10 free things to do in Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham
Birmingham Art Gallery
Sheldon Country Park and Old Rectory Farm
1 Mile Birmingham Canal Walk

Tolkein Tour Trail

Are you and your little one’s big fans of Lord of the Rings? Did you know that J. R. R. Tolkien lived in Birmingham between the ages of 4-8 years old? Tolkien took inspiration from Birmingham’s natural surroundings and buildings to craft the fantasy world of Middle Earth. You can see Birmingham through the eyes of Tolkien himself by embarking on The Tolkien Trail! This is completely free to do with the family and the trail is 2 miles in length. You will journey you through the likes of Sarehole Mill, Moseley Bog and Joy’s Wood, The Shire Country Park and Cole Valley (this was named in honour of the author’s links with the local area), and more - including the school Tolkien attended as a child and his childhood home. You can download the map PDF here.

Cannon Hill Park

There’s nothing like fresh air. Retreat from the city buzz and get the whole family active and moving at Cannon Hill Park! Birmingham’s very own little oasis offers plenty of outdoor activities to get the steps in and cheeks rosy from all the fresh air. Start off on the Boating Lake on a swan pedal boat where you can soak up the lovely sights of the park by water! Visit lots of different animals in the Nature Centre including reptiles, birds, monkeys, red pandas, and other furry favourites such as guinea pigs, goats, pigs and sheep. Specifically designed for children ranging the age of toddlers to 10-year-olds, make sure to also visit the Fun Park which is packed with games, rides, and activities. Other activities available include the Land Train, sports facilities, mini golf at Golden Putter, cafes, and the MAC Centre which includes a theatre, cinema, workshops and more.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Please note the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is currently closed but will back in 2024, just in time for the school summer holidays, for its exciting re-opening. 
Free to enter, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery boasts 40 galleries to explore. Notably the Staffordshire Hoard, which includes some of the oldest pieces of Saxon jewellery ever recovered, and Pre-Raphaelite artworks, are two of the most treasured and popular collections. You will also journey through display art, applied art, social history, natural history, technology, archaeology, and ethnography. For more information regarding its phased re-opening, visit here.

The Ikon Gallery

Located in Brindley Place, the Ikon Gallery is a restored Victorian school which now homes a contemporary gallery. Also, it is an architectural marvel as its former gothic exterior has been carefully preserved. With free entry and regular rotation of interesting exhibitions, events, workshops, and seminars, Ikon Gallery invites you to engage with captivating modern art. Ikon is also home to Birmingham’s only independent arts bookshop and café!
We highly recommend visiting Birmingham in the Spring, as Ikon Gallery sits nestled behind a sea of Sakura trees in Ozells Square which floods with gazing eyes and the clicks of cameras.

Lickey Hills Country Park

If you’re looking for a venture out of the city, we highly recommend Lickey Hills Country Park, which is just a 30-minute drive from aparthotel Birmingham. Covering 524 acres, Lickey Hills is nestled just outside the village of Barnt Green, which offers an array of restaurants, pubs, and cafes to retreat to after your walk around the hills. Enjoy a picnic in the park, embark on one of the many several woodland paths to take, some for a gentle wander and some for those who want to break a sweat, let the kids burn off some energy in the woodland park and enjoy a beverage in the cosy café!

1 Mile Birmingham Canal Walk

It’s been said that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice! You can explore these canals by foot and boat; however we recommend the 1 mile walk that begins on Livery Street beneath Snow Hill Station and commences at the Mailbox. You will journey through Brindley Place which has plenty of restaurants, bars and eateries lining the canals to stop by in on your way, Farmer’s Bridge Locks, Old Turn Junction, Gas Street Basin, and more. Download the Canal & River Trust map here.

The Library of Birmingham

Did you know the Library of Birmingham is the biggest library in Europe? The iconic and photogenic yellow and blue building encases a world-class collection of rare books, archives, and photography.  The library also features a William Shakespeare Memorial Room on its top floor which showcases the local, famous playwriter and poet’s work and documents - some of which are centuries old. The library also offers 2 outdoor terraces on level 3 and level 7 which offers outdoor gardens and beautiful views of Birmingham’s skyline: perfect for sitting outside and reading a book.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Free to enter and no need to book before visiting, Lapworth Museum, home to the University of Birmingham, displays the remnants of life from the past 3.5 billion years such as rocks, fossils, minerals, historical maps and documents. Dating back to 1880, it is one of the oldest specialist geological museums in the UK. Capturing the imagination and fascination of all ages, the museum provides a window into how the Earth has changed throughout time and how life on our planet has evolved with interactive exhibits. 

Sheldon Country Park and Old Rectory Farm

 Just a 30-minute drive from aparthotel Birmingham, Sheldon Country Park and Old Rectory Farm is the perfect place to take young children – and its free entry! Covering 300 acres, you can visit cows, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens, and ponies. Kids can also enjoy the playground and picnic in the park! If you walk to the border of the park (1 mile walk from the farm), there is a designated viewing area of Birmingham International Airport!

Coombe Abbey Country Park

A 45-miniute drive from aparthotel Birmingham, lies the lovely Coombe Abbey Country Park! This is another outdoorsy gem that is perfect for a family picnic, to get the kids out in the fresh air and is only a half hour drive in the car! It boasts over 500 acres of gorgeous gardens, woodland and lakeside walks, bird watching, a visitor centre, café and is home to the historical Coombe Abbey Hotel.

Why not stayover?  

Pairing the convenience of serviced apartments with the comforts of a hotel, aparthotel Birmingham is redefining the city-staycation. So whether your just popping into Birmingham for an overnight visit or a longer term solution, book direct and we will give you 10% off our Best Available rate, COMPLIMENTARY 'Grab & Go' breakfast and much more!  Click to view more or to book.

It's time to be apart of something amazing.