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Birmingham spotlight: a city guide for event professionals

Bright lights, big city. The vibrant heart of the West Midlands is brimming with culture, nightlife, shopping and great food for every budget.

Destination is now the #2 reason for individuals to attend events, ranked even higher than networking. When your guests visit Birmingham, you want to make personal recommendations. But where do you start?

Let our local knowledge transform you into a Birmingham expert. Check out this city guide for free-time options and business-leisure relaxation, with authentic local flavour and that unpretentious Brummie charm.

First-time visitors

If your guests are keen to stay central, there’s plenty to keep them entertained. A ten-minute walk west from the centre passes Symphony Hall and the striking modern Library building to Brindleyplace, offering familiar favourites to eat and drink. Head east to Digbeth for quirky independent shops and international cafes. Try Miyako Teppanyaki or the UK’s largest selection of Dim Sum at Chung Ying in Chinatown, a quick stroll south, then dance the night away in Chic, Bambu or local old favourite Snobs.

Staying in Edgbaston? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the range of attractions on the doorstep – from the remarkable collection of Old Masters and modern gems in the Barber Institute of Fine Art to comedy, spoken word and live music at the Bramall.

Birmingham city library

Indulgent days

Central Birmingham is a shopper’s paradise, from the monolithic Bullring to the characterful Piccadilly and Great Western Arcades. For high-end shopping, try the Mailbox, and round off the retail therapy at the Malmaison spa.

Woman getting a massage

Culture vultures

Located right in the city centre, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is home to the world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, the Staffordshire Hoard, and a world-class gallery of treasures from Ancient Egypt. For an ever-evolving collection of contemporary art, try Ikon, or Edgbaston’s mac for film, dance, comedy and arts festivals.

Ikon Gallery

Fine dining

A strikingly modern dining space and landscaped garden provide the backdrop to Luke Tipping’s stunning seasonal cuisine. One of 2017’s Sunday Times Top 100 restaurants and located in leafy Edgbaston, Simpsons offer a tasting menu, a la carte menu and chef’s table – and, on Saturdays, a cookery school for small groups, ideal for relaxed teambuilding.
Wine glass on a table

Jewellery Quarter brewtap

Craft beer and Birmingham go hand in hand. Beloved Warwickshire brewery Purity own Purecraft, an affordable bar-restaurant promising to match beer to food. For a behind-the-scenes treat, head for the Gunmakers Arms in the Jewellery Quarter for the Two Towers brewery tour, to see where real ales like Bhacker Ackhams and Hockley Gold are created.

Brewery taps

Game on

For a youthful vibe, immerse your guests in next-level gaming at the Matrix Virtual Reality Arcade. Located in Birmingham’s Creative Quarter in Digbeth, the Custard Factory is also home to the Mockingbird cinema, a selection of quirky vintage shops and Street Food Saturdays.

Woman with vr headset on

How to get here

Don’t forget to remind visitors of the essentials: travel directions. Birmingham is blessed with a central location and outstanding transport links by road and rail. International visitors arriving at Birmingham Airport can travel by train from Birmingham International direct to New Street station in less than 15 minutes. If you’re heading out of the city centre, take a tram.

If you’re staying with us at University of Birmingham | Conferences and events, travelling here is easy. All our event venues are located on and around the leafy campus in Edgbaston, only two miles from the city centre. Parking is available on site, or we’re just a short taxi ride from central Birmingham, which should cost around £7. Alternatively, choose the high-frequency rail service from Birmingham New Street direct to University train station, with a 6-minute journey time.

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