Step into a world of entertainment when you travel by train to Birmingham International
You won’t need to spend hours researching things to do in Birmingham because Resorts World and nearby attractions cater to every member of the family within a short walk from the train platforms. Once you have exited Birmingham International station, follow signs that guide you through the labyrinth of the NEC’s corridors and you will be greeted by the shimmering waters of Pendigo Lake in the distance.
First on the right as you follow the path around the lake is The Bear Grylls Adventure, an activity centre endorsed by the gung-ho survival expert, which dares visitors to test their strength, skill, nerve and agility in a series of an adrenaline-pumping challenges. Take an indoor skydive, don a wetsuit and scuba gear for an underwater walk in a tropical tank surrounded by more than 1000 fish and aquatic creatures, or scale the heights of the climbing wall.
Alternatively, careen down a zipwire out of a Chinook helicopter on the front of the building before you clip on yourself to a safely line to scale a five-storey tower. Picnic tables on the green around the lake provide an excellent vantage point for family and friends to watch your ascent to glory. You’ll need to sign waivers and medical declaration forms depending on the activity you want to take part in. Prices start at £20 per person for a 90-minute activity session at base camp, up to £160 per person for a full-day experience.
If you’re in the mood for something a less physically demanding - maybe a concert, comedy gig or spectacular family show - head next door to the Resorts World Arena, which hosts some of the biggest events in Birmingham. Over the course of 2019, you can sing and dance like a lunatic in the company of George Ezra, Drake, Olly Murs, Michael Bublé, Hugh Jackman, Mark Knopfler, Andrea Bocelli and chart-topping girl band Little Mix.
Laughter is the best and sweetest medicine when Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical and Russell Howard come to the arena. Alternatively, go barking mad with the best in show at Crufts, wince at every bone-crunching body slam and piledriver of WWE Live and whinny with delight at the Horse Of The Year Show.
Beat a hasty path to the first floor of Resorts World Birmingham, located a little further round the lake, to savour a dizzying array of entertainment options. Vortex Gaming is a fun-packed emporium of the latest virtual reality technology and retro arcade games including high-octane driving simulators and those old school classics (coin pushers, claw cranes, skee ball and whack-a-mole) that invariably put a smile on the face of nostalgic parents and grandparents.
Games are operated by tapping a card on coloured readers. You can purchase a new card and load it with credit at the front desk or top up an existing card at kiosks which accept cash and debit cards including contactless and mobile pay. Note that under Gambling Act restrictions, Vortex can’t accept credit cards.
For every £1 you load, you receive four tokens on the card and there are deals which give bonus tokens for topping up £10, £15 or £20. Games start from two tokens per play (the equivalent of 50p) and if you fancy donning the goggles and special footwear of the virtual reality simulators, the whoop-inducing family ride will take 15 tokens (£3.75) from your card and the snazzy Omni Arena, which attracts large crowds of spectators, costs 28 tokens (£7). Friendly staff are on hand to help with eyewear and any equipment.
Games with blue card readers issue tickets as rewards. The higher your score, the more tickets spew satisfyingly into your trembling hands. These can be exchanged for a treasure trove of prizes at the front desk before you leave. Lip-smacking lollipops are just 20 tickets while Star Wars fans will have their lightsabers pointed at a large stormtrooper figure for 5500 tickets. Pint-sized speed freaks will need to burn plenty of rubber to earn the 35,000-ticket price tag of a rideable children’s motorcycle.
The biggest names in Hollywood and Bollywood are dressed to impressed at 24 frames per second in the Cineworld 11-screen cinema located next to Vortex Gaming, including one giant format IMAX screen that immerses you in the eye-popping, ground-shaking action. You certainly won’t go hungry with an enticing concession stand laden with popcorn, drinks and sweet treats plus Baskin Robbins ice cream and a Starbucks coffee outlet. Family tickets for four people including at least one adult start at £31.60.
And finally, for adults who gamble responsibly, The Genting International Casino is open 24 hours a day for electronic gaming at more than 100 slot machines and 50 electronic roulette tables. Live gaming at 27 tables of roulette, blackjack, poker and baccarat is available between 12noon and 6am. The minimum stake at most tables is £3 and jackpots can reach an eye-watering £20,000.
You won’t need to gamble anything on families having endless fun at Resorts World Birmingham, Resorts World Arena and The Bear Grylls Experience. Rain or shine, everyone’s a winner.