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The UK’s Second City is buzzing with things to do.

We’re here to help you decide what are the must-sees. These are our top tourist Birmingham attractions (in alphabetical order). It really was very hard to get it down to this shortlist, but here goes.

BIRMINGHAM BACK TO BACKS

Feeling jaded? A tour of this group of tiny, nineteenth-century houses is an excellent way to appreciate things we take for granted such as running water, indoor toilets, washing machines, the internet and privacy!

Most of the historic houses you can visit in the UK belonged/belong to the rich and powerful whilst the Back to Backs shine a light on working-class history. Fascinating stuff

BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME

Birmingham Hippodrome never fails to wow us and that’s before the performances have even started. The auditorium is splendid. We realise that splendid is an old-fashioned word, but you’ll see what we mean when you get there.

It’s not just about the lavish interior. The Hippodrome sells more tickets every year than any other theatre in the UK and that’s because it stages world-class entertainment. Choose from panto, musicals, serious drama, stand up, opera, ballet (it’s home to Birmingham Royal Ballet), contemporary dance… The list is endless!

Summer is traditionally a quiet time for theatres but the Hippodrome doesn’t rest on its laurels. Enjoy two spectacular free weekends of entertainment in the streets and squares around the Hippodrome at Summer in Southside.

Birmingham Attractions for Tourists Birmingham Hippodrome shot of Annie the musical by Paul Coltas
Image courtesy of Birmingham Hippodrome. Credit: Paul Coltas

BMAG

Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries is a thing of wonder.  The buildings are big on civic grandeur, but what we love most about BMAG is how forward-thinking its team is. They have a wonderful foundation of art and precious objects, but they go out of their way to keep BMAG fresh. It’s just a couple of minutes away from our apartments and popping in always pays dividends. Free entry is the cherry on the BMAG cake. And – speaking of cake – BMAG’s cafe aka the Edwardian Tearooms is most excellent.

Birmingham Attractions for Tourists Gallery at BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

ELECTRIC CINEMA

You can’t beat a good rep cinema and The Electric is one of the best. It’s the oldest working cinema in Britain and a world away from a multiplex. It offers real soul plus imaginative programming.

Go VIP and curl up on a cool leather sofa, have drinks brought to you by the friendly staff and enjoy a great cinematic experience.     

The Electric Cinema is Birmingham's oldest working cinema and a key attraction
Birmingham’s Electric Cinema

ESCAPE LIVE

Escape Live is the new kid on the Birmingham attractions block and it’s proving to be a big Birmingham attraction. This could be the perfect choice if you fancy having your grey matter challenged while getting mildly hysterical and laughing a lot.  

What’s it all about? You get locked in a room and then solve clues to escape. Choose from Dr Wilson’s Office or the (rather more disturbing) Room 13.  A Peaky Blinder’s Escape Room is also opening in summer 2019.

Escape Live is based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, which is a wonderful place for a mooch.

LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM

If you are a big reader then clearly this new, huge library will be your idea of heaven. However, even if you’re not, the Library of Birmingham should be on your list.

Don’t just admire it from afar: the interior is very beautiful and photogenic, the views are excellent and there are some very groovy café bars to check out. And did we mention that there’s an old Shakespeare room perched on the top of this ultra-modern building?

The library is located handily next to Symphony Hall

You know you are having a proper night out when you enter Symphony Hall  – it’s a magnificent venue. Musicians from all genres love to perform here as the acoustics are excellent.

Image courtesy of Visit England

Where to stay in Birmingham

The Birmingham attractions we’ve highlighted are just the tip of the tourist iceberg in the city.  If you’re planning on coming to Brum (and we hope we’ve persuaded you that you should), take a look at our chic serviced apartments.

Staying Cool penthouse apartment