If you’ve read my recent blog, I dropped down a list of things you can do alone this summer. And of course, I shouldn’t overlook the things you can do with your family and friends as well. So for today’s blog, I thought I’d write down things you can do in Birmingham this summer!
1. Visit the inspiration for ‘Lord of the Rings’ at Moseley Bog
What is it? A green idyll on the fringes of the city on the site of an old millpond.
Why go? Walk through this nature reserve full of plants, animals and insects, gnarled old trees, and gorgeous carpets of bluebells. The site is also historically significant, with two burnt mounds, the remains of an old mill dam and the foundations of Victorian greenhouses.
Don’t miss: Book a JRR Tolkien-themed tour at Sarehole Mill, on the outskirts of the bog. The ‘Lord of the Rings’ author grew up in the 1890s around Moseley Bog, which is said to have inspired the hobbit hangout The Shire.
2. Find tropical plants, birds and butterflies at the Botanical Gardens
What is it? Fifteen acres of ornamental gardens, glasshouses and exotic birds in indoor and outdoor aviaries.
Why go? The exotic world of tropical plant life at the Botanical Gardens is ideal for a family day out. The glasshouses are filled with unusual flora, and the lawns and shrubbery outside are ideal for a stroll this summer.
Don’t miss: The butterfly house is teeming with tropical insects from as far as the Philippines, Central America and tropical Africa.
3. Explore Brindleyplace and the canal quarter
What is it? Birmingham’s vibrant canal quarter is home to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, the National Sealife Centre and the Ikon Gallery.
Why go? The oft-quoted ‘more canals than Venice’ claim is a bit dubious – Birmingham is so much bigger it’s a ridiculous comparison – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a stroll through the canal quarter. It’s a true Cinderella neighbourhood, having been extensively redeveloped and packed with restaurants and bars.
Don’t miss: Use the historic Roundhouse building as a base from which to explore by boat, bike or foot.
4. Experience the Jewellery Quarter
What is it? Pack a full day – and night – of fun in this increasingly popular part of town, where you’ll find everything from exhibitions to nightclubs.
Why go? Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, with over 200 listed buildings and over 250 years of history, should be on any Brum itinerary. English Heritage has designated Europe’s largest cluster of jewellery businesses as a “national treasure.” The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, the Pen Museum and Newman Brothers Coffin Works are all must-sees for museum buffs. With all of the pubs, restaurants, galleries and independent boutiques in the area, there’s something for everyone.
Don’t miss: If you want to make a night of it, stay at BLOC, which is close to the ever-popular JQ nightclub. Try Jam House, or if you’re looking for something even later and livelier, Brum’s up-for-it generation descends on the Actress & Bishop around 1am, with no intention of keeping it quiet.
5. Follow in the footsteps of Birmingham’s baddest gang on the ‘Peaky Blinders’ tour
What is it? Stalk the very same streets as the real Peaky Blinders on these dedicated tours.
Why go? Because you enjoy the show and want to emulate Birmingham’s most notorious criminal gang. Visit the lock-up at Steelhouse Lane police station, where some of the gang were incarcerated, on a Peaky Tour in Digbeth.
Don’t miss: Further afield at the wonderful open-air Black Country Living Museum, you can see the TV show’s sets for yourself.
6. Go behind the scenes at Edgbaston cricket ground
What is it? The home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, plus numerous England fixtures.
Why go? Nothing is more quintessentially English than a game of cricket, and Birmingham has one of the best places to watch one. Edgbaston is well known as one of the most atmospheric international test grounds in the country.
Don’t miss: Take a tour of the stadium to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Warwickshire and England changing room, the field, the media centre and more.