25 things to do in Birmingham that aren’t to do with the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham is playing host to the 2022 Commonwealth Games which is set to run from 28 July - 8 August.

With over 5,000 athletes arriving to compete in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as 30,000 people just for the opening ceremony on the 28 July, the city is buzzing like never before.

Events are taking place all over the Birmingham in places including the Alexander Stadium, Arena Birmingham and Sandwell Aquatics Centre - with free entertainment throughout the Games at Victoria Square, Smithfield, King Kong Pop Up Park and neighbourhood festival sites in neighbourhoods across the city.

But there are lots of other things to see and do in and around Birmingham which aren’t part of the sporting spectacle that you may also like to try out.

Here are 25 things to do and places to visit that are not to do with the Commonwealth Games.

1. The Bullring

Shop til you drop at the Bullring shopping centre, which has over 200 shops including two department stores, Selfridges and Debenhams as well as 28 places to dine. All you need under one roof.

Birmingham Bullring

2. Cadbury World

Those who have a sweet tooth can venture to the Cadbury World factory for a tour around the factory, afternoon tea, a chocolate experience while finding out about the chocolate emporium. Over the school holidays, a special event is taking place - Freddo’s Festival of Fun!

Cadbury’s was beaten to the first Easter egg by Fry’s (image: Getty Images)

3. Eat and drink

From numerous speakeasies and live music in piano bars to classy brunches at Boston Tea Party, you could find many hidden gems around the city to dine and drink at. Birmingham also has the most Michelin-star restaurants outside of the capital.

4. Travel through the Shire at the Lord of the Rings Inspiration

Lord of the Rings’ fans can take a walk through the Shire, as the home of J.R.R Tolkein is less than half an hour outside the city centre. Book a tour at the Sarehole Mill nature reserve and Moseley Bog to see what inspired the home for the hobbits surrounded by gnarled trees, animals and the remains of an old mill dam.

J.R.R Tolkein grew up close to Birmingham and was inspired for their famous Lord of the Rings trilogy (Pic: Sarehole Mill)

5. Botanical Gardens

You may be in Birmingham, but you will be transported to a tropical wonderland in The Botanical Gardens where there are 15 acres of beautiful gardens, greenhouses and exotic birds to explore. Don’t miss the butterfly house filled with insects from around the world.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Picture: birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk.

6. Brindley Place and Canal Quarter

This tree-lined and canal-side location has many attractions to offer families or sole visitors to the city. You could visit the National Sealife Centre, the Ikon Gallery and Bannatyne Health Club and Spa, all of which are close to major transport stations to take you further afield.

7. The Jewellery Quarter

Labelled as a national treasure by English Heritage with Europe’s largest group of jewellery businesses, fun can be had in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter both day and night. Explore the shops and the museums such as the Coffin Works, before heading to the nightclubs.

8. In a Box VR gaming

A new establishment on Digbeth’s Floodgate Street, which was used for the recent Spielberg film ‘Ready Player One’, combines VR and immersive 4D entertainment to allow you, friends and family to compete against each other.

9. Sport: Edgbaston Cricket grounds tour, Villa Park tour

Although there are 19 sporting events taking place throughout the Commonwealth Games, you could go elsewhere and enjoy tours around the Edgbaston cricket grounds or Villa football Park.

Birmingham Bears batsman Alex Davies is bowled by Brad Wheal. Picture: Jacob King/PA Wire.

10. Museums: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery & National Motorcycle Museum

Discover the 30+ museums in Birmingham such as the National Motorcycle Museum or the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which are full of treasures and live exhibits.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

11. Birmingham Royal Ballet

As one of the five UK major ballet companies, you could book a day’s entertainment with beautiful performances. Looking ahead, from October to December, there are a whole host of ballets to get you in the festive mood.

Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrates the Commonwealth Games with On Your Marks!

12. Peaky Blinders tour

Follow in the footsteps of the infamous Shelby clan around Digbeth, the location where the term “Peaky Blinder” was first penned on a guided tour, or visit some of the actual filming locations at the Black Country Living Museum. Don your flat caps!

Acclaimed dance company Rambert’s new theatre event, The Peaky Blinders - The Redemption of Thomas Shelby.

13. Symphony Hall

Home to the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, people can look forward to musical performances such as Bob Marley: Reimagined, and Amy Winehouse: a celebration of her life while the Commonwealth Games run.

14. Canal boat trip

No better way to explore the city than by narrowboat around the canals - all 313 miles of them. Opt for a tour or navigate the boat yourself around the city to see the sights from a different perspective.

15. St Philip’s Cathedral

Whether it be for a Sunday church service or a glimpse at the beautiful architecture and its famous four stained glass windows, it is one of the most stunning buildings in Birmingham.

St Philip’s Cathedral is renowned for its four stained glass windows in the city centre (Pic: Getty)

16. Escape Room in Shrewsbury Prison

Work together with your friends or family in the world’s most interactive prison and try to escape a prison cell and beat the prison governor. A self-guided tour of the Shrewsbury Prison is included in your ticket price.

17. Dudley Zoo and Castle

First opened in 1937, the structures have stood the test of time and still remain as enclosures for all of the animals who live at Dudley Zoo. See the animals, the beautiful scenery and even visit the open air cinema from 6 August.

Cannon Hill Park is a great place to enjoy the sunshine and have a picnic

18. Cannon Hill Park

Endless activities are on offer at Cannon Hill Park, especially for the summer season. Take your pick from swan lake boating, mini golf, a fun park or a wildlife conservation park with many other attractions.

19. Ash End House Children’s Farm

Known for its warm, friendly atmosphere families can enjoy a summer’s day with tractor rides, petting zoos or pony riders, with visitors saying, “a family visit to treasure,” and “a birthday treat to cherish.”

Lambwatch - Barnoldswick This one may not be a traditional view, but Lambswatch gives you a great opportunity to witness what happens on a small hill sheep farm on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The camera spends most of its time overlooking a field known as the House Meadow; a field that slopes down to the valley bottom where it meets a small stream which flows into the village. During the day, the camera points west, meaning that you could catch some really nice sunsets. As well as sheep, you may also spot free-range hens, as well as pheasants, birds and squirrels. Visit https://www.lambwatch.co.uk/

20. Rush UK Trampoline Park

Bounce around in Birmingham at this 35,000 square foot trampoline park and practice just like the Commonwealth athletes. Kids can jump to their heart’s content while adults and parents could partake in the trampoline fitness classes.

There's lots to bounce about at Rush Trampoline Park! www.rushuk.com

21. Bear Grylls Adventure Park

As their website says, “escape the ordinary” and spend a day climbing ropes, trying archery or axe throwing, or even diving with sharks. Named after the legendary British explorer, chase the thrill at the outdoor and indoor activity centre.

22. Aston Hall Ghost Tour

Aston Hall is one of the most haunted buildings in the UK so whether you believe in the supernatural or not, take a tour through the hallowed walls of this extraordinary building hearing about stories passed down through 400 years of history.

23. Kingsbury Water Park

Based in Sutton Coldfield, Kingsbury can offer you your ideal countryside visit to escape the busy Birmingham streets. The park is complete with 15 lakes, cycling paths, a railway and a children’s adventure playground to suit everyone’s interests.

24. Teamworks Karting

Children having fun with Butlin's Go Karts

Lights out, and away we go…satisfy your adrenaline cravings and your dream of becoming an F1 driver by going for a day out at Teamworks Karting. The circuit covers two floors with other activities such as laser tag or simulator racing.

25. Broadway Plaza Hollywood Bowl

Whether you want to escape the heat or shelter from the rain, head to Broadway Plaza Hollywood Bowl to knock down some pins and win some toys in the amusement area. A special offer is currently on with three games for £10!

Hollywood Bowl, the UK's largest ten-pin bowling operator, has reported exceptionally strong revenue growth in the first half of the year.

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