Birmingham - An alternative city guide
An alternative city guide
Having lived in the Midlands almost six years, I'm no stranger to Birmingham. It's a short train journey away and the place to go for shopping, Christmas markets and gigs.
But when I was approached to do a post about Birmingham, I jumped at the chance. I really like visiting the city and this was the perfect excuse to do some of the fun things that I haven't got around to doing, as normally I visit with a plan in mind.
I wanted to try some of the things that offer a more alternative visit of Birmingham. It doesn't take 30 seconds to google 'attractions in birmingham' and discover Cadbury's chocolate factory or Sea Life, but you might not have heard of a few of these restaurants, cafes or things to do in the city.
We started our day with lunch at the Stable. Known for cider, pizza and pies, I was very keen to try their vegan pizzas (they also do non vegan pizzas and pies). And I was absolutely not disappointed.
I tried a raspberry and rhubarb cider (delish), and a 'good life' pizza with aubergine, courgette, peppers, basil and vegan mozarella. I am infamous for never finishing a meal but I ate the entire thing it was so, so good.
Although this did mean there was no way I could even try a mouthful of a dessert. I fully intend to return though as there were some vegan desserts on the menu that I really want to try, namely the vegan brownie with rasberry coulis.
I also want to try one of their cider tasting boards they have. I believe it was 5 different, handpicked ciders for £8.50 which is such a fun idea.
If you're in the city centre, love pizza and pie, vegan or not, definitely give this place a try.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
I'm an absolute sucker for an art gallery. I love love love wandering around amongst incredible pieces of art. It always leaves me full of admiration and inspiration.
Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery is completely free and located right in the city centre - I can't believe I've never been before!
While we were there, there was a special exhibition on to mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death and the place was packed, so we didn't look at every exhibition but from what we did see it looked lush. I did visit the ‘Sweet is about to get sinister’ temporary exhibition (on until 12 May 2019) that was also on though, which was really interesting and fun. There's loads to look at throughout the museum, and interactive displays for kids too - something for everyone!
Ghetto Golf has been on my bucket list for ages. I love crazy golf and this looks like such a cool venue. A very unusual course, music, cocktails and food.
Check out some of their instagram pictures to get a vibe of this place:
Unfortunately when we went to book the night before, it was fully booked for the next 3 Saturdays, so we had to rock up and hope for the best. They do have walk up spots available but they were really busy and could only fit us in later in the evening so we decided to leave it.
But you can bet I'll be going back!
Digbeth and The Custard Factory
Not being able to play golf meant we had more time to explore a little bit of Digbeth. Supposedly the Shoreditch of Birmingham, or the Creative Quarter, I was keen to check it out. I'd only seen this part of the city at night when attending gigs, so it was cool to see it in the daylight and have a browse of some of the shops and visit a cafe.
The old Custard Factory has a bunch of independent shops, cafes and art venues and there’s some awesome street art around too.
We also went to We Are Cow, a vintage shop to browse the clothes and there was actually so much stuff I would have bought! It's rare for me to find things that I like AND would fit me but I could have emptied my bank account there if I had less restraint. There was a really nice selection of clothes, accessories and jewellery in the store.
Seven Sins Cafe
While wandering around Digbeth, we spied an aesthetic af cafe and went in for a much needed coffee. The cafe had really cool decor (yes, I definitely initially judge a cafe by its cover) but the coffee was so good too. I went for a trusty oat latte while my boyfriend had a flat white and it was delish. I spotted espresso martinis on the menu too, unfortunately after I'd already ordered or I definitely would have tried one.
No trip to Birmingham is complete without a wander around the shops. Unless you detest crowds, in which case a Saturday in the Bullring might not be the place for you (see also: Black Friday and the weekend before Christmas)
For the unwise, the Bullring is a massive, modern shopping centre. You can't miss it if you're in the centre of Birmingham. The shopping in the city centre is pretty fantastic, between the Bullring and the streets surrounding, there is everything you could need. There's new shops opening all the time too, Monki has opened recently and Morphe, and there's a newly refurbished and much larger LUSH store. I believe Primark is also building a new, larger store.
I'm not exactly a stranger to the Alchemist - it's my favourite cocktail bar to go to with my uni girls, but I've never been with my boyfriend and I've been wanting to take him there for ages.
The Alchemist is not exclusive to Birmingham and you may have heard of it before. They have an incredible menu of cocktails, designed like a periodic table. From cocktails that bubble up, to ones that change colour or flavour, and ones that create a sea of smoke, the drinks are an experience themselves. Definitely order at the bar to see the mixologist create them.
The cocktails range in price from around £7.50-£10 but they are beautiful so it's worth a visit even if you just have one or two. You don't need to book unless you want a table - it does get quite busy especially on a Saturday night.
I had such a fun day out in Birmingham - it’s easy to forget that somewhere on your doorstep has so much to offer when you’re so used to the routine and your usual habits of a place. It was really nice exploring more of what the city has to offer! You could easily fill a weekend with things to do.