If you’re in need ideas for keeping your little ones entertained this October half-term, perhaps you should consider a trip to the second city (if you live here, then lucky you!) There’s something for kids of all ages in Birmingham and the region has just been announced as the UK’s fastest growing tourist destination outside of London – so come see what all the hype is about!
We have more canals than Venice (you haven’t heard that one before) and more Michelin stars than any other regional UK city, but if your kids need more than food and water to entertain them, here’s my top 10 things to do in Birmingham with kids.
Any kid who’s read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will absolutely love this place. There are 14 zones taking you on a complete tour of Cadburys including a 4D cinema experience, a chocolate making tutorial and an Aztec jungle. There’s also an adventure play area which is great for when the kids get a little restless (although bear in mind that it’s outdoors so not great on a rainy day). Probably more suitable for older kids who will appreciate all that the experience has to offer. They also get FREE CHOCOLATE!! Tours are allocated on a time slot basis, so make sure you book your trip in advance (online) so that you can book a time that’s suitable for you.
THINK TANK BIRMINGHAM
Think Tank, Birmingham Science museum is perfect for those ‘but why?’ kids who want to know everything there is to know about the universe they live in. Whether it’s space, manufacturing or future inventions that your kids are interested in, there’s so much to do and see here. Main highlights include the planetarium, the spitfire gallery, and a science garden which is an outside discovery space parked with surprises and outdoor fun for the family. The museum is also hosting a number of additional activities over the half-term.
A 30 minute drive outside of the city centre, Twycross Zoo is perfect for a family day out. There are around 500 animals to see, and Twycross has the largest collection of monkeys and apes in the West. The food court has a number of options for kids and there’s also a great soft play area – if you want to lose an hour of your day!
thomas land, drayton manor
I wrote a review of our visit to Thomas Land in the summer here, but trust me when I say that it’s an absolute must for little Thomas fans. With a new expansion and several new rides launched this year, there’s even more to do – from riding on Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy, to taking an Engine Tour on Thomas himself to Farmer McColl’s farm, you definitely won’t be short of things to do. A great day out for toddlers (check out the height restrictions before booking your tickets). Drayton Manor is located to the north of Birmingham, visit their website for tips on getting there from the city centre. Again, book in advance online for big savings.
library of birmingham
Launched in 2013, the new Library of Birmingham is sure to fuel kids’ imaginations and has everything the little bookworm could possibly want. There are a number of areas to discover including a dedicated Children’s Library, which is a treasure trove for all ages from tots to teenagers. There are also a number of regular activities including story sessions from visiting authors – Chris White visits on 28th October for a Cartoon and Rhyme Roadshow, and there’s also a Pirate Fun Day taking place on 30th October. You can find out more here.
cannon hill park
If it’s outdoor fun you’re after, Cannon Hill Park is ideal for families. Located just outside of the city centre, the park spans 250 acres and has two children’s play areas, as well as woodland, formal gardens, a lake, plenty of picnic areas and a 36 hole mini golf course. At the heart of the park is the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), host to a wide range of theatre performances, music, comedy and children’s plays. Visit the website to find out what’s on.
BIRMINGHAM SEA LIFE CENTRE
All under one roof, Birmingham Sea Life Centre is perfect for a rainy day. I went in the (not so sunny) summer with my sister and two year old nephew and he loved it! Even Taylor was (uncharacteristically) quiet – mesmerised by the bright blue tanks and weird and wonderful sea creatures. The highlight for me (and my nephew) were the penguins – a new addition in 2014, the penguin’s playful and quirky ways are so much fun to watch! There’s also various interactive ‘stations’ for kids as you walk around – for every answer they get correct you give them a stamp for a medal at the end. The soft play area at the end is also very popular! Be sure to book online in advance to save up to 40%.
black country living museum
The open air Black Country Museum literally transports you back in time to an 1830s Black Country village with charismatic residents to chat to, trams to ride and games to play. If it’s entertainment you’re looking for and something to set the imagination alight, then this is your place. There’s stories to hear about the challenges and triumphs of industry in the 1830s, and twenty six acres of history to explore. Little history boffs will be in their element. The museum is also hosting some great half-term activities including treasure trails, craft workshops and street games.
SNOW DOME, TAMWORTH
Whether you’re a seasoned skiing family, or you’ve never been up a peak in your life, the Snow Dome at Tamworth is guaranteed to provide a fun-packed active day out. It’s home to the UK’s only dedicated children’s snow play area, and also has an ice-skating rink and an ice track, as well as real snow slopes. There’s something for kids of all ages and you don’t need any prior experience to participate in any of the activities. Children aged 3-7 years can also try tiny tubing and tiny sledging. The Snow Dome is less than a 30 minute drive outside of Birmingham city centre.
bbc birmingham tours
The BBC Birmingham Tours offers visitors the chance to gain access to the ‘behind the scenes’ world of some of your favorite shows. Informative and entertaining tour guides will show you all there is to know about the fantastic TV, radio and online productions that are created at BBC Birmingham. There are plenty of interactive elements to keep kids entertained – have a go at making your own radio play complete with music and sound effects, or experience what it’s like to take part in CBBC’s quiz show, Copycats. Tours last up to one and a half hours. There’s a lot of walking and standing, so better for the older kids.
What are your plans this half-term? Do you have any other suggestions for things to do in Birmingham with kids?