Birmingham, it’s England’s second city and home of Netflix’s Peaky Blinders fictional star, Tommy Shelby. And yet, it always ends up being overlooked as a travel destination. Over the years it’s acquired a bit of a bad reputation. From the mocked Brummie accent, to jabs about Birmingham city centre and its unpleasing aesthetic. Often, it seems people don’t want to travel to Birmingham because it’s not usually held in the highest regard.
However, is it really deserving of this bad reputation? Sure, it may not be the most gorgeous city out there but it has its hidden gems. Take it from a Brummie, if you look in the right places, it really is worth it to travel to Birmingham.
If you don’t believe me, then maybe it’s time to step into Tom Shelby’s Brummie shoes for the day. So, here’s a comprehensive guide of wonderful Brummie locations to assist your travel to Birmingham. Up first, we have:
1) Moseley Village
Moseley village is a vibrant and lively location situated in South Birmingham. Popular amongst locals for a reason, it’s home to numerous pubs and restaurants, as well as one-of-a-kind stores. It’s a great spot if you’re looking to grab a drink in one of the less touristy areas of the city. Good choices for food or drink include: The Prince of Wales (popular for its garden seating area), La Plancha, One Trick Pony and The Cuban Embassy.
And if you’re visiting in Spring or Summer, you’ll be able to catch its gorgeous annual floral display. Overall, Moseley village is a great place to visit for newbies in the Birmingham scene.
2) More Canals than Venice: Brindley Place
Ever heard the saying that Birmingham is home to more canals than Venice? Well, this is the place to go see them. Although the old saying actually refers to Birmingham having more metres of canals than Venice, it’s still a pretty cool feature of Brum.
Brindley Place is an excellent choice of location for a day or evening out in Birmingham city centre. With the Mailbox on site, you can find some of Birmingham’s more upmarket shops and an array of restaurants and bars.
Given its slightly more upmarket status, for an evening activity it’s better suited to those looking for a dressier night out. And you might want to book in advance, because this one is popular amongst locals and tourists.
3) A Chocoholic’s Dream: Cadbury World
Cadbury world is probably the closest thing you’ll find to a real-life version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Located four miles south of Birmingham city centre, Cadbury World is sure to make any chocoholic’s dreams come true.
It’s home to the world’s biggest Cadbury store, stocked with freshly made chocolate (and trust me, you can tell the difference); a Cadbury café where you can grab a bite to eat (or feast on your new chocolate purchases, we won’t judge); or you can buy tickets for a self-guided tour filled with free chocolate bars and an insight into the production process and history of the brand. Regardless of age, Cadbury World is a must on your travel to Birmingham.
4) The Birmingham City Centre Arts Hub: Victoria & Chamberlain Square
Located beside Brindley Place, both Victoria and Chamberlain Square are imperative additions to your travel to Birmingham itinerary. Aside from the latter’s recent makeover, it’s the go-to location if you’re looking for arts-related activities.
With the Birmingham museum, library and theatre all conveniently located within a 5-minute walk of each other, it’s the ideal spot for any arts lover. And if you’re visiting during the festive period, it’s the perfect opportunity to see the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria.
5) The Custard Factory
If you’re looking for a slightly more alternative activity spot on your travel to Birmingham, the Custard Factory is ideal. It’s an up and coming area in Birmingham city centre and is only a ten-minute walk from the Bullring.
The Custard factory epitomises diverse entertainment. Some of its choices include: the German inspired beergarden, Zumhof Biergarten; indoor mini golf at Ghetto Golf; the board game cafe, Chance & Counters; and the buffet style Digbeth Dining Club, which serves a variety of continental cuisines. At the Custard Factory, its wide array of activity choices render boredom impossible.
6) The Bullring & Grand Central
Home to the famous bull statue, you’ve probably heard of Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre and its counterpart, Grand Central Station. It’s one of the most famous parts of Birmingham city centre, although perhaps best suited to those looking for a day of shopping.
If that’s you, there’s a whole range of shops to choose from, including the giant Selfridges store across five different levels. And if you fancy taking a break in between your shopping spree, you can always take a trip to the indoors treetop mini golf or grab a bite to eat in one of the many coffee shops and restaurants nearby.
It’s worth the pit-stop, but if you’re struggling for time on your travel to Birmingham, this is probably one that’s a nice addition but not essential.
Travel to Birmingham City Centre | Summary
Whilst this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a pretty good summary of Birmingham’s best bits. And in my biased Brummie opinion, suggests that Birmingham’s reputation falls short of its reality.