Last weekend I was very kindly invited on a overnight stay by Travelodge, we had our pick from a variety of different cities to choose from but in the end we decided to opt for Birmingham. Considering it’s a mere hours drive away from Nottingham it’s a city I really haven’t explored much of having only visited once or twice back when some of my pals were studying there at uni.
We stayed at the Birmingham Maypole Travelodge which was located about 25 minutes outside of the city centre, although ideally situated if you’re spending time at Edgbaston or visiting Cadbury World I have to say the distance made travelling into the city centre a bit of a pain. Apparently you can hop on a bus which takes 25 minutes but as we arrived in Birmingham at around midday and check in wasn’t until three we headed straight into the city centre and stayed there all day to make the most of our time instead of to-ing and fro-ing.
So what did we spend the majority of our 24 hours doing? Eating, drinking and shopping of course! Basically all of our favourite things… Take a little look at some of the new places we discovered and hopefully get some inspiration if you’re planning a city break too!
Everybody’s first port of call when heading to Birmingham, The Bullring is home to all of the most popular high street shops including an amazing Selfridges which you could probably get lost in all day! I wasn’t actually feeling particularly spendy but as Adam was about to jet off to America he had a couple of things he was on the lookout for so he very much enjoyed perusing the likes of Vans and Office on the hunt for some new trainers!
We also headed down to the relatively new addition to Birmingham’s shopping scene, Grand Central which is home to the likes of John Lewis, Jo Malone, Kiehl’s and a whole host of restaurants and bars!
Food and Drink
There were PLENTY of amazing eateries on offer and I’m sure that if I’d have spent a little more time researching prior to our trip I would have discovered more independent eats but I have to say that we did eat up sticking mainly to chains which was pretty much due to ease (and our hungry tums)!
Our first port of call was Bill’s which is always a firm favourite! After perusing half of the Bullring we decided to take a little refuelling break and treat ourselves to a cocktail and a sharing mezze platter. Both of which were delicious and the perfect pit stop to see us through until dinner! The sun was out at this point so it was lovely to sit out on the balcony and pretend like we were on our holidays!
A little later when we were feeling all shopped out we went on the hunt for cocktails! We headed over to the area surrounding the cathedral where there are a number of bars and restaurants and ended up going for another of our favorites Gusto. It was still a nice temperature so we sat outside and watched the world go by whilst sipping on our delicious drinks! As it was Saturday night and we hadn’t thought to plan ahead a lot of restaurants were actually booked up so after a little wander and trying a couple of places we ended up going for more tapas style eats at Las Iguanas. We grabbed some two for one cocktails (both for me as Adam was the designated driver) and shared a couple of dishes as we weren’t massively hungry!
Now on to brunch, my favourite meal of the day. We couldn’t visit a new city and not try out somewhere for brunch could we?! After a quick snoop on Instagram I came across York’s Bakery which looked pretty dreamy and was total interior goals (my main requirements for any brunch location). They have two different branches but we opted to head over to the newly opened cafe at Ikon Gallery which is situated in Brindleyplace. I have to say that the interiors definitely didn’t disappoint and our food was pretty darn good too, I opted for the avocado on toast and Adam went for the Eggs Benedict which are our staple dishes. I’d definitely recommend heading over to the cafe at Ikon as it was pretty quiet which was perfect for a Sunday morning!
We had a good old wander around the city centre, stumbling across the town hall, the cathedral and discovering PLENTY of these cute little bear sculptures that are dotted all around the city. There’s even a scavenger hunt to find them all which I would totally have been up for had the weather been a little nicer on the Sunday, I do love a good treasure trail!
Overall there’s probably a lot more “touristy” things we could have done on our weekend but we decided to stick to simply enjoy our time mooching around the city and discovering sights without being restricted by a schedule. Especially after a couple of busy weeks it was bliss to just have a wander and see what we could find! If we’d have had more time there’s a few things I would have liked to do like visit the Electric Theatre and try Digbeth Dining Club but I guess they’ll just have to go on my to-do list for next time!
Have you been on a city break to Birmingham? Are there any places I should have on my list for next time?
*Overnight accommodation was kindly provided by Travelodge but all opinions my own.