Until last week I’d only ever paid a fleeting student visit to Birmingham, so to me the city was relatively undiscovered. After being invited up to celebrate the launch of the new AC Hotel in the city centre, I was excited to have a little look around and explore, and pop together a list of little gems to stop by! Although I know there’s far more to see (I’m always impressed by Sophie and Jack’s foodie suggestions)- I thought I’d add in some for the time being, and some additions we didn’t have time to swing by to too!
Staying: AC Hotel
Situated cosily next to the trendy and polished Mailbox, the AC Hotel Birmingham hits the jackpot when it comes to location in the city. Reminding me a little of the London Edition (but on a mini scale with it’s wood walls and cool-minimal feel), the hotel boasts rooms for hugely reasonable rates without losing the boutique feel. With dressing gowns, a mini bar fuelled with chocolate and the dreamiest T.V (in case you’re after some Sky Atlantic) their moto is ‘everything you need and nothing you don’t’- and if like me you need granola for breakfast, a comfy bed and the perfect location you’ll be pretty bloomin’ chuffed (they’ve also got a sparkly new Manchester location too)! Also, if like me you’re a Marriott Rewards member (which is free, if you get as excited about rewards schemes as I do)- then you’re able to embrace the perks at this gorgeous property too (which include free wifi, the best rates booked through Marriott, late check out, a personalised experience and everything from retail gift cards to alternatively using them at another of their 4,200 hotels, or flights)! Definitely worth checking out for a few clicks with optimum perks!
160, The Mailbox, Wharfside St, Birmingham, West Midlands B1 1RL
Eating: Original Patty Men
Joe and I had heard a lot of promising things about this place. After scouting it down with less than an hour before our train home, we arrived just as the shutters lifted and within 10 minutes were happily gobbling down one tasty burger. With what Joe described as the ‘perfect ketchup to mayo ratio’ this chunky fries and dreamy burger combination was one we’re glad we didn’t miss. On top of that, they also had desserts. Sadly we didn’t get time, but next time it’s top of my list.
9 Shaw’s Passage, Birmingham B5 5JG
If you’re after a central spot for a super healthy lunch and some seriously delicious cakes (I’d say the same about the coffee as I’ve heard a lot of good things) then Faculty and Sixteen Kitchen Bakery next door are the places to go. Decked with exposed wooden benches, airy light and a friendly atmosphere; they’re the perfect spots to kill some time during lunch or with your laptop (as well as munching your way through some tasty menu’s too).
Piccadilly Arcade, Birmingham, West Midlands B2 4HD
It’s normally unintentionally my personal mission to discover the best spots for cakes in each city I visit, and after hearing endless good things about the bakery Peel and Stone I was so excited to pop by. It’s not a sit-in kind of place, but if you fancy grabbing some of their delicious fresh sandwiches for a take-away picnic, or even trying their marshmallow and chocolate cookie (unreal) I definitely recommend swinging by.
West B3, 32 Water St, Birmingham
Shopping: Liquor Store
Although most people will solely say the Bullring when Birmingham shopping is mentioned (which, is undeniably great for spending the £££), there are several charming arcades in the city which boast some true gems too- with Liquor Store being just one of them. With shelves of denim, perfect bretons and Scandi-style- it’s the perfect shop for all the basics (and candles, and, ahem, stationary) too. With a mens boutique opposite (which has an amazing selection too)- they’re both worth taking note of.
30 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham
I know you don’t really go to a new city to go to the cinema- but having the gorgeous Everymanhttp://www.everymancinema.com/venues/mailbox-birmingham/whats-on/ on our doorstep next to the hotel- it was the perfect post-dinner option after a busy day on our feet. With a restaurant and a selection of great films on show, it’s the perfect way to unwind in the city if drinks aren’t your thang (and you can pretty much roll home afterwards too)!
Everyman Mailbox 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF
If you’re in to your contemporary or modern art, I highly recommend a visit to Birmingham’s IKON gallery. Tucked alongside the canal; this neo-gothic style building is home to some seriously fascinating works of art, and with a pretty excellent gift shop and cafe to boot (take a look at the deco and thank me later)- it gets three big ticks from me!
1 Oozells St, Birmingham B1 2HS
Yorks Bakery (for tea and cake), Quarter Horse (for dreamy coffee), Buffalo and Rye (burgers and meat), The Custard Factory, Museum Of The Jewellery Quarter, The People Shop (a little out of town but gorgeous) and Eight Foot Grocer (for independent groceries)