Birmingham with Teens: A Visitor's Guide
Sunday October 7, 2018
Did you know that Birmingham is Europe’s youngest city? As a result, it is full of things to do with teenagers that will deliver a stress-free weekend break or staycation.
Parents in the Staying Cool team often bring their teens to stay and get the thumbs up every time. Our apartments are always a hit with teens as they’re very sleek and very modern plus there are a lot of teenage attractions in the city centre, so they’re never bored.
Here are our pick things to do in Birmingham to earn cool parent points:
Birmingham is HUGE on shopping. We have every high-street brand you could wish for plus some seriously high-end department stores and gold standard beauty halls. Shopping In Birmingham is a fantastic resource for any retail obsessed teen who wants to plan their shopping like a military campaign.
Keep an eye on Shopping In Birmingham for special events – Selfridges is particularly hot at organising mini festivals. It also has a jaw-dropping food hall downstairs, which is a good place to grab a bite to eat or grab gifts to take home.
At the other end of the scale, there’s also a strong independent retail scene in Birmingham that often appeals to teens. Our quirky teens are fans of:
Liquor Store – not a groovy off-licence but a great place to source hard-to-get fashion brands.
Having a mooch around the Bullring outdoor and indoor markets (just down from the Bullring shopping centre) for vintage style.
Vinyl is Back
Swordfish Records survived during the lean times when digital was king. This is a place that music obsessed teens and their parents can love. The shop is at 66 Dalton Street in Birmingham city centre.
Image: Joe Bailey
The Library of Birmingham was rebuilt very recently and it is the most visited tourist attraction outside London for good reason. It’s an extraordinary (and hugely photogenic) building. Obviously, there are thousands and thousands of books to look at, but it really is such a stunning building that even if that’s not appealing we’d recommend having a look around.
If your teen is fascinated by media, then let them know about the BFI Mediatheque. It is a free service based at the Library of Birmingham that gives access to an astonishing film and TV archive.
Although he was South African by birth, JRR Tolkien grew up in Birmingham and very much saw it as his home town. If you have a teen obsessed with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit then check out the Tolkien Trail. There are ten points of interest linked to the author and the trail takes you to some interesting buildings around the city.
GOLF (BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT)
For over 18s only but, if your teen is old enough, it’s definitely a winner. Head down to Digbeth’s Custard Factory for crazy golf 21st-century style. We’re talking DJs, cocktails, street food and an indoor space smothered in graffiti. £10 per person.
If your teen laughs in the face of clean eating then is bound to be a hit. Over 16s can enjoy a chocolatier experience (must be pre-booked), which is a chance to learn the art of chocolate making. All ages can enjoy Cadbury World in its full chocolatey glory and there’s plenty of history and science packed in there too. It’s a great day out.
As an alternative, enjoy artisanal chocolate at in the city centre (in the historic Great West Arcade)
We’re very proud of the culture in Birmingham. The city is pulsating with it. Some of our favourite spots that might appeal to teens are:
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery are right in the centre of the city in a grand old building. Entrance is free. BMAG boasts the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world, the Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard and some really cutting-edge contemporary exhibitions, so it should definitely be on your list. If your teen is resistant to museums and galleries then lure them in with the promise of seriously good cake in the Edwardian Tearooms (much, much cooler than the name might suggest).
The IKON gallery is all about contemporary art and a great place for inspiring creativity. This is another popular Birmingham spot with free entry and a rather lovely café. Yes, we are obsessed with the latter! IKON also provides excellent workshops, so it’s well worth checking out their website before your visit to Birmingham to see whether there’s something scheduled that your teen might love.
Film is huge in Birmingham. We have a big ODEON multiplex just seconds away from our apartments on New Street and a swish Everyman at the Mailbox.
The wonderful Electric Cinema is hidden away near New Street train station (and also very close to us). The Electric is the oldest working cinema in Britain and it’s an absolute gem. It has two screens, fantastic architecture, sofa seating, cool snacks and an outstanding schedule – it’s the place to aim for if you want to see something different. Keep an eye out for annual festivals such as Shock and Gore.
You should also check out the intimate Mockingbird Cinema at the Custard Factory, which runs some great events and is a very cool spot.
Image: Joe Bailey
A beautiful theatre and the place to see huge West End hits without huge West End prices (or the need to book a decade in advance…). Check out shows such as Evita, Wicked and Matilda.
If musicals are not your family’s thing then the Hippodrome also offers plenty of alternatives with Birmingham Royal Ballet, opera, contemporary dance, comedy…the list is long!
A more intimate theatre, right in the centre of the city. It stages plenty of drama that’s suitable for teens and might inspire them to greatness in their drama exams...
Where to stay in Birmingham?
We have the perfect teen-friendly accommodation in Birmingham.
Our two-bedroom serviced apartments give you 760 square feet of space to spread out in. This includes a large lounge/kitchen/diner and en-suite bathrooms. Prices start at £170 per apartment per night for a Maxi apartment for four people. Rates start at £300 per night for a penthouse with a large wraparound balcony and an amazing 1,100 feet of indoor and outdoor space.
Enjoy an unbeatable city-centre location; fast, reliable Wi-Fi for free during the whole stay; a music hub; loads of plugs to recharge tech; a Poggenpohl kitchen to help you satisfy the endless hunger of teens; and a top-end SKY TV package. We also provide board games in every apartment if you’d like some old-fashioned quality time.
Bring your teens to Staying Cool and come and find out why we’ve been number one on TripAdvisor for Birmingham accommodation for the last three years. They’ll love it here and so will you.