This time next year, Birmingham will be full of visitors and sport fans from all over the world who have come to the city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, where we have the biggest ever sports programme in Commonwealth Games history, with 286 sessions across 11 days of live sport. Over 5000 athletes will be competing in the games that will take place from 28 July to 8 August, across our great region.
You can be sure of a warm welcome to the UK’s second city, and you will enjoy some Brummie hospitality – expect to be greeted with ‘Alright Bab?’
Birmingham is a city that is proud of its culture and heritage, it is what makes our city the great place to visit that it is today.
About our city
Birmingham is known as ‘The City of 1000 trades’, due to its contribution to Britain’s industrial revolution of the 19th century. Trades from the city include jewellery making, metal working such as coffin furniture, pens and guns. You can still see examples of these techniques and original machinery and workshops, thanks to some of our excellent museums.
Today, birmingham is Europe’s youngest city, with young professionals choosing Birmingham to be their home. It has a thriving and vibrant shopping and eating and drinking scene and is proud of its diverse community.
What is there to do?
Birmingham has everything you need in one place: Shopping, eating, drinking, exploring and relaxing.
There are three large shopping centres, the Bullring and Grand Central (conveniently linked), and The Mailbox, with everything from Selfridges and Harvey Nichols to Primark (Europe’s largest!). But if you want to explore the independent scene, try Piccadilly Arcade, or head over to the Jewellery Quarter which both have an array of eclectic independently owned stores.
Fun fact: Birmingham has more canals than Venice! You can wander along the network of waterways around Brindley Place and out to the suburbs. If you don’t fancy walking, what better way to explore the city and surrounding region than on a narrowboat tour? Relax and see the outskirts of Birmingham, or why not navigate the locks for yourselves whilst take in the sights along the West Midlands canals.
Positively Birmingham offers walking tours of the city. Your guide will tell you about some of the incredible public art and point out buildings of historical importance, such as the birthplace of Edward Burne-Jones, the birmingham born artist. You can also see inside St Philips Cathedral.
If street art is more your style, why not head over to the Jewellery Quarter to see the original art work by Banksy, or visit Digbeth for a self-led tour of graffiti on a huge scale?
There is some incredible public art and landmarks in the city that make for a great photo, so here are just a few suggestions. The bull outside the bullring is a favourite with tourists visiting the city and is often dressed according to the season’s theme. Expect the bull to be dressed in a sports kit for the games!
Banksy visited the Jewellery Quarter and created a work of art just outside the tram and train stain. The work is protected but photos are encouraged!
The Library of Birmingham is a beautiful example of post-modern architecture. It is free to enter and is located in Centenary Square. The square has a wonderful water feature that rises from ground level. The square is bordered by buildings new and old that complement each other perfectly.
Victoria Square is another great space to explore, with temporary art exhibition frequently installed. The Council House, Town Hall and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery all border the square.
Eating and Drinking
Birmingham is the original home of the Balti. From award-winning city centre restaurants to authentic family-run establishments in the Balti Triangle, no visit to Birmingham is complete without sampling the delicious flavours for yourself.
There are no tastes that are not catered for – vegan, vegetarian, fish and steak restaurants are all present in the city, we even have four Michelin starred restaurants. Dine Birmingham has a list of restaurants and cocktail bars, to suit a range of budgets, you really are spoiled for choice!
There is a thriving café culture in the city, you won’t walk more than 1 minute before you come across a coffee house, take a seat and watch the world go by.
There is a great travel network that will take you not only to the sporting events across the region, but to leisure destinations too.
Staying in the city
If you are staying in the city centre, there are plenty of hotels, serviced apartments, B&Bs and self-catered accommodation.
Visiting with a group?
Birmingham Museums have created experiences for groups where you will create long lasting memories of your time in the city.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Take in the newly re-opened Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery where you can enjoy exploring the iconic Round Room and the stunning Industrial Gallery. During this unique experience, your group will take part in an art workshop, in the Museum and Art Gallery, where you will be guided to create an artwork featuring the famous Birmingham Skyline including iconic landmarks such as Aston Hall, Library of Birmingham, Sarehole Mill and more. Create your masterpiece on canvas and take your finished piece home with you as a memento of your time in Birmingham, the UK’s second city. After this tutor led workshop, your group will enjoy a traditional English Afternoon Tea. Enjoy freshly made sandwiches, a selection of delicate cakes, pastries and scones with jam and clotted cream and freshly brewed tea or coffee.
Groups of 10-50 people.
Aston – Birmingham’s Treasures
Start your experience with a tour of Villa Park, home to Aston Villa Football Club, the regions premier league football club’s ground. Imagine the roar of the crowd as you emerge from the players tunnel and out into the 42,640-capacity stadium. Get a real feel for how the players prepare in the hours leading up to a match by paying a visit to the players’ lounge and dressing rooms.
This exciting and informative tour allows access to areas that are only available to players and officials. Have your cameras ready for those personal mementos of your visit. Celebrate the club’s success by having your photo taken with the splendid European Cup, First Division and FA Cup trophies, which are now on permanent display.
Your group will then be chaperoned to the peaceful grounds of Aston Hall, set within a Green Flag Park. Take in Lady Holte’s formal gardens and explore the archaeological remains surrounding this magnificent mansion. After a delicious traditional English Afternoon Tea of freshly made sandwiches, a selection of delicate cakes, pastries and scones with jam and clotted cream, you will be taken into Aston Hall. The hall is a Jacobean mansion built between 1618 and 1635 for Sir Thomas Holte and was home to James Watt Junior from 1817-1848. Over the course of its history, the hall has received royalty, was besieged during the English Civil War and inspired a famous author. Enjoy a guided tour which explores many of the period rooms, including Britain’s finest Long Gallery.
£47.50 per person.
Groups of 10-50 people.
There and back again – a Tolkien experience at Sarehole Mill
Begin your visit with a guided walking tour of the area surrounding Sarehole Mill, including Moseley Bog. Take in the places which provided so much inspiration to world renowned author J.R.R Tolkien. Your group will enjoy finding out more about Tolkien, the area of Sarehole and its influence on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Back at the Mill, you will be served freshly baked pizza from our on-site bakehouse in the charming courtyard where Tolkien is known to have played as a child.
Once you have filled up on pizza and stocked up on baked goodies, take a tour around the historic mill itself with the help of our expert guide.
You will also have time to explore the mill’s grounds, a peaceful haven for wildlife. The Mill is set in Shire Country Park, which includes the charming paths along the River Cole. Groups wishing to extend their visit are invited to explore at their leisure.
Groups of 10-15 people.
The Jewel of the City – Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is one of the most popular areas of the city, loved for its history, it is a flashback to the early days of the city’s industrial past, and a living, evolving community of craftsmen, manufacturers and retailers.
Meet at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, where your guide will welcome you and take you on a lively walking tour around the quarter, taking in the heritage of the area and its unique character.
Banksy famously recently visited the quarter and left behind a much-admired work of art, just down the road from the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. The bench in front if the art makes for a perfect photo opportunity!
Back at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, relax with a traditional English cream tea, before being transported back through time to the perfectly preserved jewellery workshop of Smith & Pepper. When the proprietors of the Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firm retired in 1981, they simply ceased trading and locked the door, unaware they would be leaving a time capsule for future generations. It now offers a unique glimpse into Birmingham’s renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage. You will watch live demonstrations of the traditional skills of this fine trade at the jewellers’ bench and discover what it was like to work here. Each member of the groups will receive a guidebook as a fond reminder of your visit to this special place.
After your refreshments, be sure to explore the Jewellery Quarter with its many unique shops and independent jewellers.
Groups of 10-20 people.
There are a variety of hotels for group bookings too.
We can’t wait to welcome you, we’re ready and waiting to give you a warm Brummie welcome.