Birmingham is not known as the City of a Thousand Trades for nothing. It was, after all, a manufacturing powerhouse during the Industrial Revolution. The city is a mosaic of unique experiences that range from high culture to the downright infamous, where elegant pre-Raphaelite paintings co-exist with the gritty Peaky Blinders. Take a tour of this mish-mash of cultural landmarks, remarkable sports stadiums, iconic chocolate factory, and glorious gardens. Here are five activities you and your family should not miss while in Birmingham.
- Visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Enjoy a relaxing tour of the 200-year old Botanical Gardens, located in the suburb of Edgbaston, just 1.5 miles southwest of the city. This 15-acre Victorian public park features four glasshouses that showcase a wide range of exotic fauna from tropical rainforests to arid deserts, all surrounded by a lush lawn of bright flowerbeds and shrubs.
There is something for the whole family to enjoy in the Botanical Gardens, from the large playground to the charming tearoom to the delightful gift shop. The gardens also boast of an impressive aviary that houses exotic and local birds, as well as a seasonal butterfly sanctuary.
2. Go see some Cricket at Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Perhaps nothing is more characteristically English than a game of cricket. The best place to watch the game is in the suburban area of Edgbaston, home to the prestigious Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Warwickshire County Cricket Club and its T20 team Birmingham Bears. This sports centre is famous not only for its loud crowd but also for hosting T20 Finals more than any other cricket ground.
In 2019, Edgbaston held several Cricket World Cup games and, over the years, became the venue of numerous Ashes or test cricket series played between Australia and England. Even if you are not a cricket fan, there is still something for you to explore in this fascinating stadium, such as the Visitor and Learning Centre, Museum and Library, and the Indoor Cricket Centre.
3. Check out Cadbury World
A visit to the iconic Cadbury World seems to have the power to turn almost every adult into a sugar-loving child. The chocolate factory has 14 fascinating zones that you can discover through a gentle ride in a funky bean mobile. Your three-hour tour centres on the redbrick Bourneville village, where you can observe the factory’s chocolate production.
The excursion will also give you the opportunity to delve into the history of cocoa, witness fast-paced packaging of thousands of sweets in the packing section, and enjoy an unforgettable Willy Wonka experience in the demonstration area.
If you are heading straight to Cadbury World from the airport, make sure to sort out flight delay recoupment before you set-off to guarantee a stress-free family getaway.
4. National Motorcycle Museum
Bike enthusiasts and history buffs alike will enjoy a trip to the National Motorcycle Museum, which first opened in 1984 with a modest collection of 350 machines. Over the years, this 30-year old museum gained recognition as the largest and most extensive in the world, with a display of over 1000 British motorcycles fully reconditioned to the builders’ original specification.
The National Motorcycle Museum attracts approximately 250,000 visitors a year, who wish to see the oldest machine on exhibit, an 1898 Beeston Humber Tricycle, and the ultra-modern superbikes. Not a fan of bikes? You can still explore the museum to learn about the country’s motorcycle manufacturing history, or admire its contemporary and well-equipped conferencing and events facilities.
5. Check out Birmingham of the Past
Discover Birmingham’s colourful and diverse heritage through an immersive and engaging tour of back-to-back houses in Court 15. Here, you will learn about the working class who lived in the district in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Your excursion will offer an in-depth look into the stories of the inhabitants of this 200-year old neighbourhood, their professions, endeavours, and struggles for a better life. The quarter highlights intriguing workshops of watchmakers, glassworkers who make glass eyes, locksmiths, and tailors.