Travelodge asked me to be part of their blogger battle series for Birmingham. I’ve lived in Birmingham all my life so it’s very much home turf for me. It’s been fun to pick out some of my favourite places to eat or drink at, or to visit. They challenged me to find one place to pick out in three different categories: a restaurant/cafe, a pub or bar and an attraction.
A Restaurant or Cafe: Café Opus at IkonCafé Opus is situated in the Ikon Gallery which is in the fabulously Victorian gothic, former Oozells Street Board School building. Café Opus serves a range of British classics in an unfussy style. It’s a great place to pop in for a coffee and a slice of cake, fill up with a full English breakfast, a light snack or have full meal. I love that you can order boiled egg and soldiers, how fab is that? If you are into a little people watching, it faces onto Oozells Square and there are always people walking past to catch your eye. At the moment you can practice a little table tennis if you are eating outside or start planning your owl hunt with the Big Hoot.
A Pub or Bar: The Bell, Harborne
Just 4 miles out of the city centre in one of Birmingham’s most popular suburbs is a real country village gem: The Bell. It’s hidden away a little in the oldest part of the neighbourhood. It’s difficult to believe you are in the second city when you are sitting outside with a pint of top class real ale, watching a game of bowls or listening to bell practice at the nearby church.
It’s a real slice of country living and it’s the perfect place to be on a summer’s evening. On colder days there’s a really cosy lounge in traditional style inside. Other quirky touches include the somewhat spartan ‘public bar’ (as opposed to the lounge) with its wooden boards and the bar counter which is placed in a tiny cubby hole.
An Attraction: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Birmingham Botanical Gardens are a favourite place to visit and we go several times each year. As you might expect the gardens are stunning, but the grounds are very child friendly, especially for little ones. There’s a great playground, plus in the summer kids and adults alike can enjoy the small butterfly house. Even on cooler days there are the heated glass houses to enjoy and the birds to visit. One of the highlights for us is there fab rolling hill – I know no better hill to roll down as it seems to be the perfect gradient and because there are no dogs around you don’t need to check the ground for cleanliness first. Take a picnic to eat somewhere within the grounds and make a day of it.