No matter what time of year you go, there are always plenty of things to do in Birmingham. For a quick sojourn of two or three days, it’s best to do a whirlwind tour of Brum, where you can see all the key sights, attractions and restaurants, so you can take note of what you want to see next time you’re in town.
Only got a few days to spare? Birmingham is the ideal destination for a fun-filled weekend away.
Go gallery hopping
Birmingham is overflowing with art galleries and exhibitions so there’s always bound to be something on you’ll like. Top of your list should be the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with its impressive collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings, the IKON Gallery – if you like modern and conceptual art – and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, for a hands-on view of how jewellery is created. What’s even better is that they’re all free so you can save some pennies for Birmingham’s most-loved activity…
Pick up some bargain buys
Brummies can’t resist a good bargain and there are plenty to be had in this shopping mecca. The old Bull Ring complex has undergone a huge makeover and is now a popular destination with restaurants, shops and entertainment. There are all the usual high street stores, international brands and some independent boutiques. After you’ve got your Topshop fix, head over to the Bull Ring markets where you’ll be able to find everything else (including the kitchen sink). If your taste (and budget) is a little more luxury, you can go to the Mailbox, which not only has designer names but also some fancy bars and day spas.
Put on your dancing shoes
One of the favourite things to do in Birmingham on the weekend is to head out for a night on the town. Balti (a curry served in a bowl) was actually invented in Birmingham, so you can’t leave here without trying one. The ‘Balti Triangle’ is your best bet, where you’ll find over 50 specialty restaurants on Ladypool Road and Stratford Road in Sparkbrook, two miles south of the centre. Afterwards, it’s time to party. Whether you’re a live music aficionado or you want to get down and dirty in at a Digbeth warehouse rave, Birmingham has it all. Broad Street is the main party area where you’ll find the usual English pubs, cheap bars and commercial clubs. For live music, try the O2 Institute or the Jam House, and Boxxed is a cool 10,000 square-foot warehouse with a distinct industrial vibe.
Overdose on chocolate
After a big night out on the town, you can satisfy your next day cravings at Cadbury World. Of all the places to visit in Birmingham, the original chocolate factory is a must-see for people of all ages. Not only will you be able to sample some of the iconic chocolate, but you can also take a self-guided tour through the history of cocoa, see it being made right in front of you and learn all about the Cadbury brand.
Take a canal ride
Thought Venice was the capital of canals? Think again. Birmingham actually takes the award for that one, with over 35 miles of waterways within the city. If you’re blessed with a sunny weekend, take a tranquil ride down the canal to the Gas Street Basin and further afield to Edgbaston and the University of Birmingham.
Walk around the Jewellery Quarter
To the north-west of the city centre is the historic Jewellery Quarter. It’s one of the most beautiful urban areas, home to over 200 listed buildings and artisan workshops. Looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir? You’re sure to find it here – browse up-and-coming jewellery designer stores and you can even watch some craftsmen at work, as they put together your very own personalised trinket.