If you’re the kind of music lover who likes to savour every note from a comfortable seat in an awe-inspiring venue, a Symphony Hall concert is an experience not to be missed. One of the best in the world, the Hall prioritised acoustics when it was built in 1991 - even squeezing 800 rubber cushions into its foundations so no vibrations from a nearby railway line could be heard. But the auditorium is aesthetically beautiful too, with a pale wood and steel interior dominated by a 6,000 pipe organ. As you might expect from the home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, classical music features heavily, but you’ll also find top name artists from almost every musical genre, such as Björk and Jeff Beck, and even comedy performers like Russell Brand. If you’re in town for a gig at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, we have all the tips you need to make sure your visit hits all the right notes.
Symphony Hall is very close to Birmingham town centre. It’s well-served by public transport, but you could save yourself the schlep across town and saunter there instead, by staying at the Premier Inn on Broad Street. If you're flying in, the train station at Birmingham International Airport has frequent services to Birmingham New Street and the journey takes 15 minutes.
If you’re driving, follow the brown tourist signs to the ICC and the Barclaycard Arena. The most convenient car park is the Q-Park at Brindleyplace (B1 2JF).
Hop on any bus that takes you to the city centre, because the Symphony Hall is no more than a 10-minute walk from most of the city’s central bus stops.
Birmingham New Street and Snow Hill (for the Wolverhampton and Black Country Metro Line) are both within easy walking distance of Symphony Hall.
Beat your interval thirst and the queues at the bar by ordering your drinks in advance at the Symphony Hall’s website. For an extra treat, why not order a Champagne hamper that includes a sandwich, slice of cake and mini bottle of bubbly?
Part of the International Convention Centre (ICC) building, the Symphony Hall looks just as modern as its famous neighbour from the outside, but inside has a distinctly traditional feel. And while the auditorium looks huge, when the lights go down there’s an intimate feel, as well as great sound and views, no matter where you’re sitting.
The address of the Symphony Hall is, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EA and the telephone number for the box office is 0121 780 3333. The box office is open from every day except for Sundays, from 10am to 6pm, and on concert evenings 30 minutes into the start of the performance. The cloakroom opens an hour before curtain-up, with all items charged at £1 each.
The price of tickets ranges from free gigs, mostly held around the bar areas, to around £65 for the best seats at a must-see show. Every member of the audience over the age of 18 months must have a ticket - even if you were planning on putting a child on your lap. Only printed tickets are accepted - you can’t just show your phone. If you’ve forgotten to print yours, the box office will reprint them for you for £2 each.
Oval shaped and with a seating capacity of 2,262, the Hall is on four levels, with the ground floor called Level 3. Wherever you sit, you’re guaranteed great sound - before it opened, acoustic tests proved that if a pin was dropped on stage it could be heard from any seat in the house. The highest tiers are slightly vertigo-inducing, but are great for panoramic views and a wider perspective that’s perfect if you’re here to watch a huge orchestra.
The Hall holds regular autism-friendly performances and there’s also an infrared sound enhancement system available to those who are hard of hearing. Dedicated wheelchair spaces can be reserved on all tiers of the auditorium by calling the booking line for disabled visitors on 0121 780 4949. There are also accessible toilets, blue badge parking spaces close by as well as lowered sections at the bars and box office.
Don’t let a rumbling tum mar your enjoyment of the show. Find out all the best places to eat and drink, both inside Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and out.
Inside Symphony Hall
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat inside the venue, the ICC building has its own mall with a coffee shop and a Strada providing tasty Italian fare. Inside the Symphony Hall itself, there are foyer bars for interval and pre-show drinks, as well as a Café Bar on the ground floor serving hot drinks, sandwiches and snacks. For a treat, try the Laurent-Perrier Gallery on Level 4. Overlooking buzzing Broad Street, it’s very swish and has a range of Laurent-Perrier champagnes to enjoy. The Gallery opens 45 minutes before a performance.
Near Symphony Hall
Less than a five-minute walk takes you to Broad Street with its near endless eating opportunities, with both independents and chains such as Coast2Coast and Pizza Express well represented. On nearby Gas Street you’ll find The Pickled Piglet (0121 448 0993), a gastro pub winning rave reviews for locally sourced delicacies, like pig’s cheek and pork belly. The closest pub to the venue is just around the back of the hall, and it's one of Birmingham's best; the Prince of Wales (0121 643 9460) has a lively atmosphere and great cask ales.
If you’re in town for a concert, why not make a weekend of it by booking into the Premier Inn near the Birmingham Symphony Hall? It’s just a stroll away on Broad Street, the city’s buzzing canal-side street lined with restaurants and bars. Book in here and you’ll have the best of Birmingham’s nightlife at your fingertips - and a super comfy bed to go back to when you’re partied out.
Whether you want to stay in the city centre, leafy suburbs or beautiful surrounding countryside, we have lots of Premier Inn hotels in Birmingham to choose from. Whether you're staying in Birmingham for business, or pleasure, you'll also find hotels next to the major travel hubs like Birmingham Airport and Birmingham New Street Station, as well as conference venues the NEC, Barclaycard Arena and The Bullring for retail therapy.