Ready Player One – Birmingham, It’s Not Shit.

There used to be a website called Birmingham, It’s not shit!

Ready Player One is out. I haven’t seen it yet, but this was a big deal for Birmingham, with a lot of the filming taking place here. We could be seeing a lot more filming taking place in Birmingham too as Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight who is not surprisingly obsessed with the City plans to build a massive film studio near the NEC within the next two years.There is also a big campaign to have Channel 4 move to Birmingham.

So with attention on the streets of Birmingham at an all time high, here’s my favourite things to do in and around the outskirts of the City.

1. Walk around the Lickey Hills

The Lickey Hills are great and vast, not only will you get a good work out walking (or running) around the various terrain on offer, you’ll get some amazing views of the City in the distance once you reach the peaks. Well worth while during Summer sun sets.

2. National Trust sites
In the heart of the city you can visit the Back to Backs houses, which I also talked about briefly also in my recent visit to the Black Country Museum (don’t worry that’s coming up next) but if getting out to there is a bit of bother the Back to Back houses are right in the centre of the city and a hidden gem. Click here for more information on those.
Next up we’ve got the Roundhouse which is an incredible canal side stables where canal boats would be loaded with cargo. There’s also a pub where you can see a gin distillery, but check ahead for opening times.

Outside the City Centre if you’ve got access to a car there’s also Packwood House and Baddesley Clinton which is a personal favourite of mine for visiting at least once a year and has a few walks that you can do around the property and the local area. There’s some photos I took at Baddesley in my camera review.

3. The Black Country Museum
I’ve recently been, so read about it here.

4. Digbeth Dining Club
Digbeth Dining Club is ace, now on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4pm, and generally touring the Midlands too. It’s launched the career’s of vendors like the Meat Shack and Original Patty Men into having their own bricks and mortar restaurants and is basically the national standard into how to do a street food event.  No words will actually describe how good it is, so I’d advise checking out the latest Instagram posts instead and just seeing some of the goodness that’s been on offer. Visit the website to find out which vendors are coming soon and where they are visiting on tour.

5. Ghetto Golf
While you’re at Digbeth Dining Club, go play Ghetto (aka Crazy) Golf where you can drink beer/wine/cocktails as you attempt to navigate holes around single decker buses, video shops, pubs and your Nan’s house. Read my review here

6. Canals
Ah yes, we have shit tons of them, more than Venice, but you already knew that. There’s a whole bunch of walks based around the Canals on the Discovering Britain website. If you’re prepared for a drive outside the City (remember no drinking and driving) then there’s a whole bunch of canal side pubs .

7. Trains
Trains glourious trains, and I’m not talking Virgin Pendalinos, but steam trains. Tyseley Loco Works opens in the Summer Months where you can look at trains being repaired, and they often have events on with stream trains. The Flying Scotsman visited recently. They also run journeys from Birmingham Snow Hill to Stratford Upon Avon on the mainline. More details on that here . Again if you’re prepared to take the 45 minute drive out of the City (or train for that matter) to Kidderminster you can get on the Severn Valley Railway which run stream trains for 9 months of the year from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth and back. You can enjoy Sunday lunches or themed events. More details here.

8. Independent Cinemas
The Electric Cinema is the oldest working cinema in the country, but you already knew that. It’s two screens offer the best the city has to offer for a time warp experience back in time. Showing both modern releases and nostalgic showings as well as themed events including yearly taste along events from the conjurer’s kitchen.
There’s also the Mockingbird Cinema which I reviewed here

9. Visit the Thinktank Science Museum.
I did, read all about it here.

10. Visit some of the City Centres Best Restaurants and Burger joints
Such as The Wilderness, 40 St Pauls, The Edgbaston, Nosh & Quaff, Purecraft bar & kitchen, Cuban Embassy, Baked In Brick, The Plough, Bonehead, The Meat Shack, Original Patty Men.

11. Go clubbing
Sadly we’ve recently lost the Rainbow due to licensing issues which hosted a number of underground DJs from the world of techno/house/progressive/drum n bass etc, but we’ve still got some fabulous places for real club music, including Crane & Lab 11 and if you want a more guitar based music you’ve got the world famous Snobs, The Sunflower lounge or The Hare & Hounds a short journey out the city.

12. Get cultured
See a show at the rep, or even the old rep, The Hippodrome or the Alexander theatre. Visit the many museums in the City centre, Bmag, and the Ikon Art gallery just off Brindley Place. See a classical performance at the Symphony Hall, or a show at Town Hall.

13. Have a curry
There’s plenty of places to get curry in Birmingham, but my favourite is my local haunt, the Shabar.

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