Two days in Birmingham

(25 Posts)
Best1sWest Mon 10-Feb-14 19:11:22

Me and DH have two days on the loose in Birmingham while DS is at ComiCon next month. What shall we do with ourselves?

I used to be a student in the Midlands and I have great memories of the place but has it changed beyond all recognition?

Best1sWest Mon 10-Feb-14 19:11:50

That was 30 years ago by the way.

DoItTooJulia Mon 10-Feb-14 19:20:09

Birmingham city centre is huge now. You could mooch around the Bullring and Selfridges if you like shopping. The Art gallery is just up New street too.

Posh nosh is Turners, Purnells, Simpsons (all Michelin starred). There are loads of chain restaurants, or more exciting ones like Bodega too.

Brindley Place is along the canal and you can do a short water taxi ride around the canal basin for £4 and get lunch by the canal (handmade Burger Company, Wagamama, Cafe Rouge, Carluccios etc) and the ikon gallery is just around the corner.

If you have a car and fancy a walk you could go to the Lickey Hills.

Need more?

DoItTooJulia Mon 10-Feb-14 19:24:00

I forgot to mention curry! You can't come to Birmingham and not eat curry!

Jyoti's is recommended in this years Waitrose good food guide, but it's a taxi ride from the city centre.

City centre, high end curry can be found at Lassans, Itchaaas (sp) and Ashas. Venture into the balti triangle for a more rustic experience.

Best1sWest Mon 10-Feb-14 19:37:47

There's a Selfridges? I remember the Bullring as being a bit scary but exciting. Is it all posh shops now? The Art gallery is definitely on my list as I used to be a frequent visitor there. I like the sound of the Water taxi ride so will put that on the list.

A good curry will go on the list too.

PartyConfused Mon 10-Feb-14 20:01:54

Love Ashas! Highly recommend.

Imax cinema at ThinkTank?
Mailbox for drinks and restaurants (and Harvey Nicks!).
yy to Lickeys!
Ice skating in Solihull?
New Library! Havent been yet but looks amazing.

Best1sWest Mon 10-Feb-14 20:11:13

We'll be on the train so will probably stick to the town centre. Harvey Nicks as well? DH will be in his element (he loves shopping).

Are the back to backs worth visiting? Looks like my kind of thing.

Asha's is nice and does some good lunchtime deals.

Go to the Electric Cinema - a lovely restored art deco cinema, and they serve wine, beer and sometimes even cocktails.

The Ikon Gallery is in Brindley Place and worth a look. Modern art and not v big, but the building is lovely and they do nice pots of tea! Cielo is a posh Italian place, also in Brindley Place.

Good coffee shop = Cafe Blend, near the Mailbox. Lots of people like Urban Coffee Company, but they never get it hot enough for me!

Only1scoop Mon 10-Feb-14 20:13:20

Best West you really will have a shock grin
Harvey Nichs in the Mailbox and other nice Bars etc....

Best1sWest Mon 10-Feb-14 20:20:18

Sounds like I won't recognise the place! I like the look of the ikon Gallery. Hotel is just round the corner from Asha's too.

The foodie scene has improved and there's some decent indie coffee shops off Colmore Row, Urban Coffee Company being one (though it's a bit pricey). Boston Tea Party has good coffee and food that doesn't cost the earth. I love how spacious and airy the venue is.

The Ikon Gallery is always interesting and never busy.

The new library is worth a gawp inside, especially for the view from the top.

The absolute best thing for me about Birmingham, however, is the plethora of places that seek filled baguettes for just 99p!

I personally dislike the Bullring and never ever go there on Fridays - Sundays unless desperate.

Best1sWest Mon 10-Feb-14 20:25:09

Can't wait now. I can't believe I haven't been back for 30 years.

Yes to a mooch around the library, esp the roof garden and the Shakespeare room.

I like Selfridges. Otherwise the Bullring is nothing to write home about and frequently horrible.

The new bull ring is great for getting lost and confused in grin and on a good day Hollister have their half dressed men.

DD1 wants to go to the library. It looks amazing from the out side. NewStreet station and the pavilions are as scruffy as ever.

Best1sWest Mon 10-Feb-14 20:39:58

I work in the centre of Cardiff which has plenty of shops so I'm not looking for the usual set of city centre shops but we don't have a Selfridges or a Harvey Nicks. I love libraries so like the sound of that too.

madas Mon 10-Feb-14 21:21:17

Trip on the canal, a few good real ale pubs. As you said the back to backs well worth a gander.

'New Street is as scruffy as ever'?! It had a multi-million refurbishment! Is it ongoing?). Mind you, I still dislike it - it has to be the busiest and unpleasant station in the country with lots of 'characters' hanging around.

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Mon 10-Feb-14 21:34:06

York's Bakery just off Colmore Row does amazing coffee, cakes and brunch. Pizza there too. Six8 cafe at the back of Rackham's is good too.

BUT my current fave thing (and has been for about 18 months now) in town is Loki wine. It's in The Great Western Arcade (between Rackham's and Colmore Row) and it's a wine shop where you can buy a card and insert it in magic machines and choose a sample size and try about 20 different wines. It's awesome, and the guy who owns it is lovely and v knowledgeable. And if you need something to soak up the samples they'll fetch you a little platter from the deli opposite.

Can also recommend Ginger's fir cocktails, the Jekyll and Hyde for drinks, Selfridges for shopping and Marco Pierre White's at the top of the Cube for drinks/dinner.

IceNoSlice Mon 10-Feb-14 21:41:49

Yy to Yorks, library and a wander along the canal.

New Street station isn't finished yet - it's still covered in hoarding and will be for some time yet. There's going to be a massive John Lewis on top of it eventually - unless the money runs out I guess!

paneer Mon 10-Feb-14 23:28:29

the new library is def worth a visit. custard factory was brilliant on a Saturday (not sure if it was a one off market).
Boston tea party amazing chorizo and baled eggs.
(not a local).

paneer Mon 10-Feb-14 23:29:14

ah yes forgot about loki wines - it is genius!

BackforGood Mon 10-Feb-14 23:41:29

Yes, definitely put aside a couple of hours for the new Library - it's lovely, and you can sit out on the rooftop gardens if it's not raining sideways like it was when I was there
Just strolling through the ICC / Symphony Hall / Refurbished Rep / Centenary Square / Chamberlain Square / Victoria Square will be a big (and lovely) surprise to you if you've not been for 30 years. smile
Then down the now partly pedestrianised New Street to the Bull ring and St Martins and the markets.
Also along the canals and Brindley Place are nice. Sea life Centre is there which is quite nice, but the same as in any town, not specific to Birmingham.
Worth getting into the information place as they often have trails for you to follow round the city.
Art Gallery is worth a visit (and free)
There's lots at the Think Tank on EastSide if you want Science Museum stuff (although not cheap)
Yes, the Back to Backs are good, and worth booking if you can as they don't have much room in them and are full if more than a dozen people turn up at once.
Then you can cross over and wander round the Chinese Quarter.
Jewellery Quarter is worth a visit if you've not been before - just to stroll round the shops, but there is also a museum there about the history of the area.

Withalittlesparkle Mon 10-Feb-14 23:49:34

Or go to comic con with your son?

(I might be the only saddo adult going)

Best1sWest Tue 11-Feb-14 14:59:55

Loads of brilliant suggestions! Thank you all.

Withalittle I don't think he'd want me there, He considers me an embarrassment I think grin.

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