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Home of National Express, Birmingham is not only renowned for excellent transport links, it's also fantastic for shopping, culture and culinary delights.
Why not take a city break to the country's second capital city and become accustomed to the Brummie ways of life?
We've created the definitive guide for things to do while exploring Birmingham to make sure you get the most out of the city.
With such a diverse culture and wide-spread city, Birmingham has so much to do and see a city break might not be long enough. To help with your purse strings we've found these great things to do for free while exploring the second city.
East Side Park
East Side Park is the latest edition to Birmingham landscape. It's the first major, city centre park in 130 years. Located a short walk out of the city centre, its hybrid of greenery and urban sculptures makes a great place for relaxing with your lunch or taking a stroll from the main hussel and bussel of the city centre. The Park is also a popular hangout for skateboardrers.
Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum
Take a trip to the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum to wonder round one of its 40 galleries showcasing artwork dating back to 1885 and other cultural artefacts. With over 500,000 objects on show, we're sure you'll find something to interest and amaze you.
Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH. Opening hours: Monday - Thursday 1000 - 1700, Friday 1030 - 1700, Saturday 1000 - 1700 and Sunday 1230 - 1700.
Cannon Hill Park
Opened in 1873, Cannon Hill Park consists of 80 acres of greenland and 120 areas of conservation areas. With five tennis courts, a bowling green and a mini golf course, Cannon Hill Park is the perfect location on a sunny day. The park is also home to the Mac Theatre and Art Complex.
Cannon Hill Park, 2 Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8RD
Fancy improving your hand writing? Then a trip to the Pen Museum where you can learn about the production history of the steel pen in Birmingham. The Museum is located in the renowned Jewllery Quarter of the City, where you can also take a calligraphy class when visiting the museum.
The Pen Museum, Unit 3 The Argent Centre, 60 Frederick Street, Hockley, Birmingham, B1 3HS. Opening hours: open daily 1100 - 1600, Sunday 1300 - 1600.
Sometimes it's nice to know of a city's hidden gems and secret hot spots, so here's a few of the National Express team's favourite places to go off the beaten track when in Birmingham:
Best place for a bacon butty
With National Express' head offices situated above Birmingham Coach Station in Digbeth, we can give it on very good authority, that Chris' Cafe outside the coach station is the best place in Birmingham to get a really good bacon sandwich. If you're looking to pop in on a Friday, then there may be a long queue as this is generally the day for bacon sandwiches at the National Express offices. Unfortunately. Chris' Cafe doesn't have a website, however, if you walk around the coach station you'll come to the cafe.
Best place for a pint of real ale
The most recent edition to the ever-growing Birmingham pub scene is BrewDog. First established in Edinburgh, the Birmingham pub is part of BrewDog's recent UK expansion and offers an extreme-wealth of real ales and lagers from all over the world and beers brewed direct from the BrewDog Brewery. The food is also pretty good too.
BrewDog, 81 - 87 John Bright Street, Birmingham, B1 1BL
Best place for independent retailers
Originally the site of The Custard Factory was best known as the home of Birds Custard, however, more recently it is known as the home of all things independent, cool and eclectic in Birmingham. The Custard Factory is in the Digbeth area of Birmingham and features a range of independent shops, hairdressers, bars and restaurants. If you're looking for a vintage find, then you must pop into Mr Birds Emporium, which can only be described as a vintage department store, from clothes and shoes to homeware - it has everything under one roof. There are also some great cafes in the form of Yumm and The Greenhouse offering a range of great home cooked food.
The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA
Get back to nature
With Birmingham being the UK's second biggest city, it's quite a large and densely populated city and large areas of green spaces with wildlife and nature can be hard to come across. However, located two miles south of the city centre is the Birmingham Nature Centre. The centre houses a wide range of animals from across the world from Lynx, Lemurs, Meerkats and many more. Whether you're looking for a day out with the family or a relaxing conservation area out of the city, the Birmingham Nature Centre offers something for everyone.
Birmingham Nature Centre, Pershore Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7RL. Opening hours: April - October 1000 - 1700, October - April 1000 - 1600. Admission: Adults £4.50, Children 5 - 15 years old, £2.00, Children under 5 are free.
A fun and educational day out
If you’re looking for a place to take the kid’s on the weekend or in school holidays, then the Thinktank science museum is a great place to keep everyone entertained for hours. With over 200 hands on displays on science and technology, the kid’s will be learning at the same time as having fun. Don’t miss out on the Digital Planetarium, a 360° digital done cinema featuring films on music, science, astronomy and art.
Thinktank, Curzon Street, Birmingham, BA 7XG. Opening hours: open daily 1000 – 1700. Admission: Adults £11, children aged 2 – 15 £7.50.
We travel to Birmingham from over 340 locations nationwide. Prices start from £5 one-way.
Coach Station address: Birmingham Coach Station, Mill Lane, Birmingham B5 6DD.
We appreciate that there are so many things to do and see in Birmingham that this is only a scratch on the surface of all the great things to do and see in Birmingham. So if you'd like to find out even more about Birmingham, then why not take a look at Visit Birmingham for loads more great reasons to explore the city.