As CHS Birmingham prepares to launch in the city for the first time, we asked the experts at the West Midlands Growth Company – which attracts visitors, events and conferences to the region – for their top tips of things to do during a delegate’s visit to Birmingham.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Maya Ladwa, Senior Executive
“Birmingham is home to one of the most exciting food scenes in the country. From humble street food to upmarket fine dining, it is full of options to suit every mood.
“The multicultural city is a great culinary adventure, with every cuisine to suit your taste buds from all corners of the globe. Home of the Balti, no visit to Birmingham is complete without sampling the delicious flavours of the Balti Triangle. Birmingham and the surrounding area is home to ten Michelin starred restaurants, including Adam’s, Opheem and Purnell’s in the city centre. If you are looking for other luxury experiences, I recommend you head to Colmore Row. The area has plenty of high-end restaurants such as Fazenda and Tattu.
“For more casual dining the city has a variety of stylish independent restaurants and street food outlets. Head to Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter, as these areas are home to some of the best street food and craft beer. If you are looking for somewhere with an atmosphere, you can explore Brindleyplace, next to the ICC, where you can grab a quick burger from GBK or a relaxed Italian meal at Cielo.”
THE JEWEL IN BIRMINGHAM’S CROWN
Keri Morris, Senior Visitor Economy Business Development Executive
“It’s really difficult to pinpoint just one bar in Birmingham that I enjoy spending time at, as there are so many great venues to visit.
“The Jewellery Quarter always draws me in, however, as there seems to be a bar to suit every mood! If you’re looking to spend a little time with sunshine on your face, the terrace at the Button Factory is just wonderful, or the beer garden at The Clifden provides a unique and hidden gem.
“If people watching is your thing and you’d like to take in the sights of St Paul’s Square, then you can’t go wrong perching at one of the tables in The Rectory.
“If you’re looking for a little charm and sophistication then The Church Inn, Acapella & 40 St Pauls Square spring to mind.
“The Jewellery Quarter has it all and I’d highly recommend a visit to one (or more) of its bars if you have any spare time while in the city!”
SOME FREE TIME
Clare Hurter, Senior Visitor Economy Business Development Executive
“I think we are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see and do in Birmingham and the West Midlands. One of my personal favourites is the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the heart of the city – I love to wander the exhibits, especially the Pre-Raphaelites and enjoy tea and cake in the beautiful Edwardian Tearooms. It is also a great place for a Welcome Reception or Gala Dinner, as it can host up to 250 delegates in the Industrial Gallery. The Museum is due to re-open in 2022 after a refurbishment and I can’t wait to visit its historic spaces once again.
“Another attraction I’ve visited many times is Cadbury World. This is not just for chocolate lovers – though this does come in handy! At Cadbury World you are taken on an immersive journey through the ages where you learn all about the origins of chocolate and the Cadbury family. Still an operational factory, us Brummies are very proud of the Cadbury story, and one I’m happy to experience again and again!
“Finally, if I look slightly further afield, I always have an amazing time at Warwick Castle – fun for all the family within the Castle walls and dungeons, but also they put on the most incredible shows. A dinner for up to 100 in the 14th Century Great Hall is a feast like no other!”
SHOP TILL YOU DROP
Marcia Beckford-Seales, Senior Business Development Executive
“If I were a mannequin, I would want to look my absolute best and head to my favourite store in Birmingham – Zara at the Bullring.
“Zara’s clothing is sleek, stylish, and timeless – wardrobe Classique! You just get immersed amongst all textures and colours – truly divine. You can’t beat an actual shopping experience in comparison to doing it online.
“There’s also the luxurious Mailbox, beautiful arcades such as Piccadilly and Great Western, plus historic markets in Digbeth and lots of fantastic independents!”
“And once you’re all shopped out, treat yourself to Italian tapas and cocktails at Fumo, located at Selfridges, Bullring!”
Tom Marlow, Senior Communications Executive
“Birmingham is well-known for its canals and chocolate, but there are plenty of hidden gems on hand to keep you entertained, offering a different take on the city.
“Head to the Jewellery Quarter for two great, quirky museums. The pen trade was something to write home about for Birmingham back in the day, and the Pen Museum tells the story of the city’s association with making steel pen nibs via a range of activities for people of all ages. The Coffin Works, meanwhile, is dead good – the museum highlights the coffin furniture, which adorned the coffins of such notaries as Joseph Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother.
“If you’ve got time, head down to the University of Birmingham campus, where you’ll find the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, home to Monet, Manet and Magritte, Gainsborough, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Just a few minutes away is Winterbourne House & Garden, a blooming haven of botanic gardens and a history.”