You know what it’s like staying in a city you don’t know. You’re far from home; away from family and friends. After a long day of business meetings or networking at a conference, you want to unwind. But in a city of over a million people, where do you start?
Ask a local, of course. Follow our business travellers’ guide to Birmingham, and your post-work downtime will be as valuable as the rest of your stay.
A day of meetings, coffee breaks and mid-afternoon snacks can make anyone feel sluggish. If you’re a regular runner, getting out of your routine can leave you facing a restless night’s sleep. But there’s no need to ditch the morning run, just because you’re away from your usual route.
Instead, pack your trainers and head out for some fresh air.
Visit Middle Earth
JRR Tolkien lived in Edgbaston from the age of 8. It is believed that the Two Towers were inspired by two local landmarks: Perrott’s Folly and Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. From the Edgbaston Park Hotel, take a 35-minute stroll towards Edgbaston Reservoir, and snap the view that Tolkien saw as a boy.
The walk home will take you past Hagley Road’s selection of lively, inexpensive local restaurants. Try El Borracho de Oro for authentic Galician tapas, or Shiraz for Persian food in a cosy atmosphere.
Need a rest?
A hammam massage relaxes sore shoulders and soothes aching backs like no other. If you’ve been travelling for a few days, or are feeling the creaks setting in after a long day at a desk, a trip to the steam room and a cleansing mud massage will leave you feeling clean, calm and uplifted.
Try Agadir in the Jewellery Quarter for the full Moroccan experience. For Swedish massage, hot stone therapy and other treatments, the Cube’s Club and Spa in the city centre has plenty of choice, from seaweed wraps to sporty men’s foot care.
Birmingham is packed with world-class museums and galleries: so many, in fact, that it’s hard to narrow them down.
Skip the crowds in the city centre, and choose the Barber Institute. It’s a miniature National Gallery, with painting, sculpture and works on paper by Old Masters and modern icons alike. Featuring works by Rembrandt and Degas, Tintoretto and Rossetti, Turner and Toulouse-Lautrec, and many more, this collection really is a must-see.
Open until 5pm on weekdays and weekends and with free entry, it’s perfect for an inspiring break from the work routine. When you stay at Edgbaston Park Hotel, it’s just a short stroll away.
Green spaces abound in Birmingham – but few are as beautiful as this one.
Winterbourne House and Garden is the perfect place to breathe some fresh air and immerse yourself in nature. Seven acres of Grade II-listed botanical gardens beckon, featuring a Japanese bridge and tea house, glasshouses of rare plants, towering redwoods, and a woodland path to the peace and calm of Edgbaston Pool. Best of all, it’s on Edgbaston Park Road, only a stone’s throw from the hotel and conference centre.
If you’re a real ale lover, get up close and personal with Birmingham’s fine brewing tradition at the Gunmakers Arms for an evening. Take a 90-minute tour of the Two Towers independent brewery. Then head back to the brewtap at the pub for a tasting of their unique selection: Electric Ale, Bhacker Ackhams, and, at Christmas only, puddingy porter Sleighed.
Groups are welcome, though pre-booking is advisable.
No meeting tomorrow morning? For a slice of Brummie nightlife, head into the city centre. Broad Street is home to Birmingham’s biggest nightclub, Pryzm; with 4 rooms playing anything from hip hop to trance, old-school pop to RnB, it’s a crowdpleaser. On a warm night, try the Moroccan garden at Southside’s Bambu, or check out the Gay Village at Nightingales.
If you’re after something a little different, try The Jam House in the Jewellery Quarter. This jumping jazz, blues and rock venue is co-owned by Jools Holland, and features live music almost every night of the week.
Adventures in Wonderland
For truly quirky surroundings, visit The Jekyll and Hyde in the city centre. Try ‘potions’ like the rich, spicy Plum Treacle or a classic Bramble in Mr Hyde’s cocktail bar, or head for Jekyll’s Victorian gin parlour upstairs for a Cheshire Cat or a flight of gin. On a summer’s day, enjoy your drink in the unique Alice in Wonderland-themed beer garden. The parlour also serves a delicious traditional afternoon tea.
Stay with us
Of course, at Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre we’ve got plenty right here on site to help you unwind.
Whether you’re hungry after working hard or looking forward to something lighter, you can enjoy a relaxing meal in the spacious, airy restaurant.
Gather for a drink in othe bar-lounge to chat over the day’s work, plan for tomorrow or simply wind down – before strolling off for a blissful night’s sleep in your comfortable bed.