17 Fun Things to Do in Birmingham
Behind London, Birmingham is the second city of the UK, but it is often ignored by tourists who maybe don’t know what there is to do there. Widely regarded as an industrial hub, this post is here to show you that this city has so much more to offer. It’s a vibrant, bustling metropolis with so many things to do and so many flavours to try. So if you’re looking for fun things to do in Birmingham, then you’re in the right place!
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Lola Sherwin.
Fun Things to Do in Birmingham
1. Take a trip to the Bullring
Let’s kick off this list of fun things to do in Birmingham with a trip to the Bullring! The Bullring is iconic for Brummies. It’s home to our landmark Selfridges building – you know the one with all the funky circles dotted all over it and the huge metal bull which has almost become the mascot of Birmingham life. The Bullring has every shop you could ever want to visit (and possibly some you never want to visit), and is a great thing to do on a rainy day in the city. From Disney to Victoria’s Secret, Nando’s to Fumo Selfridges, there’s genuinely something for everyone.
2. Visit the Balti Triangle
Birmingham is the home of the balti, and the Balti Triangle is the heart of that home. A trip to Birmingham isn’t complete without a visit to one of the city’s fantastic curry houses in the Triangle. From award-winning restaurants to small, unassuming family-run places, there’s a huge variety of options for visitors, and you definitely won’t regret going to sample some of the delicious flavours that are on offer here.
3. Go crazy at Ghetto Golf
No list of fun things to do in Birmingham would be complete without crazy mini-golf! Ghetto Golf is a crazy 18-hole golf course in the heart of Birmingham’s Custard Factory and is decorated with amazing graffiti and artwork all around. The golf course houses a cocktail bar and a street food selection by Apocalypse Cow, and is a really fun evening activity to do with a group of friends, or even in a couple! It’s something a bit different to do, and will definitely have you laughing and joking at your mate’s golf skills.
4. Have a walk along the canals
Every Brummie you meet will tell you this – we have more miles of canals than Venice. It’s something we’re pretty proud of, I’d say. Wouldn’t you be, if your city had more canals than the city that’s world-renowned for its canals? Albeit it’s not quite the same as Venice as you can actually drive and walk around the city without having to hop on a boat at any point. But at least the option to get on a boat is there. There are some really lovely views along the banks of the canals, and they’re well worth strolling down on a sunny day.
5. Try some street food at Digbeth Dining Club
Digbeth Dining Club is legendary in Brummie circles, making it one of my favourite fun things to do in Birmingham. The award-winning street food vendors have transformed the city’s food scene and are giving a platform to some of the best street food in the country to make its mark. As well as their weekly DDC on Lower Trinity Street, they also run events throughout the year in different venues across the Midlands. This is a no-frills dining experience and diners can expect unreal food at an affordable price in a cool and unique setting. Make an evening of it and settle in with a couple of beers and some vibrant food.
6. Pay Shakespeare’s home a visit
Everyone knows William Shakespeare, right? Well luckily for literature lovers who are passing through Birmingham, the birthplace of the famous writer is just a short journey away. Stratford-upon-Avon is immensely proud of its connections to England’s most prominent writer, and there is a network of houses where Shakespeare and his family spent large parts of their lives, all of which are open for visits from the general public. The town is also home to the Royal Shakespeare Company which shows a number of his popular plays, amongst other shows.
7. Go wild at Bear Grylls Adventure Birmingham
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you’ll be sure to find it at Bear Grylls’ action-packed adventure experience. The centre is based at the NEC which is a short train ride away from the city centre. It has a huge variety of activities available, from indoor skydiving and archery to an unforgettable shark dive experience. The centre has a range of food and drink amenities too, so you can make a day of it and try out a few activities, stopping for a bite to eat in between.
8. Visit Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
If you’re an art or history lover, this one’s for you. General entry is free – all you have to shell out for is any specific exhibitions that may be on for a limited time. But there’s plenty to see without having to pay a penny! From Egyptian mummies to the most highly valued collection of Anglo-Saxon gold, there’s something for everyone at this incredible museum. It’s also one of the best fun things to do in Birmingham if you’re with the family, as there are exhibits to appeal to people of all ages!
9. Get festive at Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
this one might be seasonal, but it’s one of the best things Birmingham has to offer. Every year in November, the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria opens up to the public. With masses of stalls selling trinkets and traditional gifts, and others with hot chocolate, steins of beer, and German hot dogs, it’s one of the highlights of the Birmingham scene and is loved by many.
10. Get speedy at Grand Prix Karting
Another one for the thrill-seekers among us, this is possibly the most famous outdoor go-kart raceways in the whole of the UK. Ever wanted to pretend you’re Lewis Hamilton for the day? This might be as close as you’ll get. The race tracks are just a mile outside the city centre and are easy to get to either by car or by public transport. This makes it the perfect trip for those who don’t have that long in the city. The venue boasts state-of-the-art go-karts which have been built by World Championship winning industry professionals, so you know you’ll only be getting the best by coming here. Ideal for kids and adults alike, this is such a fun day out for anyone in the area to do!
11. Eat your heart out at Cadbury World
This one is a winner for all the chocaholics reading this! Cadbury are our most-loved chocolate brand, and Cadbury World is the most fantastic homage to the famous sweet treat. The day starts with an immersive 4D cinema experience and plunges you deep into the history of our beloved Cadbury chocolate. The best part of the day might be having access to the biggest Cadbury shop in the world, and taking a seat in the amazing Cadbury World café. If you’re in need of a sweet day out, this is the one for you.
12. Explore the Jewellery Quarter
The Jewellery Quarter really has a mix of things to do, so you could spend the best part of a day dipping in and out of the little indie shops! Oh and don’t forget stopping for a drink at one of the quirky bars, and visiting the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter if you fancy a bit of history. The Quarter is walking distance from the city centre, so there’s no excuse to not go and check it out!
There are all sorts of galleries and interesting places to explore. You’ll easily be able to pass a few hours here without even realising how much time has passed. There are some incredible little eateries, from Italian to Spanish to Indian. And the fantastic 1000 Trades which is based in an old jewellery workshop might just be the jewel on the area’s foodie crown, offering adventurous flavours from all sorts of different cultures.
13. Wander around Birmingham Botanical Gardens
If you want a breath of fresh air away from the bustling city hub, then the Botanical Gardens are calling your name. Four beautiful glasshouses are dotted around the grounds, housing everything from tropical to Mediterranean plants. The lawns are beautifully landscaped, and there is a stunning bandstand and a children’s play area, as well as a lovely tearoom for guests to relax over something to eat. If you happen to be here around a special time of year like Chinese New Year or Christmas, then check out the gardens’ website to see if they’re running any events for the occasion.
14. Go bar hopping around the city
Birmingham has some truly amazing bars, and the independent scene is constantly growing. Every corner you turn in the city centre will unveil another of our interesting little bars. And you can easily find more than enough to fill a night (or ten). Supporting our independents has always been important, but now more than ever you should check out the best the city has to offer rather than sticking to your usual chain bars.
There’s The Jam House for jazz lovers, The Jekyll & Hyde for those of you craving a fun venue with an ample selection of gins, The Old Crown pub in Digbeth with one of the city’s best beer gardens (and it’s over 650 years old!), and every kind of bar you can imagine in between. Get your glad rags on and go for a tipple!
15. Step back in time at Birmingham Back to Backs
These houses have been preserved by the National Trust to give people an insight into how the 19th-century working class would have lived. They are the city’s last surviving court of back-to-back houses and the Trust offer fascinating guided tours allowing you to dive deep into the history of the city’s ordinary people. What are back-to-backs, I hear you ask? They are literally houses which were built back-to-back around a communal courtyard in order to save space! When you’ve finished your tour, why not slip into the classic old-fashioned sweet shop for a sugary treat?
16. Escape an Escape Room
We’ve all heard of Escape Rooms, and Birmingham has several fun ones on offer. If you want to cause arguments with your friends while desperately trying to complete the challenge, then there’s no better place for you than an escape room. Joking! They’re really fun, although the tension can sometimes cause a bit of bickering or some heated conversations between participants. Escape Hunt, Escape Live, Clue HQ, Houdini’s Escape, you name it, there’ll be an escape room for you. Research them and pick your favourite – they’re all rated highly so you’ve got some great choice on offer!
17. Take a cookery course at Loaf
If you’re a devoted foodie, then what’s better to do than a cookery course? Loaf in Stirchley offers some great courses for people to learn how to cook food that they’re going to want to eat, and they’re really good fun! You don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to take part in one of these courses. You just need to be willing to learn and have a passion for food. From sourdough bread to Japanese delicacies, there’s a few to pick from so you’ll hopefully find something you want to try out!
As you can see, there are so many fun things to do in Birmingham, and this post has only scratched the surface. Hopefully, Birmingham has shot to the top of your to-visit list after reading this! There are more than enough things on this list to fill a weekend or several. So make sure to carefully plan what you’re doing so you fit everything in.
Are there any fun things to do in Birmingham that I’ve missed off this list? Let me know in the comments below!
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