Indoors or outdoors, there’s so much for you and the family to see and do in Birmingham, with events and attractions for visitors of all ages.
Our family guide to Birmingham brings you some great ideas of things to do in the city. Most of the events we’ve picked are just minutes away from Staying Cool’s aparthotel at Rotunda, part of the famous Bullring, while some are a little further afield and are a great way of spending a family day out.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is open again… pop-up style
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has partially reopened with pop-up displays and a new-look Round Room featuring artworks and photography co-curated with people from Birmingham.
The pop-up displays, part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival (the cultural programme that’s part of the Commonwealth Games) are a great family attraction with exhibitions telling the story of Birmingham’s recent history of culture, clubbing, diversity and more. The kids will love learning about Birmingham’s important role in the story of cinema at the interactive Flatpack Festival Wonderland display.
There’s also an exhibition featuring items from Birmingham’s incredible civic collection of paintings and industrial rarities.
The Edwardian Tearooms have also reopened for a slice of cake, coffee or juice in a lovely setting.
Play a round of golf at Bullring
The Bullring is not just about shopping and eating. How about challenging your family to a hole in one at Treetop Adventure Golf?
Putt your way through rainforests and ancient ruins at this mini indoor golf experience on the Ground Level.
Then attempt to win a free round by scoring a hole in one on the Bonus 19th hole.
You can argue over who ended up in the most bunkers over Pigs ‘n’ Blankets Pizza, Espress Snowtinis and Ho Ho Hot Chocolate from the bars’ festive menu.
Birmingham Weekender 2022
Birmingham Weekender is back for summer 2022 with over 100 free events to enjoy, including a centrepiece installation called Brum’s Big Splash – slip and slide to be installed down Central Street, Bullring.
Birmingham Weekender features more than 100 free events to enjoy at Bullring & Grand Central, the New Street Station concourse, Birmingham Markets and 1000 Trades Square. Between Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th August 2022, visitors and residents will be able to enjoy a programme of events with a mixture of dance, film, music, installations and performances throughout the city centre.
The cultural festival, produced by Birmingham Hippodrome, in partnership with Bullring & Grand Central and supported by Birmingham City Council, and Arts Council England, features many of the best artists from Birmingham and the West Midlands, alongside exciting international artists and installations.
Highlights include Brum’s Big Splash – a 60m slip and slide to be installed down Central Street. Tickets are free to book via the Bullring & Grand Central website and slip and sliders will be in with a chance of winning Bullring & Grand Central gift cards for turning up in the most stylish and outrageous fancy dress. Brum’s Big Splash is inspired by Luke Jerram’s Park and Slide, which was installed in Bristol in 2014.
PoliNations in Victoria Square
A forest in the heart of Birmingham? An oasis of thousands of colourful plants and flowers among the city centre buildings?
That’s exactly what PoliNations promises to create when it comes to Victoria Square between Friday 2 to Sunday 18 September, 2022.
Victoria Square will bloom into a living oasis filled with thousands of plants and brought to life through free forest tours, audio baths, live music and light shows, costume design workshops, sensory experiences, spoken word and more.
In addition to regular daily programming, PoliNations will host spoken word events, featuring performances from the brightest performers from the local, national and international spoken word scene.
Once PoliNations ends, the plants and saplings will be shared with local communities, public institutions and private homes and contribute to the growth of Birmingham’s green spaces.
Visit Centenary Square Birmingham
If the kids need to stretch their legs, how about a walk over to the beautifully revamped Centenary Square?
Home to the Library of Birmingham and the Symphony Hall, the squares beautiful water fountains are the perfect spot to stop for a coffee and let the little ones have a run around.
The Library of Birmingham is good for families too
Inspire your kids with their homework by visiting the home of the largest Shakespeare collection of any public library in the world.
The Shakespeare Memorial Room, at the top of the Library of Birmingham, houses one of the most significant collections of The Bard’s material, including books, photographs, films and theatre programmes.
This treasure trove explains why the very first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works, the famous First Folio, is stamped as belonging to ‘Birmingham Free Libraries’.
With its beautiful wood panelled walls the Memorial Room, which was created in 1868, is worth a trip on its own.
You can also enjoy the views from the Library’s gorgeous rooftop gardens, a hot drink and food from the café or just choose a book and snuggle up in one of its cosy reading corners.
Symphony Hall hosts shows for children
If your kids have never heard a live orchestra before Symphony Hall’s family concerts are the perfect introduction.
They’ll be taken on a whistle-stop tour of the orchestra and explore the world of music from the sounds of the deep blue sea to a fantastical musical journey through time.
There’s plenty of audience participation to add to the fun too.
If you have toddlers in tow Notelets are relaxed mini-concerts at the CBSO Centre which combine music and stories. Don’t worry about fidgety feet. Dancing and jumping around are encouraged!
Explore the canals of Birmingham
Legend has it that Birmingham has more canals than Venice. You won’t spot any gondolas here but take a wander through the ICC off Centenary Square and you’ll reach the heart of Birmingham’s Brindleyplace and lovely canal network.
Take a boat trip or just wander along the towpaths and explore by foot. Brindleyplace has a range of pubs and cafes to pop into for refreshments along the way.
Kids will love spotting the colourful narrow-boats around Gas Street Basin and you can follow the towpath over to the Mailbox, which is home to restaurants, cafes, an independent cinema and shops including Harvey Nichols.
Delve into the history of music at the University of Birmingham
Presented in partnership with the brilliant Birmingham Music Archive, Ceremony: Pop comes to Campus, reveals and celebrates the University of Birmingham’s role in local and international music culture, using unearthed posters, photographs and archive material.
Joy Division, The Cure, UB40, The Human League, Sister Bliss, Joan Armatrading, Simon Le Bon and Mistress Mo are just a few of the bands and alumni that are part of the University of Birmingham’s long, but untold, association with the music industry.
Until 28 October, 9am – 7pm, Bramall Music Building, University of Birmingham
The Roundhouse kayaking trips
Enjoy a chance to see Birmingham from its world-famous waterway network as the recently-refurbished Roundhouse in Sheepcote Street hosts seasonal kayak tours and trips on heritage boats.
It’s also a starting point for themed walks too.
Although its guided tours wind down in winter you can still pop into this historic building’s visitor centre and exhibitions or check out a self-guided trail and discover how this unusual building once served as stables and stores for Birmingham Corporation’s Public Works Department.
Brindleyplace is a great place to dine with children
With its tree-lined squares, international cuisine and canal-side location Brindleyplace is a lovely spot to sit and relax with the kids.
You’ll find the National Sea Life Centre here which is the ideal indoor activity for families on a rainy day.
Get up close to more than 2,000 sea creatures, including penguins and sharks, and walk ‘under’ water through the UK’s only 360-degree Ocean Tunnel.
You can create the ultimate day out and save money with a multi-attraction ticket which gives entry to the Legoland Discovery Centre just around the corner too.
Art lovers can pop into the Ikon Gallery which holds Family Saturday art workshops. The activities are free but you need to book in advance.
A day in Digbeth for teenagers
Teenagers will love the colourful street art, shops, bars and restaurants in Digbeth, which is just a short walk from Staying Cool.
At its heart is the The Custard Factory, originally home to Bird’s Custard, but now a place to find independent businesses and the Mockingbird Cinema.
Look out for Red Brick Market on Floodgate Street which is a treasure trove of unique vintage clothes, homeware, art and antiques.
If you’d like to explore more of Digbeth, check out Staying Cool’s Guide to Digbeth blog.
Thinktank Science Museum – The Great Thinktank Games!
Big kids and little kids will love Thinktank – Birmingham’s science museum at Millennium Point with its steam engines, talking robots, gurgling guts and chocolate wrapping machine.
Discover four floors of hands-on exhibits and historical gems, including an interactive mini city for under 8s called MiniBrum and a 4k Planetarium.
Events and attractions’ opening times and entry requirements may be impacted by coronavirus guidelines. Please visit the venue’s website to check latest information.
THE ULTIMATE FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION
With so much going on in and around Birmingham for you and your family to experience, you may need a few days to take it all in. So why not take advantage of our spacious serviced apartments at Rotunda, the super central base in the heart of it all.