As the capital of the midlands, also known as the 'first manufacturing town in the world', Birmingham is a city full of history and plenty of interesting things to do. More than just the eye-catching Bullring shopping centre, the UK’s second largest city has an ample amount of hidden gems that rival any other major cities’ offerings. Here, we break down a few of the top recommendations from those who know the town best.

    1

    The Birmingham Kitty Cafe: Cat Café and Cat Rescue Centre

    Calling all cat lovers! The Birmingham Kitty Cafe is a unique experience to say the least. Sip on a latte and indulge in a scrumptious piece of cake with the likes of Gismo, Mango and Comet, some of the Kitty Cafe’s resident purrers. The Kitty Cafe not only allows visitors to dine with and pet the cats, but it also doubles as a rescue center. So, if you fall in love with one furry friend while you’re there, you just might be able to take them home too! 

    The menu includes your usual cafe suspects, such as paninis, wraps and cakes. But the cafe also offers comfort foods including jacket potatoes, pizza and even quesadilla! If you’ve ever wondered what an afternoon tea with cats might be like, the Kitty Cafe can help you answer that question too! With plenty of food and drink options, and proceeds going to help look after the rescue cats, The Birmingham Kitty Cafe truly is a cat lover’s paradise.

    As recommended by Emma of Adventures of a London Kiwi. Find out more about her recommendations here.  

    Location: Grand Central, Unit 12, Birmingham B5 4BF, United Kingdom

    Phone: +441213898587

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    2

    Barber Institute of Fine Art

    Art enthusiasts will know the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, but the city is home to several other wonderful galleries that are worth exploring. On campus at the University of Birmingham lies the Barber Institute of Fine Art, which houses one of the finest small collections of European art in the UK. The gallery is enclosed in a purpose built Art Deco building designed by the architect Robert Atkinson in the 1930s, and was officially opened by Queen Mary in 1939.

    The Barber Institute boasts works by some of the world’s most renowned artists spanning multiple artistic eras, including Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Boticelli and Turner. With works in a variety of styles including watercolours, sculptures and drawings, the gallery has a little bit of something for every art lover.

    Learn more about the museums in Birmingham from Sally Akins on her blog here.

    Location: University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TS, United Kingdom

    Phone: +441214147333

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    3

    The Mailbox

    Sitting on top of Birmingham’s canals in the city centre is popular shopping and dining destination, The Mailbox. With shops, restaurants and cinemas, it’s hard to imagine that the canals on which the Mailbox sits on top of were once the beating heartline of Birmingham and the Black Country. 

    Venice is a city famous for its canals and gondola rides. However, Birmingham is actually home to more miles of canal waterways than the Italian city! With 35 miles to Venice’s 26, Birmingham’s canal network was once crucial to the development of Birmingham and the Black Country. During the Industrial Revolution, the canals were used to transport essential materials such as coal and iron from Birmingham and the Black Country to other cities and towns. Today, the canals are no longer essential for transporting goods. However, they’re still very much in use, but in a slightly more scenic manner. 

    The Mailbox’s several canalside restaurants allow for wonderful views of the canals while enjoying a weekend brunch or a candlelit dinner. Visitors can walk alongside the canals in the outdoor section of The Mailbox and explore a great selection of restaurants and bars to unwind in.

    As recommended by blogger Kirsty Leanne, and you can read more about her Birmingham favourites here.

    Location: Wharfside St, Birmingham, B1 1RQ, UK

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    4

    Eat Your Way Through Digbeth Dining Club

    Just outside of Birmingham’s city centre in the neighbourhood of Digbeth lies the local favourite, Digbeth Dining Club. Founded in 2012, the street food event has brought in Michelin-star chefs, former Masterchef finalists and the top street food vendors in the country to the heart of the Midlands. The organizers take pride in the vendors they choose, as each trader is carefully vetted to ensure that customers receive top quality cuisines, but also at an affordable price.

    Aside from delicious food, the Dining Club also offers live entertainment and a bustling atmosphere. And with only just a few steps away from Ghetto Golf, visitors can make a full night out of their visit to the street food event by putting in a round of mini golf to top off the evening! The Digbeth Dining Club runs from Thursday through Sunday and visitors can check out #DigbethDiningClub to see what kind of food is offered on the night you attend! 

    As recommended by blogger Sian Victoria. You can find her full itinerary on her blog here.

    Location: Lower Trinity St, Deritend, Birmingham B9 4AG, United Kingdom

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    5

    Frankfurt Christmas Market

    Believe it or not, a little piece of Germany can be found in the centre of Birmingham every November and December. Once winter hits, traders from Germany and Austria ascend onto Birmingham to put on the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria at the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Spanning more than 80 stalls, there is sure to be something for everyone at the festive affair. Whether it be a tempting plate of bratwurst with gluhwein,or a hand-crafted trinket, there are plenty of options that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face, even a Scrooge!   

    The Frankfurt Christmas Market is a great way to get into the festive spirit but also serves as the perfect excuse for an evening out with friends or family. The market is on from the first week of November until the 23rd of December. Please make sure to check opening dates and times on the market website. 

    As recommended by Unconventional Kira. Find out more about her suggestions here.

    Location: Birmingham B3 3AA, United Kingdom

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