Edgbaston is a leafy suburb in the south of Birmingham - it’ll play host to a couple of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games events; the women’s cricket T20 - making its Games debut at Edgbaston Stadium and the Birmingham 2022 Marathon which will be passing through the area on Saturday 30 July.

If you are in Edgbaston for either of these events, (or perhaps you’re in the Marathon and just want to stop for a little breather), you will find there is plenty to discover here…

A leafy suburb

In our opening sentence we chose the adjective ‘leafy’ to describe Edgbaston, and we stand by that decision - there is certainly a lot to enjoy here if you like leafy and lavish gardens.

There are three gardens in the area, Martineau Gardens situated on Priory Road, which is a charity run community garden, whose mission is to inspire people about the natural environment.

Not far away at the University of Birmingham campus you’ll find Winterbourne House & Gardens - within seven acres of beautiful botanic gardens stands the titular House, which is decorated in Edwardian Arts and Crafts style.  Wander along the woodland walk, stroll through the hazelnut tunnel and… what’s another word for walk? Saunter! across the 1930’s Japanese bridge (we had a nice soup at Winterbourne House once we recall).

Lastly, in this trio of tranquillity is the 15 acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses which you’ll find on Westbourne Road. The Tropical House has a lily pool and lush tropical vegetation. Palms, tree ferns and orchids are displayed in the Sub-tropical House.  Outside there are Rhododendron walks, Rose, Rock, Herb and Cottage Gardens, over 200 trees, a children's adventure playground and discovery garden, aviaries and a National Bonsai collection. Is that all you say?  Well no, there’s also a Sculpture Trail, plant centre, gift shop and refreshment pavilion.

Also full of leaves is the Green Flag awarded Cannon Hill Park - A strong contender for the best park in the city, Cannon Hill Park has a range of activities to enjoy including a mini fun fair (complete with rollercoaster!), Crazy Golf, Swan pedal boats and the fantastic Midlands Arts Centre which hosts a number of fab exhibitions.  There’s also KILN Café if you need some nourishment - talking of which…

Top notch nosh

If all that sport watching has made you work up an appetite, then Edgbaston is not short of places to indulge.  Including a Michelin-starred restaurant – Simpsons Restaurant.   With food based on French cuisine, Simpsons is housed in a beautiful Georgian Grade II Listed Building, with a restaurant and orangery seating 70, a separate lounge area and a private dining room.

One of the city’s newest dining experiences is Chapter - describing themselves as ‘fiercely independent’, Chapter’s menu is nature-led, seasonal and committed to quality British produce. Their commitment to dedicated British farmers and fishermen is commendable - they buy only free range meat, LEAF accredited local fruit & veg and daily catches from British harbours.  

If you’re after some liquid refreshment head for The Physician - at the heart of the building is a huge wooden bar housing local cask ales, there’s also plenty of room for a 50 strong wine list and array of spirits. You’ll find smaller rooms to squirrel away in if you fancy somewhere cosier, or you can opt for the light and airy garden room overlooking the flag stone walled terrace garden to the rear of the pub.  If you can spell ‘Physician’ when you leave, we’ll be disappointed.

An edg-ucational pedigree

Scan the Edgbaston skyline and you’ll spot a fine looking clock tower – this is ‘Old Joe’, which is situated on the University of Birmingham campus.  At 100m tall, Old Joe is the world’s tallest freestanding clock tower. It is believed to have been the inspiration for the tower of Orthanc, the black tower of Isengard, in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. 

The University campus plays host to a number of notable attractions including… the Barber Institute of Fine Arts - masterpieces by all these major names can be found here…  Monet, Manet and Magritte; Rubens, Reynold, Renoir, Rossetti and Rodin Gainsborough, Gauguin, ….*gasp for air*…. Van Gogh and Van Dyck; Degas, Botticelli and Turner plus many more you might not have heard of.

If you like rock, the Lapworth Museum of Geology is the place for you – it holds the finest and most extensive collections of fossils, minerals and rocks in the Midlands. Dating back to 1880, it is one of the oldest specialist geological museums in the UK. From fossils to volcanoes, diamonds to dinosaurs. The collections contain in excess of 250,000 specimens.

The University of Birmingham is regarded as one of the foremost Universities in the UK – past Alumni include Ben Shepherd, Victoria Wood and Matthew Goode.  As you can probably surmise from the poor word play of this section’s title, I did not go to the University of Birmingham.

Sporting heritage

We’re presuming you enjoy sport. You are, after all, reading a blog about what to do at Commonwealth Games’ locations. 

Regarded as one of the world’s leading cricket venues, Edgbaston Stadium is also recognised globally as having one of the best atmospheres in cricket, an atmosphere which has helped the England’s men’s side make Edgbaston a ‘fortress’ - as their record there is better than at any other home ground. It’s one of the aforementioned Commonwealth venues so you may be attending here already.

Did you know that Lawn tennis was invented and first played in Birmingham over 150 years ago? Major Harry Gem created the game with JBA Perera in a back garden in Ampton Road, Edgbaston. Today, the city hosts a crucial Wimbledon warm-up tournament at the Edgbaston Priory Club.

This is just a snapshot of what you can do in Edgbaston, for more activities, places to eat and stay in the area take a look right….about…. here