Are you planning a trip to Birmingham? Whether you're visiting for the first time or returning to this vibrant city, there's always something new to discover. From bustling markets and historic landmarks to world-class museums and exciting attractions, Birmingham has it all.
With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do. But don't worry, we've got you covered! We've put together a list of the 20 best sightseeing things to do in Birmingham for all ages, so you can make the most of your time in this amazing city.
Birmingham is a city that has something for everyone. Known as the UK's second-largest city in, it is a hub of culture, history, and entertainment. From the iconic Bullring shopping centre to the beautiful canals, there are plenty of attractions to explore. If you're interested in history, you can discover Birmingham's cultural and industrial heritage at the Black Country Living Museum or the town hall.
Did you know that Birmingham has more canals than Venice? That's right, this bustling city is home to over 100 miles of canals and waterways, making it a unique and picturesque destination for tourists. Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll along the canal towpaths or hopping on a narrowboat for a scenic tour, the canals offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Whatever your interests, there's no shortage of adventures & fun things to do in Birmingham. Let's dive into our list of the top 20 best things to do in Birmingham for all ages.
The best activities & things to do in Birmingham
1. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history, art, and culture. Located in the heart of the city, this museum houses two art galleries and an impressive collection of art, artefacts, and objects that tell the story of Birmingham and its people.
One of the highlights of the museum is the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever discovered. This treasure trove of artifacts offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Anglo-Saxons, who ruled over England from the 5th to the 11th centuries.
Another must-see exhibit is the Birmingham History Galleries, which take visitors on a journey through the city's past. From the Industrial Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement, this exhibit explores the key events, people, and places that have shaped Birmingham into the city it is today.
Art lovers will also find plenty to admire at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The museum's collection includes works by some of the most renowned artists in history, including Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh. You can also explore the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world, including works by William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Edward Burne-Jones.
2. Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses
One of the must-see places when you are in Birmingham is the beautiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses. This 15-acre green oasis is home to more than 7,000 plants, making it a perfect place for nature lovers and those seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses has been a popular destination for both tourists and locals since its opening in 1832. The garden features several themed areas, including the Tropical House, Mediterranean House, and Subtropical House, each showcasing exotic plants from around the world. You can also wander through the Japanese Garden or enjoy a picnic on the lush lawns.
But the highlight of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses is undoubtedly the Glasshouses. These Victorian-style glasshouses are home to a vast collection of tropical and subtropical plants, including banana trees, orchids, and cacti. As you enter the Glasshouses, you will be transported to a tropical paradise, complete with a waterfall and a pond with fish and turtles.
In addition to the stunning flora and fauna, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses also hosts various events and exhibitions throughout the year. From outdoor concerts to art exhibits, there is always something exciting happening here.
3. Walk the canals
Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic canals of Birmingham, a network of waterways that played a significant role in the city's industrial history. These canals offer a unique perspective of the city, with charming narrowboats, historic buildings, and picturesque bridges dotting the waterway.
You can walk along the canals, stop for a drink or meal at one of the many waterside pubs, or even take a canal boat tour to see the city from a different angle. The Birmingham canals are a peaceful and pleasant way to explore the city while enjoying some fresh air and exercise.
4. Go for a canal boat ride
Birmingham has a network of canals that are perfect for a leisurely boat ride. Embark on a relaxing canal boat ride and soak up the serene beauty of Birmingham's waterways. Glide past charming narrow boats, historic buildings, and picturesque bridges as you take in the city's industrial heritage from a unique perspective. Whether you opt for a guided tour* or rent a boat for a few hours, a canal boat ride* is a must-do activity for any visitor to Birmingham.
5. Cadbury World
If you have a sweet tooth, you won't want to miss a visit to Cadbury World. This chocolate-themed attraction is located just outside Birmingham and offers a fun and informative journey through the history of chocolate and the Cadbury brand.
Cadbury World features several interactive exhibits, including a 4D cinema experience and a chocolate-making demonstration where you can create your own chocolate bar. You can also take a ride through a chocolate wonderland and learn about the production process of Cadbury's most popular treats.
But Cadbury World is more than just a chocolate factory tour. The attraction also offers outdoor play areas and a Cadbury-themed adventure zone for kids to enjoy. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities to sample delicious Cadbury chocolate throughout the tour.
Whether you're a chocolate lover or just looking for a fun family activity, Cadbury World is a must-visit attraction in Birmingham. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as this popular attraction tends to sell out quickly.
6. Catch a show at the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre
The Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre is a world-renowned venue for theatre, dance, and musical performances, located in the heart of the city. With a seating capacity of over 1,800, the theatre hosts a variety of shows throughout the year, from West End musicals to ballet performances and comedy acts.
The Hippodrome has been entertaining audiences for over 120 years and is considered one of the top theatres in the UK. Don't miss the opportunity to catch a show at this iconic venue during your visit to Birmingham.
7. Library of Birmingham
The Library of Birmingham is a modern and impressive building that houses a vast collection of books, documents, and archives. With multiple floors and a rooftop terrace offering stunning views of the city, the library is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
In addition to its extensive collection, the library also hosts exhibitions, events, and workshops throughout the year. It's a must-visit attraction for book lovers and those interested in architecture and design.
8. Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum
Visit the Thinktank Science Museum. Looking for a unique experience in Birmingham? Look no further than Thinktank, the city's science museum. Located in the heart of the city centre, Thinktank offers a fun and interactive day out for all ages. This interactive museum is perfect for families with kids. It has hands-on exhibits that explore various scientific topics, from space exploration to the human body.
9. Aston Hall
Aston Hall is a stunning Jacobean mansion that dates back to the 17th century. Located in a beautiful parkland setting, the hall offers a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy families who lived there over 300 years ago. Visitors can explore the grand interiors, including the Great Hall, Long Gallery, and state rooms, as well as the beautiful gardens surrounding the mansion. The hall also hosts special events and exhibitions throughout the year.
10. Visit a concert at the Birmingham Symphony Hall
Symphony Hall is one of the finest concert venues in the world. Acclaimed for its superb acoustics, it's the perfect place to enjoy a classical concert, jazz performance, or any other musical event. The concert hall itself has a seating capacity of over 2,200 and hosts world-renowned orchestras, soloists, and ensembles throughout the year. Whether you're a music lover or just looking for a memorable night out, Symphony Hall is not to be missed.
11. The Jewellery Quarter
The Jewellery Quarter is a must-visit destination in Birmingham for those interested in the city's rich history and culture. This historic district is home to over 100 jewellery makers, as well as the museum of the jewellery quarter dedicated to the art and craft of jewellery-making. The museum offers an interactive and informative experience, with exhibits showcasing the history and development of jewellery-making in Birmingham over the centuries. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the jewellery quarter to see the skilled craftsmen at work and purchase unique pieces to take home as souvenirs.
12. Birmingham Cathedral St. Philip
Marvel at the Birmingham Cathedral in the Birmingham city centre. This stunning cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham, dating back to the 18th century. You can take a guided tour to learn about its history and architecture.
13. The Bullring
The Bullring is a bustling shopping destination located in the heart of Birmingham. It features over 200 stores, including designer brands, high street retailers, and independent shops. The Bullring is also home to the iconic Selfridges building, known for its futuristic mirrored facade. In addition to shopping, visitors can enjoy a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars. The Bullring is a must-visit for any shopaholic or anyone looking for a fun day out in Birmingham.
14. National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham
The National SEA LIFE Centre in Birmingham is an impressive aquarium featuring over 2,000 creatures from around the world, including sharks, turtles, and rays. Visitors can walk through the 360-degree ocean tunnel, watch feeding demonstrations, and learn about the importance of marine conservation. It's a great attraction for families with kids or anyone interested in marine life. Get your tickets here*!
15. Enjoy a night out in Broad Street
Broad Street is Birmingham's nightlife hub, with a wide range of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Whether you're looking for a quiet dinner or a night of dancing, you'll find it here.
16. Step back in time at the Black Country Living Museum
This living museum in Dudley takes you back to the 19th century and showcases what life was like during the Industrial Revolution. You can explore historic buildings, ride on a tram, and even try traditional foods.
17. Take a stroll around Cannon Hill Park
This 250-acre park is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It has a boating lake, playgrounds, and plenty of green space for picnics and relaxing.
18. Take in the view from the top of the Birmingham Eye
The Birmingham Eye is a Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking views of the city skyline. Visitors can take a ride to the top and enjoy a panoramic view of Birmingham, making it a unique and memorable experience for tourists of all ages. It's a great way to get a bird's eye view of Birmingham.
19. Attend a cricket match at Edgbaston Stadium
Edgbaston Stadium is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club and has hosted many international matches. Even if you're not a cricket fan, it's a great experience to attend a match and soak in the atmosphere of one of England's favourite sports.
Brindleyplace is a picturesque canal-side destination in Birmingham, featuring a mix of shops, restaurants, bars, and office spaces. It's the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a romantic dinner, or a night out with friends. With its unique blend of old and new architecture, Brindleyplace is a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike.
Other places of interest
- West Midlands Police Museum
- Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham
- Dudley Zoo and Castle
- Ikon Gallery
- National Motorcycle Museum
Are there any walking tours available in Birmingham?
Yes, there are several walking tours available in Birmingham. Some of the most popular outdoors ones include:
- Peaky Blinders Guided Walking Tour* – Take the path of Birmingham's most notorious crime organization. Visit the lock-up at Steelhouse Lane police station, where some of the gang was held, on a Peaky Tour in Digbeth.
- Birmingham Walking Tour*: This tour takes you through the city's historic landmarks and modern developments, giving you a great overview of Birmingham's past and present.
- Birmingham Ghost Walk*: If you're looking for something a bit spookier, this tour takes you through the city's haunted streets and introduces you to some of its most famous ghosts.
- Jewellery Quarter Tour*: This tour takes you through Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter, exploring its rich history and unique architecture.
- Canal and River Walk*: This tour takes you along Birmingham's scenic canals and rivers, giving you a chance to see the city from a different perspective.
- Brum Tours: This company offers a range of walking tours, from history and heritage tours to food and drink tours, giving you a chance to explore the city in a way that suits your interests.
Overall, there are plenty of walking tours available in Birmingham, so you're sure to find one that suits your interests and schedule.
Are there any outdoor activities to do in Birmingham?
Yes, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do in Birmingham. Here are some of the top ones on our list:
- Visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens – A beautiful garden with a wide variety of plants and flowers from around the world.
- Explore Cannon Hill Park – A large park with a boating lake, mini-golf course, and plenty of green space for picnics and games.
- Take a stroll along the Birmingham Canals – A relaxing walk with picturesque views of the city's canals.
- Enjoy a day out at Lickey Hills Country Park – A stunning park with plenty of walking trails, a play area, and a golf course.
- Go on a bike ride along the Rea Valley Route – A scenic bike ride that takes you through the city's parks and green spaces.
- Visit Sutton Park – One of the largest urban parks in Europe with over 2,000 acres of open space, lakes, and woodland.
- Go on a hike up Clent Hills – A popular hiking spot with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
- Take a trip to Sandwell Valley Country Park – A perfect spot for a family day out with a farm, playground, and nature reserve.
- Explore the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park – A small zoo with a focus on conservation and endangered species.
- Enjoy a game of golf at one of the city's many golf courses – There are plenty of courses to choose from whether you're a beginner
What nightlife venues can I find in Birmingham?
Birmingham is a vibrant and bustling city, and it offers a wide range of nightlife venues for anyone looking to have a good time. From live music venues to pubs, clubs, and bars, there is something for everyone in this city. Here are some of the top nightlife venues in Birmingham:
- The Sunflower Lounge – This intimate venue is perfect for anyone looking for live music in a relaxed setting.
- The Night Owl – Celebrate the vibrant music scene of Birmingham at this Northern Soul club.
- The Victoria – This pub is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and it offers a great selection of drinks and a lively atmosphere.
- The Glee Club – Enjoy a night of laughter and comedy at one of the most popular comedy clubs in the city.
- The Rainbow – This multi-purpose venue hosts a variety of events, from live music to club nights and even art exhibitions.
- The Actress and Bishop – Known for its live music and great drinks selection, this venue is a must-visit for anyone looking for a good time.
- The Digbeth Arena – This outdoor venue is perfect for anyone looking for a unique nightlife experience, with live music events and festivals throughout the year.
- The Custard Factory – This creative hub in the heart of Digbeth is home to some of Birmingham's most interesting nightlife venues, including clubs, bars, and music venues.
Birmingham, the UK's second city, has plenty to offer tourists of all ages. From exploring the city's industrial heritage at the Black Country Living Museum to experiencing the latest exhibitions at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, there's something for everyone.
Other must-see attractions include the iconic Bullring shopping center, the Library of Birmingham, and the breathtaking Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses. For those looking for unique experiences, Cadbury World, the Custard Factory, and the Pen Museum are all worth checking out. Whether you're interested in history, culture, fine arts, or entertainment, Birmingham has it all.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Birmingham now and experience all this vibrant city has to offer. Whether you're traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there's something for everyone.
With our list of the top 21 best things to do in Birmingham, you're sure to have a memorable trip. Don't forget to explore the city's incredible food scene and immerse yourself in the local culture. Birmingham is waiting for you!
What is the most popular attraction in Birmingham?
The most popular attraction in Birmingham is the Cadbury World chocolate factory tour, where you can see how chocolate is made and even sample some delicious treats.
What is the best way to get around Birmingham?
The best way to get around Birmingham is by public transport, including buses and trains. You can also rent a bike or walk ifyou're exploring the city center.
What is the best time to visit Birmingham?
Birmingham is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is warm and sunny. However, be prepared for occasional rain showers even in the summer.
Is Birmingham a safe city to visit?
Birmingham is generally a safe city to visit, but like any big city, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to avoid theft and other crimes. Stick to well-lit areas at night and avoid walking alone in secluded areas.
Are there any free things to do in Birmingham?
Yes, there are many free things to do in Birmingham, such as visiting the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, exploring the canals, visiting the Bullring markets, and wandering through the city's parks.
What is Birmingham famous for?
Birmingham is known for its industrial heritage, particularly in the manufacturing of cars and jewellery. It's also home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, as well as world-class shopping and fine dining and options.
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