A weekend in BirminghamFriday 07 August 2015 by Rebecca Dunn Birmingham is a hugely diverse city, the second largest in the UK outside London and a major business hub. It has an unfair reputation (in our opinion) of being a little grim, but a scratch below the surface reveals a vibrant café and bar scene, with loads of brilliant things to do and places to eat. Here’s our choice of the best.
After leaving your apartment, start the day with breakfast at York’s Bakery. Their avocado and feta sourdough breakfast is one of the best breakfasts in town, but if you fancy something more traditional, they do a classic breakfast too.
If the weather is nice, head to the Botanical Gardens. With four fabulous glasshouses, and acres of stunning landscaped gardens and lawns, they’re a must for sunny days. The British National Bonsai Collection is housed at the gardens and they’re also home to a range of unusual trees and birds, making this a must for any biology enthusiasts out there!
Although the Botanical Gardens has a lovely café, Lost and Found has one of the best afternoon teas in Birmingham. The fabulous location makes it well worth a visit too, with lanterns and planting making it feel slightly other-worldly.
After recharging your batteries, head to the Bullring for some retail therapy. With over 140 stores including Selfridges and the fourth largest Debenhams in the country, you’re sure to find something that takes your fancy! If shopping isn’t your thing, head to the Library of Birmingham; despite sounding like an unusual destination, it’s well worth a visit, even if just to admire the architecture from the outside.
Once you’ve shopped until you dropped (or perhaps until your purse is empty) head back to the apartment to freshen up before heading out for dinner. Birmingham is full of great places to eat, and there’s something to suit any tastes! If you fancy tapas, head to Bar Estilo which is just a short walk from the apartments. Despite the casual atmosphere, the food is absolutely delicious and it’s a lovely bar if you fancy a few drinks after. If tapas doesn’t float your boat, Cucina Rustica is another must, fresh Italian dining with some of the best home-made bread and olives ever!
If you feel like a few drinks after your meal, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are plenty of places to choose from on Colmore Row, but some of our favourites are a little further; The Botanist is a nice place for a quiet evening, and they have live music on almost every day. If cocktails are your thing, head to Jekyll & Hyde which also have a gin parlour hidden away upstairs as well!
If you had a few too many last night, All Bar One on Brindleyplace is ideal, both in terms of location (It’s practically outside the apartments) and the food. A classic pub breakfast, generous portions are exactly what’s needed after a slightly heavy night!
Next up, pop across the road and head to the Sea Life Centre, not just for kids! With over 60 displays, including the 1 million litre ocean tank, there’s plenty to keep you entertained for a whole day.
If you’re feeling indulgent, why not treat yourself to a spa session at Bannatyne which is just minutes from the apartments. Otherwise, a walk along the canal is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and you’ll find plenty of places to stop off along the way to pick up some lunch. One of our favourites is the Fleet Street Kitchen.
Although, technically, a trip to Birmingham wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Balti Triangle, it’s a little way from the apartments. If you don’t fancy venturing so far, Asha’s is just a fifteen minute walk from the apartments and serves delicious contemporary Indian cuisine.