Let’s be honest … the sunny and hot days are over (at least for now). But still my family decided to visit me from Portugal last week just like they did a year ago when they came to say goodbye as I started my first year at uni. They also love to do new things and get to know new places so I decided to make a list of things to do around Birmingham with them and share it with you, so you can take your family, friends or even just yourself to do some of them! Birmingham is a big city but I’d also recommend that you explore beyond the city centre – get on a train and get out of your comfort zone. That’s how you will be able to enjoy your time at university to the fullest – get out of your comfort zone, get to know new places and people, don’t say no to a good adventure and accept every opportunity that life gives you!
One of the prettiest parts of Birmingham is its canals so my family and I were indecisive between wandering around by foot or doing a canal boat tour. We ended up choosing the first option as it’s free (students love free things) and we could take the time we wanted to explore. We ended up in a very peaceful part of Birmingham where I had never been before and it was amazing to appreciate the contrast between the buzz of the city and the greenery of the canal.
In terms of art there are at least three places in Birmingham that you can visit for free – Ikon Galery, MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) and BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery). They are all amazing and in the museum it’s possible to see from time to time temporary exhibitions that I always find really interesting. At the moment you can visit Dippy the dinosaur there!
MAC is situated in a beautiful park – Cannon Hill Park – one of my favourite places to go when the sun is out in Brum. In there you can pedal for 30 minutes on a swan boat or visit the red pandas at the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. But if you are like me and enjoy being active then I would totally recommend taking some badminton rackets with you and play at the park, or even gather your family and play a fun mini golf game. My family had never played before and they loved it. The price is really good and the place is not over-crowded at all.
Another super fun activity to do with your family and friends is laser tag!! I found a cheap voucher online on VoucherCodes to go and play at Laser Quest in Acocks Green (it was just £16 for four people to play two games of 20 minutes). It was an amazing plan for a rainy Sunday, especially as I won.
For the rest of the day we visited Digbeth and The Custard Factory hoping for the rain to stop (which it eventually did 😊)
There are a lot of places to play bowling around the city but our favourite is definitely the Tenpin at Star City. Every day there is a different discount, especially for students. You can play two games of bowling for £5 or even £7.69 for unlimited bowling. Do keep in mind that if you live in the city centre you may need to get on a bus or take an Uber, however I do think it’s worth it (especially if you share the cost of transport).
For the last day we visited one of my favourite places in the UK – Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. I just find it a relaxing town with pretty houses and shops with amazing crepes and fudge. To be honest I could just stare at the river listening to acoustic songs all day long.
Unfortunately my family was here for just a week so we weren’t able to do everything we had planned, however I’ll list below the rest of the activities so you can go ahead and visit them.
-Escape Live Game
-Visit Warwick and its castle
-Watch a theatre show
-Sea Life Centre
As you can see there are so many activities to do in Birmingham city centre and beyond, and be aware that every week there are a lot of new events as well. For example, a fun fair at Cannon Hill Park, the recent celebration of the Royal Air Force in Victoria Square or even The Great Game Treasure Hunt that will take place in Birmingham for the month of September.
Explore and have fun in your new city!