Birmingham is a vibrant city with a rich and eventful history. It’s also brimming with visitor attractions.
In this comprehensive Birmingham travel guide, we’ll explore some of the most prominent Birmingham attractions that make this city a must-visit destination.
From cultural locales to sprawling entertainment complexes, to serene we’ve curated a list of the best things to do in Birmingham. We begin with one of the city’s most beautiful historical attractions.
St. Philip’s Cathedral, Colmore Row
First on our list of things to do in Birmingham is St. Philip’s Cathedral, which was originally built as a church in the 1700s, before being elevated to cathedral status in the 20th century.
This Baroque masterpiece, designed by Thomas Archer, captivates with its elegant dome and Corinthian columns.
Inside, visitors find a peaceful ambience, enhanced by stunning stained-glass windows, including three designed by the renowned Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne-Jones.
The cathedral is not just a place of worship but also a repository of local history. It hosts regular services and concerts, contributing to Birmingham’s cultural scene.
The surrounding Cathedral Square, with its green spaces, offers a pleasant retreat.
Visitors to Birmingham seeking a blend of history, architecture, and serene spaces will find St. Philip’s Cathedral a worthwhile stop.
Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square
The Library of Birmingham, a striking addition to the city’s Centenary Square, is a contemporary architectural marvel opened in 2013.
Designed by Francine Houben of the Dutch firm Mecanoo, this building breaks away from traditional library designs with its visually captivating façade featuring a series of interlaced metallic circles.
Inside, the library spans multiple floors, each dedicated to a different aspect of learning and culture.
It boasts an extensive collection of literature, music, and historical archives.
Notably, it houses one of the most significant Shakespeare collections in the world, displayed in the elegantly crafted Shakespeare Memorial Room, originally from the 19th-century library.
The building’s design includes several outdoor terraces and garden spaces, offering visitors tranquil spots to read or enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Those on a Birmingham sighseeting visit, should include this iconic
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is a beacon of musical and theatrical excellence. Part of Birmingham City University, it boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including a 500-seat concert hall.
Its modern architecture seamlessly blends with the city’s vibrant landscape. Known for nurturing budding talents, the conservatoire offers a diverse range of courses in music and acting, drawing students from across the globe.
The conservatoire’s public performances are a highlight, showcasing the prodigious skills of its students and faculty.
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is not just an educational hub but a cultural landmark, contributing significantly to Birmingham’s artistic scene.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the world of performing arts, experiencing the passion and dedication that resonate within its walls.
Resorts World Arena Birmingham, Eastside
Resorts World Birmingham, a unique entertainment complex in the UK, offers a multifaceted experience. This contemporary venue, conveniently located near the NEC and Birmingham Airport, is a blend of leisure and entertainment.
Highlights include a hotel, bars and restaurants and various big-brand retail outlets. There’s also a cinema and a casino, providing entertainment for adults.
Resorts World Birmingham is a place where visitors can enjoy a full day of entertainment and relaxation.
Its diverse offerings make it a popular destination for both locals and tourists, contributing significantly to Birmingham’s leisure and entertainment scene.
F1® Arcade Birmingham, Chamberlain Square
F1® Arcade Birmingham offers a one-of-a-kind adventure for racing enthusiasts and leisure seekers looking for unique Birmingham attractions.
Located in the bustling heart of Birmingham, this venue certainly delivers, offering an immersive Formula 1 experience unlike any other.
Equipped with the latest racing simulators, it gives guests the thrill of navigating a Formula 1 car on some of the most famous tracks globally.
The simulation technology at F1® Arcade Birmingham is top-notch, ensuring an authentic and visceral racing experience.
Participants can indulge in the excitement of high-speed competition in a virtual yet remarkably realistic setting. The venue also features a variety of tracks, providing challenges for both seasoned racers and novices.
Apart from the adrenaline-pumping action, the arcade includes a chic bar and lounge area, making it a perfect spot for socializing and unwinding.
F1® Arcade Birmingham offers a fusion of sporty exhilaration and casual relaxation.
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Vyse Street, Hockley
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham is a captivating time capsule of the city’s renowned jewellery-making heritage.
Set in a preserved jewellery factory, this award-winning museum offers a unique glimpse into Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter’s heart.
Visitors can explore the original Smith & Pepper jewellery factory, virtually untouched since its closure in 1981.
The museum tour provides an intimate look at the traditional jewellery-making processes, showcasing vintage machinery and tools, alongside an extensive collection of pieces crafted on-site.
The museum also features engaging exhibitions that narrate the story of Birmingham’s jewellery industry and the Quarter’s evolution.
The interactive and educational displays make it an intriguing visit for history enthusiasts and families alike. Another one of the more memorable Birmingham attractions that you’ll come across in this dazzling city.
Blakesley Hall, Blakesley Road
Built in 1590, this timber-framed house is steeped in history and offers a fascinating window into the Tudor era. Still featuring its original oak frames, the hall also boasts picturesque gardens and an orchard.
The interior of Blakesley Hall is a treasure trove of historical artefacts and period furnishings, transporting visitors back to the 16th century.
Each room is meticulously arranged to depict the lifestyle of the prosperous merchant family who once resided there.
The hall’s educational exhibits and interactive displays provide insights into Tudor customs and daily life. Blakesley Hall is not just a historical monument; it’s an immersive experience into Tudor England.
Its combination of architectural beauty, historical significance, and engaging educational programs makes it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and families alike.
Birmingham Back to Backs, near the Arcadian
Birmingham Back to Backs is the last surviving court of back-to-back houses in Birmingham, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of the working class during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
These houses, arranged around a communal courtyard, represent a typical urban living style of that era.
Restored by the National Trust, each house is meticulously furnished to reflect different periods, from the 1840s to the 1970s, illustrating the evolution of living conditions over time.
Visitors can explore the compact, interconnected rooms and learn about the diverse communities that inhabited these spaces through guided tours.
The site also includes a carefully recreated 1930s sweet shop, adding to the immersive experience. In terms of the best places in Birmingham to visit as far as historical attractions go, Back to Backs is right up there.
It stands as a poignant reminder of the city’s industrial past and the resilience of its working-class residents, providing an educational and emotive journey into a significant aspect of Birmingham’s social history.
The Coffin Works, Jewellery Quarter
The Coffin Works in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter is a unique museum that offers an intriguing glimpse into the city’s industrial past.
Originally the Newman Brothers factory, it produced coffin fittings, including handles and ornaments, for over a century. Today, this carefully restored Grade II listed building serves as a time capsule of the mid-20th century manufacturing.
Visitors can explore the original factory floor, workshops, and offices, preserved as they were on the last day of production. The museum showcases the factory’s history, the manufacturing processes of the coffin fittings, and the stories of the workers who laboured there.
Guided tours provide a detailed and fascinating insight into this niche aspect of Birmingham’s industrial heritage.
The Coffin Works is more than a museum; it’s a testament to the city’s rich manufacturing history and the lives of the people who were a part of it.
Brindleyplace, Canal Area
Brindleyplace, set in Birmingham’s bustling city centre, showcases contemporary urban design and revitalisation. This lively district, named in honour of pioneering engineer James Brindley, is a fusion of leisure, business, and cultural spaces.
Its elegant canal-side location and beautifully landscaped public areas create a tranquil yet vibrant atmosphere, drawing both residents and visitors alike.
The area boasts a diverse selection of dining establishments, from cosy coffee shops to fine dining restaurants, catering to all tastes.
Brindleyplace is also a shopper’s delight, with a variety of unique boutiques and retail outlets. Cultural enrichment is provided by attractions such as the renowned Ikon Gallery, which exhibits contemporary art from around the world.
Throughout the year, Brindleyplace buzzes with activity, hosting numerous events and festivals that celebrate the arts, food, and community.
Its blend of modern architecture, open spaces, and a lively social scene makes Brindleyplace a standout destination in Birmingham, embodying the city’s dynamic and innovative character.
Aston Hall, North Birmingham
Aston Hall, a stunning Jacobean mansion in Birmingham, is steeped in history and grandeur.
Built between 1618 and 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte, This mansion, with its striking red-brick facade and lavish interiors, promises a journey back to the 17th century.
Visitors can marvel at the Long Gallery, adorned with intricate plasterwork, and the Great Stairs, a masterpiece of craftsmanship.
The hall’s tumultuous history, including its role in the English Civil War, adds layers of intrigue. Surrounded by idyllic gardens, Aston Hall is not just a historical site but a green oasis.
This majestic hall is a testament to Birmingham’s rich cultural heritage, offering an immersive experience into the past.
Cadbury World, Bournville
Cadbury World is a chocolate lover’s paradise. This unique Birmingham attraction delves into the history of Cadbury, one of the UK’s most loved confectionery brands.
The journey begins with the story of the company’s founders, John and George Cadbury. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, revealing the chocolate-making process from bean to bar.
Key highlights include a replica of Victorian Bull Street, where the Cadbury business started, and the Aztec Jungle, showcasing the origins of cocoa.
The Cadbury World tour also features the Bournville Experience, highlighting the company’s Quaker roots and philanthropic history. Visitors can enjoy the popular Cadabra ride and the 4D Chocolate Adventure, offering fun for all ages.
The visit concludes with a glimpse into the factory and, of course, some delicious chocolate samples. Cadbury World is a fascinating insight into the world of chocolate, blending history with interactive fun.
Cannon Hill Park, South Birmingham
Cannon Hill Park, situated in the heart of Birmingham, is a sprawling green space offering a blend of natural beauty and recreational facilities.
This 80-acre park, donated to the city by Miss Louisa Ryland, is a popular destination for both relaxation and activity.
It features beautifully landscaped gardens and vast open areas, ideal for picnics and leisurely strolls. The park’s two lakes, one equipped for boating, add to its charm.
For children, there are engaging playgrounds, while sports enthusiasts can enjoy tennis courts and a mini-golf course. Cannon Hill Park is also home to the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), a cultural hub hosting art exhibitions, performances, and creative workshops.
Beyond leisure, the park is a key site for community events and environmental education, boasting a rich variety of plant and animal life.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, nestled in the bustling Chamberlain Square, is a cornerstone of the city’s cultural landscape.
This prestigious institution is famed for its remarkable collection, particularly its world-class Pre-Raphaelite paintings, featuring luminaries like Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones.
The gallery extends beyond these masterpieces, offering an eclectic mix of exhibits that include ancient Egyptian artefacts, Greek and Roman antiquities, and a comprehensive array of decorative arts.
It also provides insightful explorations into Birmingham’s rich industrial past and diverse social history.
A highlight for many visitors is the charming Edwardian Tearooms, a perfect spot to unwind and reflect on the artistic and historical journey.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is a vibrant testament to Birmingham’s deep-rooted artistic and historical significance.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, set in the serene area of Edgbaston, is a 15-acre haven of horticultural splendour.
Established in 1832, these gardens present a rich tapestry of plant life and tranquil landscapes.
The gardens boast four distinctive glasshouses, each showcasing flora from varied climatic zones – from the lushness of tropical rainforests to the stark beauty of desert environments.
Here, visitors can marvel at an array of exotic plants, including a remarkable collection of bonsai trees.
The grounds are further adorned with well-manicured lawns, peaceful lakes, and themed gardens that offer a journey through different botanical settings.
The gardens are also a sanctuary for diverse bird species and butterflies, enhancing the natural ambiance.
This botanical paradise offers a refreshing escape from city life, providing a space for relaxation, learning, and enjoyment for visitors young and old.
Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham City Centre
Bullring & Grand Central, in the heart of Birmingham, is a premier shopping and lifestyle destination.
This modern complex, blending the iconic Bullring with the contemporary Grand Central, offers an extensive range of retail stores, from high-street favourites to luxury brands.
The architecture is a highlight, combining the futuristic design of the Bullring with Grand Central’s sleek, modern aesthetics.
It’s not just about shopping; the complex also boasts a diverse array of dining options, catering to all tastes. From quick bites to fine dining, there’s something to suit every palate.
Bullring & Grand Central is also a hub for cultural events and exhibitions, adding vibrancy to Birmingham’s urban scene.
With its dynamic blend of retail, dining, and entertainment, this complex is a central point of city life, attracting both locals and tourists alike, and contributing significantly to the city’s modern identity.
Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre
This bustling square is features impressive architecture, including the historic Town Hall and the Council House, both of which showcases the grandeur Victorian-era grandeur building styles.
The centrepiece, however is the “River” fountain, commonly known as “The Floozie in the Jacuzzi,” a modern addition that contrasts with the surrounding classical architecture.
Victoria Square is also home to the Iron Man sculpture by Antony Gormley, adding a contemporary artistic touch.
The square is a hub for public events, from cultural festivals to seasonal markets, drawing both locals and visitors.
Surrounded by pedestrianised streets, it’s a popular meeting point and a starting place for exploring Birmingham.
Victoria Square’s blend of historical significance, architectural beauty, and vibrant urban life makes it a must-visit location in the city centre.
Symphony Hall, Broad Street
Symphony Hall, in Birmingham’s city centre, is celebrated for its world-class acoustics and majestic design.
Opened in 1991, it’s an architectural marvel. Home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the hall hosts a diverse range of performances. Its repertoire spans from classical concerts to jazz and contemporary music.
The interior boasts a spacious auditorium, with innovative sound technology. This ensures pristine acoustics, enhancing every performance.
The hall’s design features elegant woodwork and a striking glass façade, blending modern aesthetics with a warm, inviting atmosphere.
The hall’s blend of acoustic excellence, architectural beauty, and community focus makes it a key cultural landmark in the city. It’s a must-visit for music enthusiasts exploring Birmingham.
National Sea Life Centre, Brindleyplace
The National Sea Life Centre in Brindleyplace, Birmingham, is an enchanting aquatic attraction. It invites visitors to explore the depths of the ocean world through its extensive collection of marine species.
Housing over 2,000 sea creatures, it features a range of habitats, from sharks and sea turtles to a myriad of exotic fish. The centre’s immersive 360-degree ocean tunnel is a highlight, offering a spectacular view of life under the sea.
Dedicated to marine conservation, the centre educates its visitors on the importance of preserving oceanic ecosystems. Interactive elements, like the rockpool encounter, allow for hands-on learning, especially popular among younger guests.
The National Sea Life Centre is more than just an exhibit; it’s an educational adventure, making it an essential destination for anyone fascinated by the wonders of aquatic life in Birmingham.
Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, Cannon Hill Park
Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, located near Cannon Hill Park, is a hidden gem where visitors can encounter a variety of exotic and endangered species.
This small yet captivating zoo focuses on wildlife conservation, offering a sanctuary for animals from across the globe. Its residents include playful meerkats, majestic lynxes, and the rare red panda, among others.
The park also houses a range of reptiles and birds, contributing to its diverse collection. Educational and engaging, it provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the importance of wildlife preservation and habitats.
The park’s layout encourages close-up views of the animals in environments that mimic their natural habitats, enhancing both welfare and visitor experience.
Ideal for Birmingham family days out, this impressive wildlife park combines education with conservation, making it a perfect destination for those looking for family friendly things to do in Birmingham.
The National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull
The National Motorcycle Museum, situated near Birmingham in Solihull, stands as a testament to the UK’s rich motorcycle heritage.
Renowned as the world’s largest museum dedicated to British motorcycles, it showcases an unparalleled collection of over 1,000 classic bikes.
This extensive range spans from pioneering models of the late 19th century to contemporary masterpieces, offering a comprehensive chronicle of the British motorcycle industry.
The museum features legendary names like Triumph, BSA, and Norton, each bike restored to its original glory.
The exhibits narrate the story of British engineering prowess and innovation in motorcycle design. The museum also serves as venue for motorcycle rallies meet-ups.
For those fascinated by the evolution of motorcycles, the National Motorcycle Museum is a must-visit Birmingham tourist attraction.
Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace
Ikon Gallery, located in Birmingham’s vibrant Brindleyplace, is a renowned contemporary art venue. Housed in a striking neo-gothic former school building, the gallery showcases modern art from around the world.
Since its inception in 1964, Ikon has gained a reputation for innovation in its exhibitions. The gallery focuses on presenting works by artists who are often underrepresented or emerging, offering a platform for a wide range of voices and styles.
Its exhibitions span various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and installation art, ensuring a dynamic and thought-provoking visitor experience.
Ikon also engages in educational and community outreach programs, encouraging public participation and dialogue around contemporary art.
The gallery’s commitment to accessible art for all makes it a key player in Birmingham’s cultural scene.
Ikon Gallery, with its blend of cutting-edge art and inclusive ethos, is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and casual visitors seeking memorable things to do in Birmingham.
Gas Street Basin, Birmingham City Centre
Gas Street Basin, in Birmingham, is a picturesque and historic area where the city’s canal networks converge.
This once-industrial heartland has transformed into a vibrant leisure destination. Lined with beautifully restored canal boats and flanked by quaint pathways, the basin offers a charming waterside ambiance.
Popular among both locals and tourists, it’s perfect for strolls along the towpaths. The area is also populated with an assortment of of bars, cafes, and restaurants, making it a lively spot for dining and socializing.
Gas Street Basin serves as a gateway to Birmingham’s extensive canal network, perfect for canal boat tours.
The blend of historical significance and modern development is evident in the renovated warehouses and contemporary buildings surrounding the basin.
Gas Street Basin is a symbol of Birmingham’s rich industrial past and its dynamic present, offering a unique glimpse into the city’s heritage.
Winterbourne House and Garden, Edgbaston
Winterbourne House and Garden, nestled in the leafy suburb of Edgbaston in Birmingham, is a charming Edwardian estate.
Constructed in 1903 for John Nettlefold, a pioneer in town planning, this Arts and Crafts-style house is complemented by extensive botanical gardens.
Spanning seven acres, the gardens are a horticultural paradise, featuring a diverse range of flora, including vibrant herbaceous borders, a historic walled garden, and a collection of exotic plants in the greenhouse.
Visitors can stroll through various garden sections, such as the colorful alpine garden, the tranquil Japanese-inspired landscape with its picturesque bridge, and a verdant Mediterranean garden.
The house itself, preserved with its original furnishings, provides a glimpse into Edwardian life, showcasing period décor and family items.
This peaceful oasis, situated within the urban expanse of Birmingham, offers a unique opportunity to explore an early 20th-century suburban estate, enveloped in natural beauty and tranquility.
Birmingham Science Museum Thinktank, Millennium Point
Thinktank, Birmingham’s award-winning science museum, offers an interactive journey into science and technology.
Located in the city’s Millennium Point complex, this modern museum is a haven for curious minds of all ages. Spread across four floors, Thinktank features a diverse range of exhibits that explore everything from the human body to space exploration.
Key attractions include the Spitfire Gallery, showcasing Birmingham’s industrial heritage, and the Science Garden, an outdoor space combining play with scientific principles.
The Planetarium, another highlight, offers immersive journeys through the cosmos. For younger visitors, the MiniBrum exhibit provides a child-sized city where they can learn through play.
As well as being a top museum, Thinktank is an educational adventure, making it a must-visit Birmingham attraction for families, school groups, and anyone interested in science and technology.
Stadium Tours – Aston Villa Football Club, Aston
Villa Park, the famous home of Aston Villa Football Club, offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour for fans and visitors alike.
Visitors can walk through the players’ tunnel, experience the thrill of the pitchside view, and sit in the manager’s dugout.
The tour also includes a visit to the dressing rooms, where players prepare for matches, and the trophy room, showcasing the club’s achievements.
Additionally, fans can explore the rich history of Aston Villa through exhibits and memorabilia in the stadium’s museum.
Villa Park tours provide access to areas usually off-limits to the public, making them a must for any football enthusiast or anyone interested in the cultural impact of the sport in Birmingham.
Birmingham City Football Club – Stadium Tours, Bordesley
Birmingham City Football Club offers fans and visitors an exciting opportunity to explore behind the scenes with their stadium tours at St. Andrew’s, the club’s historic home ground.
These tours provide a unique chance to delve into the heart of the club’s operations. Participants can walk down the players’ tunnel and experience the thrill of the pitch from the manager’s perspective in the dugout.
It’s also possible to explore the inner sanctum of the dressing rooms where players prepare for the matches.
The tour also provides access to the press rooms and VIP areas – throughout guides share anecdotes and facts about the club’s history and achievements.
A visit to St. Andrews is a great way to learn more about the Blues and their storied past as well as football as a whole.
Dudley Priory, Dudley
Dudley Priory is a site of significant historical and architectural interest. It was founded in the 12th century as a Cluniac monastery and has witnessed centuries of history.
Although now in ruins, the remains of this once-grand structure offer a glimpse into the medieval ecclesiastical life.
Key features of the ruins include the refectory, undercroft, and the priory’s church, showcasing the Gothic architectural style of the period.
The site, set in Priory Park, provides a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere for visitors. Information boards around the ruins offer insights into the priory’s history and the daily lives of the monks who once resided there.
Dudley Priory, while a shadow of its former self, remains an important emblem of the region’s heritage, offering a tangible link to England’s rich monastic past and an intriguing destination for history enthusiasts.
Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham
The Lapworth Museum of Geology, nestled in the University of Birmingham, is a captivating haven for anyone fascinated by Earth’s geological wonders.
With a collection exceeding 250,000 artefacts, it’s a treasure trove that spans the breadth of geological time.
The museum’s displays, rich in fossils, minerals, and rocks, chronicle Earth’s history over billions of years, offering insights into the planet’s evolution and the life it has supported.
Notably, the museum boasts an exceptional array of fossils, providing a window into prehistoric life, particularly from the Midlands region.
Its mineral exhibits are a visual spectacle, highlighting the beauty and diversity of geological formations.
Official Birmingham Tourism Site