Birmingham is my home city and I know it very well, but I was challenged to seek out some real gems to share with you and I was happy to get on the case. If you are visiting the city, there’s a lot here to see and I’d suggest booking into a hotel either in the city centre or you could look at a Birmingham airport hotel as there is a great train service into the city centre from the airport.
One thing that Birmingham has done really well with is preserving some of its industrial heritage. You can go see the back to backs where the workers lived; there’s a pen factory museum; a jewellery quarter museum based around an old workshop; but my pick for a visit is the Coffin Works.
This was the place where all the fittings for coffins were made from handles and breastplates to shrouds and coffin linings. The handles made here have graced many a royal funeral.
It’s all as it was left the day the company shut up shop when it closed down in 1997, but there hadn’t been much change made to working practices for a long time before that, so you really feel you are stepping much further back in time.
You might think it seems a bit morbid to be going around a coffin factory, but actually it’s a very interesting tour and the characters that used to work there are brought to life.
After all that history, it seemed right to relax a little in one of Birmingham’s most characterful pubs: The Old Contemptibles on Edmund Street in Birmingham. The name of this pub comes from a nickname for the British army during World War One and as you can see the interior reflects this with the murals on the walls. There’s a great range of drinks on offer and you can also get a bite to eat if you like.
For something a bit different to eat, Rodizio Rico is a good place to try. It’s in Birmingham’s eye-catching The Cube building and the way they serve the food there is certainly a bit different. It’s like Brazilian barbecue and the waiters walk around serving delicious charcoal fire roasted meats. If you want more food, you turn your card green side up and they come and offer you food when they come past, but if you want a break you turn it over to red. You can also help yourself from the gourmet salad and sides bar, with many different Brazilian street foods to try, plus fresh cut vegetables and Brazilian side dishes.
After all that eating we needed to let things settle before heading home, so we took in a night cap at one of Birmingham’s best real ale bars: The Tap & Spile. Here you’ll find a good selection of beers including Timothy Taylor Landlord and Fuller’s London Pride.
The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.