Birmingham

Why go there?

Set within Central England, Birmingham sits at the very heart of the country. England’s second city  once played a key role in the industrial revolution of the 18th century, and now has been transformed into a contemporary city, rich in culture, with great transport links to the rest of the country.

Key gateways

Airports:

East Midlands, Birmingham

City map

Key attractions

Shopping – The Bullring & The Mailbox

With a range of department stores including Selfridges and John Lewis, fashion brands and independent retailers, Birmingham is a fantastic shopping destination. With the futuristic Bullring shopping centre, the high-end Mailbox and the Bullring Open Market there is plenty to suit all tastes and budgets.

Website: shoppinginbirmingham.com

Cadbury World

A tour of Cadbury World is a great way to get a “taste” of the nation’s favourite chocolate, tracing the history of Cadbury, back to its beginnings in 1824 all the way to the present day. For those who want to get even closer to the action, the Chocolatier Experience offers a 2 hour session into the art of chocolate making.

Website: cadburyworld.co.uk

The Jewellery Quarter

It’s a little-known fact that over 40% of British Jewellery is created in the 250 year old Jewellery Quarter. From the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter to a wide range of locally made jewellery on sale, a visit to this historic area offers a fascinating glimpse into this important local industry.

Website: birmingham-jewellery-quarter.net

Botanical Gardens

Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens sit within 15 acres of landscaped greenery, just outside the city centre. Home to four glasshouses – Tropical, Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid, these gardens provide a haven of tranquillity away from the vibrancy of the city centre.

Website: birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk

Birmingham Back to Backs

This National Trust location is a beautifully restored 19th century courtyard of working people’s houses, telling the story of life from 1840 to 1977, through the experiences of the people who lived and worked here. Pre-booking is essential, as tours are all led by a tour guide.

Website: nationaltrust.org.uk

Still to be discovered

For those who have visited Edinburgh before, here’s a selection of attractions that they may not yet have discovered:

Landrover Experience

For a chance to peek behind the scenes of a British manufacturing icon, and really put it to the test, visitors need look no further than the Landrover Experience. Just 30 minutes outside the city centre, visitors can choose from factory tours, off-road driving challenges, and a range of unique experiences on offer.

Website: solihulllandroverexperience.co.uk

Birmingham Hippodrome

With a programme which features touring musicals, world-class ballet and opera, dance and comedy, the Bimingham Hippodrome is the UK’s most popular single auditorium theatre. Often featuring popular shows on tour and international dance it is also home to the world’s biggest pantomime – a British tradition in itself!

Website: birminghamhippodrome.com

Balti Triangle

The city of Birmingham is home of the Balti and is the curry capital of the UK – with a wider selection of Asian and Indian restaurants than anywhere else in the country.

Website: visitbirmingham.com

Birmingham Library

The futuristic Birmingham Library is set in the heart of the city, and well worth a visit.  Providing a showcase for the city’s important archives, photography and rare books, it was the most visited tourist attraction outside London, in 2015.

Website: libraryofbirmingham.com

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

First opened in 1885, and housed in a Grade II listed building, Birmingham Art Gallery houses part of the largest public Pre-Raphaelite collection in the world. Entry is free, but exhibitions and events may have an entrance fee.

Website: birminghammuseums.org.uk

Just a stone's throw away

The following is just a selection of some of the destinations that can be easily reached from Birmingham. For many of them using a Britrail Pass is a simple and cost effective way to get around.

Stratford upon Avon

The home of Shakespeare, and now home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, a visit to this town on the banks of the river Avon, gives a charming look back into the life and times this great British literary icon.

Website: shakespeares-england.co.uk

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle dates back over 1100 years, to the times of William the Conqueror. Beautifully restored, not only are the towers and ramparts well preserved, but visitors can also visit a wide range of attractions including the Castle Dungeon, Princess Tower, The Mighty Trebuchet and enjoy a wide range of daily shows and activities.

Book on the VisitBritain Shop

Website: warwick-castle.com

Shropshire Hills AONB

Just over an hour outside Birmingham lies the Shropshire Hills area of outstanding natural beauty, with rolling hills, woods and river valleys, perfect for a gentle stroll or a more energetic hike.

Website: shropshirehillsaonb.co.uk

The Potteries, Stoke on Trent

Known as the World Capital of Ceramics, Stoke on Trent is packed with factory tours, pottery shops and attractions, which have given it the name of The Potteries.

Website: english-heritage.org.uk