Steeped in industrial heritage but still fantastically forward-thinking, Birmingham is packed with heritage, innovation and family-friendly fun. Clustered around Brindleyplace and within walking distance of our central Birmingham hotels, the city’s museums and galleries are packed to the brim with old masters, contemporary gems and local history. If you’re here for an event, you’re in luck - the city’s exhibition spaces are the best in the country. And, because Birmingham’s a university town, the city’s arty scene remains as fresh as it is diverse.
Culture in Birmingham
With galleries that give London a run for its money, Birmingham has something for every art lover, whether you like grand Old Masters or prefer your artists to be of the up-and-coming variety. And the best thing? Many of Birmingham’s galleries are housed in buildings so beautiful they’re attractions in themselves.
If you love fine art, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is the place to be. This landmark Grade II-listed building is within walking distance of our Birmingham Broad Street (Brindley Place) hotel and not only is it gorgeous to look at, it’s also home to the most important collection of Pre-Raphaelite art anywhere in the world, with over 3,000 paintings, drawings, prints and examples of decorative art and design from the period. In addition to the permanent galleries there is a diverse exhibition programme that offers a series of changing exhibitions throughout the year.
Established in 1821, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, or RBSA, is an art society which supports artists and promotes the visual arts. Take a look at the free exhibition or, if you’re feeling artistic, why not book into a workshop or demonstration?
Always ahead of the curve, the Ikon Gallery offers the latest and greatest in contemporary art. Exhibitions are regularly changing and always feature a variety of media, from painting and sculpture to film and installation.
From Monet to Magritte, you’ll find some of the greatest names in Western art at the Barber Institute. Step out of the bustling city and inside this haven of tranquillity to explore over 150 major paintings, drawings and prints and sculptures.
Eastside Projects aims to support artists, projects and independent culture in Digbeth. This gallery offers experimental contemporary art exhibitions in a great old industrial space. It regularly changes its displays by re-using and re-working previous exhibits.
Whether you’re inspired by science, love natural history or just want to learn more about local legend JRR Tolkien, Birmingham museums are packed with a wealth of historical gems.
Home to extensive collections of natural history and archaeology, a trip to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery will take you on a journey from the prehistoric to the modern day. Not to be missed is the huge section dedicated to the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest discovery of buried Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.
With more than 200 hands-on experiments to try and a wealth of interesting-looking buttons to press, Thinktank is Birmingham’s award-winning science museum. From sea monsters to steam engines, it explores science and technology from the past, present and future. You'll find plenty of workshops, classes and interactive science to keep young scientists busy.
The family-run jewellers Smith and Pepper produced gold jewellery for over 80 years, before finally closing their doors back in 1981. The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter allows you to step back in time in their preserved jewellery workshop.
One of the best-known authors in the world, JRR Tolkien spent a lot of his early life in Birmingham and the city has really claimed him as its own. And one of the most magical stops on the Tolkien Trail is the Sarehole Mill Museum, a working mill which features heavily in Lord of the Rings. Visit to find out more about the author and see the water wheel in action.
Time to explore a different aspect of Birmingham culture - the student side! With a buzzing nightlife and an exciting art scene, it’s no wonder that Birmingham attracts more and more students each year.
With a great academic reputation and a campus life to match, the University of Birmingham is firmly at the top of most students’ lists. Steeped in heritage, it’s hard not to feel inspired by the beautiful architecture, but if that’s not enough, why not have a mooch around the Barber Institute of Fine Arts gallery? Book into the Premier Inn hotel near Birmingham University to get your open day or graduation off to a great start.
Made up of a number of smaller sites, a visit to Birmingham City University means you’ll be right at the centre of city life. With over 20,000 students from over 80 countries, you can expect a buzzing atmosphere, particularly at its City Centre campus. Here you’ll find the Curzon, Millennium Point and Parkside buildings set amongst beautiful parkland and canal paths.
Staying in a South Birmingham hotel? Set amidst a green and leafy campus, Newman University is well worth a visit. Although it’s predominantly a Catholic university, Newman welcomes students, staff and visitors from all religions and is committed to providing a great campus experience. Expect to find a friendly student community where everyone knows everyone and really gets involved together.
Located in the heart of the city, but with a green and leafy campus, Aston University ticks all the boxes. Set in 60 stunning acres, complete with lake, fountain and sculptures, it offers industry expertise in engineering, science and medicine, but also has a great reputation on the sports field.
Whether you’re coming to Birmingham for business or pleasure, the city’s great conference and exhibition spaces are worth a visit. Covering all manner of topics and interests, from cars to fashion, you’ll find some of the biggest events and tradeshows in the UK.
From the BBC Good Food Show to Grand Designs Live, some of the UK’s biggest and best events have taken centre stage at the NEC. The largest exhibition centre in the UK, its 20 halls host over 500 events and 33,000 exhibitors each year. It’s a place where products are launched, networks are made and fans’ dreams come true.
The Resorts World Arena, previously known as the Genting Arena, is part of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Able to adapt to both large scale and more intimate events, this venue has hosted everything from X Factor auditions and daredevil stunts to the dog show Crufts.
One of Europe's most high profile conference centres, the ICC contains conference, banqueting and meeting spaces, as well as a mall - in fact, there’s everything you could need for a successful event, all under one roof.
Although it may be known for its athletics and concerts, the Arena Birmingham also hosts a number of events such as Gladiators, WWF and annual gaming conventions. Formerly the National Indoor Arena (NIA), there’s room for up to 15,800 in its flexible space.