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From the world-class Pre-Raphaelites to street festivals, Birmingham is packed with culture

As Staying Cool’s resident culture editor, local art historian and author Ruth Millington has curated a list of Birmingham’s best museums and galleries, historic houses and gardens, and theatres for you to explore during your Rotunda apartment hotel visit.

Our Birmingham Culture guide shows you how long it takes to reach each venue from Rotunda, with several just a few minutes’ walk away – one of the many benefits of our central location.

If you’re an art lover, take a look at Ruth’s guide to the best museums and galleries, which showcase old masters, impressive portraits, the largest watercolour in the world, and cutting-edge contemporary art by leading local, national and international artists.

For visitors wanting to watch a play or ballet, opera or musical, Ruth has highlighted the very best theatres with programmes of new productions, as well as those on tour from the West End.

Art Historian and Author Ruth Millington
Staying Cool’s Cultural Editor: Art Historian and Author, Ruth Millington

If heritage or spending time in nature is more your thing, take a look at Ruth’s guides for the best historic houses and gardens which you can enjoy exploring for a few hours, before enjoying an afternoon tea.  

Or if you’re enjoying a city break with the children, Ruth highlights a selection of family-friendly venues with soft play spaces, activities and even MiniBrum, a mini second city to keep your little ones happy.

No city break would be complete without experiencing some local culture, andRuth has this covered as she selects Birmingham’s best offerings across the city centre, Jewellery Quarter, Edgbaston and further afield.

Here are Ruth’s recommendations for a great break in Birmingham.

Museums & Art Galleries

A short walk from Rotunda, Birmingham city centre boasts museum-worthy masterpieces, contemporary art and curious science collections. Meanwhile, down in Digbeth, where the city’s street artists have covered walls with their distinctive graffiti, are artist-led spaces where you’ll discover installations and experimental performances.  

Museums & Art Galleries beyond Birmingham city centre

A little further afield, beyond the immediate city centre, Birmingham has a wealth of arts, culture and unique heritage. Head to the historic Jewellery Quarter to spend some time wandering between hundreds of workshops. Here, you’ll also find one of Birmingham’s best galleries which sells contemporary art, craft and design. Meanwhile, leafy Edgbaston is home to leading historical art collections, as well as galleries showcasing contemporary art by local, national and international artists.

Historic Houses and Gardens

Birmingham boasts an array of remarkable historic homes and gardens, each offering a unique glimpse into different eras. From classic Tudor dwellings to elegant Arts and Crafts residences decorated in wonderful wallpapers, there’s a diverse selection to explore. Whether you adore exquisite interiors or are intrigued by history and artistic masterpieces, these are some of the most beautiful historic houses to visit in the city centre and beyond.

Birmingham Theatres

Whether it’s having a good laugh at comedy, listening to a leading orchestra or watching the awe-inspiring talents of the world-famous Birmingham Royal Ballet, we’re proud to be so well placed in a city with the likes of the Alex Theatre, the Hippodrome, the REP and venues that truly embrace culture in all its forms. Birmingham’s theatre scene and one of the finest concert halls on the globe are all within easy walking distance of our chic apartments, each one promising an impressive programme of touring companies, famous faces and new talent.

If you enjoyed our Guide to Birmingham Culture and fancy pairing some foodie experiences during your stay, check out our Dining Out guide curated by Staying Cool’s food and drinks editor, Alex Nicholson-Evans.