Why should you visit Birmingham? Well, because you can cruise down a canal, buy delicious chocolates from the largest Cadbury shop in the world, see where J.R.R. Tolkien picked up some inspiration for his books and much more. So don’t wait. Book your hotel in Birmingham and see for yourself what this city offers. Below are five things that should be on every tourist’s itinerary.
Calling all chocoholics
Hours: Opening and closing times vary throughout the year, so check their website for details. Closed on bank holidays.
Admission: £15.95 for adults; £11.70 for children ages 4-15; £12 for senior citizens; free for those under 4 years old. Family tickets are also available.
Cadbury World is every chocolate lovers dream destination. Go on their factory tour to see how their chocolate is made, watch their chocolatiers delicately work on chocolate designs and learn the Cadbury story, all the while smelling the sweet aroma of their rich chocolate. No stop to Cadbury World would be complete without treating yourself at the World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop. There’s plenty of souvenirs and chocolaty goodness to choose from here.
Tip: Pre-book your tickets to guarantee you get in. Since it’s an indoor attraction, Cadbury World is limited on how many people are allowed inside at a time.
Be blinded by science
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Dec. 24-26.
Admission (see tip below!): £12.25 for adults 16+; £8.40 for children 3-15 years old; £8.40 for adults 60+ years. It’s £39 for a family of four.
Get ready to be thrust into the exciting world of science and technology at Thinktank. Inside this science museum are four floors filled with interactive displays and 10 themes with various hands-on galleries to experiment with on each floor. Don’t pass up the outdoor Science Garden where you learn about science and engineering and can even run on a giant hamster wheel. Thinktank Planetarium is another part of this museum, and entry is free with a museum ticket. This digital planetarium is a fulldome theater (or an immersive cinema) using 360 degree technology. It’s not just a place for viewing stars and planets like most planetariums. Visitors can also dive into and swim through the ocean or travel through the workings of the human body. It’s scientastic!
Tip: Admission is 10 percent cheaper if you buy your tickets in advance online.
Discover what inspired designs for the shire
Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday from 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. during their summer hours. Closed during the winter except for special events, pre-booked group visits and weekly public guided tours.
Admission (see tip below!): £3 for adults; £2 for concessions; free if under 16. Grounds and tearoom entry are free.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books and movies are very popular, and J.R.R. Tolkien created the Shire as the beautiful green land it is thanks to the Sarehole Mill. Tolkien spent part of his childhood near the mill, and this inspiration is what Sarehole is best known for. This Birmingham watermill is also one of the two surviving working ones in this city, but there’s more to do than just watch it run. Adventure through a part of the Tolkien Trail, check out the Signposts to Middle-Earth exhibition or test your skills with a net and see if you can catch any of the wildlife in the mill pool.
Tip: Entry is free on the first Sunday of the month.
Cruise down a canal
Hours: Starting tour hours vary among the different companies.
Admission: Prices differ between companies and the type of tour you go on.
Several canals pass through or around Birmingham, and back in the 1700s more than 100 boats passed through its center daily. Today, visitors can explore different parts of this city while on a canal cruise. It’s a great way to see scenic views of Birmingham and learn about its heritage while relaxing and soaking up the sun with friends and family. Sherborne Warf, Away2Canal and Second City Boats are three companies offering daily canal city boat tours.
Tip: Check out the various companies to compare prices and types of tours before booking one.
Browse through Birmingham’s gem
Hours: Shop and museum hours vary. Some shops are closed on Sundays. Some museums are closed on Mondays.
Admission: Most attractions in the Quarter have free entry.
The Jewellery Quarter is your place for everything. Those wanting fine dining, live music, bars, museums, galleries and shopping can find it all right here. But this area in Birmingham is most known for its jewelry scene. You’ll find more than 100 jewelry retailers, designers and craftsmen, along with gorgeous sparkling diamonds and other beautiful jewels that make a perfect gift for someone special or for yourself.
Tip: With so many shops and galleries, as well as events happening every day, check their site to look at the directory, store hours and event dates before visiting.