Birmingham City Guide
Get to know England’s second city
Welcome to Birmingham, a diverse and dynamic city brimming with culture. This animated and lively metropolis is actually a former market town with a history stretching back 1,500 years.
Today, the superb shopping, international events, vibrant nightlife, and award-winning restaurants make Birmingham one of Britain’s most exciting cities.
Birmingham's top attractions
The city’s past is fascinating, and a visit to the 'Birmingham, its people, its history' gallery at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is a must.
We also love Thinktank Science Museum , home to 10 themed galleries of interactive fun, a digital planetarium and an outdoor science garden.
For something a little different, explore the city by canal boat – Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice and there’s plenty of beautiful scenery to take in.
The Bullring is so much more than a shopping centre – it’s a tourist attraction in its own right.
The sprawling complex is home to over 160 shops and two department stores, including Selfridges, which has become an iconic architectural landmark.
At the brilliant Custard Factory, you’ll find some of the city’s most interesting, imaginative, and quirky independent boutiques; and if you have something special in mind, take a stroll around the Jewellery Quarter, home to over 500 jewellery businesses and over 250 years of history.
Arts and culture
If you like your city breaks with a big helping of culture, Birmingham is the perfect place for you.
The city’s events calendar is jam-packed, so you’re bound to find something fun happening– it could be anything from an outdoor arts or comedy festival to a celebration of whisky or literature.
For something a little more traditional, you can catch the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, and the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
Or why not visit the new Library of Birmingham, designed by Dutch architects and now the largest public library in Europe.
Eating and drinking
Birmingham’s food scene is red hot – in more ways than one. The famous 'Balti Triangle' is home to some of Britain’s best spicy Indian curries, and you can sample even more fiery favourites at Lasan, named Best Local Restaurant on Gordon Ramsay's F Word programme.
If fine dining is more your kind of thing, reserve a table at one of the city’s four Michelin-starred restaurants; Purnell’s, Simpsons, Turners and Adam’s.
Birmingham is home to some of Britain’s best sporting venues, hosting a jam-packed calendar of events throughout the year.
Watch current and future Olympians battle it out, trackside the National Indoor Arena and Alexander Stadium, and follow in the footsteps of the masters at The Belfry - the spiritual home of golf.
If you’re a football fan, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The city is home to Premier League club Aston Villa F.C. and Championship team Birmingham City F.C., as well as nearby clubs West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
This is the perfect city for keeping little ones busy.
A visit to Cadbury World is a dream come true for kids of all ages - did we mention it’s home to the world’s biggest Cadbury shop?
After all that sugar, wind down with a family ride at the world-class Cannock Chase mountain bike trails. If your little ones are animal lovers, they’ll love the National Sea Life Centre and the Birmingham Nature Centre.
History and heritage
Birmingham was once a world leader in the production of pens, buckles, buttons, jewellery, and guns. At the Black Country Living Museum, these skills and trades are brought back to life in an authentic village setting.
Tolkien fan? Visit the village of Sarehole, where the legendary author lived, and is said to be the inspiration for Hobbiton and the Shire.
Music and nightlife
Music is one of the things Birmingham does best - what else would you expect from the city that gave us Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, UB40, and Duran Duran?
You can catch the best of the city’s modern musical talent at the Jam House and the Custard Factory, as well as the biggest names in music at the O2 Academy and the National Indoor Arena.
Heading out on the town? Brindleyplace in the city’s canalside development is the perfect place to start the night. Broad Street, lined with pubs, clubs and restaurants, is one of the busiest quarter miles in Europe.