Best things to do outside in Birmingham


It’s a quiet Sunday morning. You’ve just woken up and have started to think about what you can do with your free day. 

Perhaps you’re still reeling from a heavy Saturday night and need a relaxing activity to soothe your hangover. Maybe you’re considering how to entertain your ever-energetic offspring or want to experience new places by yourself or with family and friends. 

And whilst you are well within your rights to curl up inside a duvet mountain and savour Sunday’s freedom before the boredom and blues of Monday arrive, there is a bounty of exhilarating and enchanting adventures waiting for you in the great outdoors. 

So, guzzle down your coffee and gobble up your breakfast because it’s time to discover the best things to do outside in Birmingham


Birmingham canals 

First up on this list is Birmingham Canal Navigations, a network of 100 miles of canals which trickle through the city’s urban and suburban landscapes. 

Unlike the noisy streets of the city above, the canal system is a calm jungle that enables you to quietly sneak through Birmingham’s underbelly unnoticed, happening upon bars, shops and other hidden gems as you go. 

The Canal House, Brindley Place, Birmingham

Largely built during the 1700s and 1800s, the canals bring Birmingham’s industrial history to your fingertips, a cobble- and brick-strewn web where coal and other goods were once transported through gas-lit waterways. 

Two hundred years on, the canals are a picturesque pocket you should definitely take time to visit. 


Tolkien Trail 

To say that the ingenious creator of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R Tolkien took some of his inspiration from Birmingham might seem amiss, but it is actually the truth – so much so, there is even a trail which takes elvin enthusiasts and Gandolf groupies on a voyage to the places which held significance in the author’s life.

Sarehole Mill, Birmingham

Beginning at 264 Wake green Road, the house Tolkien moved to from South Africa following his father’s death, the route takes explorers to the 250 year-old Sarehole Mill, through the enchanting Moseley Bog and Joy’s Wood, (which is said to have inspired the Old Forest that features in the trilogy), and past seven other landmarks in the area. 

Notable sights include Perrott’s Folly and Edgbaston Waterworks Tower which are alleged to have been his inspiration for the Two Towers of Gondor. 

The Quest, as Galadriel says, stands upon the edge of a knife. Why not see if you can keep to the trail and find all of the Tolkien-related hotspots before your weekend is out?


Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Floral, fun and filled with things to do, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a unique spot in the city’s heart that offers visitors the chance to experience something different. 

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The events page is the solution to empty weekends and days off, providing a host of quirky, intriguing and enjoyable occasions to get involved in – from blues music, bat walks and brass band performances to watercolour classes, outdoor yoga, photography lessons and guided tours, the Gardens’ events page is blooming with opportunities. 

And it doesn’t end there. The grounds themselves are worth a full day out with walks, the Pavilion Tea Room, glasshouses and more to meander through. 

Make sure you don’t miss out by booking your trip today

Check out the best day out at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.


Ackers Adventure 

Splashing about in a canoe and scrambling up a 20 metre tower might not be everyone’s ideal day out, but for those of you who enjoy an outdoor activity or ten, Ackers Adventure is the place for you. 


Complete with three climbing walls, two archery ranges, a 100 metre ski slope and the option to toboggan, bellboat, kayak, snowboard, zip wire and more, this inclusive playground is an invigorating way to kill a few hours. 

The area is located just two miles from the city centre and provides enough activities to suit a broad variety of thrill-seekers. 

Cycling trails in Birmingham 

In-keeping with the theme of sport-based things to do outside in Birmingham are its bike trails – a fabulous way of uncovering city locations which you may never have seen whilst walking. 

For those of you seeking a smoother ride, the Rea Valley route is perfect, extending 9.2km in length and taking you through the tranquil Cannon Hill Park. 

Best things to do outside in Birmingham

If you’d like more of a challenge and are confident on two wheels, there is a 33.3 mile loop which begins in Erdington, traverses through Summerfield Canals and encounters the grade II-listed Engine Arm Aqueduct. 

Whether you’re cycling alone or with a group, there are plenty of trails to explore in the city. 


Parks in Birmingham 

Think about Birmingham for a second – what springs to mind? 

The bullring? Black Sabbath? Tommy Shelby? 

What probably doesn’t pop up is the city’s multiple parks, each with its own treasures. 

Cannon Hill park

From swan lake boating at Cannon Hill Park and birdwatching in Kings Heath Park to the 524 acres of grassland, heathland and woodland at Lickey Hills Country Park, there are ample sights and experiences to treasure in the city’s green spaces.  

Contrary to common belief, Birmingham does in fact have more parks and open space than any other equivalent sized city in Europe, boasting over 3,500 hectares in total. 

If you’re craving fresh air and birdsong, the city’s multitude of parks are the place for you.  


Black Country Living Museum

Located in the old industrial centre of Dudley, the Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) is a storytelling extravaganza, told by a collective of acted historical characters. 

Its charm lies in the film-like reconstruction of houses and buildings which are encompassed by the old sounds and smells of Victorian Birmingham.

Black Country Living Museum

Spread across 26 acres, this open-air museum promises an inclusive and theatrical experience that will captivate children and adults alike.  

Whether you’re relaxing to a vintage film in the 1920s cinema, participating in an early 20th century school lesson or riding around in a heritage vehicle, there is something for everyone at the BCLM. 


Ash End House Children’s Farm

Cuddling bunnies, sitting on ponies and feeding bumbling tortoises – it’s the dream of most kids. 

Sitting just outside Birmingham in Tamworth, Ash End House Children’s Farm is the place where such dreams can be made a reality. 

Baby chick in person's hand

Home to a range of fluffy, scaly and charismatic creatures, the farm is an inviting space in which children can interact with animals safely whilst building important skills and confidence. 

And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to spend an afternoon stroking a tiny chick?

Blakesley Hall 

Built over 400 years ago in 1590 by a man named Richard Smalbroke, Blakesley Hall is one of Birmingham’s oldest buildings and was designed to showcase the status of its owner. 

Walking around this house will bring you close to history, close to the wattle-and-daub structure and dark timber frames, the hallmarks of Tudor architecture. 

Blakesley Hall

Photo by Tony Hisgett

Encircling this grand home you will find an orchard, grounds and a traditional herb garden which was cultivated to imitate the original. 

Better still, the gardens are free to visit during opening hours providing an elegant area in which you can reflect and rest in peace and quiet. 



Wondering how to get to the Gardens? 

If you have booked a day out to the Gardens, you can find how to get to us here. Alternatively, plan your next trip by heading to our events page.

We also have a great range of activities for family days out at the gardens, check out the top 5 things to do with your family in Birmingham Botanical Gardens.