Nearly everything you need to know...
Birmingham may be Britain’s second city, but if you’re looking for things to do, it’s second to none. Here are our top tips for exploring and enjoying the city.
Where are the best places to go shopping in Birmingham?
Bullring and Grand Central is Birmingham's number one shopping destination. It boasts more than 200 stores across four floors. Alongside John Lewis and Selfridges, it is packed with high-end brands ranging from Accessorize to Zara.
Markets have been held here since the Middle Ages and today it remains the retail heart of Birmingham. Its high tech East and West Malls are linked by an underground passage. And touchscreen computers throughout help you find exactly what you are looking for.
If retail therapy makes you hungry, you’re spoiled for choice. There are plenty of stylish restaurants, cafés and takeaways. Bullring and Grand Central often hosts fashion shows and celebrity visits keep an eye out for upcoming events here.
Which are the best pubs in Birmingham?
There are around 335 pubs and bars in the city…and its boozers are buzzing. We’ll do our best to try each of them for you (in the interest of research). But whether you fancy a traditional pie and pint, or quirky cocktails, we guarantee Birmingham has just the place for you.
The Good Pub Guide lists The Old Joint Stock on Temple Row West as the best in Birmingham. The Victoria building’s sweeping staircase and drinking balcony make a big impression. But we’re most taken by their Ale & Pie Tasting Board. Three beers and three pies for £18.45…YUM!
Birmingham famously has more miles of canal than Venice, so a drink on the waterfront is always going to be a smart choice. And, with live music every night, The Canal House on Bridge Street is a great place to meet, eat and especially drink.
GETTING AROUND BIRMINGHAM
Getting to BLOC Hotel by car is easy and you can check out our parking deals here. But if you’re planning on exploring the city centre during your stay, it’s easier to leave the car and make use of the excellent network of West Midlands buses, trams and trains. Plan your journey here.
There are plenty of well-regulated taxis in Birmingham, with many ranks especially around the nightlife areas of Broad Street, The Arcadian and The Mailbox. Trips of a mile or two should cost around £5. Uber also operate within the city.
And, if you’re feeling energetic, you can always walk. Birmingham’s city centre is compact enough for you to move between plenty of its attractions on foot. And much of the city centre itself pedestrianised.
WHERE TO EAT IN BIRMINGHAM?
If you want fine dining, local specialities or just a cheap place to eat in Birmingham, you’re spoiled for choice. There are four Michelin starred restaurants in the city (Adams, Purnell’s, Simpsons, and Carters of Moseley), while three more are within easy striking distance of the centre.
There is no better place in the UK to taste Asian and Indian food. You can still lose yourself in the Balti Triangle to the south of the city centre. There may be fewer restaurants today than at its peak in the 90s, but it is a case of quality over quantity.
And we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend our neighbour, Lasan. Birmingham’s most famous Indian restaurant was a star turn on Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word and it remains a top dining destination. Best of all, our guests get a special discount; check out BLOC’s dining offers here.
WHAT ARE THE BEST CLUBS IN BIRMINGHAM?
By day the Rose Villa Tavern is a great little pub, but at weekends it transforms into a rocking club. The Grade II listed building is a short hop from BLOC Hotel in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. Check out the amazing DJ line up Fridays and Saturdays, or the monthly comedy night.
Hardcore ravers can dance until sunrise at Digbeth’s LAB11 warehouse. And nearby, the relaxed PST boasts three rooms of music, with a fabulous rooftop terrace.
Pryzm on Broad Street is one of the biggest clubs in Brum…and also one of the most fun. If you’re looking for an affordable night, check out their student events each Thursday: tickets are just £1 and so are the drinks.
Watching sport in Birmingham
Birmingham is home to two great football teams: Aston Villa and Birmingham City. But football is not the only game in town and there are plenty of other spectator sports that are well worth checking out.
Cricket has been played in Birmingham since 1745, while the Birmingham and District Cricket League is the oldest in the world. Edgbaston Stadium is home to Warwickshire CCC and regularly hosts England test matches.
The Birchfield Harriers’ Alexander Stadium hosts international athletics. It has a £70million investment to become a 20,000-seat venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Brum is famed for a bunch of other sports from American Football to water polo.
Organising business events in Birmingham
Birmingham has always been open for business. And there is good reason why it is the number one choice for great and small organisations looking to find the perfect venue for their events and conferences.
The NEC has been a world leader in the show business for more than 40 years. Its seven exhibition halls, which play host to more than six million guests each year, are a short journey from BLOC Hotel.
In the heart of the city, the bustling ICC annually hosts around 400 events, while the purpose-built Birmingham Conference and Events Centre has three floors of modern meeting and training rooms that can cater for up to 1,000 delegates.