BIRMINGHAM is a vibrant hub of old and new buildings nestled between landscaped zones of paved walkways, water features and one of the largest gay scenes in the UK.
If you’re looking for a weekend break then you’ll find plenty to do here from the bountiful shopping malls and markets, home to some of the best-loved retailers, to the small market traders offering a wide range of household, clothing, and party goods, to the fully charged nightlife. With nine gay bars and clubs to choose from, a few of which serve great food, you’ll be pressed not to find a place to enjoy a cosy pint, watch some cabaret or dance till the early hours.
It’s not all just about shopping and clubbing though, Birmingham has a wide range of restaurants offering celebrity branded eateries, favourite chains and a whole global cuisine on offer including the famous Birmingham curry – Do check out the Hen and Chickens, 0121 236 3121 which serves not only the best curry in town (TripAdvisor) but also a range of Asian, barbecue, pub and grill for those friends who prefer something different.
Birmingham is also the home to a number of theatres including the REP, with a wide season of plays, comedy and drama and the Birmingham Hippodrome bringing you the best of the UK’s national tours such as Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, One Man, Two Guvnors and Wicked.
If you’re looking for something a little more cultured then do pay a visit to the delightful Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. There’s a wide varied collection to see dating back 200,000 years to the present day, including Pre-Raphaelite art, wrapped Mummies and a detailed look at the history of Birmingham and how over the years it’s grown into one of the UK’s best-loved cities.
Recent facelifts have ensured that Birmingham is a fresh city to eat sleep and play in. The only question is, can you fit it all in with just one weekend?
Editor’s choice in gay bars:
SIDE WALK bar and restaurant is located on the busy Hurst Street and serves a wide variety of great affordable food for lunch and dinner. Their vegetarian burger deserves a personal nod of appreciation as does the friendly helpful bar staff who all help to make Sidewalk a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere during the day with the party tunes picking up the pace in the evenings. With walls stripped back to brick and wooden floors there’s a cool pop-up club vibe about the place. Certainly worth a visit.
THE LOFT LOUNGE is another venue for good food at reasonable prices. Table service is on offer both in the main dining area to the rear or if full, as we found out – which is always a good sign, then the helpful staff will happily find and serve you at any of the comfy sofas or tables around the rest of the bar. A great place to meet friends for both everyday and special occasions with a more relaxed atmosphere during the daytime before the party starts in the evenings.
Equator Bar Address: 123 Hurst Street, B5 6SE Telephone: 0121 622 5077 Website: equatorbar.co.uk Twitter: @EquatorBar
Eden Address: 116 Sherlock Street, B5 6NB Telephone: 0121 622 1953 Website: TheEdenBar.co.uk
Bar Jester Address: 42 Holloway Circus, B1 1EG Telephone: 0121 643 8344 Website: BarJester.co.uk
Missing Address: 48 Bromsgrove Street, B5 6NU Telephone: 0121 622 4256 Website: MissingBar.co.uk Twitter: @MissingPartyBar
The Wellington Hotel Address: 72 Bristol Street, B5 7AH Telephone: 0121 622 2592
Club DV8 Address: 16 Kent Street, B5 6RD Telephone: 0121 622 1060 Website: ClubDV8.co.uk
Nightingale Club Address: Essex House, Kent Street, B5 6RD Telephone: 0121 622 1718 Website: Nightingaleclub.co.uk Twitter: @Nightingale Club
Fountain Inn Address: 102 Wrentham Street, B5 6QL Telephone: 0121 622 1452 Website: TheFountainInn.com
The Village Inn Address: 152 Hurst Street, B5 6RY Telephone: 0121 622 4742 Website: VillageBirmingham.co.uk
What is there to do in Birmingham?
ASTON HALL Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham, B6 6JD Tel: +44 (0)121 675 4722
Entry: Charges apply to house only. Gardens, grounds and visitor facilities are free to all visitors.
Children under 16 FREE
Free entry on the first Sunday of the month.
Opening Times: Aston Hall opens again on Saturday 12 April 2014.
THE REP Centenary Square, Birmingham, B1 2EP
Tel: +44 (0)121 236 4455
BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TB
Tel: +44 (0)844 338 5000
BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM & ART GALLERY
Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH Tel: +44 (0)121 303 1966
Entry: Free entrance.
Some exhibitions and events may charge.
BBC BIRMINGHAM TOURS Do you fancy yourself as a TV presenter? Visit BBC Birmingham’s Public Space at The Mailbox and have a go at presenting the news and a weather forecast. Take a look through the window into the television gallery. This is where the BBC Midlands Today team choose shots, cue the studio and keep everything on air!
If you’d like to get inside the television gallery and see it up close, a studio tour is for you.
Guides will take you into BBC Birmingham and show you around the state-of-the-art studios.
Tours last approximately 1.5 hours and give you a fascinating insight into the world of broadcasting. Do Visit: bbc. co. uk/tours for more information BBC Birmingham The Mailbox Birmingham B1 1RF Tel: +44 (0)370 901 1227
Where is the shopping Birmingham?
SHOPPING If you’re the kinda guy that just loves to shop, then Birmingham has it all from large retailers like Selfridges and Harvey Nichols to small market stall owners selling a wide variety of household goods, pet foods and party supplies.
The shopping areas are well planned out, open and pedestrian friendly so you get a good chance to explore the city by foot.
There’s plenty of opportunity to stop for a bite to eat. With over 150 restaurants and coffee shops you’re bound to find something to fuel the next round of shopping and with bus and rail transport close by you’ll soon have the bags home.
Be sure to also check out Chinatown just the other side of the markets nestled in Southside close to the gay scene.
BULLRING This much-photographed part of the building with its circular disk covered curved walls is the home to Selfridges. Explore the rest of the building and you’ll find over 160 retail shops and restaurants. This modern art of the city blends with the old St Martin church perfectly without even looking out of place. A real treat for shoppers in the heart of Birmingham.
THE BULL RING MARKET is a large indoor market with traders calling out for you to buy their goods. There’s plenty of bargains to be had and a wide selection to see from fabrics, pet foods, cosmetics, CDs and DVDs, old console games, and a personal highlight of ours – the party shop. Every coloured wig, mask, costume, make-up is all here for Pride events or your usual weekend party outfit
Where’s good to stay in Birmingham?
We can recommend: