Days out in Brum: Things to do around Birmingham New Street

Monday, 22 April 2024

Explore the creative spaces, rich history and trendy eateries around Birmingham New Street. With its friendly atmosphere, modern attractions and a host of fun activities, you’ll be won over by this enchanting city in no time.

Emerging from its industrial roots, Birmingham has transformed into a colourful and energetic city with world-class attractions, rich historical heritage and modern innovation. Alongside a warm and welcoming atmosphere, you can expect trendy creative areas with up-and-coming restaurants, cafes and activity venues.

You can find a bit of everything in Brum, even if you stay within 1.5 miles of Birmingham New Street Station. It’s also one of the greenest cities in the UK, with one of the largest Urban Parks in Europe. So if you want an afternoon of tranquillity, head to the 24,000-acre Sutton Park.

Birmingham New Street station is open Monday to Friday from 04:15 to 02:00, Saturday from 04:14 to 00:15 and Sunday from 08:00 until 02:00. You can find the station located directly below the Grand Central shopping centre.

Travel by train to Birmingham New Street, with direct journeys departing from London and Liverpool for an action-packed experience in the ‘Magic City’.

You don’t have to go far to find these 17 fun things to do around Birmingham New Street.

Custard Factory

What was previously a HQ for Britain's beloved Bird's Custard is now an energetic, creative and cultural hub dotted with trendy bars, fun family activities and Instagrammable eateries. In its past life, this area was lined with Victorian factories and has now been restored and decorated with glowing lights and artist masterpieces.

Swing by the Red Brick Markets for some unique buys from over 50 local businesses. Head to NQ64 for an immersive gaming experience with VR headsets and high-tech computers. For something more traditional, Chance and Counters houses a collection of over 500 board games. Birmingham’s oldest inn, The Old Crown , and the photogenic, stylish Birdies Bar are also found here.

Best for: Somewhere to chill out and taste what the city offers.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.7 miles

Waterstone Lane Cemetery Catacombs

Brave the spooky cemetery catacombs of Waterstone Lane . This semicircular burial site with secret vaults and tiered catacombs resembles an ancient amphitheatre, but it was only built in 1848. Haunting stories of victims of the gruelling living conditions of the 19th century are uttered here, where working-class Brums are buried.

Follow the hidden footpaths past sunken graves into one of the dark chambers of Waterstone Lane on a £7 guided tour with Friends of Key Hill & Waterstone Lane Cemeteries. Hear the true tales of John Baskerville, whose body was dug up from his grave several times.

Best for: A creepy tour with a fascinating history.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 1.1 miles

The Bullring Rag Market

The Bullring Rag Market , also known as St Martin’s Rag Market, has roots dating back to the 16th century. This former recycled fabrics trading place is an iconic part of the city, which is now known for its reasonably priced household goods, haberdashery, fabrics, gifts and fashion.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 09:00 to 17:00, this bustling and energetic market comes to life with 350 stalls selling the likes of vintage clothes, homemade crafts and unique imports. While you’re there, you’ll get a feel for Brum’s lively and welcoming locals.

Best for: Bagging a bargain.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.2 miles

Ikon Gallery

Thought-provoking contemporary art reflecting the challenges and truths of modern-day life can be found in the Ikon Gallery . Inside this elegant Grade II-listed neo-gothic school building are masterpieces from worldwide artists in the form of sound, film, mixed media, photography, paintings, sculptures and installations. The free gallery is spread across two floors and has a shop and cafe with outdoor seating on the terrace where you can enjoy freshly baked treats, craft beers and all-day brunch.

Best for: Intriguing contemporary art.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.7 miles

Medicine Bakery + Gallery

Medicine Bakery + Gallery

Get your fix of moreish sweet treats doused in buttercream icing and dusted with fruity sprinkles and cinnamon sugar at Medicine Bakery + Gallery . This zen, jungle-like cafe is decorated with hanging plants and with natural light pouring through the impressive skylights. Doubling as an art gallery, you can admire the contemporary creative pieces after tucking into some breakfast, brunch or lunch.

You can expect crisp and overflowing grilled sandwiches, lightweight salmon or avocado-topped sourdough toast, classic benedicts, and brunches. If you’ve not yet satisfied your sweet tooth, try the crispy maple bacon French toast. There’s also a menu for the little ones.

Best for: A pastry, brunch or lunch fix with a side of art.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.2 miles


Travel through space in the 4K planetarium, tower over the miniature-sized Birmingham city and discover the workings of the world with the interactive outdoor science garden. Thinktank is family-friendly and great for all ages – costing £15.50 for adult tickets and £7.50 for children (see our offers). As well as the hands-on experiences, you can see steam engines, planes and cars while learning about Birmingham’s industrial past. To top it all off, head to the land of the dinosaurs in the Wild Life and Marine Worlds gallery, where you’ll see a real Triceratops Skull.

Best for: Discovering a world of science and history.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.7 miles

Legoland Discovery Centre

Let loose in Legoland Discovery Centre – where your little ones can run wild in the indoor LEGO playground. From the world’s smallest Primark to swooping airships, the interactive Miniland city, built with over 1.5 million bricks, is a place that will spark imagination and creativity.

Buckle in for the immersive 4D cinema experience where you’ll be taken on an adventure through rain, wind and snow. Climb aboard a chariot and save the distressed princess on the kingdom quest ride. There’s also a soft play area, cafe, VR experience, workshops and play sessions. You’ll also receive discounted entry to LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre if you travel by train.

Best for: Unforgettable indoor family fun and play.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.8 miles

National Sealife Centre

All kinds of curious sea creatures live in Birmingham’s National Sealife Centre . Walk through the blue ocean tunnel and watch the 20-stone green turtle, Molokai, swim around through the 360o views. Meet the cheeky penguins from Antarctica as they glide through the water and play together.

Learn about the multi-coloured reefs that are essential for the survival of sea life. You’ll also see clownfish, rays, otters and seahorses during your visit. You’ll also receive discounted entry to National Sealife Centre if you travel by train.

Best for: Learning about the underwater world.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.7 miles

Mockingbird Cinema

Timeless classics, new Hollywood releases and innovative tales from up-and-coming filmmakers, producers and directors are shown on the big screen at Mockingbird Cinema . As you enter this unique venue, you’ll find yourself in the retro neon bar. Their tempting comfort food menu offers juicy chicken burgers and halloumi fries. Grab a beer or order a top-shelf spirit before settling in for the ultimate escapism in this intimately-sized cinema.

Sink into the plump, cushioned premium loungers, book an accessible seat or organise a private screening for an extra special occasion. Keep an eye out for blockbuster-themed events throughout the year, horror marathons and boozy brunches for a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience.

Best for: Film fanatics who want more than a standard cinema visit.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.7 miles


When was the last time you used a good old-fashioned pinball machine? Set over three floors are 20 old-school flippers from the early 90s. From ACDC, Attack from Mars and The Simpsons, you can choose from a selection of funky themes at £1 per game or £2 for three games. On Tuesdays, Tilt hosts a pinball league where you play head-to-head against other competitors between 18:00 and 22:00 – during which you can squeeze in as many games as you like for just £5.

It’s a bring-your-own food venue, so you can order a delivery or pop to a local pizza place. What they do serve is soft drinks, craft beer and speciality coffee – using only beans ranked in the top 5% in the world. You can also catch all sorts of monthly events in the venue – from Jazz nights to feminist book clubs.

Best for: Classic games, world-class coffee and BYOF.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.2 miles

Anderson & Hill

The finest cured meat cuts, baked Italian goods and rare cheeses are Anderson & Hill's speciality. Stop for lunch at this charcuterie, fromagerie and epicerie with a steaming mug of freshly ground coffee while watching the world go by through the shop’s glass front, which overlooks Birmingham’s 1875 arcades.

Lovingly made sandwiches with flavourful fillings will give you a taste of Rome, New York, Bavaria, Paris and Spain. For a light bite, opt for homemade soup or a well-dressed salad. The shop is also stocked with mouthwatering chutneys, terrines, truffle-infused delights and fresh pestos to take home with you.

Best for: A divine delicatessen with options to dine in or take away.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.3 miles

Cherry Reds

A cafe by day and bar after dark, Cherry Reds is a quirky, independently run eatery with an eclectic menu and vintage-inspired, mismatched furniture. Their quick bites, a hearty brunch and evening dishes are all made from locally sourced ingredients and come at a fair price. Enjoy the laid-back, cosy atmosphere with a proper milkshake made with ice cream or a cooling beer. On Wednesday evenings, you can catch a live jazz performance after your meal.

Best for: An eccentric brunch experience.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.2 miles


Bundobust isn’t your average Indian restaurant. Set inside a grade II-listed building, the original characterful Georgian features contrast with the bold, colourful decor, upcycled doors and rustic exposed brick walls. Their menu consists of hot, fragrant, staple street food dishes that you can wash down with a craft beer. Find a cosy corner or snug semi-private area to tuck into your Indo-Chinese cauliflower and mushroom pakoras, bhaji butty, creamy curry or sizzling BBQ paneer. After-dinner Indian-inspired cocktails can be enjoyed at the bar.

Best for: Indian flavours in a quirky and energetic setting.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.2 miles

The Botanist Gas Street Basin

Sit by the water or on the terrace and soak up the views of the canal basin with a cocktail in hand at Botanist Gas Street Basin's iconic hanging kebabs. Live music performances impress guests in this lively contemporary bar and restaurant every night. For something more traditional, order a classic steak or burger. For a romantic date night, you could opt for the sharing board.

Best for: Picturesque views with live music and contemporary dishes.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.5 miles

Albert Schloss

Inspired by Alpine Europe, Albert Schloss is a place where you can indulge in hearty European dishes like Tyrolean schnitzels, fondue and Patzle with a modern twist. Inside Albert’s Schloss , you’ll be greeted with ambient lighting and crackling fires in a large open space. Live performances, music and cabaret regularly take to the stage, so strap in for a wild night in this beer and pleasure palace.

Best for: Letting loose with great food, drink and entertainment.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.3 miles


If you have a hankering for a crafty pint, the eight casks, 16 crafts on draught and 60 different internationally renowned bottled craft beers at Purecraft should satisfy your craving. Head over to the bar and pick the brains of the clued-up staff, who will help you select a beverage to your taste.

Soak up the lively atmosphere in the rustic surroundings at a wooden table where you can order from the classic British menu with dishes made from high-quality local ingredients. Each dish has been designed to pair perfectly with the bar and kitchen’s most favoured Purity beer. Groups of six or more can also book a tasting experience in the cellar bar while learning about cask tapping and the variety of hops, malts and beer styles.

Best for: Sipping some new craft beers.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.2 miles


After an evening at Loki , you’ll be reluctant to leave, but you’ll do so with your shoulders down, an exciting new sommelier obsession while undoubtedly feeling a bit woozy. While you’re there, wine fanatics can explore the latest locally produced favourites and newbies will gain an understanding of why differing varieties taste the way they do.

Sit back and savour the fruity, rich and fragrant notes of any of the 600 wines from 20 countries available – which are served at the optimum temperature using state-of-the-art tasting machines. The cosy and independent wine merchants and bar is perfect for a romantic date night or a Friday night laugh with friends.

Best for: Discovering your new favourite wine in a laid-back and intimate tasting bar.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.3 miles

Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham, nestled on the west side of the city center at Centenary Square, is a beacon of knowledge and culture. With its striking modern architecture, it stands as a testament to Birmingham’s vibrant spirit.

Step inside, and you’ll discover a treasure trove of internationally important collections. From archival documents that whisper tales of the past to rare books that hold secrets waiting to be unlocked, this library is a sanctuary for curious minds.

Best for: Discovering the secret garden garden on the seventh floor of the library.

Distance from Birmingham New Street station: 0.5 miles

Handy tip: When you travel with West Midlands Railway, you can get exclusive discounted entry to some of the UK’s top attractions.

Save your pennies for the shops, restaurants and activities with a discounted off-peak ticket or Advance Tickets. You can purchase your ticket via the West Midlands app. Also, be sure to check out our £2.80 Evening Return Tickets (for any two stations in West Midlands rail zones 1-5).