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Hello, looking for recommendations for family friendly things to do in Birmingham please! We will be going in June because we want to go to the Game Expo at the NEC.
We are going to make a little break of it so any advice/suggestions of other things to do/cheap eats etc would be much appreciated as we've never been before.
It'll be 2 adults, and DCs 8 and 6, and we don't drive so will be travelling by train (probably staying in a central Travelodge or something).
Thanks in advance!
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
St Philips Cathedral
Shopping including markets
Canal Boat Trip
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Library of Birmingham
Thinktank (Science Museum)
Warehouse Cafe (vegetarian)
Jyotis (vegetarian, Stratford Road)
If you are happy to get a bus a couple of miles out of the City Centre one day, then the Nature Centre is wonderful (almost a mini-zoo now, but without the zoo prices - indeed, I think it's changed it's name) and it's next door to a lovely park and arts centre if you wanted to spend a further hours or two there. LOADS of buses and an easy route.
Cadbury World is nice if you've never been (can get a train out to Bournville) - quite expensive if you pay full price but you've time to look out for offers or save Tesco Vouchers.
The nature centre is great!
Sea life centre in the city centre?
I think (not sure if they're still there) but they had them back to back houses/museum thingy.
Jewellery Quarter also good for a wander. There's a small museum there.
Oh yes - I forgot the Back-to-Backs. You need to book them as they only fit a few people in at once
Sarehole Mill - bus ride from centre - good for Hobbit/Tolkien fans.
Midlands Arts Centre - near Nature Centre and mentioned above - very family friendly, though mac cafe not brilliant.
Aw, now I want to stay longer! Looks like a lot of choice, thank you
Yes will be relying on buses anyway, so that's not an issue - guess we'd get a bus pass for the days we are there.
Whole family are nature lovers, DH is Tolkien-obsessed, and we love art too... shaping up to be a good trip! And we have heaps of time to find vouchers and stuff to make it cheaper.
DCs are home ed so we will hopefully be staying in term time and places will be quieter (the expo is at the end of half term so I think we will go on the Sunday and then stay a couple more nights)
Another vote for Thinktank
You can get a bus from Birmingham to Drayton Manor
Also, is there anywhere central that does cheap breakfasts please we are looking at different hotels and trying to figure out if it's better to pay for their breakfasts or not
Ooh Drayton Manor is that good? It's somewhere I've heard of, and DCs haven't really done theme parks.
Also I just ended up on the Dudley canal site as I was looking at the other canal trips... wow that looks right up DD's street (she wants to learn more about geology) but is it quite far would you say? Without a car I mean.
Network West Midlands is where you find out your travel details. They do a family ticket to get on and off buses all day for not a lot of ££
Drayton Manor is quite a way out, on public transport.
If you are counting this as part of Education, then you should probably get over to the Black Country Museum. It's in Dudley not Birmingham but comes under the same bus company and is an excellent day out for bringing history to life.
Thanks that museum does look good and it's so near the canal so we could do one of the days there - it seems to have stuff about WW1 though, would it be fairly easy to avoid that bit do you think? (anything war related is a big no-no for my sensitive 8yo)
I hadn't realised until I looked at that Network site that Birmingham has trams too?! That will result in 2 very happy children
I've not travelled to Drayton Manor by bus, but its about 18 miles out of Birmingham. I think its great for the age range of your DCs, its a fairly compact site so you don't have a lot of walking between rides, plus you have the zoo.
Not sure about the trams, they are currently doing the tram extensions in central Birmingham not sure when they finish, I think they go to Wolverhampton.
For cheap breakfasts there are several mini versions of the major supermarkets in central Birmingham, where you can pick up pastries, juice etc. There are also greggs who do some breakfast takeaway items. I don't eat breakfast in Birmingham so don't know where to go to sit down and eat.
You can do the black country museum and Dudley canal trust on the same day. You used to be able to access the canal rides from the museum, just pay extra if you use it. Would really recommend for children, the war thing sounds like an exhibit, which I think you can miss by not going in the exhibition hall. It's fab place!
I forgot to mention that DH is coeliac so unfortunately grabbing pastries is ruled out for him. Good to know there are lots of supermarkets though as I was wondering if we had a cooked breakfast we could just have a snack for lunch to cut down on cost, as we are in a travelodge type place so not self-catering.
I'm really tempted to see if we can stretch to 4 nights instead of 3 as there's so much around to do! The hotels we are looking at are all really central so I've worked out if we pay a tenner for late checkout we can do the museum/art gallery on that morning and then grab our stuff by 2pm.
Definitely going to Sarehole Mill too as DS is obsessed with water/windmills!
When I started putting Birmingham botanical gardens into google, the bouldering centre came up too... the DCs do a home ed rock climbing club too so might have to visit that! We only have a small bouldering wall here so it would be great for them.
There's a pub in the centre (corporation street) called the crown, I have been told their breakfasts are very nice but am not sure what time they start.
Drayton manor is a good day out but quite far out the city. The best way would be to probably get a train/bus to Tamworth then get a bus/taxi to the park. I don't think there are any buses that go straight there, though I haven't looked so I could be wrong.
It's always worth a short walk to Digbeth to the Custard Factory for creative/vintage shops etc. and the Yumm Cafe is great for breakfast.
Cherry Reds on John Bright Street for cheap breakfasts. It's a cafe/bar but really unpretentious and lovely to hang out in. Make sure you are REALLY hungry if you order pancakes - they are huge! I only managed to eat about a quarter of the portion. Good choice of veggie stuff too.
Thanks everyone, this is all really helpful! Got a long list of info on a Word document now. Really excited and think we will go for 4 nights if possible
Narrowed it down to two hotels I think, Bullring and Newhall street, same price so just wondering if there's much between them in terms of location/convenience/possible evening noise?
A bump for this as I'm wondering about train journeys. Realised the NEC has left luggage facilities, so it may be better for us to travel on Sunday morning. But we would then need to get the train on to New Street in the evening.
If we got tickets from our home station to New Street, would we be able to get off at Birmingham International and then back on later to finish the journey? Or would we need separate tickets?
Not an expert on train tickets, but I suspect you would be best to get a fixed (cheap) ticket to International then an anytime ticket to New St. Fixed tickets are only valid on a booked train, so you wouldn't be able to get off