Explore the Cross City Line

Thursday, 13 June 2024

The Cross City Line: Where to go

The Cross City Line may be one of the busiest commuter routes in the country outside London, it also provides a wealth of sightseeing and adventure opportunities in the West Midlands. From the cathedral city of Lichfield to the canals of Bromsgrove, join us on a journey as we uncover hidden gems, must-visit attractions and the heritage and unique character of Birmingham's neighbourhoods and surrounding communities along the way.

Lichfield City

Discover Lichfield Cathedral , the UK's only medieval three-spired cathedral and one of England’s oldest Christian worship sites. Cathedral Close, with buildings mostly from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, surrounds this distinctive landmark. Lichfield is also the birthplace of Samuel Johnson, author of the first authoritative English dictionary. Visit the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum to explore his life, work and personality.

Shenstone

Uncover the charm of Shenstone, recognised as "one of the poshest villages in the UK" by the Daily Telegraph. With origins dating back to the Domesday Book, it has 54 buildings listed in the National Heritage List for England, such as The Fox and Hounds pub and St John's Church .

Butlers Lane

Admire the grandeur of Arts and Crafts houses at the Four Oaks Park estate, a designated Conservation Area south of Butlers Lane station which includes houses on Ladywood Road, Bracebridge Road, Hartopp Road, Wentworth Road and Luttrell Road. Crafted by renowned architects like Sir Edward Lutyens, these million-pound homes showcase exquisite designs and meticulous craftsmanship, offering a glimpse into a bygone era of architectural splendour.

Four Oaks

Explore Sutton Park , once a medieval deer park and believed to be the seventh-largest urban park in Europe with seven man-made lakes once used for fish stocking. Wild ponies still roam among the heathland, wetlands, ancient woodlands. Visit Blackroot and Powell’s Pool for kayaking, explore the network of trails on foot, bike, or horseback, or navigate the orienteering courses with maps from the visitor centre before refuelling at one of the park's pubs.

Sutton Coldfield

Wander through the charming streets of Sutton Coldfield , officially named The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield due to its Royal Town status granted by Henry VIII, proudly bears the Tudor Rose emblem. Head north by bus for 20 minutes to discover Mitchells Shopping , a boutique haven with cobbled streets, chic cafes and indie retailers galore. A short stroll leads to the vast green expanse of Sutton Park.

Wylde Green

Pause for a breath of fresh air and enjoy the charm of the Urban Fox mural and the adjoining two 300-m-long green corridors at Wylde Green station. These visionary eco-friendly projects, spearheaded by the Friends of Wylde Green station are committed to enhancing the area's natural landscape while championing environmental sustainability and biodiversity.

Gravelly Hill

Gravelly Hill is probably best known as home of the Gravelly Hill interchange, or "Spaghetti Junction" at Junction 6 of the M6 motorway and A38(M) Aston Expressway. A marvel of engineering, Spaghetti Junction dominates Birmingham's northern area with its 600 columns, 2.5 miles of slip roads, and 175,000 yards of concrete. This iconic structure has become a defining symbol of the West Midlands.

Beneath this massive structure flows the Grand Union, Birmingham and Fazeley, and Tame Valley Canals. These waterways offer peaceful walking routes perfect for exploring the city from a different perspective.

Aston

Experience the ghostly allure of Aston Hall , said to be one of the UK's most haunted buildings. This magnificent early 17th-century Jacobean estate, crafted to entertain royalty, features over 30 rooms, including the historic King Charles' Chamber, the grand Great Stairs and beautifully detailed plasterwork ceilings adorned with elephants, orange trees and devils. Stroll through the symmetrical Lady Holte's Garden for a complete visit.

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

Duddeston

Get lost in one of the UK's largest museum stores. The Museum Collection Centre is a vast warehouse holding millions of items, with 80% of Birmingham Museums Trust's stored collections under one roof. It is open for the public to explore on Friday afternoons only. Pre-booking is essential.

Birmingham New Street

Shop 'til you drop at the Bullring, be wowed by a performance at the Birmingham Hippodrome or discover the depths of ocean's wonders at the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham. Birmingham, pulsating with diversity and dynamism, recently hosted the Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile, as the birthplace of heavy metal and home to legendary rock bands like Black Sabbath , it continues to draw music lovers, cementing its legacy in modern music history.

Five Ways

Take a moment at St Thomas' church in Five Ways, a WWII relic from the Birmingham Blitz on December 11, 1940. Nearby, Sunset Park and Moonlit Park , opened in 2005-2006, offer a 1.4km walking loop through green spaces. A mile away, the 15-acre Birmingham Botanical Garden provides year-round global plants. Stroll through the Victorian park with bandstand and explore the four Edwardian glasshouses.

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

University

Gaze upon world-class art in a beautiful 1930s building at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on the University of Birmingham campus with works by great artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and Renoir. Delve into decorative art, sculptures and a vibrant program of talks, workshops and events. University railway station also serves the Birmingham Women's Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Selly Oak

Enjoy the outdoors in Selly Oak Park , Birmingham's first public park. Spanning over 30 acres, this historic park, opened in 1876, was once part of a medieval deer park. Explore diverse habitats, from the old Lapal Canal to the Millennium Wood, beneath mature oak trees. Follow a trail that winds through the park's rich history and natural wonders. Don't miss the annual Selly Oak Festival in mid-June, featuring circus events, dog shows and fun for the whole family.

Bournville

Indulge in the atmosphere of Bournville , the birthplace of Cadbury, originally founded as a model village for employees. Explore Selly Manor , a timber-framed Tudor building relocated in 1916 and the village green's historic buildings and shops. Grab a trail map from Selly Manor. Now home to Cadbury World , this popular family attraction now features 14 immersive zones detailing Cadbury's chocolate-making history.

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

Kings Norton

Escape the city sprawl and find village charm in Kings Norton. This delightful pocket within Birmingham has a central green surrounded by historic timber-framed buildings. Grab a pint at a traditional pub, look up at the 13th-century St. Nicholas Church with its distinctive crocketed spire and soak up the village vibes.

Northfield

Take a moment to admire the ancient forces of nature as you stand in front of the Great Stone glacial erratic rock, a silent witness to resilience and endurance. Originating in the heart of Eryri, it embarked on a monumental journey across frozen landscapes during the Ice Age. Reflect on its extraordinary odyssey through time, culminating in its final resting place within the grounds of Northfield's Great Stone Inn ,

Longbridge

Gear up for a trip to Longbridge, a town steeped in motor history, once the bustling hub of the British Motor Corporation and its successors like Austin and Rover, with the iconic Mini leading the charge. Explore the 450-acre Longbridge regeneration project, with its bustling Longbridge Shopping Centre – a thriving hub of national and independent retailers.

Barnt Green

Unearth hidden wonders in Lickey Hills Country Park . Just north of Barnt Green, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has a rich geological history shaped by millions of years of volcanic activity and glacial movement. Hike past ancient rock formations, uncover hidden caves and spot remnants of a bygone era. With diverse birdlife like kestrels, buzzards and skylarks, Lickey Hills offers an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers.

Alvechurch

Step back in time and explore the Church of St Laurence in Alvechurch , a masterpiece meticulously rebuilt brick-by-brick by the Victorians. Be dazzled by the stained-glass windows, including an Arts & Crafts style depicting biblical scenes, that bathe the sacred interior in kaleidoscopes of coloured light.

Redditch

Admire the eye-catching Paolozzi Mosaics in Redditch town centre. These are some of the most significant pieces of public art in the UK, crafted in the 1980s by Eduardo Paolozzi, a Scottish artist and trailblazer of the Pop Art movement inspired by commercial and popular culture.

Bromsgrove

Journey back in time and marvel at the Tardebigge lock flight , the longest flight of locks in the UK. This remarkable feat of engineering, completed in 1810, revolutionised transportation on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Stroll along the canal towpath and watch as water levels rise and fall in the 30 chambers, allowing boats to gracefully climb or descend the waterway, a testament to the ingenuity of canal builders.

New trains enter service on the Cross City Line

Hop aboard West Midlands Railway’s new trains on the Cross City Line! Perfect for exploring Birmingham City centre or venturing outside, these trains offer a convenient and affordable way to travel in the West Midlands, especially during Off-Peak hours.