Once a hotbed of the Industrial Revolution, the city of Birmingham sits in the centre of the West Midlands and is one of the fastest evolving cities across the U.K. With a foodie scene to match the bustling street markets of London and more miles of canals than the city of Venice, Birmingham has become a favourite among those looking for a fun weekend in an undeniably friendly city.
Known as the U. K’s second city, Birmingham is constantly evolving, making it the perfect spot for a two-day city break. Expect extraordinary architecture, top shopping hotspots and delicious local grub; this is our expert guide to 48 hours in Birmingham.
Day 1 in Birmingham
Breakfast in Ju Ju’s Café
After dropping your bags at Clayton Hotel Birmingham, start out your day canal side with a delicious breakfast in Ju Ju’s Café. This family-run eatery opened its doors over ten years ago and has delivered some of the best breakfast and brunch in the city since.
Get there early and grab a seat out front so you can enjoy your breakfast with a panoramic view over the canal. The menu is packed with classic comforting breakfast options created from the freshest of ingredients and if you’re feeling so inclined, Ju Ju’s mimosa’s go well with pretty much everything! Take a relaxing walk along the canal afterwards before making your way towards your next stop.
Visit St. Philip’s Cathedral
A walk along the canal line and past the City Centre gardens will bring you to St. Philip’s Cathedral. Originally built in the 1700s, this cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham city and is home to incredible treasures and remarkable history.
While the church’s unique construction can be admired from the outside, it’s only when you take a step inside that you can truly admire the unique baroque-style architecture and the stunning stained-glass windows by Birmingham born artist, Edward Burne-Jones. There are guided tours available if you want to learn more about the history behind the cathedral or you can choose to explore the site at your own pace.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Prepare to dive deep into fascinating art history with a visit to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. This museum first opened in 1885 and is renowned for its diverse collections and fascinating exhibitions.
Discover the collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings (one of the largest public collections worldwide!), catch a glimpse at the largest amount of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found and absorb the engrossing history of Birmingham in the ‘Birmingham: its people, its history’ gallery. If you happen to be more science-minded, try out the award-winning Thinktank science museum; located just a short walk from St. Philip’s Cathedral.
Lunch in 200 Degrees
It’s time to fill your stomach with a mouth-watering lunch from one of Birmingham’s independent coffee shops: 200 Degrees. And as well as serving some of the best coffee around, their selection of sandwiches and salads are the perfect lunchtime filler!
We’d recommend you take your home-roasted coffee to go and take a ramble around the area of Colmore Row. Widely known as the business centre of Birmingham, this district is also home to the Great Western Arcade where you will find treasure troves of independent retail stores and quirky shops.
Sherborne Wharf’s Boat Tour
Take the chance to view Birmingham city from the water with a Sherborne Wharf’s Boat Tour. All tours jet off from the canal side, right next to the International Convention Centre.
Cruise along the Birmingham canals which were once the beating heart of commercial life in Birmingham, transporting coal, iron and other important heavy goods. On the narrowboat tour, you will see historical sites such as the original James Brindley Canal and Sir Thomas Telford’s Main Line.
Dinner at The Grill
Finish up your first day in Birmingham with a relaxing meal in the stylish Grill Restaurant at Clayton Hotel Birmingham. Serving up classic British cuisine using fresh, local produce, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Wash it down with a beer or a cocktail from the extensive bar menu while you recap on your day 1 activities!
Day 2 in Birmingham
Clayton Vitality Breakfast
With fresh bread and pastries, cheeses, yoghurts, fresh fruit, cereals and hot breakfast options of full English, vegetarian and Chef’s daily special there is something to suit everyone with our Vitality Breakfast.
With a busy itinerary filled with plans of things to do in Birmingham you can order a to go breakfast which includes orange juice, Special K milk & bowl, banana, yogurt, croissant with jam and butter and will be packed in a handy bag to take with you.
Walk around the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
A true oasis in the centre of Birmingham city, the Botanical Gardens boast over 15 acres of beautiful gardens and tropical flowers; making it the perfect spot to explore after a hearty breakfast!
There are four glasshouses on the grounds of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens; including the Subtropical House which showcases substantial trees such as palms and a giant bird-of-paradise plant, and the Mediterranean House which is packed with multicoloured foliage and citrus fruits. The Butterfly House is also worth passing by which is home to countless tropical butterflies.
Birmingham Back to Backs Tour
Take a step back in time and discover the lives led by just some of the residents that once lived in the back-to-backs on Birmingham Back to Backs Tour.
Given the nickname, because the houses were literally built back-to-back around a communal courtyard, this guided tour will give you the opportunity to learn about the lives of the working-class people who once lived there. Hear the stories of different occupants and get an insight into their lives on this immersive guided tour.
Lunch in Piccadilly Arcade
Take a short walk back into Birmingham centre to grab something for lunch in Piccadilly Arcade. Once a luxury cinema, Piccadilly Arcade was transformed into a community of independent shops in 1925.
Try out some fresh food from Sixteen Bakery or try out some deli-inspired food and craft cocktails in The Botanist located just across the road. Once you’ve filled your stomach, make sure to take the time to peruse just some of the unique boutiques and jewellers in the arcade to warm yourself up for your next stop!
Browse Birmingham’s Independent Shops
Birmingham independent shops are continuously growing so dedicating a late afternoon to window-shopping around some of the city’s most unique shops is always a good idea! Once you finish up in Piccadilly Arcade, it’s on towards Birmingham’s other hidden gems.
Visit the Great Western Arcade for one-of-a-kind pieces and the Custard Factory to experience one of the main creative hubs of the city. If you’re looking for a large range of independent retailers; make your way to the edge of the city to the Jewellery Quarter which is home to over 700 jewellers and homegrown retail shops.
Dinner in Lasan
One of the most beloved street food among Brums is Indian cuisine so although it might not seem it, it is incredibly fitting to finish up 48 hours in Birmingham in one of the city’s most popular Indian restaurants: Lasan.
Situated in the Jewellery Quarter, Lasan offers authentic Indian dishes created with classic ingredients. If you’re finding it hard to choose from the menu, opt for the Chef’s tasting menu to try out some of the Chef’s favourite items. If you fancy a post-dinner drink, the restaurant is right beside St Paul’s Square where you’ll find just some of the city’s most popular bars and clubs.
Four Star Hotel in Birmingham City Centre