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What To See in Birmingham: The Ultimate Guide

Often praised as the beating heart of the UK’s Midlands, Birmingham has an amazing blend of history, culture, and modern attractions that beckon travellers from near and far. If you’ve ever wondered, ‘What is there to see in Birmingham?’, you’re in for a real journey of discovery.

From its iconic architectural wonders to its vibrant arts scene and world-class cultural attractions, Birmingham offers a rich blend of experiences, ensuring every visitor finds something that resonates with their interests.

Here’s your guide on what not to miss while in the city!

Old Birmingham city centre

1- Explore Birmingham City Centre

With its mix of chic boutiques, buzzing cafés, and time-honoured landmarks, Birmingham beckons visitors to begin their journey through this dynamic city. Take a leisurely stroll down New Street, pausing to enjoy a delicious meal at one of the charming local restaurants. Further enrich your city experience by visiting iconic sites like St Phillip’s Cathedral – a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture, or the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, home to an impressive collection of art and artefacts. Birmingham offers an entrancing mix of the contemporary and the historic, ensuring that every traveller finds something to their liking.

2- Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Speaking of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, this is one place you definitely don’t want to miss! This museum offers an impressive range of galleries, spanning from exquisite art pieces and rich history to interactive displays and captivating exhibitions – ensuring a captivating experience for visitors of all interests. If you’re planning a day out with the family, be sure to say hello to Dippy the Diplodocus, who is currently making a special appearance at the museum for a limited time. Art enthusiasts, on the other hand, will be particularly drawn to their noteworthy Pre-Raphaelite exhibit, showcasing masterpieces from this iconic British art movement. This truly is a cultural gem in Birmingham’s crown.

Location: Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH

3-National Sea Life Centre

The National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham is the perfect spot to take a breather from your city explorations and dive deep into a world of aquatic marvels. With over 60 displays showcasing both freshwater and marine habitats, the centre houses more than 2000 sea creatures from across the globe. As one of Birmingham’s premier attractions, visitors can’t help but be captivated by the delightful penguins, the elegant rays, and a vibrant array of exotic fish. The range of marine biodiversity here is truly astonishing. What’s more, the centre’s daily talks and feeding sessions provide an added layer of engagement, offering insights and knowledge that make the visit all the more enriching. So, for a splash of underwater magic amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, make sure the National Sea Life Centre is on your itinerary.

Location: The Water’s Edge, Eleven Brindley Place, Birmingham B1 2HL

4- Exciting Game Escape Room

If you’re in the mood for an adventure off the beaten path while in Birmingham, then the Exciting Game Escape Room should be on your list. Offering a unique blend of challenge and fun, the Exciting Game invites guests to dive deep into intriguing mysteries. You and your team will be tasked with deciphering clues, tackling mind-bending puzzles, and unlocking secrets, all with the goal of escaping before time runs out. Not only does this experience provide an exhilarating way to bond with friends and family, but it’s also an excellent choice for fostering team building. Whether you’re a seasoned escape room enthusiast or a curious first-timer, the Exciting Game promises a memorable time for all.

Location: 63 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham B18 6EL

5- Cannon Hill Park

Although there’s plenty to do and see in the city centre and the rest of the West Midlands, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and head out into the great outdoors. One of the best places to do this is Cannon Hill Park – an 80-acre oasis situated right in the heart of Birmingham. With its lush greenery, meandering paths, and serene lakes, it offers a refreshing change of pace from the bustling urban life. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, a spot of bird-watching, or simply want to bask in the fresh air, Cannon Hill Park provides the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation. Don’t miss out on this verdant gem when visiting Birmingham!

Location: Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8RD

6- Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A botanical garden is an essential destination for anyone with a fondness for nature. Situated on an expansive 15-acre plot, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens has a collection of several hundred distinct plant and flower species from various corners of the globe. One of its standout features is the Victorian glasshouse, where visitors can immerse themselves in diverse ecosystems, ranging from lush tropical rainforests to the balmy ambience of the Mediterranean, and even the arid landscapes of deserts. After soaking in the natural beauty, one shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the gift shop, an ideal spot to pick up a memento of your visit.

Location: Westbourne Road, Birmingham B15 3TR

7- Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

The Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is home to over 200 species of animals and birds, making it the perfect place for a family day out. The park’s interactive exhibits are a highlight – offering visitors the chance to engage closely with some of the world’s most endangered species. If you find yourself feeling peckish after your adventure, the on-site café provides a delightful selection of snacks and beverages to savour your appetite. With adult tickets priced at a mere £7.50, the park offers both entertainment and value. For those looking to further immerse themselves in nature, a visit to Sutton Park, another prominent nature reserve in Birmingham, comes highly recommended as a subsequent stop.

Location: Pershore Road, Birmingham B5 7RL

8- Birmingham Royal Ballet

If you’re looking for a truly special and unique evening out in Birmingham, then the Birmingham Royal Ballet should be at the top of your list. This world-renowned ballet company, based in the heart of the city, offers a mesmerising blend of classical and contemporary dance works from acclaimed choreographers worldwide. The talent, grace, and artistry displayed by the dancers promise an unforgettable evening that will captivate your senses. Whether you’re a ballet fan or a first-timer, seeing a performance here is undoubtedly an experience unlike any other. Don’t miss the chance to be enthralled by the magic of live ballet in one of Birmingham’s cultural hotspots.

Location: 7 Thorp Street, Birmingham B5 4AU

9- Birmingham Symphony Hall

The Symphony Hall stands as one of the UK’s most illustrious music venues, showcasing an array of world-class performances. Renowned for its exceptional acoustics and grandeur, it regularly welcomes a mix of the world’s top musical acts. Whether you have a penchant for stirring classical symphonies or you’re a keen rock fan, the Symphony Hall promises a performance that resonates. Additionally, for those keen to make the experience even more memorable, it’s advisable to book tickets ahead of time. Not only does this ensure a prime seat, but it often provides access to enticing discounts and exclusive special offers.

Location: Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EA

10- Birmingham Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for something special. Established in the 18th century, this distinctive area of the city holds some of Birmingham’s most skilled jewellers. Whether you’re in the market for a thoughtful gift or wish to indulge in a personal treat, this is the perfect spot for a glittering purchase. Feel its rich history, soak in the lively atmosphere, and enjoy the stunning displays.

Location: Postcodes B1, B3 and B18

11- National Motorcycle Museum

For those with a passion for motorbikes or even just a passing interest, Birmingham’s National Motorcycle Museum is an absolute must-visit. With a staggering collection of over 350 motorbikes on display, it proudly stands as the largest motorcycle museum in the world. Each year, approximately 250,000 enthusiasts and curious visitors walk its halls, marvelling at the evolution of these mechanical wonders. Not only is the museum a haven for bike lovers, but it also serves as one of the UK’s premier conferencing and event buildings. While you’re there, don’t hesitate to snap photographs (the museum actively encourages it!). For a more in-depth experience, consider joining one of the guided tours available, which will provide rich insights into the history and significance of the exhibits.

Location: Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull B92 0EJ

12- Aston Hall

A stunning Jacobean mansion offering a journey back in time. With over 30 beautifully designed rooms to explore, visitors are invited to step into King Charles’ Chamber, marvel at the incredible long-gallery, and peek into the daily lives of past inhabitants through the servants’ rooms, notably Dick’s Garrett. Beyond its impressive architecture, Aston Hall provides a history of tales from the English Civil War, where its walls bore witness to related events. If you’re in for a thrilling experience, you’ll be intrigued to know that it’s considered one of the most haunted buildings in the UK, with a number of ghostly stories to tell. After looking into the hall’s rich history and perhaps its ghostly inhabitants, take a moment to relax in the beautiful garden of Lady Holte, a serene sanctuary that perfectly complements the grandeur of Aston Hall.

Location: Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6JD

13- Birmingham Town Hall

Recognised as a Grade I listed building, Birmingham Town Hall stands as a symbol of the city’s rich cultural heritage. Serving primarily as a concert hall and venue for popular assemblies, it provides a diverse range of musical performances, from classical to rock and pop. Remarkably, the Town Hall was originally conceived as the home for the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, which was established back in 1784. The venue has also seen historical moments, such as when Charles Dickens gave the first public readings of his own works there. The venue has also been graced by iconic artists, including Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones, and Birmingham’s very own Black Sabbath, to name a few.

Location: Victoria Square, Birmingham B3 3DQ

14- Black Country Living Museum

Sitting across a vast expanse of 26 acres, the award-winning Black Country Living Museum is a gem in Birmingham’s crown. This open-air museum offers visitors a unique journey into the past, where actors perform as historical characters, immersing you in tales and experiences of what life was truly like during the Black Country’s industrial era. It’s not just a trip down memory lane, but an enjoyable day out for the whole family. As you wander through the museum, you’ll get the chance to learn about the rich history of the Black Country and even do a spot of shopping in the gift shops. It’s an informative and entertaining experience, capturing the essence of a bygone era.

Location: Discovery Way, Dudley DY1 4AL

15- Midlands Arts Centre

Situated within the picturesque surroundings of Cannon Hill Park, the Midlands Arts Centre, commonly known as MAC, stands as a pioneering arts centre and charity in Birmingham. MAC contains an intimate theatre, an independent cinema, and a rotating selection of visual arts exhibitions that captivate and inspire visitors. Beyond these experiences, the centre also provides a range of creative courses and special events, all of which underscore its commitment to celebrating diversity and championing equal opportunities. Housed in a sleek, modern building, MAC ensures that guests can also relax and refuel with its on-site café and restaurant. On sunny days, the outside seating area becomes a delightful spot to unwind, offering a lovely view of the park’s surroundings.

Location: Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH

16- Great Western Arcade

Positioned in Birmingham’s city centre, the Great Western Arcade is a charming Victorian gem that stands proudly as part of the city’s rich history. With its beautiful architecture, this Grade II listed arcade is a haven for those seeking a unique shopping experience. Home to award-winning fashion boutiques, the arcade also houses a variety of independent shops, bars, and hairdressers, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Conveniently situated directly across from Snow Hill Station, visitors can easily make their way to this shopping haven. And for those with a sweet tooth, an old-school sweet shop awaits, offering a nostalgic trip back in time with its delightful selection of treats.

Location: Colmore Row, Birmingham B2 5HU

17- National Exhibition Centre

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is one of Birmingham’s most prominent venues for events and exhibitions. Opened by the late Queen Elizabeth II, this expansive complex has 18 state-of-the-art exhibition halls and 32 well-equipped conference suites, making it a prime location for both national and international gatherings. With its vast space and modern facilities, the NEC is a sign of Birmingham’s commitment to being a leading destination for business and cultural events. Whether you’re attending a major trade show or a niche seminar, the NEC is a must-visit when in Birmingham.

Location: Pendigo Way, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1NT

18- Shakespeare Memorial Room

Positioned at the top floor of the city’s Central Library, the Shakespeare Memorial Room brims with Victorian elegance and allure. Crafted in Elizabethan-style decor, the room is a show of the bard’s timeless legacy, with its intricate carvings, marquetry, and metalwork that display a design of birds, flowers, and foliage. Not merely a feast for the eyes, this chamber is home to the world’s second-largest collection of Shakespearean works. The stately bookcases, constructed from finely carved oak and adorned with transparent glass panels, cradle a trove of literary treasures. To further entice the curious visitor, the room regularly hosts new exhibitions that look into the historical and cultural narratives, ensuring that every visit offers a fresh perspective on Shakespeare’s indelible impact.

Location: Centenary Square, Birmingham B1 2EP

19- Sheldon Country Park

Located within eye-shot of Birmingham Airport, Sheldon Country Park spans just over 300 acres, offering visitors a diverse landscape that covers grassland, wetland, hedgerows, and mature woodland. For young families, the park is a simple and pleasurable day out. It includes a quaint farm where children can meet a variety of animals, including cows, donkeys, sheep, and ponies. Additionally, a dedicated playground keeps the younger ones entertained. The park also includes a cafe where adults can take a breather with a cup of coffee and refreshments. History enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the 13th-century church located within the park’s boundaries. With its scenic trails, Sheldon Country Park is ideal for walks and promises a delightful family day out in the heart of Birmingham.

Location: Ragley Drive, Church Rd, Birmingham B26 3TU

You may also like: Family Things To Do in Birmingham

20- Birmingham Hippodrome

Located in the Chinese Quarter of Birmingham, the Hippodrome stands as one of the biggest providers of arts and culture in the city. Drawing in over 600,000 spectators a year, it’s not just the grandeur of its productions that astonishes, but also the sheer volume – making it the busiest single theatre in the entire UK. Renowned as a prime venue for musical theatre, the Hippodrome is a celebration of diversity and inclusion in all its artistic endeavours. Whether you’re a theatre aficionado or just looking for an evening of top-notch entertainment, the Birmingham Hippodrome promises a memorable experience.

Location: Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham B5 4T

Conclusion

With so much to see and do in Birmingham, it’s no wonder why this city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. From amazing attractions to cultural experiences and outdoor activities – there’s something here for everyone! Whether visiting with family or friends, we guarantee you’ll have an unforgettable experience in Birmingham. So what are you waiting for? Get your bags packed and head to the Midlands today!  Happy exploring!

Related Article: 10 Fun Things To Do In Birmingham

Canal with docked boats in Birmingham

Birmingham Sightseeing FAQs

We’ve done our best to try and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Birmingham sightseeing below:

How can I spend a day in Birmingham?

One of the best ways to spend a day in Birmingham is to try out an escape room with your family or friends. Exciting Game has various escape rooms that you can choose from, with varying difficulty levels and themes. If you enjoy solving puzzles and working together as a team, this is the perfect activity for you!

Afterwards, why not treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of Birmingham’s top restaurants? The city centre has several excellent places with different cuisines from around the world.

What is Birmingham best known for?

Birmingham is a vibrant and historic city with plenty to offer! It’s best known for its world-famous industrial heritage. The city played a major role in the Industrial Revolution and is home to many incredible monuments and buildings from the era.

Birmingham was once known as ‘the workshop of the world’ due to its extensive manufacturing industry, which included everything from cars and guns to coins and buttons! You can visit the gas street basin and canals, which are now popular tourist attractions.

Is there anything to see in Birmingham UK?

Yes, there are plenty of things to see and do in Birmingham. This includes going to an escape room for the day, visiting the national motorcycle museum, or taking a quick trip to watch the Warwickshire county cricket club. When you visit Birmingham, make sure to add a few of these trips to your itinerary.

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