Tourist attractions in Birmingham
Wednesday July 8, 2015
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 attractions in Birmingham (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.
Image courtesy of Birmingham Hippodrome. Credit: Paul Coltas
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 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.
This summer, we've been drawn to 'Love is Enough: the Works of William Morris and Andy Warhol' (not names that you often see combined on a poster). Highlights include Warhol's iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. The exhibition can be seen until September 5th.
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 cool leather sofa, have drinks brought to you by the friendly staff and enjoy a great cinematic experience.
Escape Live is the new kid on the Birmingham tourist block and it's proving to be a big hit. 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.
Escape Live is based in Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter, which is a wonderful place for a mooch.
Image courtesy of Visit England
The 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 v.groovy café bars to check out. And did we mention that there's an old Shakepeare 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.
Over the next few months you can see Idina Menzel (the voice of Disney's Frozen film - yes, we do want to build a snowman, Idina, but you are here in late June) ; David Arnold, the genius behind the music of the contemporary Bond films; Trevor Noah, the comedian taking over from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show; and Rebecca Ferguson showcasing her new album reworking the songs of Billie Holiday.
We make special mention of the classic silent movie Ben Hur with the score played by the CBSO. Booking now for 2016. Scream if you want to go go faster!
Where to stay in Birmingham
The attractions we've highlighted are just the tip of the tourist iceberg in Birmingham. If you're planning on coming to the city (and we hope we've persuaded you that you should), take a look at our chic serviced apartments.
- Number one on TripAdvisor for Birmingham (as of June 24th, 2015)
- Stellar location right at the heart of the city
- Easily walkable from both of the city's main train stations
- Frankly, they're swanky!
To book please go to stayingcool.com