If this is your first time in Birmingham here are of some of the sights and experiences that are unique to the city and region. Make sure that before you leave town, you tick a few of this list that are exclusive to Birmingham and its neighbours.


 

The Birmingham Canals
 

Visiting and leaving Birmingham without a trip to its famed canals would be a missed opportunity. Brindleyplace is where the main hub of the city centre canal network is situated, and the area is populated by many fine eateries and drinking establishments. 

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The bars continue under the bridge into the picturesque Gas Street Basin, and if you follow the towpath all the way to the end, you’ll arrive at the luxurious Mailbox and Cube complexes where you can wow a significant other over at a high-end restaurant.

Take a tour of Birmingham’s canals on board a Sherbourne Wharf Heritage Narrowboat to get the full on the water experience.


Good sports!
 

You are on hallowed ground sporting fan.  Did you know that both lawn tennis and the formation of the Football League were both invented in Birmingham!

Lawn tennis was invented in a back garden in leafy Edgbaston and the Football League at Aston Villa FC in, unsurprisingly, Aston.  Aston is also the home town of Ozzy Osbourne and some might say (with the formation of Black Sabbath) the birthplace of Heavy Metal – Oh, there’s an exhibition about Black Sabbath running until 29 September!

If you’re a fact fan see 50 ways the West Midlands made its mark here, if you’re not continue reading…
 

Cadbury World
 

If you like chocolate (and hey, who doesn’t?) you’ll go out of your mind at Cadbury World. Travel through various chocolatey zones and learn all about the history, heritage and current day workings of the world-famous brand.

Play in chocolate rain, strap in to the 4D cinema experience and watch the Cadbury chocolatiers reveal their secrets – yes, yes, you get to taste it too.  At the end you’ll find the largest Cadbury shop ever, where you can purchase copious supplies.

Step outside the Cadbury factory into the unique village of Bournville (which is also the name of Cadbury's dark chocolate bar).  This self-contained quaker village was built at George Cadbury's own expense for his workforce and was his ideal of a model village.  It certainly is a beautiful space and has the added bonus of smelling of chocolate!

Chocolate? I’m in!
 

The Library of Birmingham
 

Situated in the heart of the city in Centenary Square lies the unmistakable Library of Birmingham. Unique in design, it is the largest public cultural space in Europe, and, amongst many internationally significant collections it houses the Shakespeare Memorial room - the world-famous wordsmith was a local you see... more of that later.

Whilst at The Library of Birmingham don't miss the views atop the roof garden.


Walk this way
 

Is there a better way to experience a new city and learn its history than by taking a guided tour?...  
...No, I’m stumped. There isn’t one!
There’s plenty of guided city tours on offer and you can see those here.
 


The Coffin Works
 

Visit this unique museum which is a time capsule of a successful 60’s coffin furniture manufacturer.   This is not as depressing as an experience as it sounds and is a unique retrospective into the inner workings of Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.  The firm made the world's finest coffin furniture, including the fittings for the funerals of Churchill, Chamberlain and the Queen Mother!

That sounds dead good, show me.



July festivities!
 

Birmingham loves a festival - check out the below list, that are unique to Birmingham.

During summer you can enjoy (deep breath) - Birmingham Cocktail Weekend (11-14 July), Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul (12-14 July), Birmingham Fest (12-28 July), Yarningham (13 & 14 July), Summer in Southside (13 & 14 July), Tilt (15-21 July), Brindleyplace Film Festival (15-21 July), Festival of Audacity (18-20 July), Independent Birmingham Festival (19-21 July), Supersonic (19-21 July), Birmingham Beer Week (19-28 July), Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival (19-28 July), Ola Sandwell & birmingham Mela (20 & 21July) & Simmer Down Festival (21 July).  *gasp for air*

And these are just some of the events you can enjoy during Birmingham’s summertime.  Now that you love Birmingham as much as you do, why not come back for some of these later in the year.


 

Going further afield here are some regional experiences over Birmingham’s boundary in the West Midlands…


 

The Black Country Living Museum
 

You’ll find centuries of history at the celebrated Black Country Living Museum.  Pretend you’re a Peaky Blinder (minus the violence naturally) and step back in time on the very site of the birth of the industrial revolution.

A truly immersive experience, you can wander around original shops and houses, ride on a tramcar or fairground swingboat, chat by the coal-fired kitchen ranges, go down the mine or just soak up the atmosphere. Whilst here, don’t forget to try the fish and chips from Hobbs and Sons – they are cooked in beef dripping for an authentic taste and are m m mmmm. If beef dripping and eating animals in general is not your thing, then the shop caters for you, the vegetarian, with vegetarian option chips; gluten free fish is another option on their oh so tasty and all inclusive menu.

Show me this place.
 

Rugby
 

Another day, another world-renowned sport invented in the region!  Take a short hop on the train to Rugby, which is the birthplace of… any guesses? 

We recently took a little sojourn to Rugby where we visited the famous school where the sport was invented, the Rugby Hall of Fame and the William Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum.

If you want to find out more about our time there, then read our blog here.  Do come back though!


Shakespeare
 

Whilst in the region you must pay a visit to the famous playwright’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. The epitome of a picturesque English town, here you can see Shakespeare’s birthplace, his marital home, his mother’s house and even the house of his bride to be - Anne Hathaway (no, not that one). 

Whilst here pay a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where you can see players from the world renowned RSC perform some of William Shakespeare’s biggest hits.

Let’s shake (speare) things up!


 

Waterways
 

We’ve already mentioned Birmingham’s canalside, but if you stay on board, there is an entire network of new routes that take you through the region.  Travelling along the waterways is a unique way to experience the rich heritage, culture, attractions, cities and countryside of the West Midlands.

Find out more about the region’s waterways here.


Land Rover Experience
 

Go for a spin at the Land Rover Experience in Solihull.  This is the ultimate thrill-seeking adventure where you can test the full off-road capabilities of the vehicles on 14 miles of varied terrain. The on or off-road driving challenges include one hour taster drives and half day or a full day experience.


The Bear Grylls Adventure
 

One of the city’s newest attractions, The Bear Grylls Adventure is where you can test your resolve by climbing, traversing outdoor high ropes, indoor skydiving and even diving with sharks! – Will you bail out at the last second?

I’m not scared, show me the Bear Gryll’s Adventure.


British Science Festival
 

This is not your typical science festival! The British Science Festival comprises of over 100 free events, performances and exhibitions with a scientific twist; previous years have included algorithmic raves, tree listening, aquarium takeovers and beat-boxing!  Be sure to return to the region between 10-13 September for a unique and diverse range of subjects that encompass science in the broadest sense!

The British Science Festival will take place in Coventry and Warwickshire.  Check here for the full programme.


 

Wolverhampton
 

If you are a sporting fan there is plenty to enjoy in Wolverhampton. The city has one of the busiest all-weather horse racecourses in the UK with fixtures all year round;  one of the West Midlands two professional Premier League football teams – the Wolverhampton Wanderers – another of the founding members of the Football League.

And if that’s not enough action, why not experience a night out at the fast, furiously noisy and unforgettable Speedway racing?


 



Well that all sounds lovely, but how am I going to get these places from Birmingham I hear you cry - use West Midlands Railway to get quickly and cheaply around the region say I.  There are plenty of offers and discounts for kids and groups as well as Rangers & Rovers tickets which are perfect if you want to explore for a few days!

Remember this is just a snapshot of what you can do here, to see our full offering use our Birmingham and regional websites. 

Locals, what have we missed that’s unique to the region?  Comment below…

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