Birmingham’s diverse and welcoming city is a veritable melting pot of cultures, religions and interests. Whether it’s faith or football that holds your interest, come and explore some of them with these special interest tours.
Alternative Tours offer a range of bespoke, 'behind the scenes' tours specialising in the Balti Triangle, the Jewellery Quarter and Digbeth. These are aimed at groups of between 10 and 50 people and satisfied customers include University of the Third Age, Common Purpose, Unity Bank, and NADFAS.
Familiarisation visits can be organised for VIPs, journalists, prospective investors and the media. Clients have included the New York Times, Scandinavian Airlines and the Daily Mirror. Alternative Tours also design and publish free visitor guides including the highly successful 'Essential Guide to the Jewellery Quarter' and 'Dig Digbeth'. The two business partners in Alternative Tours are Anna Gibson and Andy Munro, both passionate Brummies who believe so many people, both visitor and residents alike, miss out on sampling the delights of areas which are truly unique to the City.
Anna has vast experience in previous roles marketing the city. Andy led on the successful regeneration of the Jewellery Quarter for over ten years whilst he has championed the famous Birmingham Balti. This manifested itself in the Essential Street Balti Guide and, more recently, a bid to Europe to trademark the Birmingham Balti. He has also recently published the definitive history of this iconic dish, ‘Going For A Balti’.
Town Hall & Symphony Hall
Town Hall and Symphony Hall both offer scheduled tours of the buildings. Get a fascinating insight into these two remarkle venues and see what makes them acoustic centres of excellence.
Faith Encounter Programme
Working for mutual respect and understanding between people of all faiths and communities the Faith Encounter Programme have trained Faith Guides at 20 places of worship in the city. They offer training, speakers and tours related to Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Unitarian, Jain and Buddhist faiths. For more information contact www.faithencounter.org.uk
Football Stadium Tours
For football fans, nothing can bring you closer to the beautiful game than a tour of a stadium. Visitors to Birmingham are spoilt for choice!
Visit the home of Birmingham City at St Andrew’s Stadium. See the changing rooms, manager dugouts, press room and tunnel on to the pitch. For details, click here. Public buses 97 and 97A stop nearby the stadium.
Aston Villa’s home, Villa Park, is one of the oldest stadiums in the country. Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes tour, from the changing rooms to the pitch. For more details, click here. Public bus 7 stops nearby the stadium, or trains to Aston or Witton stations from Birmingham New Street.
Edgbaston Cricket Ground Tours
A visit to the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club is a must for any cricket fan. Hosting county matches, international test cricket and the Ashes, Edgbaston is one the most revered grounds in the world. A new visitor centre at the stadium tells of the team’s story from their first games in 1886 to the present day. Entrance is free. Public buses 1, 45, 47, 61 and 63 all stop nearby the stadium. For more information call 0844 635 1902.
St. George’s Park
The FA’s National Football Centre is set in 330-acres of Staffordshire countryside and is the home for England’s 24 national football teams. Facilities include a football centre, Hilton hotel, outdoor leadership centre and a bespoke sports medicine, rehabilitation and human performance facility.
Go behind the scenes on the Tour of St. George’s Park, check the website for available dates and times.
Council House Tours
The magnificent Council House in Victoria Square is one of Birmingham’s most impressive buildings. Tours of the Council House can be arranged with the Democratic Services Department (0121 303 2438) or email Democratic.Services@birmingham.gov.uk. Pre-booking is essential.
New Alexandra Theatre
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to go backstage at the New Alex? Why not book one of their backstage theatre tours? The tour will give you a unique insight into one of the most historic theatres in the West Midlands.
See the dressing rooms that have housed the stars, visit the backstage areas that are the workhouse of theatre life and finally step onstage at the New Alex and in doing so join with some of the greats of English theatre. After your tour you can join us for a free hot drink and biscuits in our Gershwin’s Bar.
The tour runs from 10:30am – 12noon and costs just £5 per person (£4 for ATG Theatre Card Members). Tickets can be booked by calling 0844 871 3011 or online at www.atgtickets.com/birmingham
Please note that the tour covers all parts of the theatre and this includes many stairs. The use of photography or video recording is not permitted on the tour.
BBC Birmingham Tours
Visit BBC Birmingham and take a fascinating tour of the television and radio studios. Take a peek behind the scenes of programmes such as BBC Midlands Today, The Archers, Asian Network, BBC WM and even take part in a special recording of a radio drama or practice presenting the weather!
The BBC Tour offers visitors the chance to gain access to the rarely seen world behind the TV and radio programmes broadcast and produced from BBC Birmingham. BBC Tour guides will give an insight into the programmes originating from BBC Birmingham and the level of work it takes to get them from script to screen. They are also on hand to answer any burning questions relating to technical wizardry, famous faces to have visited the building or even where Nick Owen gets his jokes from!
BBC Tours, which run regularly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11:00 and 13:30, last for approximately 90 minutes and ticket prices range from £6.50 - £8:50 per person. BBC Birmingham is a working building so no two tours are the same, but they’ll be informative, interesting and entertaining. For more information and ticket prices visit: www.bbc.co.uk/tours
Read a blog of our BBC tour here
Special Interest Tours by Healthy Futures
Eat Drink and Be Healthy in Birmingham
Healthy Futures’ organizes practical workshops to promote health and wellbeing in Birmingham. Registered nutritionist Shaleen delivers a short healthy living seminar including food tasters and information on local wellbeing services followed by a walking tour of ethnically diverse food stores and markets during which participants learn how to shop for health and wellbeing.
This tour can be turned into a full wellbeing day by booking optional personalized group training and spa treatments at a private city centre club.
Indian Food Tour (whole day activity)
Healthy Futures’ Indian Food Tour incorporates a tour of Asian food stores, food tasters at South Indian cafe, a cookery demonstration, goodie bag and Indian meal at a choice of restaurants.
International Food Tour of the City
Healthy Futures’ International Food Tour includes a walking tour of ethnically diverse markets and food stores incorporating food tasters and followed by optional cooking demonstrations plus lunch at city centre venues. This is ideal for visitors and residents with an interest in international food.
To find out more about any of the above tours contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Robert Smith on 07710397803 or 0121 426 4027
Tower Tours offer a thrilling experience for all the family as well as unparalleled views of the city of Lichfield and beyond.
As you climb the medieval staircase of the great central tower of the Cathedral, you will be guided through the magnificent architecture of the historical building. Half way up the tower, you’ll be given the opportunity to explore our interactive Tower Education Zone.
The Tower Education Zone provides the chance to learn about the design and architecture of the building, its location, geography and history from Anglo-Saxon times, though the Middle Ages right up to the present day. Of particular interest will be the information describing the Cathedral’s role during the English Civil War, Lichfield is unique in being the only Cathedral in the country to have had a moat. The outline and fortifications can be seen from the top of the tower. Activity tables and displays will help children and adults to identify fascinating and sometimes hidden aspects of the Cathedral building and its life.
Once you reach the top of the tower, you can enjoy spectacular views of Lichfield – a view you won’t get anywhere else!
Adult ticket: £8, Concession ticket: £6, Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children): £24
Tickets can be bought at the Cathedral Shop at No.9, and include a free cup of tea or coffee in Chapters, The Café in The Close, and a 10% off voucher to use in the Cathedral Shop (conditions apply). To contact the Cathedral Shop call 01543 306150.
The tours are back with a twist this year, leading you across the Cathedral roof and down through the North West Tower.
For further details click here.
City of Colours Street Art Tours
City of Colours are experts in providing bespoke activities for those wishing to experience a different side of Birmingham.
The street art tours provide an up-close insight into the fantastic world of graffiti and street art around the Digbeth area, including many of the pieces produced as part of the City of Colours Festival 2014, painted by world famous artists such as Inkie, Jimmy C, Dank and Gent 48. The guides are local street artists and creatives, with first-hand knowledge of the scene and who always know where the latest street art can be found.
The 90 minute tour includes an introduction to the history of graffiti and street art, with a detailed view of over 20 artists, including some of the techniques used and an opportunity to gain a greater understanding about this incredibly dynamic art form.
The tours (and graffiti workshops), can be offered to groups on a private basis at a time to suit you, tailored to meet your needs. They make the perfect activity for educational organisations looking for something fun, engaging and interesting for students of all ages. The tours can be tailored to meet specific requirements of the art and design curriculum and we are also an official centre for pupils studying towards an Arts Award.
For further information and bookings, please visit www.cityofcolours.co.uk
Jaguar Factory Tour
Back in our parents’ day, the thought of going to a car factory for a nice day out would have seemed crazy. But times have changed, and Jaguar’s modern assembly plant at Castle Bromwich is no ordinary factory.
Castle Bromwich has been the home of Jaguar since 1977, and today produces the XJ luxury flagship and the thrilling F-TYPE sports car. The technically-minded will enjoy seeing robots rivet and bond the aerospace-inspired aluminium bodies that make Jaguar cars so light, strong and agile.
But everyone, whether petrolhead or youngster, will enjoy seeing these sleek machines coming together and hearing the rasp of their V6 and V8 engines as they come to life. As a bonus, if you’re considering a Jaguar for yourself you’ll be able to get inspiration from the rainbow spectrum of paint finishes and interior leathers as the finished cars come down the line. “It’s like a toy factory for grown-ups” as one visitor put it.
New Library Tours for Lichfield Cathedral
The Cathedral Library is tucked away on the upper floor of the Chapter House, and houses a unique and special collection of historic treasures.
The tours, entitled ‘From Manuscript to the Printed Word’ will offer visitors an exclusive opportunity to see some of the Cathedral’s earliest manuscripts, and a selection of their earliest printed books. These include a beautiful 15th century illuminated copy of Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’, a dangerous and forbidden Wycliffe Bible, and a 16th century printed ‘Book of Hours’.
The Cathedral Library Tours have proved to be hugely popular in previous years, so this year the Cathedral has doubled the number of tours available, and introduced some special Christmas Evening Tours which will take place in December. The Christmas Library Tours will see the library beautifully decorated for the season, and offer the chance to take the tour by candlelight, as well as enjoy a glass of mulled wine and festive treats.
Tickets for the tours cost £18-£25 and are available from the Shop at No.9, The Close, or by calling 01543 306150. Tours last approximately 90 minutes.
British Motor Museum Tours
These free 45 minute tours of the Museum take place daily at 11.15am and 2.15pm and start by the Museum Information Desk.
Their friendly team will share fascinating stories of the cars and their histories. Visitors will get to see the collection in a different light, and usually discover a few new facts along the way. Please note you do not need to book onto this tour.
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