Birmingham’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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FACT. The Midlands is home to some of the finest tourist attractions in the UK. From adrenaline-fuelled visits to theme parks and culture fixes at museums & art galleries, to action-packed days out at adventure farms and fun educational experiences at heritage sites, the region boasts plenty of fabulous places to visit and brilliant activities to enjoy.
National Tourism Week is this year taking place from 22 to 31 May, so why not show your support for our wonderful local attractions by heading along and having some fun...
Here’s our pick of the best…
THINKTANK BIRMINGHAM SCIENCE MUSEUM Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham, B4 7XG
Thinktank features over 200 interactive exhibits on science and discovery, a programme of workshops, shows and demonstrations, and a digital planetarium.
It also boasts its very own mini city: MiniBrum. A child-sized world created with children under the age of eight in mind, MiniBrum features several different play zones, including a transport area, shops, a park and a construction site with slide.
There are also specifically designed sensory areas for babies.
New for 2021: Our Changing Planet is a brand addition exploring how humans have changed the world and how these changes are affecting the wildlife around us.
To book your tickets to Thinktank, head to birminghammuseums.org.uk/thinktank
TREETOP ADVENTURE GOLF Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham, B5 4BU
A brand-new mini golf experience opens its doors at Birmingham’s Bullring Shopping Centre this summer.
Set within ‘a mighty rainforest’, Treetop Adventure Golf features two 18-hole indoor courses.
Participants can choose to tackle the Tropical Trail’s Mystic Wood or the ruins of the Ancient Explorer. There’s also a bonus 19th hole that gives players the chance to win a free round should they achieve a hole-in-one.
Commenting on the new visitor attraction, Treetop Adventure Golf’s co-founder & CEO, Elizabeth Stanway, said: “Our jungle will be open seven days a week, for everything from family days out to student hangouts, date nights, work get-togethers and celebrations. Birmingham has always been a landmark location, and we’re so excited to be launching in the heart of the city centre.”
Book your tickets for Treetop Adventure Golf at adventuregolf.com/birmingham
THE BEAR GRYLLS ADVENTURE National Exhibition Centre, Marston Green, Birmingham, B40 1PA
Celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls has certainly pulled out all the stops with this popular visitor attraction.
Activities include high ropes, indoor archery, indoor climbing, escape rooms and a Royal Marines-inspired assault course.
For the ‘more courageous’ (as if some of the above didn’t require courage!), The Fear Zone challenges you to ‘sharpen your mind and find your inner strength’ by taking on the challenge of navigating the area in complete darkness.
Alternatively, try venturing to the depths of the deep blue sea with Shark Drive. The site’s tropical tank allows adventurers to get ‘up close and personal’ with black tip reef sharks and cownose rays.
Fancy experiencing the thrill of free-falling at 12,000ft without having to jump out of a plane? Then iFly is for you. This weightless adventure takes place in a wind tunnel and comprises two one-minute flights to get the adrenaline pumping.
To find out more about The Bear Grylls Adventure and to book your tickets, visit beargryllsadventure.com
CADBURY WORLD Linden Rd, Bournville, Birmingham, B30 2LU
A veritable wonderland of chocolate delights and related activities, Cadbury World remains one of Birmingham’s most popular family attractions. A visit to the Bournville-located venue kicks off with a chocoholic’s dream journey in Aztec Jungle, where visitors travel back more than 1,000 years to the tropical rainforest of the Mayan Indians and discover the origin of the cocoa tree.
A stop-off in Europe follows, to find out about the arrival of cocoa in England, after which there’s the chance to drop in on Birmingham’s Bull Street, where John Cadbury opened his first shop.
Other highlights include a 4D Chocolate Adventure, Cadabra Ride, Purple Planet, African Adventure Play Area and, perhaps most magically of all, the world's biggest Cadbury shop. Tastebuds at the ready...
To guarantee entry prebooking is advised, book your tickets at www.cadburyworld.co.uk/en
NATIONAL SEALIFE CENTRE BIRMINGHAM The Water’s Edge, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HL
As well as featuring more than 2,000 creatures - including a colony of gentoo penguins, black-tip reef sharks and a giant green sea turtle - National Sea Life Centre Birmingham is now also home to a world-class rescue facility. As part of a pioneering education & conservation project, the centre welcomed the UK’s first ever sea otters, Ozzy and Olain, early last year.
Other Sea Life Centre highlights include the 4D cinema, the zebra shark in Shark Lagoon and the Clownfish Kingdom tunnel.
The centre also boasts the UK's only 360° Ocean Tunnel, in which visitors can marvel at hundreds of underwater creatures swimming overhead and underneath as they enjoy the truly unique experience of ‘walking through the sea’!
For guaranteed entry to National Sealife Centre, book your tickets at visitsealife.com/birmingham
LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTRE Utilita Arena Birmingham, King Edwards Road, Birmingham, B1 2AA
Legoland Discovery Centre is a great place to share creative play time with your little ones.
The centre houses a city builder area, a duplo farm, two rides - Kingdom’s Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice Ride - and a 4D cinema. But perhaps the most impressive attraction at the venue is Lego Miniland.
Built from more than 1.5 million Lego bricks, Miniland is a replica of Birmingham. The model includes Lego constructions of the Library of Birmingham, Bullring, the BT Tower and The Mailbox. It also features interactive elements; children can entertain themselves by racing boats along the canal or getting stuck into a game of football at the ‘mish-mash’ of Aston Villa’s and Birmingham City’s stadiums.
Pre-book your tickets to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at legolanddiscoverycentre.com/birmingham
BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS Westbourne Rd, Edgbaston, B15 3TR
Set in 15 acres of landscaped greenery, Birmingham Botanical Gardens was established in 1829, since which time it’s been one of the city’s top attractions. With four glasshouses - tropical, subtropical, Mediterranean and arid - there are plenty of unusual and amazing-looking plants to discover.
The site also has its very own playground, tearoom and garden gift shop, all of which are surrounded by some of the most beautiful gardens in the UK.
To find out more about Birmingham Botanical Gardens and to book tickets, head to birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk
ACKERS ADVENTURE Golden Hillock Rd, Birmingham B11 2PY
Ackers Adventure is a local charity offering a wide range of outdoor activities taking place within a green wildlife haven just two miles from Birmingham city centre.
Whether you're an individual or in a family or group, Ackers offers a host of options. You can scale the heights of the three climbing walls, explore the Grand Union Canal by canoe, kayak or bellboat, whizz down the 100-metre ski slope or 25-metre toboggan slope, aim for a hole-in-one on the woodland disc golf course, or test your team-working abilities with the obstacle course, team-building tasks or bushcraft survival skills sessions.
To find out more about Ackers Adventure and to book your activities, head to ackers-adventure.co.uk
CANNON HILL PARK Russell Rd, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8RD
Situated less than two miles from the centre of Birmingham, Canon Hill Park has achieved Green Flag status for the previous ten years and features walkways and cycle routes along side the River Rea aimed at catering for wildlife enthusiasts, those seeking exercise and people looking for a good day out.
The park also has a 36-hole Golden Putter mini golf, suitable for all ages - the course is also wheelchair accessible, allowing everyone to take part. Also on site is The Fun Park, packed with games and rides for toddlers to 10 year olds, including the Hill Billy Railway Train Ride through the park.
Find out more about Cannon Hill Park at cannonhillpark.co.uk
In less than a 45-minute drive time from Birmingham, you'll come across these great attractions...
BLISTS HILL VICTORIAN TOWN Legges Way, Ironbridge, TF7 5UD
One of 10 award-winning museums that make up the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Blists Hill Victorian Town offers visitors the chance to step back in time to the days of Queen Victoria. Set over 52 acres, the museum has plenty to offer and is very much an interactive experience.
There are general drapers, blacksmiths, a pharmacy (also home to a particularly gruesome dentist room) and the bank, where you can exchange your new money for old and try to manage with pounds, shillings and pence.
Thankfully Victorians liked food & drink just as much as we do(!) - so if you’re feeling peckish, pay a visit to the fried fish dealer and enjoy traditionally cooked fish & chips. Alternatively, pop into the New Inn - not only does it serve a fine ale, it also has a tearoom upstairs with some healthier-eating options.
Blists Hill has a funfair, too - complete with carousel, chair-o-planes and game stalls - a funicular train and a clay mine ride to enjoy.
New for 2021: An exciting outdoor adventure experience with elevated walkways, a log-style basket swing, seesaw and lookout tower with a coal chute slide.
Pre-booking is advised, visit ironbridge.org.uk
ROYAL AIR FORCE MUSEUM COSFORD Shifnal, Shropshire TF11 8UP
Telling the story of aviation history and housing one of the largest collections of its kind in the UK, RAF Cosford is home to more than 70 historic aircraft displayed in three wartime hangars on an active airfield.
The museum’s other attractions include the interactive National Cold War Exhibition - which tells the story of the Cold War while highlighting the ideologies of both sides - and a collection entitled The War In The Air - an examination of the role of British, German and Japanese aircraft in the development of aviation.
Virtual tours, fun’n’flight hands-on activities and dedicated conservation and exhibition areas further add to the venue’s impressive offer.
Booking is essential, head to rafmuseum.org.uk to find out more.
NATIONAL FOREST ADVENTURE FARM Tatenhill, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, DE13 9SJ
This family-run attraction provides 40 acres of safe outdoor space and comes complete with a nine-acre maize maze to explore.
Visitors can take a stroll around the outdoor paddocks and barns, get ‘up close and personal’ with a range of animals, or hop on board a tractor for a ride around the site.
There are plenty of animal demonstrations to check out, too - everything from pony grooming to egg collecting - as well as a host of other attractions to enjoy, including pedal go-karts, crazy golf, water splash-out and a JCB Big Dig Zone.
Prebooking is essential to visit National Forest Adventure Farm, book your tickets at adventurefarm.co.uk
HOO ZOO AND DINOSAUR WORLD Hadley, Telford TF6 6DJ
Formally known as Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom, the award-winning attraction will reopen this Easter with some new prehistoric residents, 15 full size moving dinosaurs and ancient beasts in their brand-new Hoo-Rassic World.
The site is also home to a menagerie of creatures, including owls, binturong, racoons, skunks, badgers, lizards, snakes, lemurs, meerkats and alpaca, and boasts 32 acres of woodland and paddocks.
To book your tickets for Hoo Zoo and Dinosaur World, head to hoofarm.com
BLACK COUNTRY LIVING MUSEUM Tipton Rd, Dudley DY1 4SQ
Get stuck into some old-school fun at the Black Country Living Museum this summer holiday. The award-winning venue boasts more than 30 period shops and houses to explore, while a host of famous characters help bring the region’s fascinating history to life.
Visitors can also participate in some deceptively simple old-school street games outside the back-to-backs and learn their ABCs backwards in an authentic Edwardian school lesson.
Pay for one visit and the museum will give you a BCLM UnChained Annual Pass valid for 12 months.
Prebooking is essential, book your tickets to Black Country Living Museum at bclm.co.uk
DUDLEY ZOO Castle Hill, Dudley DY1 4QF
As well as being home to 1,300 animals and nearly 200 species, the 83-year-old Dudley Zoological Gardens also features an 11th century castle, limestone caverns, 12 Grade-2 listed Tecton buildings and the country’s only vintage chairlift.
Much of the animal collection is linked to international conservation and breeding programmes.
Endangered species in evidence at the venue include Asiatic lions, Sumatran tigers, Bornean orangutans, Tibetan red pandas, Rothschild giraffes, Madagascan lemurs and the UK’s largest parent-reared colony of Humboldt penguins.
Pre-booking is essential to ensure social distancing, to find out more and to book your tickets, visit dudleyzoo.org.uk
HIMLEY HALL & PARK Himley Rd, Himley, Dudley DY3 4DF
Set in 180 acres of grounds the original manor - belonging to the Earl of Dudley - was demolished to make way for the 'new' hall which still stands today. Within the grounds is situated a great lake which is fed from a selection of waterfalls, taken from smaller pools. The park is now visited by over 200,000 visitors each year. To find out more, visit himleyhallandpark.co.uk
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