Once the city of a thousand trades, Birmingham is now the city of a thousand shops. Whether it’s the big-hitters in the Bullring, designer-laden stores at Mailbox, or the host of independent boutiques, one thing’s for sure… a weekend stay to shop in Birmingham is a fashionista’s dream!
A weekend of top-class retail therapy in Birmingham really is a shopper’s paradise – and it’s all on our doorstep. If you’re arriving early to maximise your weekend of retail therapy, feel free to drop your luggage off at our Rotunda reception anytime ahead of your 3pm check in and we’ll take your bags up to your apartment for you. Then head off to explore the city’s rich retail landscape, enjoy a bite to eat and then return with more bags … this time full of your favourite new season buys.
BULLRING & GRAND CENTRAL
Saturday morning and there’s only one place to be. We couldn’t be better placed, with Bullring & Grand Central literally at our front door:
The Midlands’ most visited retail and leisure destination is just steps away from your Staying Cool apartment. Bullring is home to anchor store Selfridges (check out Personal Shopping with Selfridges Birmingham), a treasure trove of high-end brands like Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Gucci, Mulberry, and Valentino, housed within a modern architectural masterpiece.
You’ll also find the new Pull&Bear and Bershka stores ready for some Christmas shopping, while the fantastic new M&S – perfect for Staying Cool snack supplies – is also now open.
You’ll also find more high street names than you can shake a stick at, including a supersized M&S, and with soon-to-open arrivals such as the UK’s second Nike Rise in Rotunda Square and Insta-star EL&N Café. If you’re up for some entertainment, test your skills at the advanced virtual reality experience of Sandbox VR or tackle the two indoor, 18-hole courses at Treetop Adventure Golf.
Make sure you save enough time to visit the world’s biggest Primark, an absolute haven for fashion-lovers. There’s 161,000sq ft over five floors – the entire site of a former shopping centre – with cafes, a beauty studio and even a vintage department. Yep, that’s a whole lot of shopping!
More information on Bullring and Grand Central’s opening hours during the Christmas period can be found here.
Saturday afternoon you can venture beyond the big brands to discover Birmingham’s burgeoning independent shopping scene:
Piccadilly Arcade boasts an array of independent stores, including gift shops, beauty salons, fashion boutiques and jewellers. Make sure you take the time to marvel at its beautiful architecture and hand-painted ceilings.
The elegant Burlington Hotel is right next to the Apple Store on New Street, and is home to cutting-edge stylists Bad Apple Hair, bespoke shoe shop Crockett & Jones, as well as the stylish men’s clothes store Onu.
A short walk from Rotunda you’ll find Great Western Arcade. This hidden gem is oozing Victorian charm, award-winning retailers and top-class eateries. It’s a stone’s throw from Birmingham Cathedral, on Colmore Row too, with its stunning Burne Jones stained glass windows.
After a day of retail therapy, return to your spacious apartment to unwind and prepare for a well-earned dinner. Whether you choose to dine out in one of Birmingham’s top-class restaurants or simply order in, the choice is yours.
MAILBOX & CANALS
What better way to spend a leisurely Sunday morning than a stroll to Birmingham’s famous canal navigations. Head to Mailbox – here you’ll find the super chic Harvey Nichols standing alongside a wealth of premium designer labels, including Edit Suits, Gieves & Hawkes and Castle Fine Art. It also houses some of the city’s most popular restaurants, many with al fresco canal terraces. Believe us, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the perfect place for a spot brunch.
Remember, while checkout at Rotunda is midday, your weekend adventure is far from over. Leave your luggage and shopping haul with our reception team for safekeeping until later in the day.
Sunday afternoon and wind down your weekend with the two must-visit places. First on our list is the iconic Custard Factory (see our Guide to Digbeth Birmingham). Set in 15 acres of artistic inspiration and innovation, the former HQ of Bird’s Custard (remember the famous egg-free custard powder?) now houses beautifully restored Victorian factories where you’ll find super-cool independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Our other must-see is the world-famous Jewellery Quarter (we have a guide for that too – Guide to Jewellery Quarter Birmingham), making a name for itself for its growing arts scene, great restaurants and bars. An estimated 40% of British jewellery is still made here at more than 100 independent specialist retailers, workshops and craftspeople.
No surprise it’s a Conservation Area, with hundreds of 200 listed buildings lining its street. Landmarks include the beautiful St Paul’s Church, Chamberlain Clock and Warstone Lane Cemeteries, where many of Birmingham’s famous statesmen are buried, including Harry Gem, the inventor of Lawn Tennis, and Alfred Bird, Birmingham’s ‘Mr Custard’. Make sure you visit the fascinating Coffin Works. Yes, it’s a museum dedicated coffin making and is a treasure trove of fascinating tales.
AND DON’T FORGET…
You’ll never be short of great places to eat, whether you’re after a quick lunch, fine dining or something more relaxed. In fact, the city boasts five Michelin-starred restaurants, the highest number outside of London. You can also find out more about dining in Birmingham with our top 5 hidden gems in the city.