toys, clothes and novelty gifts. Located within all the high street shops it means you can enjoy a glass of mulled wine while doing the Christmas shopping- making it SO much better and a lot less stressful.
We hope you enjoy Birmingham as much as we do!
Let us know if you are ever in the area!