Bright lights, big city. As the UK’s second largest city, it’s no surprise that Birmingham offers a lively mix of cultural experiences.
From the world-class Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the heart of the city centre to authentic street food at Digbeth Dining Club, shopping at the Bullring or the unique independent shops of the Piccadilly Arcade, there’s never a dull moment.
But Birmingham is more than a wonderful city. It’s also the perfect place to stay to explore all the treasures of the Midlands, and beyond.
These places of interest are all less than 1 hour away by road or rail.
Shakespeare’s birthplace is a must for international visitors and Brits alike.
Stratford is home to many beautiful half-timbered Tudor buildings, perfect for the architecture fan or Instagrammer in the family. Immerse yourself in sixteenth-century life, inside the house where world-renowned playwright William Shakespeare was born and lived with his family. Visit his wife Anne Hathaway’s romantic cottage, or New Place where they enjoyed the benefits of his success for 19 years. And, of course, complete the experience with a play at one of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s three theatres.
By road: from the Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, it’s just 55 minutes via the M40.
By rail: a direct train from Birmingham Moor Street station takes just 40 minutes.
Rolling hills, nature reserves and heritage sites abound in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Eastnor Castle, with its deer park and hedge maze, makes a great family day out. Nature reserves and trails through ancient woodlands offer options for hardy walkers and afternoon strollers alike. Those with mobility issues can still enjoy the outdoors, with an all-terrain mobility scooter available for hire to travel up the Worcester Beacon, and the Miles Without Stiles 2-mile walk around Colwall Village.
By road: from the Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, it’s a 1 hour drive via the M5.
By rail: from nearby University train station, a direct train to Great Malvern takes only 50 minutes.
Soak up 1100 years of history in one day at this remarkable heritage site. The stone buildings in place today date from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, although records show a motte and bailey castle was first constructed here in 1068. History buffs will love the sense of scale, the thoughtful exhibits and the extensive grounds, landscaped by Capability Brown. The regular programme of live shows featuring jousting, birds of prey and seasonal events provides fun for all.
By road: from the Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, it’s under 45 minutes via the M40.
By rail: from Birmingham Snow Hill train station, a direct train to Warwick takes 30 minutes; the castle is a ten-minute walk away.
Want to travel a little further? These UK must-sees are less than 2 hours away by road.
This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers a glimpse of picture postcard England in its pretty villages, towns and cities.
Butter-yellow Cotswold stone buildings and thatched cottages mingle with market town inns, stately homes and gardens. The gently undulating green hills offer many public footpaths for the casual walker, passing Neolithic remains and Iron Age hill forts. For genteel shopping and a classic afternoon tea, visit ‘Little Venice’ Bourton-on-the-Water. For a family day trip, head for Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, to the east of the area, or Westonbirt Arboretum to the south.
By road: From the Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, Moreton-in-Marsh is a 65-minute drive. Bourton-on-the-Water and Woodstock are both a further 15-minute drive. Westonbirt Arboretum is a 90-minute drive via the M5.
Known as the ‘Town of Books’, Hay-on-Wye is home to 24 bookshops. This tiny but beautiful village sits on the English-Welsh border, on the banks of the River Wye. Bookworms should visit in May or June for the internationally-renowned literary festival (and will definitely benefit from staying elsewhere, as this little town overflows for miles around). For the active traveller, there’s canoeing on the Wye, hiking the Offa’s Dyke National Trail, or travelling on to the Brecon Beacons National Park.
By road: From the Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, Hay-on-Wye is just under 2 hours’ drive.
If this all sounds a little too cultured, blow away the cobwebs on the rides at Alton Towers theme park. With six major rollercoasters, family rides, and a new scare maze opening in 2018, it’s ideal both for thrill seekers and those who prefer a nice whirly teacup.
By road: From Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, it’s just over 90 minutes via the M6.
With such easy access to so many of the UK’s best attractions, historic sites and Areas of Outstanding Beauty, a stay in Birmingham might take you further than you expect.