20 Best Things to Do in Birmingham: Discovering the Heart of England

Things to Do in Birmingham

Birmingham, England’s second-largest city, is a vibrant and diverse metropolis brimming with rich history, cultural diversity, and a thriving arts scene. As the city has grown, so too has its offering of engaging attractions and activities. Whether you’re a fan of history, art, nature, or chocolate, Birmingham has something for everyone.

This guide explores a selection of things to do in Birmingham, offering a taste of the exciting experiences this city has to offer.

1. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Photo: Google Maps/C. Mark Malinovski

At the top of the list of things to see in Birmingham is a visit to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Established in 1885, this museum is home to an impressive array of art and historical artefacts. One of the standout exhibits is the extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite artwork, the largest of its kind in the world. The museum also houses artefacts from Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece, as well as items reflecting Birmingham’s own rich history.

Alongside these permanent displays, the museum hosts a rotating selection of temporary exhibits, offering new perspectives on a range of historical and cultural topics. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious explorer, the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is a captivating place to spend an afternoon.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: Chamberlain Sq, Birmingham B3 3DH, United Kingdom.

2. National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham

National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham
Photo: Google Maps/Jinu Antony

If you’re interested in marine life, the National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham is a must-visit. This aquatic attraction features over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life. From colourful clownfish and graceful rays to the awe-inspiring sharks, there’s an underwater world waiting to be explored.

Highlights include the 360-degree Ocean Tunnel, where you can walk through an underwater landscape and come face-to-face with sea creatures. And don’t miss the Penguin Ice Adventure, where you can meet a colony of Gentoo Penguins. With interactive displays and feeding demonstrations, the SEA LIFE Centre is an engaging and educational outing for visitors of all ages.

Entry Fee: GBP 19; Location: Check Map
Address: The Water’s Edge, Eleven Brindley Place, Birmingham B1 2HL, United Kingdom.

3. Cadbury World

Cadbury World
Photo: Google Maps/Olha

For those with a sweet tooth, no trip to Birmingham would be complete without a visit to Cadbury World. Located in the historic Bournville village, this visitor attraction is dedicated to the history and magic of Cadbury chocolate.

From the moment you step through the doors and receive your welcome chocolates, you’re immersed in the delicious world of Cadbury. Discover the history of the Cadbury company, explore the manufacturing process, and even create your own delicious treat in the interactive chocolate-making zone. End your visit by exploring the Cadbury shop to stock up on your favourite Cadbury treats. Cadbury World offers a deliciously fun day out, making it a must-see when considering things to do in Birmingham.

Entry Fee: GBP 16.80; Location: Check Map
Address: 69 Linden Rd, Birmingham B30 1JR, United Kingdom.

4. Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham
Photo: Google Maps/Mark Chater

Located in the city’s Centenary Square, the Library of Birmingham is an impressive landmark that is hard to miss. More than just a library, this state-of-the-art building is a cultural hub, offering an extensive collection of books, historical documents, music archives, and photography collections.

The library’s modern architecture, with its intricate metal façade, is an attraction in itself. Inside, you’ll find multiple reading rooms and quiet spaces spread over ten levels, as well as two outdoor terraces that provide stunning views over the city. With its vast resources and striking design, the Library of Birmingham is one of the unique things to do.

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Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: 1 Centenary Sq, Birmingham B1 2EA, United Kingdom.

5. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Photo: Google Maps/Jose Campbell

For a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a perfect destination. Spread over 15 acres, the gardens are home to a wide array of plants from different climates and environments, housed in four stunning Victorian glasshouses.

In addition to its vast plant collection, the gardens also feature beautiful landscaped grounds, a charming tea room, and a playground for children. Whether you’re a keen horticulturist or simply looking for a peaceful spot to relax, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens offers a serene and beautiful escape.

Entry Fee: GBP 7.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Westbourne Rd, Birmingham B15 3TR, United Kingdom.

6. Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park
Photo: Google Maps/Valentin Vulpe

The Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is a small yet charming zoo located close to the city center. This park is home to a variety of animals, including red pandas, lemurs, meerkats, otters, and many more. The focus here is on conservation, with many of the species being part of international breeding programmes.

A visit to the park offers the opportunity to learn about different species and the conservation efforts to protect them. With its family-friendly atmosphere and emphasis on education, the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is a fantastic place for a fun and informative day out.

Entry Fee: GBP 7.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Pershore Rd, Birmingham B5 7RL, United Kingdom.

7. Winterbourne House & Garden

Winterbourne House & Garden
Photo: Google Maps/Dave Schofield

Step back in time with a visit to Winterbourne House & Garden, an Edwardian historic house museum located on the University of Birmingham campus. The beautifully preserved house offers a glimpse into life in the early 20th century, complete with original furniture and decor.

Outside, you can explore the stunning seven-acre garden, which features a walled garden, a Japanese bridge, and a large collection of plants from around the world. Winterbourne House & Garden offers a mix of history, architecture, and horticulture, making it a fascinating place to visit in Birmingham.

Entry Fee: GBP 7.20; Location: Check Map
Address: 58 Edgbaston Park Rd, Birmingham B15 2RT, United Kingdom.

8. Drayton Manor Theme Park

Drayton Manor Theme Park
Photo: Google Maps/Francis Zammit

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled day out, then Drayton Manor Theme Park is one of the top things to do in Birmingham. Located just outside the city, this theme park offers a wide variety of rides and attractions for all ages.

Thrill-seekers will enjoy the park’s roller coasters and drop towers, while younger visitors can explore Thomas Land, a themed area based on the popular Thomas & Friends television series. With its blend of thrilling rides, family-friendly attractions, and a 15-acre zoo, Drayton Manor guarantees a fun-filled day for everyone.

Entry Fee: GBP 45.00; Location: Check Map
Address: Drayton Manor Dr, Fazeley, Mile Oak, Tamworth B78 3TW, United Kingdom.

9. Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Hippodrome
Photo: Google Maps/Thomas Williams

For lovers of theatre and performing arts, the Birmingham Hippodrome is a must-visit. As one of the UK’s busiest theatres, it hosts a diverse range of performances, including musicals, ballet, opera, and comedy shows.

The theatre is also the home venue for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, one of the UK’s leading classical ballet companies. With its stellar line-up of shows and stunning architecture, a visit to the Birmingham Hippodrome promises an unforgettable evening of entertainment.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB, United Kingdom.
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10. Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall
Photo: Google Maps/Symphony Hall

Another highlight for music enthusiasts is Symphony Hall, widely considered one of the world’s best concert halls for its superb acoustics.

This venue is the home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra but hosts a wide array of performances ranging from classical and jazz to world music and stand-up comedy. The beautiful design of the hall, coupled with the high-quality performances, ensures an unrivalled auditory experience.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA, United Kingdom.

11. Birmingham Back to Backs

Birmingham Back to Backs
Photo: Google Maps/Joolz Johnson

To delve into Birmingham’s past, a visit to the Birmingham Back to Backs is in order. Managed by the National Trust, this carefully preserved 19th-century courtyard of working people’s houses offers a rare glimpse into the lives of the ordinary people who helped fuel Birmingham’s industrial growth.

A guided tour will take you through these small houses, authentically furnished to reflect different periods in their history. This attraction offers a unique perspective on Birmingham’s past, making it a fascinating place to visit in the city.

Entry Fee: GBP 19; Location: Check Map
Address: 50-54, 55-63 Inge St, Hurst St, Birmingham B5 4TE, United Kingdom.

12. National Exhibition Centre (NEC)

National Exhibition Centre (NEC)
Photo: Google Maps/Greg Bowler

The National Exhibition Centre, commonly known as the NEC, is a premier venue in Birmingham that hosts a variety of events throughout the year. From concerts and trade shows to exhibitions and conventions, the NEC offers a diverse line-up that caters to many interests.

The venue’s ample space and state-of-the-art facilities make it an excellent location for large-scale events. Visiting the NEC to attend an event or exhibition should certainly be on your list of things to do in Birmingham.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: Pendigo Way, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1NT, United Kingdom.

13. Sutton Park

Sutton Park
Photo: Google Maps/David Arnold

For nature lovers, Sutton Park offers a tranquil escape within the city. As one of the largest urban parks in Europe, it covers more than 2,000 acres of diverse landscapes, including woodlands, heathlands, wetlands, and seven lakes.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities such as walking, cycling, bird watching, and even golfing. The park is also home to an array of wildlife, making it a nature lover’s paradise within the bustling city.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Park Rd, The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield B74 2YT, United Kingdom.

14. Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum

Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum
Photo: Google Maps/M Fz

The Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is a modern, interactive museum that makes learning about science fun for all ages. The museum’s exhibits cover a broad range of scientific fields, from astronomy and engineering to natural history and medicine.

Highlights include the Science Garden, a large outdoor exploration space, and the Planetarium, which offers immersive journeys through space. Whether you’re a science enthusiast or looking for a fun and educational day out with family, the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is a fantastic destination.

Entry Fee: GBP 15.40; Location: Check Map
Address: Millennium Point, Curzon St, Birmingham B4 7XG, United Kingdom.

15. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Photo: Google Maps/Sifat

The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is a dream come true for LEGO fans of all ages. This indoor attraction offers interactive rides, a 4D cinema, and multiple build-and-play zones where visitors can let their imaginations run wild with the iconic bricks.

One of the highlights is the MINILAND exhibit, which features intricate LEGO models of Birmingham’s iconic landmarks. Offering a mix of creativity, play, and learning, a visit to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is one of the exciting things to do in Birmingham.

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Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Arena, King Edwards Rd, Birmingham B1 2AA, United Kingdom.

16. Cannon Hill Park

Cannon Hill Park
Photo: Google Maps/Simon Arthur

Cannon Hill Park, located near Birmingham city centre, offers a blend of leisurely strolls, sporting activities, and cultural attractions. With over 80 acres of formal parkland and 120 acres of conservation and woodland plantation, it’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

The park also features tennis courts, a mini-golf course, and two children’s play areas. Additionally, it houses the Midlands Arts Centre, making it a hotspot for both relaxation and cultural pursuits, and definitely one of the must-see in Birmingham.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Russell Rd, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8RD, United Kingdom.

17. The National Motorcycle Museum

The National Motorcycle Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Neil Cairns

Motorcycle enthusiasts should not miss The National Motorcycle Museum. Located on the outskirts of Birmingham, the museum holds the world’s largest collection of British motorcycles, showcasing over 1,000 machines from 170 different manufacturers.

The museum’s exhibits trace the evolution of the British motorcycle industry from its inception to its peak. Even if you’re not a motorcycle fanatic, the museum offers a fascinating insight into British industrial history.

Entry Fee: GBP 15.00; Location: Check Map
Address: Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull B92 0EJ, United Kingdom.

18. The Coffin Works

The Coffin Works
Photo: Google Maps/Stephan Mills

The Newman Brothers Coffin Works offers a unique step back in time. This preserved Victorian factory, where fittings for coffins were once produced, is now a museum providing a fascinating insight into Birmingham’s industrial heritage.

Guided tours will take you through the factory’s production process, explaining the history of the Newman Brothers company and the significance of its products. A visit to The Coffin Works is certainly one of the more unusual things to do in Birmingham, but it promises a truly memorable experience.

Entry Fee: GBP 6; Location: Check Map
Address: 13-15 Fleet St, Birmingham B3 1JP, United Kingdom.

19. Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens

Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens
Photo: Google Maps/Rebecca Wyton

Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens provide a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. This restored 17th-century garden houses a vast collection of plants and features historical garden designs, including a holly maze and a wildflower meadow.

Visitors can take a leisurely walk through the gardens, participate in workshops, or attend one of the many events hosted throughout the year.

Entry Fee: GBP 4.50; Location: Check Map
Address: off Chester Rd, Hall Rd, Birmingham B36 9BT, United Kingdom.

20. Sarehole Mill Museum

Sarehole Mill Museum
Photo: Twitter/Ayse Birinci

The Sarehole Mill Museum is a charming piece of Birmingham’s history. This historic watermill, once used for grinding grain, inspired the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

Today, the mill is a museum showcasing its working machinery, tranquil gardens, and connections to Tolkien. Visitors can also explore the nearby Shire Country Park, making it a great day out for literature fans and families alike.

Entry Fee: GBP 6.00; Location: Check Map
Address: Cole Bank Rd, Birmingham B13 0BD, United Kingdom.

Conclusion

Whether you’re marvelling at world-class art, discovering fascinating marine creatures, or delving into the delicious world of chocolate, Birmingham offers a diverse range of experiences to explore. These attractions only scratch the surface of the things to do in Birmingham, a city where every visit brings new discoveries and adventures. So why wait? Start planning your trip to this dynamic city today.

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Hannah J

Hannah specializes in travel and lifestyle content. She has an innate ability to capture the essence of a place, from bustling city streets to serene mountain landscapes.