The perfect way to spend a jam-packed weekend in Birmingham

In the heart of the Midlands, and the heart of the country, it’s hard to pick out just a handful of Birmingham’s star attractions. In a city that’s never less than buzzing, you’ll be spoilt for choice. From museums to ancient monuments, sports grounds to gardens, there are simply too many attractions to choose from. Then there’s the world-class, award-winning bars and restaurants, and all the big shopping names you’d expect to find in a major city.

And no visit is complete without an outing to the architectural masterpiece that is the Bullring. There are plenty of pleasures to be found outside the city limits too – and the best way to make a break for the Black Country is in a hire car from Hertz.

Cadbury World

Cadbury World

Address: Linden Rd, Birmingham B30 1JR


Until 1879, Cadbury’s famous chocolate was made in a factory in the middle of Birmingham. But it was then that Richard and George Cadbury decided that it would be more pleasant for workers to move around four miles outside the city centre to a new factory in the village of Bourneville. The factory is long gone, but on its site you’ll find Cadbury World, a fun and educational way to learn all about chocolate and how it’s made.

Divided into 14 different zones, it takes you on a journey from the cocoa beans grown in Africa and other parts of the world, to how it’s manufactured and how it reaches your hands. You’ll emerge understanding just how much has gone into making each bar of Cadbury’s chocolate you buy.

There’s also “The Bourneville Experience” in which you travel through time to discover the history of the site, with Bourneville village itself a very pleasant place for a stroll.

Black Country Living Museum

Address: Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ


Although the heavy industry of the region is a shadow of its former self, the heritage is kept alive at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. It brings to life what it was like to live and work in the area when industry was at its peak and how it earned its name.

At the museum you’ll find recreations of streets with vintage buses still travelling down them, interiors of typical workers’ houses and much more besides.

But what makes this really a living museum is the collection of volunteers in period dress giving oral accounts of life in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

You’ll also get a real feel for what it must have been like to actually work in those conditions as you’re surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells from when the region was the industrial powerhouse of the country.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Address: Westbourne Road, Birmingham B15 3TR


Just a mile and a half from the city centre is somewhere that must be one of the most relaxing places to visit in Birmingham – its Botanical Gardens. First opened in 1829, and designed by the famous gardener J.C. Loudon, the 15-acre site was built as an oasis away from the frantic activity of the city.

Extensively refurbished in the 1990s, today thousands of people each year enjoy visiting its various glasshouses, with a huge range of plants from tropical, sub-tropical, Mediterranean and arid regions of the world.

There is also an aviary on site with exotic birds from around the world including macaws, love birds, and parakeets. Beneath this there is a sunken rose garden growing many rare and not-so-rare varieties that is laid out just as it would have been in Victorian times.

It’s also a very child-friendly place with two different playgrounds to enjoy as well as the Pavilion Tea room that sits on the Loudon Terrace – named in honour of the gardens’ creator.

The National Motorcycle Museum

Address: Bickenhill, Solihull, B92 0EJ


In its heyday, the Midlands was at the very heart of the British motor industry. While names like Rover, MG live on, there are others which have disappeared forever. The aim here is to - keep alive the so-called “60 glorious years”, when the UK led the world in motorcycle manufacture.

You’ll find the world’s biggest single collection of British motorcycles you can still find many of the most famous names on two wheels.

Among the most prized exhibits is the only surviving model of the Brough Superior Golden Dream, launched at the 1938 motorcycle show at Olympia, and reckoned to be the world’s most valuable machine.

There are countless other examples of Britain’s motorcycle building prowess, from ABC to Zenith and every other manufacturer in between. If you fancy riding home instead of driving, they also have a collection of bikes restored in the museum’s own workshops and ready to sell.

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Address: Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 1NG


The huge Kenilworth Castle has been described as the finest surviving example of its kind. Praised for its scale, form and quality of workmanship, it’s an experience to see its sheer size at first hand.

You can wander around the battlements and imagine what it must have been like in the six-month siege that took place in 1266. Or visit the authentically recreated knot garden, which remains much as it was when Elizabeth I made frequent visits to the castle. You can also explore Leicester’s Building – believed to have been built specially for the Queen by the Earl of Leicester in an (unsuccessful) attempt to persuade her to marry him.

Few places in the UK offer quite as much variety as Birmingham, or the Midlands in general. And undoubtedly the best way to make the most of your visit is to hire a car from Hertz.