Birmingham is one of the most underrated cities in the UK. This multi-cultural metropolis is ever-evolving, making it one of the most visited cities in the West Midlands.
Birmingham is not just about the urban city centre, in fact, it’s surrounded by gorgeous countryside landscapes and quaint villages with a rich history. Throughout the city and its surrounding areas, you’ll find little pieces of history nestled amongst the sleek and modern architecture.
When it comes to finding things to do in Birmingham, you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from. There are plenty of museums, galleries and entertainment venues with events, as well as notable landmarks worth checking out.
If you’re not sure what to do in Birmingham, don’t worry, because I’ve gathered some popular Birmingham attractions, as well as some true hidden gems, so you can put your itinerary together with ease.
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The Top Things to Do in Birmingham
Visiting Birmingham but don’t have much time? Then you should definitely check out these top 5 unmissable Birmingham attractions!
Explore the Jewelry Quarter
Explore the vibrant and historic jewellery district on a walking tour to learn about the UK’s biggest jewellery merchants.
Get your thrills at Alton Towers
There’s fun for the whole family at the UK’s largest theme park!
Take a walking tour through the city centre
Explore the history of this bustling city on a walking tour of the city centre.
Visit a historic Edwardian house
Explore the gracious Winterbourne house and its exceptional gardens.
Grab a cocktail with a view
Visit The Cube in the city centre to enjoy cocktails on the rooftop.
Winterbourne House is a grand Edwardian house set on seven beautiful acres of gardens. Spend a day exploring the house’s history and what life was like for the upper class during the 18th century by immersing yourself in the interactive exhibits.
Head out into the gardens, including lawns, rock gardens, woodland area, and the botanic garden of the University of Birmingham. There’s even a fun activity trail and a children’s garden – perfect if you’re looking for things to do in Birmingham with the kids.
If you’re feeling peckish after all your exploring, pop into the tearoom for a light meal and a drink.
- Entrance: £7.40 per person
- Hours: 10:30 to 16:00
- Address: 58 Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a day at Cadbury World. Learn how chocolate is made, from the origins of the cocoa bean to the end product. Enjoy a thrilling 4D chocolate adventure cinema experience and temper your own chocolate.
Add an extra level of magic to your visit by booking an exciting afternoon tea in the company of Cadbury characters.
Or, you can take the Chocolatier Experience and explore chocolate making first-hand. The experience invites you to make your own chocolates and learn impressive chocolate hand-lettering techniques that you can impress your friends with.
- Entrance: Adult: £21.00, Child (4-15 yrs): £15.50, Child (under 4): free
- Hours: Opening hours vary seasonally
- Address: Linden Rd, Birmingham
Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is a vibrant and historic district, home to over 800 businesses, 100 specialist retailers, and 50 contemporary designer-makers. It’s not the UK’s center for jewelry for nothing, and a visit here is one of the most popular things to do in Birmingham.
This walking tour allows you to admire the facades of traditional 19th century workshops and look out for evidence of Birmingham’s metalworking heritage in iron letter boxes and street signs.
You’ll also get to see the Coffin Works and the world’s largest Assay Office – the home of UK hallmarking.
- Entrance: £563.99 per group of up to 10
- Hours: Tour times vary
- Address: Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham
Challenge your mind and body at the Bear Grylls Adventure Indoor/Outdoor Activity Center. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to face your fears and tackle a range of adventure challenges.
Climb, fly, zip, leap, scramble, snorkel, and explore. Try and beat Bear’s time on the assault course, or test your mettle in the fear room or escape room. If it’s high-energy thrills you’re after, this one’s for you.
Anyone over the age of eight can participate (except for diving and shooting, which have a minimum age of 10).
- Entrance: Ticket prices for activities vary
- Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
- Address: National Exhibition Center, Halls, Marston Green, Birmingham
5. Stroll through Martineau Gardens
You’ll find the beautiful Martineau Gardens just two miles outside of Birmingham. This beautiful community garden is a tranquil oasis and a haven for wildlife.
Explore these two and a half acres of organically managed landscape that features a lovely nature trail, a children’s play area, and a bird hide. There’s a fruit orchard, a hothouse, and a wildflower meadow to explore.
Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade of the trees or the outdoor seating area for one of the more romantic things to do in Birmingham.
You can purchase various plants and homemade jams made from the fruits of the garden if you’d like to support the charity.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 to 16:00
- Address: 27 Priory Road, Edgbaston
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Birmingham has a long history. From its beginnings as a small market town to becoming one of the largest cities in the country. Explore the bustling city center on a guided walking tour to gain authentic insights into this modern city and its heritage.
You’ll take in some of the city’s top attractions, including St Philip’s Cathedral, bustling Broad Street, Symphony Hall, and the Council House. The tour takes around an hour and a half and is a great way to see the city, especially if you’re looking for things to do in Birmingham when you’re short on time.
- Entrance: £12
- Hours: Tour times vary
- Address: Cathedral Square, Birmingham
8. Explore the Fascinating World of Geology
A visit to the Lapworth Museum of Geology will offer you the chance to explore an extensive collection of fossils, minerals, and rocks. The collection contains over 250 000 specimens, geological maps, equipment, photographs, and models that detail the natural history of our planet.
The museum dates back to 1880 and is the oldest specialist geological museum in the UK. Explore life over the past 3.5 billion years through interactive exhibits and galleries. In addition to wonderfully preserved fossils, there are also fascinating mineral specimens in stunning colors and shapes.
Plus it’s completely free to enter, perfect for those backpacking the UK on a budget.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 (Monday to Friday), 12:00 to 17:00 (Saturday)
- Address: Aston Webb Building, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
9. Explore the World of Science at Thinktank
If you’re looking for things to do in Birmingham with the kids, look no further than Thinktank. This is also an excellent option for a rainy day.
With over 200 hands-on displays and historical collections, you’ll experience science and technology like never before. There’s a mini-city for the under 8s, a 4K planetarium, and a super-fun science garden.
Doing science can work up a serious appetite, so there are several outlets selling food and drink to keep those young brains well fuelled for learning.
- Entrance: Adult – £14, Child (3-15 years) – £10.25, Child (under 3) – free
- Hours: 10:00 to 17:00
- Address: Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, Millennium Point, Birmingham
There are few better ways to appreciate the rich history of Birmingham than on a walking tour that takes in both the historic sites in the city and the modern ones.
You’ll explore the canals and their importance in the development of the city and modern buildings like the brand new Centenary Square. Pass by key pieces of public art, appreciate the various architectural styles and uncover the city’s development.
As you go along, what really stands out is how old and new stand side-by-side to create an integrated city.
- Entrance: £18
- Hours: Tour times vary
- Address: Centenary Sq, Broad St, Birmingham
10. Wander Through Castle Bromwich’s Historic Gardens
Who doesn’t love an English garden? This one, at Castle Bromwich, is a 350-year-old formal garden that has retained its original period style. It’s a bit like traveling in time to the 18th century. If you’re looking for things to do in Birmingham that get you outdoors, this is ideal.
If you’re visiting with the kids, this is a great place to enjoy a picnic. There are also fun craft-based things to do for the little ones and outdoor theatre to enjoy. If you’re not picnicking, stop at the Courtyard Café for tea and a treat.
- Entrance: Adult – £5, Children (5 – 16 years) – £5, Children (Under 5) – free
- Hours: 10:30 – 16:30 (Wednesday to Sunday)
- Address: Chester Road, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham
11. Catch a Play in Shakespeare’s Hometown
The legendary playwright and poet William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, less than an hour from Birmingham. Take a day trip to see where Shakespeare was born, visit his home, and walk in his footsteps.
Complete the experience by taking in a Shakespearean play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. A one-hour theatre tour will take you behind the Royal Shakespeare Company’s scenes and raise the curtain on the largest costume-making department in any British theatre.
Don’t miss a trip up the theatre tower to the viewing platform that offers panoramic views over Stratford-upon-Avon.
- Entrance: Ticket prices vary
- Hours: From 10:00 (Monday to Sunday)
- Address: Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon
12. Visit a Picture-Perfect Tudor home
Blakesley Hall is one of Birmingham’s oldest buildings. The home is that of a wealthy Tudor merchant and is a prime example of what life was like 430 years ago. See many of the original features of the home and original period furnishings.
Outside, you can stroll through the beautiful gardens, including a traditional herb garden and an orchard. These peaceful gardens are also home to birds, butterflies, and local wildlife.
Blakesley Hall regularly offers fun family activities and events, so make sure to check their schedule to see what’s on before you go.
- Entrance: Adult – £7.00, Child (3 – 15 years) – £3.00, Child (under 3) – free
- Hours: 11:00 to 16:00 (Wednesday to Sunday)
- Address: Blakesley Road, Birmingham
Escape the city for an enchanting evening spent in a modern log cabin outside Birmingham. The cabin is located on a private property but enjoys complete privacy and a view over the river.
Perfect for a couple, the cabin is well-equipped with everything you could need, including Wi-Fi, a cozy indoor fireplace, and an outdoor hot tub. In the morning, you can enjoy freshly baked bread and organic free-range eggs from the hens on the property.
Did I mention the complimentary welcome bottle of bubbles to enjoy in the hot tub?
- Entrance: £95
- Hours: N/A
- Address: West Midlands, England
14. Hire a Bike and Cycle along the Canals
Explore the city at your own pace on a bicycle. Brompton Bike Hire is the most convenient way to get around the city.
For a scenic and enjoyable experience, set off from Snowhill Station, along the Birmingham canal main line to Wolverhampton. It takes about an hour and a half to complete, and is a fun way to see the sites, get plenty of fresh air, and smash a workout at the same time.
The best part is that you don’t have to cycle back – unless you really want to. You can fold up the bike and grab the train back to Birmingham.
- Entrance: Costs vary
- Hours: 24 hours
- Address: Snow Hill Station, Colmore Row, Birmingham
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15. Admire Contemporary Art at Ikon
Spend a peaceful afternoon taking in contemporary art from around the world at the award-winning icon gallery. See inspiring works from established and emerging artists in one beautiful space. This a great option if you’re looking for free things to do in Birmingham.
Artworks feature a variety of mediums, including sounds, mixed media, film, photography, installation, and photography. The building itself, an old school building, is a work of art featuring imposing neo-gothic architecture.
Grab brunch or a coffee at Yorks Café at Ikon and pop into the Ikon Shop, where you can pick up art-related books, artworks, and even homewares and jewelry by local makers.
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: 11:00 to 17:00 (Tuesday to Sunday)
- Address: 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham
16. Eat and Drink with a View at The Cube
The Cube is a world-class destination in the heart of Birmingham. Housing restaurants, bars, a boutique hotel, a luxury spa, a gym, and retail and office space.
There are four dining venues in The Cube to choose from, each offering something unique, but for the best views, head to the top floor to Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
The restaurant is known for its mouth-watering steaks and inventive cocktail menu, which you can sample while enjoying the live music. There’s a smart dress code, so no sports shoes!
- Entrance: N/A
- Hours: 12:00 to 22:30 (Monday to Saturday), 12:00 to 21:00 (Sunday)
- Address: 196 Wharfside Street
Get your heart racing and your blood pumping at Alton Towers Resort. With over 40 thrilling rides and attractions, it’s the largest theme park in the UK. There’s something for every member of the family here.
If you’re visiting with little ones, they’ll love a visit to the UK’s only CBeebies Land. They’ll meet some famous characters, like the Teletubbies, Peter Rabbit, and Postman Pat. This is a great option for things to do in Birmingham with the family.
For the bolder and braver family members, check out the latest addition: a wooden rollercoaster experience called Wicker Man. Other heart-stopping rollercoasters have names like ‘Nemesis’ and ‘Oblivion,’ so when you see one called ‘The Smiler,’ you’ll likely be doing more screaming than smiling.
- Entrance: £34
- Hours: 10:00 to 18:00
- Address: Alton Towers Resort, Alton, Staffordshire
18. Immerse Yourself in the World of the Real Peaky Blinders
Start your adventure at The Old Crown for some storytelling about the real gangs of the 1920s and their notorious leaders.
The walk is about 45 minutes long and takes in important sites in the story, like the Rainbow Pub, where the name Peaky Blinders was first penned. Your guide will bring to life the underworld of racing and the gang war that erupted.
You’ll enjoy a drink and a typical Victorian dinner as part of the tour.
- Entrance: £44.95
- Hours: Tour times vary
- Address: The Old Crown, Deritend High Street
19. Try the Jaguar Experience at Castle Bromwich
Car enthusiasts, this one’s for you. Immerse yourself in the world of Jaguar’s sophisticated cars on a tour through their state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. See how the latest Jaguar vehicles come to life as they move through the production line.
There are three tours to choose from, each offering a behind-the-scenes look at the world-class cars being made. Enjoy exclusive access to areas of the factory never before opened to the public. Your expert guide will detail the history of this facility, from building Spitfires in the 1940s to iconic supercars.
- Entrance: Adult – £49, Child (10 – 16 years) – £39
- Hours: Tour times vary
- Address: The Jaguar Visitor Centre, Castle Bromwich, Chester Road, Castle Vale
20. Explore Warwick Castle
Experience medieval architecture, incredible views, and 64 acres of landscaped gardens when you visit Warwick Castle. Once the sight of great battles, princesses, knights, and myths, a visit here will ignite your imagination.
You don’t want to miss The Mighty Trebuchet Show, in which the world’s largest catapult will launch a cannonball 150ft into the air. Enjoy an archery display in The Bowman Show and even a live-action joust. The Falconers Quest is a bird of prey show that offers some jaw-dropping displays of aerial acrobatics.
Warwick Castle is not your average castle attraction, and a visit here should be high up on your list of things to do in Birmingham.
- Entrance: £37
- Hours: 10:00 to 16:00
- Address: Castle Hill, Warwick, Warwickshire
21. Stop in at Sarehole Mill
Sarehole Mill is a wonderfully preserved 250-year-old watermill. In the 1850s, the mill was updated with a steam engine and a chimney, giving it its signature silhouette. Famed author, JRR Tolkien, lived across the road from the mill, which he says inspired his writing of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
Nowadays, the mill has a modern bakery where you can get freshly baked treats or enjoy a pizza in the courtyard.
The tranquil mill pond is a haven for wildlife, particularly water birds. Nearby, you’ll find a small forest ideal for exploring and walking through the trees.
- Entrance: Adult – £6.60, Child (3-15 years) – £3.30, Child (under 3) – free
- Hours: 11:30 to 16:00 (Friday and Saturday)
- Address: Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Road, Hall Green
Where to Stay in Birmingham
If you’re not sure where to stay in Birmingham, don’t worry, the city has a ton of great options, from luxury hotels, modern apartments and countryside escapes. Here are some of my top recommendations.
Best Hostel in Birmingham – Selina Birmingham
The Selina Hostel in Birmingham is located in a vibrant area of the city. Within a small radius of the hostel, you’ll find plenty of trendy restaurants, bars, cafes, and creative spaces.
The hostel is highly rated for its epic location, excellent staff, and cleanliness. Guests can choose from a deluxe, private, or community room.
Best Airbnb in Birmingham – Edgbaston Studio 8
Choose a compact city apartment in an excellent location. Located in the area of Edgbaston, this apartment offers a quiet setting to return to while still allowing easy access to the city center. Public transport is within easy reach of the apartment, as are the many things to do in Birmingham.
The modern apartment is well-equipped and well furnished, making it the ideal base for exploration in the city.
Best Hotel in Birmingham – Staybridge Suites
Stay in the heart of Birmingham in the popular bed and breakfast hotel, Staybridge Suites. Enjoy all the modern conveniences like Wi-Fi and air conditioning and an on-site gym. A stay here also includes a complimentary buffet breakfast.
Nearby, you’ll find a wide range of places to eat and shop and public transport access.
Some Additional Tips for Visiting Birmingham
Before you pack your bags and zip off to Birmingham, take a look at some of my top tips for travelling to the city of Brum first…
- Invest in travel insurance! You never know what may happen on the road.
- Wear comfty walking shoes. Birmingham is very walkable with many attractions within easy reach of each other.
- Eat ethnic food: As a multi-cultural hub, you can find a lot of different cuisines. For when you do go out to eat, the numerous kebab shops are your wallet’s friend. It’s possible to get a kebab with fries and a drink for around $10, which is a lot less than the $25 or so you’d spend eating pub grub.
- Eat at home or pack a picnic. There are plenty of dining options in Birmingham, but they can be expensive. If you’re trying to keep costs down, consider a picnic lunch in one of the many parks
- Take a brolly (an umbrella). The weather is typically British, which means it can be quite variable at any time of year. Always carry an umbrella and dress in layers.
- Bring a good water bottle with you and avoid buying single-use plastic ones!
- Choose to stay in or around the city center. Most attractions will be within walking distance. If you’d prefer to experience Birmingham like a local, you can choose to stay further out into the surrounding neighborhoods.
- Find cheap flights. Every once in a while, a killer deal pops up.
Don’t forget your travel insurance for Birmingham
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SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
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Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Birmingham
Birmingham may have been overlooked as a destination in the past, but its rich history and culture make it a great place to explore.
There are always many things to do in Birmingham with its countless museums and galleries. Families with children will find plenty of great kid-friendly activities to ensure that every member has a great time.
History buffs will be more than satisfied with the bounty of historic buildings and homes to visit. And if you enjoy strolling through manicured gardens, there’s enough here to keep you going for a while.
Art, culture, food, and design are yours to enjoy in this vibrant city where old and new coexist effortlessly.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!