Filled with historic landmarks, brilliant cultural attractions, and family-friendly activities, Birmingham is a surprising destination with something to do for everyone. Birmingham is the second-largest metropolitan area in the UK, and there is plenty to see and do in this wonderful metropolis in the West Midlands. Visit historic sites like the Jewellery Quarter and tour the canals, which have been a part of the city’s landscape since the Industrial Revolution. Sample delicious treats and confections at Cadbury World, one of the largest chocolate factories in the world, then catch a performance at the renowned Symphony Hall or the Birmingham Hippodrome. From the National SEA LIFE Center to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to the National Motorcycle Museum, there are tons of marvelous museums to explore. No matter where your interests lie, this city is an exciting destination of exceptional attractions. Start planning your trip today - book an affordable Airbnb or an aparthotel, and check out this list of some of the things Birmingham is famous for.
1. Cadbury chocolate
A beloved candy, Cadbury is only second to Mars in being the biggest candy brand in the world. This famous chocolate company is almost 200 years old and was established in Birmingham back in 1824 by John Cadbury. Today, its most popular products include the chocolate Easter Eggs, the classic milk chocolate bar, and the Caramello bar, which is just milk chocolate with melted caramel. While their international headquarters are based in London’s Uxbridge, you’ll still find Cadbury World in Birmingham. Plan a visit if you want to learn more about Cadbury’s history and the making of their delicious chocolates.
2. Birmingham Hippodrome
Birmingham Hippodrome sees over 600,000 guests every year and is the home stage of Birmingham Royal Ballet. The seating capacity for the main auditorium is 1,850. They host a variety of performances, including Cinderella by Birmingham Royal Ballet, and classic West End musicals such as Wicked, Marry Poppins, and The Phantom of the Opera, among others. You’ll find this historic theater on Hurst Street, in city’s Chinese Quarter. If you’re planning a trip to Birmingham, be sure to check out their website to find out about current events and performances.
Address: Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB, United Kingdom
Website: Birmingham Hippodrome
This incredible tour is a sightseeing extravaganza across Birmingham that takes you past some of the city’s most renowned attractions. An experienced guide will lead you on a walking tour along the canals, where you will learn how the city has grown through Georgian, Victorian, and modern times. From the breathtaking Library of Birmingham to the Gas Street Basin, discover the city’s rich heritage, and listen as Birmingham’s history comes to life around you. The tour is 1 hour and 45 minutes long and covers an area of about 3 km (nearly 2 miles).
From Canals and Victorians to Today's City: Birmingham Walking Tour
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
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4. Attend one of the city’s vibrant festivals
Birmingham is famous for hosting a variety of fantastic festivals and events throughout the year. With food and drink festivals, cultural celebrations, music concerts and live performances and more, there are tons of unique events that range in theme and size. From the UK’s biggest free family music festival, the Coventry Godiva Festival, to Birmingham Pride, to one of the country’s largest food events, the Foodie’s Festival, you can always find something going on in the city!
Birmingham Festivals and Events
Website: Birmingham Festivals and Events
5. Explore the historic markets
Birmingham is home to many fabulous markets that create unique shopping experiences in the city. One of the longest running in the city is the Bullring Open Market which has been a part of Birmingham for more than 850 years, and offers more than 150 stalls to peruse. The Birmingham Rag Market is another one of the city’s renowned markets and is filled with vendors hawking fabrics, general goods, and delicious treats. If you are in town in November and December, you can’t miss the Frankfurt Christmas Market, which is the largest German holiday market outside of Germany or Austria!
6. Relax in the city’s gorgeous green spaces
When you need to escape the hustle and bustle of busy city life, head to one of Birmingham’s 17 green spaces. Many of these areas have been awarded a Green Flag designation in recognition of the park’s safety, quality, and amenities. Perfect for an afternoon stroll, visit green spaces like Cannon Hill Park, which is home to two beautiful lakes and the Birmingham Wildlife Center, or Aston Park where you can wander past lushly landscaped gardens and a Jacobean mansion.
7. Admire pre-Raphaelite paintings at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
The magnificent Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a must-see for any amateur art connoisseur. This famous landmark in Birmingham was opened in 1885 and has about 40 permanent galleries and a changing rotation of special exhibits that feature displays on fine arts, social history, archaeology, and ethnography. Among many other things, the museum is home to the world’s largest collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings and other fine art masterpieces, as well as archaeological finds from the Stone Age, and an assembly of over 6,000 toys and other items made of wood in the Pinto Collection. When you need a break, stop by the beautiful Edwardian Tea Rooms for a hot drink and a snack.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Address: Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH, UK
Website: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Opening hours: Sat - Thu: 10am - 5pm; Fri: 10:30am - 5pm
8. Visit the Birmingham bull sculpture
Standing proud in Birmingham’s Bullring since 2003, this six-ton, bronze sculpture was created as a symbol of the city and represents the market’s long history. This commercial area has been a hub of the city since the 12th century and continues as one of the busiest modern shopping centers in Europe today. The monument is officially known as “The Guardian,” and was ranked as one of the top 10 public works of art by The Independent. After visiting the iconic statue, enjoy wandering through the plethora of boutiques and shops and stop for a bite at one of the Bullring’s many delicious restaurants.
Address: Bullring, Birmingham B5 4BU, UK
Opening hours: Mon: 10am - 7pm; Tue - Fri: 10am - 8pm; Sat: 9am - 8pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm
9. Discover Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter
This historic area of Birmingham brims with magnificent museums, unique shops and art galleries, and picturesque walking tours. The Jewellery Quarter is one of the best places to get a glimpse into Birmingham’s past, and there are plenty of ways to spend an afternoon here. Wander through the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, admire the architecture of sites like the Clock Tower and St. Paul’s Church, or shop at one of over 200 jewelry stores and pick up a bespoke souvenir.
10. Meander through the Pen Museum
In its industrial heyday, the city of Birmingham manufactured over 75% of the world’s pens! This unique museum chronicles the city’s steel pen industry and highlights the spirit of ingenuity of creativity in calligraphy. There are over 5,000 objects on display here and visitors can even make their own pen nibs using traditional methods.
The Pen Museum
Address: Unit 3, The Argent Centre, 60 Frederick St, Birmingham B1 3HS, UK
Website: The Pen Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 4pm; Sun: 1pm - 4pm
Price: 8 USD
11. Adventure along the Tolkien Trail
The author of the renowned ‘Lord of the Rings’ series grew up in a small town outside of Birmingham in the 1890s, and visitors of the city today can visit the real-life places that inspired some of the landscape in his famous novels. Travel along the Tolkien Trail, and see sites like Sarehole Mill, Moseley Bog, and the Shire Country Park that were transformed into the adventuresome setting of the books.
12. Taste “Birmingham Balti”
After a busy day of exploring, satiate your hunger with one of the Birmingham’s most popular dishes, Balti! This type of dish is said to have originated in the city in the 1970s and is a sizzling curry that is cooked in a thin, steel bowl over a very hot flame. Popular curry flavors like tikka masala, tandoori, and korma can all be cooked in Balti style, and the dish can be found in many restaurants throughout Birmingham.
Al Frash Balti
Address: 186 Ladypool Rd, Birmingham B12 8JS, UK
Website: Al Frash Balti
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 5pm - 12am; Fri - Sat: 5pm - 2am
The brilliance of Birmingham
Now you don’t have to wonder, “What is Birmingham known for?” From renowned museums to unique festivals, there is so much to discover in the vibrant city of Birmingham. With its bustling history, lively downtown area, and family-friendly attractions, Birmingham is a delightful destination. Start planning your trip today and add these famous Birmingham activities to your itinerary!
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