England’s second city welcomes you and shows you its sporty side!
Considered the United Kingdom’s sportiest city, Birmingham is a host city of the world’s biggest rugby tournament! Take the opportunity to explore the city centre, its monuments and, of course, its stadiums!
Essential Birmingham – An impressive Historical Heritage
Before setting off for the stadiums, take the time to visit Birmingham city centre. While it’s less well-known than the mighty London and buzzing Manchester, the city is still the second largest in terms of population and has attractions it would be a shame to miss.
Put on your spiked shoes and head for the Jewellery Quarter, the perfect starting point for your day. Boasting the highest concentration of jewellers in Europe, the Jewellery Quarter attracts tourists with its many historic buildings, structures and monuments. Start by visiting the city’s last remaining Georgian square, St Paul’s Square.
Keep walking to the intersection of Frederick Street and Vyse Street and you will see the Chamberlain Clock. This monument pays tribute to the Birmingham politician: Joseph Chamberlain.
Heading back south will take you into the city centre. Don’t miss the gigantic, modernist Library of Birmingham. A must see!
Shopping and Food
Don’t worry if you’re hungry, you’re in the right place. Near Birmingham Cathedral, there are dozens of restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Purnell’s and Adam’s. Not quite places to enjoy a post-match drink, but it would be a shame to miss them!
Once you’ve sated your appetite, you can head west and awaken your inner compulsive shopper at the famous Bull Ring. Birmingham’s marketplace since the Middle Ages, the site is now home to a shopping centre featuring the flamboyant Selfridges building. Designed by the architects Future Systems, this gigantic building with a 110 000 square metre metal facade is worth a visit as much for the shops inside as its design.
To start your evening, find a pub along Broad Street to enjoy a few glasses of craft beer. A more than pleasant way to recharge your batteries for the rest of your stay!
Football and Cricket!
For Football Fans
After exploring Birmingham city centre and its landmarks, prepare yourself for a little sporting tour of the city! Start with a hearty breakfast in one of the city’s cafés. Here, you can choose from: Yorks Bakery Cafe on Newhall Street, Yumm Cafe on Gibb Street or Boston Tea Party on Corporation Street.
After your English breakfast, get ready for a healthy portion of football! Even if you’ve come for the rugby, you can’t miss out on Birmingham’s great footballing tradition!
They don’t mess around here when it comes to football! The city’s two clubs, Birmingham City and Aston Villa, were founded in 1875 and 1874 respectively, and maintain a fierce rivalry to this day.
So make your choice and head for either St Andrew’s or Villa Park Stadium (the teams’ respective stadiums) for a tour. Go through the players’ entrance, step on the pitch, visit the changing rooms and learn about the history of these two clubs. And if you can’t decide, visit both!
Learning about Cricket
In the afternoon, continue your sporting tour and experience something that might be a rarity in other parts of the world: a cricket match! And in Birmingham, cricket is a real institution! Birmingham is where the oldest league was founded and the very first world cup was held. Arm yourself with a rule book so you can understand the finer points of the sport and head for Edgbaston Cricket Club. While this sport is not as physical as the star attraction rugby, it is fiendishly technical!
However, be patient: a match can last several hours or even several days! Maybe you should extend your stay in Birmingham…
Focus on the Rugby Player Joe Shaw
A native of Birmingham, this former rugby player is as famous on the pitch as off it. Having won the Powergen Cup with the Newcastle Falcons, in 2008 he became the first rugby player to be inducted into the Show Racism the Red Card Hall of Fame for his work tackling racism. After retiring in 2009, he joined the coaching staff of Saracens in 2014.
Birmingham According to Eric Armstrong & Rosemary Stafford
In Birmingham Sports & Recreation from Old Photographs, the authors show a whole series of photographs dating from the early 20th Century, covering sport in Birmingham. It features the city’s first rugby teams, as well as football, hockey and cricket teams. A journey through time and sport!
Birmingham in Brief
When to come:
In September for rugby matches, at the start of autumn but before the sun has disappeared.
How to get here:
By plane! Take advantage of our flight offers by visiting our page on flights to Birmingham.
How to get around:
For longer distances (or when you’re feeling tired…) take the bus or metro. Otherwise, take your time and explore the city on foot.
Where to stay:
For a hotel near the city centre and tourist attractions, look at those between the Rotunda and Birmingham Cathedral.
Where to eat:
The Lord Clifden: 34 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham, traditional British pub. Ideal for watching a rugby match. Food from €5 to 35*
Dads Lane Fish Bar and Restaurant: 1 Dads Lane, Birmingham, THE best fish and chips in Birmingham. Around €9*
Anderson’s Bar & Grill: 30 Mary Ann Street, St Paul’s Square, Birmingham, steakhouse with a refined atmosphere. Food from €25 to 50*
Hennessey’s: 30-31 Allison Street, Birmingham, modern bar showing major sporting events. Food from €3.5 to 15, drinks from €5*
* Prices are indicative and subject to change