1) First go for coffee!
Birmingham has some fantastic independent coffee shops and luckily some of our favourites are a stone’s throw from New Street station and on the way to the Library of Birmingham. Head past the chains inside the station and check out Faculty in Piccadilly Arcade or Medicine on New Street. Both do delicious cakes to go with your caffeine fix – Medicine’s cronuts are particularly fantastic. Nearby Yorks regularly features in lists of the best places to have brunch in the UK and is also well worth a visit.
Flat whites at Faculty, Piccadilly Arcade
2) Have a cocktail (or a beer)
You won’t be short of places to enjoy a drink during your stay in Birmingham with lots of great bars for you to try. Local Michelin starred chef Glynn Purnell’s cocktail bar and bistro is on Newhall Street, very close to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Purnell’s Bistro & Ginger’s Bar has a varied cocktail menu for all tastes and a regularly changing specials list. One of our recent favourites was Captain Purnelli’s Mandarin J
Cocktails at Purnell’s Bistro and Ginger’s Bar
The Lost and Found on Bennetts Hill is in the beautiful former National Provincial Bank building and is another great option for a cocktail.
For those of you who prefer a beer, The Wellington is a five minute walk from New Street station where you can find a large range of interesting real ales and nearby Purecraft Bar and Kitchen sells specialist beers from around the world.
3) Grab a bite to eat
As you’d expect there is no shortage of places to eat while you are in Birmingham. At Grand Central you’ll find lots of choice including Indian street food at Mowgli and Comptoir Libanais which serves Lebanese and Middle Eastern food.
Outside there are plenty of other options and some of our favourites are Damascena for the best falafels in Birmingham, Turkish coffee and views of Birmingham Cathedral, Bodega for delicious South American food and margaritas and Natural Bar and Kitchen for innovative and delicious vegan food.
Damascena Vegan nachos at Natural Kitchen and Bar
4) Enjoy the canals
One thing you’re bound to hear at least once during your time in Birmingham is that we have more miles of canals that Venice! Canal boat trips set off from Gas Street basin or Sherborne Wharf and are a great way to see the city centre sights or you can walk along the canal to the Mailbox. The Mailbox, five minutes from New Street station, is where you can find fantastic shopping as well as canal-side restaurants and bars. Previously a Royal Mail sorting office (hence the name), Harvey Nichols, LK Bennett, Tom’s Kitchen, Miller and Carter and lots more are based at the Mailbox so it is well worth a visit. BBC Birmingham is also based there and it is where each episode of Radio 4 favourite The Archers is recorded.
Finally if you find you have time after all coffee, cocktails and shopping, there’s lots of culture you can enjoy while you’re here. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a vibrant museum in the city centre with over 40 galleries, the most highly valued hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold, the largest known complete Indian bronze sculpture and a whole collection of Egyptian mummies and coffins. Ikon is an internationally acclaimed art gallery a short walk from the Library of Birmingham that features artists from around the world. Birmingham Cathedral on Colmore Row is a Grade 1 listed building built in the Baroque style and one of the smallest cathedrals in England. The UK’s oldest working cinema The Electric is located just outside New Street station and boasts luxury sofas, waiter service and a full bar.
Birmingham Cathedral, Colmore Row