Birmingham is shedding its industrial past and is today one of the most forward-thinking and creative cities in the country. With free museums, historic footpaths and lots of green spaces, the second city in the UK is ideal for those on a limited budget. Here are ten free activities to do while visiting, whether you’re there for a fleeting business trip or a family break:
Walk the Tolkien Trail on Moseley Bog
Author of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien received initial inspiration from the Birmingham area for his books and the areas are now incredibly popular sites to visit. As a child, Tolkien would play at Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill. At Moseley Bog, you can follow the Tolkien Trail and visit Sarehole Mill which officially holds the Middle-earth weekend in May.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Although donations are welcomed, admission to the popular museum in the city centre is absolutely free. There are exhibitions that change periodically, an activity room for children, and a Victorian tearoom. Take a look at the globally famous Staffordshire Hoard and the biggest public collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world, all housed in a stunning Level II listed building, dating from 1885. Visit Birmingham from Irish Airports with https://irelandwestairport.com/
Digbeth Street Art
Known as the city’s creative quarter, Digbeth boasts some great street art. On the main street, you will pass The Old Crown (the oldest lodging in Birmingham that was built in 1368), the famous Irish Centre and the JFK memorial. Go a little off the track to see impressive industrial buildings juxtaposed with modern street art for which this quarter is known.
BBC Birmingham in the Mailbox
BBC Birmingham broadcasts from popular shopping centre and restaurant, the Mailbox and they open their doors to their visitor centre for free. Here you can see authentic clothing from the Peaky Blinders TV series, pose with Doctor Who’s Tardis and watch the news bulletin directly from the viewing area upstairs. Full studio tours do incur an entrance fee, but if children have the Blue Peter badge, they can enter free of charge with full-paying adults.
Lose yourself in a book in the Birmingham Library
The £ 188 million Birmingham library was opened in September 2013 and holds more than 300,000 books. Here you’ll find the beautiful Shakespeare Memorial Room. In summer, take books to the stunning 7th floor secret terrace garden to admire the spectacular views of the city around you.
Walk along the canal
Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice, so take a walk along one of the many canal paths in the city. The heart of the Birmingham canal network is in the midst of restaurants and shopping outlets and the winding footpath welcomes hundreds of ships and barges every day. Some of the best hidden stops in town are found by stretching your legs around the Gas Street Basin, including the charming Canalside Cafe and 19th-century pubs such as Tap & Spile. Feel tired? Catch the Waterbus to travel back!
Look at the view from Lickey Hills
Often referred to as the best view in the city, Lickey Hills Country Park is one of Birmingham’s most valuable parks and pedestrian paths. Located at the southernmost tip of the city, the 524-hectare forest area has one of the best views overlooking Birmingham.