Welcome to our Birmingham Guide
With a host of useful information and recommendations our Birmingham Guide provides you with a glimpse into the unique sights, shopping, and nightlife available in this fantastic city. Being the second largest city in the UK means Birmingham is packed full of amazing attractions, bustling high-streets and famous landmarks. From the Bullring Shopping Centre to St Phillips Cathedral, mouth watering restaurants to cutting-edge clubbing, Birmingham has something to excite and entertain all visitors. Whether you’re after family attractions, a buzzing nightlife, retail therapy or cultural heritage Birmingham is the ideal destination for your next break.
Whatever you do on your visit, our Birmingham Guide is crammed full of ideas to help you plan your ideal short break. The centre of Birmingham is home to more than just great shops! Within the city centre you will find an array of fine art galleries, fantastic museums and famous historic landmarks. For families visiting Birmingham there are also many attractions within easy reach of the city that are ideal for the kids, such as Drayton Manor Theme Park, Cadbury World and the Sea Life Centre. There’s also a varied nightlife to be found from vibrant bars and clubs, endless rated restaurants, champion comedy clubs, theatres and gigs for all. Our Birmingham Guide also lists the top five hotels rated by our customers, plus five great events coming up, to help you decide where you’d like to stay and when you’d like to visit.
Must do's by day
See chocolate come to life at Cadbury World
Visit the spectacular IMAX Cinema at Millennium Point
Spend the day in the museums, art galleries and shops of the Jewellery Quarter
Must do's by night
Treat yourself at one of Birmingham’s three Michelin starred restaurants
See a show at The Hippodrome or the Royal Ballet
Experience the excitement of Grosvenor Casino
Travelling to Birmingham
Being serviced by 3 city centre train stations, a wealth of motorways and an international airport, Birmingham is easily accessible by road, rail and air.
With New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill Station’s in the city centre Birmingham has excellent rail links across the country. You’ll easily find regular and direct trains to Birmingham from London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street, Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly and Edinburgh.
Visitors from the South can reach the city via the M5, the M40 leading to the M42 and the M1 leading to the M6. Meanwhile, visitors from the North can take the M6 directly to the city or the M1 leading to the M6.
Birmingham International Airport is just a short distance from the city centre and is easily accessible via car. The airport is also serviced by the International Rail Station which is connected directly to the main terminal via a free Air-Rail link.
Getting Around in Birmingham
Once in the central hub of the city you will find getting around is easy with an excellent metro, bus and taxi service.
Birmingham has multiple bus services running across the city and to the outer areas, with many running as late as midnight. Network West Midlands provides all timetable and service information for Birmingham buses.
The Black Cabs of Birmingham can be waved down in the street. Alternatively, they can be found at multiple taxi ranks around the city, with the main ones located at New Street Station, Stephenson Street and Digbeth Coach Station.
Birmingham also has a Metro which links the city with multiple areas a little further afield. From Snow Hill in Birmingham you can take the Metro to Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston.
Getting to Birmingham
Located in the heart of the West Midlands, the vibrant city of Birmingham is easily accessible from every direction. Whether travelling into Birmingham via road, air or rail you’ll find the UK’s second largest city is easy to get to. Conveniently located between the M5 and M6 motorways, with several connecting A roads, travelling to Birmingham by road is simple and direct. There are three city centre railway stations to choose from that have direct links to the rest of the midlands, London and beyond. Accessing Birmingham via air is easy too, as Birmingham International Airport is close by, with easy road, train and bus connections available.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- New Street Station is notorious for last-minute platform changes so it's best to wait near the stairs and pay attention to the information screens as you may need to make a quick dash to the opposite side of the station.
- At the weekends the Bullring and Pallasades car parks can be very busy, so try the nearby Arcadian centre, which is a short walk away from the markets.
- Digbeth coach station is about a 10 minute walk away from the city centre, so if you are travelling with heavy luggage it is advisable to use a taxi, which can be picked up from the rank outside.
Birmingham is served by three railway stations that provide easy access to the city centre from every direction. Birmingham New Street Station, Moor Street Station and Snow Hill Station are connected to some of the UK’s major rail network providers including Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland, First Great Western and Virgin Trains.
To London – 1 hour 30 mins
To Cardiff – 2 hours
To Edinburgh – 4 hours
To Manchester – 1 hour 30 mins
To Oxford – 1 hour 15 mins
Birmingham benefits from an extensive road network with the A456, A38 and A4540 providing routes into the city. There are plenty of city centre car parks to choose from.
Travelling from the North:
Join the M6 south until junction 6, then take the A38(M) straight into the city centre.
Travelling from the South:
The A38, A441, A435 and A34 roads all feed into the main routes into the centre.
Travelling from the East:
Take the A45 east bound heading from Coventry.
Travelling from the West:
Take the A456 heading west bound from Kidderminster.
Birmingham International provides routes into the UK from a wide range of European and International airports. Transfers to Birmingham city centre are frequent making accessing the city easy.
The 900 Airport Link bus operates between the passenger terminals and the city centre every 20 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes evenings and Saturdays.
Birmingham International railway station is directly linked to the airport passenger Terminals by SkyRail. The SkyRail is free, operates about every 2 minutes when the rail station is open and the journey takes less than 2 minutes. There are regular trains from Birmingham International to New Street Station in the city centre.
Getting Around Birmingham
Getting around Birmingham is easy and hassle free. With dedicated pedestrian areas, useful signposts, an extensive canal network and plentiful bus services in and out of the city you’ll find it easy to navigate. Hop on a bus along Broad Street to quickly reach the popular shopping areas at the Bullring and beyond. Whether you jump into a taxi at New Street station or stretch your legs and walk along the canals around Gas Street Basin, there are plenty of ways to get around this bustling city.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- Walking along the canals from The Mailbox towards the Gas Street Basin is a quick and easy way to get to Brindley Place.
- Exploring the Jewellery Quarter is only one stop away on the Metro from Snow Hill Station which takes a mere 3 minutes!
- There are dedicated taxi ranks outside all three of Birmingham’s railway stations making find a taxi hassle free!
By BusBirmingham buses are frequent and bus stops connect every main destination throughout the city centre. The number 9 bus travels along Broad Street towards Snow Hill Station while the number 11 route operates on both a clockwise and an anti-clockwise loop around the outskirts of the centre. For inner-city travel, a short hop costs just £1 and is a great money-saving way to get around the centre. A day pass costs £3.80 for an adult and £2.60 for a child (5-15). Birmingham buses are operated by National Express West Midlands, Tel: 0121 254 7272
There are numerous taxis available in Birmingham, from black cabs to private hire cars, with a selection of taxi ranks outside train stations and near to prominent locations, including shopping centres and nightlife destinations. A pre-booked taxi from Birmingham New Street station to Broad Street on a Saturday evening costs around £6 for a 4 seater vehicle.
Taxi phone numbers:
TOA Taxis: 0121 427 8888
Sky Radio Cars: 0121 554 5555
Castle Cars: 0121 427 5000
Roundabout Cars: 0121 453 1234
By FootAs Birmingham City Centre is largely pedestrianised, travelling on foot is a free and easy way to explore the city. With car free zones surrounding many of the major shopping destinations and sign posts to point you in the direction of the city’s museums, attractions and transport links, you’ll find it easy to walk to where you want to go. Walking from Birmingham New Street station to Brindley Place takes around 15 – 20 minutes depending on how energetic you feel!
Shopping in Birmingham
Birmingham is a true shopper’s paradise. With an exciting blend of indoor malls, high streets lined with well known brands, lively markets and unique boutiques there really is something for everyone no matter what you’re looking for. From the historic Jewellery Quarter, perfect for finding that special gift, to the Bullring Shopping Centre filled with fashion stores, Birmingham won’t disappoint. If you’re hoping to splash some cash update your wardrobe with an indulgent treat at The Mailbox, or if you’re on the hunt for a bargain explore the hidden riches of the Indoor Market.
Fancy Silk Store
An Aladdin’s cave of fabrics spread over three floors, the Fancy Silk Store boasts one of the UK’s largest selections of materials. A true Birmingham favourite for over forty years, this family run business is not one to be missed.
Top 5 Shopping Centres in Birmingham
Bullring Birmingham, Birmingham, B5 4BP
The UK’s most visited shopping centre, with over 160 shops and plenty of restaurants to choose from this is a shopper’s dream destination.
The Mailbox, 31-32 Wharfside St, Birmingham, B1 1RE
With exclusive luxury stores, waterside restaurants and bars, The Mailbox is one of Birmingham’s most stylish shopping and lifestyle destinations.
Pavilions Birmingham, 38 High Street, Birmingham, B4 7SL
A popular indoor mall with a mix of luxury stores and high street brands, complete with a 700 seater food loft.
The Pallasades, Birmingham, B2 4XJ
Often called the ‘gateway to the city’ The Pallasades links New Street rail station with the Bullring, and houses a mix of high street favourites and convenient eateries.
Great Western Arcade, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B2 5HU
This Victorian arcade is one of Birmingham’s most historic shopping destinations and today is home to unique boutiques and luxury stores making it a must see for city centre shoppers.
High Street Favourites in Birmingham
Selfridges & Co, Bullring Birmingham, Birmingham, B5 4BP
Birmingham’s most iconic store, Selfridges & Co boasts an extensive range of designer fashion and home brands, complete with a food hall for niche and luxury products.
Forever 21, Bullring Birmingham, Birmingham, B5 4BP
The only Forever 21 Store in the UK outside of London, this popular store is spread over 3 floors filled with fashion must-haves.
House of Fraser, Corporation Street, Birmingham, B2 5JS
House of Fraser’s flagship store, this popular department store is home to a mix of high street and designer fashion and beauty products.
Harvey Nichols, The Mailbox 31-32 Wharfside St, Birmingham, B1 1RE
With spectacular views of the city, Harvey Nichols in The Mailbox is a leading destination for luxury fashion and beauty brands.
Debenhams, Bullring Birmingham, Birmingham, B5 4BP
At the opposite end of the Bullring to Selfridges, this huge department store is spread over 4 floors.
Specialist Stores in Birmingham
Artfull Expression, 23-24 Warstone Lane, The Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B18 6JQ
Set in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Artfull Expression Gallery sells handmade jewellery from a range of contemporary designers.
The Oasis, 110-114 Corporation Street, Birmingham, B4 6SX
The ultimate alternative fashion destination, this indoor collection of specialist boutiques sells everything from gothic fashion to piercings and tattoos.
Nostalgia & Comics, 14-16 Smallbrook Queensway, B5 4EN
One of the longest running comic stores in the UK, Nostalgia & Comics has an extensive range of comics, graphic novels and memorabilia on sale.
Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS
Selling a fantastic range of exhibition merchandise, art books and crafty gifts this is a must visit shop for those special gifts.
Cow Digbeth, 82- 85 Digbeth High Street, Birmingham, B5 6DY
A five minute walk from the Bullring shopping centre, Cow Digbeth is a vintage treasure trove filled with bargain buys and specialist finds.
Eating out in Birmingham
Birmingham offers an exciting range of bistros, grills, brasseries and cafes for you to discover during your city break. With a combination of sky-high restaurants with impressive city views and canal side eateries, you’re sure to find an ideal restaurant for dining in Birmingham. From Michelin starred fine dining, to foods from around the globe and laid-back retreats for a quick bite to eat, there’s something to suit everyone’s palette. Whether it’s a special occasion or you simply want to take the weight off your feet after a day’s shopping there are plenty of Birmingham restaurants to choose from.
For fine dining at a fraction of the price, make a reservation at The Atrium within University College Birmingham. The chefs of tomorrow whip up luxury dishes using the finest ingredients. 3 course meals start from £21. Booking necessary.
Dining to Impress in Birmingham
MPW Steakhouse Birmingham, 200 Wharfside Street, The Cube, Birmingham, B1 1PR
Boasting 360° city views at the top of the striking Cube building, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill’s exquisite food and cocktails make for the ultimate dining experience.
Simpsons Restaurant, 20 Highfield Road, Birmingham, B15 3DU
Simpsons offers Michelin starred fine dining close to Birmingham city centre. With exclusive local produce and innovative dishes, this Birmingham favourite is not to be missed.
Malmaison, The Mailbox, One Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RD
Housed in the luxury setting of The Mailbox, this exquisite hotel brasserie offers classic British dishes using the finest local ingredients.
The Balcony, Selfridges & Co, Bullring Birmingham, B5 4BP
Perfect for grabbing a glass of bubbly and a delicious treat after a hard day shopping, The Balcony Restaurant at the top of Selfridges & Co is the epitome of sophistication.
Bank, 4 Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2JB
Found in the heart of the cosmopolitan Brindley Place, Bank offers a vibrant brasserie atmosphere and an exciting seasonal menu.
Food from Around the World in Birmingham
Ulysses, 42A Bristol Street, Birmingham, B5 7AA
Enjoy traditional Greek dishes served in a lively atmosphere and experience live music and entertainment including the famous plate smashing.
Deep Caribbean Experience, 34 Bristol Street, Birmingham, B5 7AA
Offering an ‘all you can eat’ buffet and an Á la Carte menu, this traditional West Indian favourite is not to be missed.
San Carlo, Temple Street, Birmingham, B2 5BN
Award winning San Carlo in Birmingham serves the finest Italian cuisine with a modern twist, using exquisite authentic ingredients and recipes.
Chung Ying Garden, 17 Thorp Street, Birmingham, B5 4AT
A pre-theatre favourite, Chung Ying Garden is one of the Midland’s best loved Chinese restaurants serving over 400 delicious dishes.
Pushkar Indian, 245 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2HQ
Offering a fresh approach to Punjabi and North Indian cuisine, Pushkar is an exciting and well loved restaurant with an eclectic and vibrant menu.
Grabbing a Quick Bite in Birmingham
Bar Estilo , The Mailbox, 110-114 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RF
This Mediterranean style tapas restaurant in The Mailbox is perfect for a delicious lunchtime treat as they usually run buy one get one free offers during the daytime.
Handmade Burger Co, The Waters Edge, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2JB
Located next to the canal in Brindley Place, this charming restaurant offers gourmet burgers using fresh local ingredients to reinvent classic recipes.
Urban Pie, Bullring Birmingham, B5 4BE
Conveniently located between the two halves of the Bullring shopping centre, Urban Pie offers delicious gourmet pies and hearty sides including mashed potato and Yorkshire puds.
Woktastic, Paradise Place, Birmingham, B3 3HJ
Located in Paradise Place, between Broad Street and Victoria Square, Woktastic serves an array of delicious Japanese, fusion, noodle and sushi dishes.
6/8 Kafe, 6-8 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5HG
A superb independent cafe in the heart of Birmingham's centre, reputedly serving up the best coffee in the city.
With an exciting blend of theatres, pubs, live music venues and comedy clubs, Birmingham nightlife is truly buzzing! Enjoy a night of hilarious comedy at the Glee Club before visiting the rest of the bars the Arcadian has to offer. Discover the thrill of the stage at one of the city’s numerous theatres and lose yourself in a live gig at the O2 Academy or HMV Institute. There are a range of cinemas to enjoy, including the vintage Electric Cinema, the oldest in the UK!
Top 10 Birmingham Nightlife
The Glee Club Birmingham, The Arcadian, Birmingham, B5 4TD
Surrounded by bars and restaurants in the popular Arcadian Centre, the Glee Club is one of Birmingham’s best comedy and music venues.
Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TB
One of Birmingham’s largest theatres, Birmingham Hippodrome hosts an exciting calendar of Musicals, Pantomime, Ballet , Opera, Comedy and more.
Town Hall Birmingham, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B3 3DQ
Recently restored to its former glory, the Town Hall in Victoria Square hosts a range of world class musical events.
The Crescent Theatre, Sheepcote Street, Birmingham, B16 8AE
Located in Brindley Place, the Crescent Theatre is one of Birmingham’s best venues, hosting a range of in-house and touring productions.
HMV Institute, 78 Digbeth High Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DY
Formerly known as the Birmingham Barfly, the HMV Institute is a popular music venue for gigs that also runs weekly club nights.
The Electric Cinema, 47–49 Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DY
The UK’s oldest working cinema is home to sofas, a bar and waiter service. With two digital screens showing a mixture of the latest quality mainstream, independent, foreign and classic films.
The REP, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EP
One of the most long-standing theatres in Birmingham, The REP on Broad Street hosts both new and well known shows all year round.
O2 Academy Birmingham, 16-18 Horsefair, Bristol Street, Birmingham, B1 1DB
Following a multi million pounds investment, the state of the art O2 Academy hosts live music from new and developing talents to top international artists.
mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH
Hosting a range of arts events from comedy to live music and drama, mac arts centre is a short distance from the city centre and also features an independent cinema.
The Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre, 4 Temple Row West, Birmingham, B2 5NY
Combining a lively pub atmosphere with the thrill of the theatre, The OId Joint Stock is a true Birmingham favourite for a night out with a twist.
A night out in Birmingham will definitely be one to remember, with an exciting mix of pubs, bars and nightclubs specialising in everything from live music to cocktails there is something for everyone to enjoy. Sample the many bars along the infamous Broad Street before soaking up the VIP atmosphere at Mechu on Summer Row. Dance the night away to live salsa music at the Jam House and get your groove on to the Jazz beats at The Yardbird. Whatever your taste in music or drinks, Birmingham bars aim to please.
Top 10 Birmingham Bars
Sunflower Lounge, 76 Smallbrook Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4EG
A few minutes from New Street is the independently ran Sunflower Lounge. Playing a list of exclusively alternative music tracks from Indie, 60's, Blues and Jazz, this friendly bar has a relaxed vibe.
Bodega Bar, 12 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS
Bodega offers one of the best drinks selections in Birmingham, offering mouth watering cocktails, a handpicked range of South American wines and a comprehensive selection of regional bottled beers.
Sobar, Arcadian Centre, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TD
With a chic and stylish interior, Sobar in the Arcadian Centre boasts a vivacious atmosphere and serves extensive range of world lagers, deluxe spirits and luxury cocktails.
Island Bar, 14-16 Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1LT
Serving award winning cocktails this lively bar is opposite The Mailbox and adjacent to the Alexander Theatre, making it perfect for a pre-show drink.
Aprés, 39 Summer Row, Birmingham, B3 1JJ
A favourite hangout on the popular Summer Row, Aprés’ distinctive red interior mixes elements of Scandinavian style with quirky ski-lodge details.
The Craven Arms, 47 Upper Gough St, Birmingham, B1 1JL
A great, traditional pub with a range of real ales, The Craven Arms is popular with locals and visitors alike.
The Yardbird, Paradise Place, Birmingham, B3 3HJ
The Yardbird combines a reasonably priced drinks menu with live Jazz, making it a popular destination for a night out with musical zest.
The Vaults, Newhall Place, Newhall Hill, Birmingham, B1 3JH
Conveniently located between the Jewellery Quarter and Summer Row, The Vaults is a suave and sumptuous retreat with luxury private booths to unwind in.
Mechu, 47-59 Summer Row, Birmingham, B3 1JJ
Mechu has an atmosphere of VIP style and luxury, perfect for an indulgent night out and for spotting the odd celebrity.
The Jam House, 3-5 St Pauls Square, Birmingham, B31QU
Offering live music from a range of genres from Jazz to Salsa and an attractive drinks menu, The Jam House is guaranteed to get you onto the dance floor.
As the second largest city in the UK, Birmingham is bursting with world-class attractions, historic buildings and iconic sights, so you won’t be short of things to see and do. From the fun-filled and somewhat indulgent Cadbury World to cultural excellence at the city’s museums, there are a huge range of attractions to visit. With superb transport links across the city centre and further afield, taking a trip to these top attractions is easy and the perfect way to keep the whole family entertained during your Birmingham break.
Top 10 Birmingham Attractions
Cadbury World, Linden Road, Bournville, B30 2LU
See chocolate come to life through fourteen fun-filled zones. Make your own chocolate concoction and top up on your favourite treats!
Sea Life Centre, The Waters Edge, Brindleyplace, B12HL
Discover the amazing beauty of life under the sea with stunning displays of marine life. Stroke a starfish or feed a stingray if you’re feeling brave enough!
Drayton Manor, Coleshill Road, Tamworth, B78 3SA
Enjoy the thrill of some of the biggest, scariest and wettest theme park rides around at Drayton Manor in nearby Tamworth.
Thinktank Science Museum, Millennium Point, Curzon Street, B4 7XG
Adding fun to learning, Thinktank at Millennium Point is a science museum spread over four floors with a hands-on approach, with numerous interactive displays and even a fossilised dinosaur skull!
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH
Established in 1885 this stunning museum off Chamberlain Square features important collections of fine art, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery and archaeology and also hosts changing exhibitions.
Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square Brindleyplace, B1 2HS
Indulge in a spot of culture at contemporary art space the Ikon Gallery in Brindleyplace. The gallery hosts a range of exhibitions in sound, sculpture, photography and painting throughout the year.
Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BD
Often considered to be the centre of the city, Victoria Square features a large iconic fountain and is positioned outside the impressive Council House and Town Hall buildings.
Birmingham Cathedral, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2QB
Surrounded by lush green gardens, the grounds of the Birmingham Cathedral are a popular meeting place perfect for enjoying a spot of lunch.
The Bullring Bull, Bullring Birmingham, B5 4BE
Arguably the most famous statue in Birmingham the iconic Bullring bull has become a must-see spot, perfect for taking a photo of your visit to the city.
Birmingham Back to Backs, 55-63 Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TE
Step back in time at this National Trust property near to the Hippodrome Theatre and discover how working class Victorians used to live (Guided tours only, booking essential).