As the capital of the midlands, also known as the 'first manufacturing town in the world', Birmingham is a city full of history and plenty of interesting things to do. More than just the eye-catching Bullring shopping centre, the UK’s second largest city has a wide variety of affordable hotels and an ample amount of hidden gems that rival any other major cities’ offerings. Here, we break down a few of the top recommendations from those who know the town best.


    The Birmingham Kitty Cafe: Cat Café and Cat Rescue Centre

    Calling all cat lovers! The Birmingham Kitty Cafe is a unique experience to say the least. Sip on a latte and indulge in a scrumptious piece of cake with the likes of Gismo, Mango and Comet, some of the Kitty Cafe’s resident purrers. The Kitty Cafe not only allows visitors to dine with and pet the cats, but it also doubles as a rescue center. So, if you fall in love with one furry friend while you’re there, you just might be able to take them home too!

    The menu includes your usual cafe suspects, such as paninis, wraps and cakes. But the cafe also offers comfort foods including jacket potatoes, pizza and even quesadilla! If you’ve ever wondered what an afternoon tea with cats might be like, the Kitty Cafe can help you answer that question too! With plenty of food and drink options, and proceeds going to help look after the rescue cats, The Birmingham Kitty Cafe truly is a cat lover’s paradise.

    As recommended by Emma of Adventures of a London Kiwi.


    Barber Institute of Fine Art

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    Art enthusiasts will know the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, but the city is home to several other wonderful galleries that are worth exploring. On campus at the University of Birmingham lies the Barber Institute of Fine Art, which houses one of the finest small collections of European art in the UK. The gallery is enclosed in a purpose built Art Deco building designed by the architect Robert Atkinson in the 1930s, and was officially opened by Queen Mary in 1939.

    The Barber Institute boasts works by some of the world’s most renowned artists spanning multiple artistic eras, including Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Boticelli and Turner. With works in a variety of styles including watercolours, sculptures and drawings, the gallery has a little bit of something for every art lover.

    Learn more about the museums in Birmingham from Sally Akins.

    The Barber is temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Please call or check the gallery website for reopening dates and times.


    The Mailbox

    Sitting on top of Birmingham’s canals in the city centre is popular shopping and dining destination, The Mailbox. With shops, restaurants and cinemas, it’s hard to imagine that the canals on which the Mailbox sits on top of were once the beating heartline of Birmingham and the Black Country.

    Venice is a city famous for its canals and gondola rides. However, Birmingham is actually home to more miles of canal waterways than the Italian city! With 35 miles to Venice’s 26, Birmingham’s canal network was once crucial to the development of Birmingham and the Black Country. During the Industrial Revolution, the canals were used to transport essential materials such as coal and iron from Birmingham and the Black Country to other cities and towns. Today, the canals are no longer essential for transporting goods. However, they’re still very much in use, but in a slightly more scenic manner.

    The Mailbox’s several canalside restaurants allow for wonderful views of the canals while enjoying a weekend brunch or a candlelit dinner. Visitors can walk alongside the canals in the outdoor section of The Mailbox and explore a great selection of restaurants and bars to unwind in.

    As recommended by blogger Kirsty Leanne.


    Eat Your Way Through Digbeth Dining Club

    Just outside of Birmingham’s city centre in the neighbourhood of Digbeth lies the local favourite, Digbeth Dining Club. Founded in 2012, the street food event has brought in Michelin-star chefs, former Masterchef finalists and the top street food vendors in the country to the heart of the Midlands. The organizers take pride in the vendors they choose, as each trader is carefully vetted to ensure that customers receive top quality cuisines, but also at an affordable price.

    Aside from delicious food, the Dining Club also offers live entertainment and a bustling atmosphere. And with only just a few steps away from Ghetto Golf, visitors can make a full night out of their visit to the street food event by putting in a round of mini golf to top off the evening! The Digbeth Dining Club runs from Thursday through Sunday and visitors can check out #DigbethDiningClub to see what kind of food is offered on the night you attend!

    As recommended by blogger Sian Victoria.

    Please check the Digbeth Dining Club website for reopening times, and events during Covid.


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