Birmingham on a Budget

nelson-birminghamIf you’re looking to make the most of your visit to Birmingham but want to keep your belt tightened, you’ll be pleased to discover there’s loads of free activities to keep you occupied during your time in the city.

Check out some of the most popular, budget-friendly sites Birmingham has to offer.

You could always start by taking a break from the buzzing city’s daily grind and go for a stroll along the scenic canal; this provides the perfect opportunity to take a beat and spend some quality time with loved ones or even indulge in some much-needed me-time.

Tolkien’s Trail

The legendary JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings series spent a good part of his childhood within and around Birmingham. The area of Moseley Bog for example, located just outside the city center, is known as being the base for his books’ infamous ‘old forest’  Grab your free leaflet from one of the numerous museums and follow Tolkien’s trail to see the parts of the city that influenced the author and provided his inspiration.

The Lapworth Museum of Geology

Situated within the University of Birmingham, this museum proudly stands as one the UK’s oldest specialist geological museums and recently received a complete revamp in June of last year.  It houses a variety of ancient fossils, minerals and crystals which are sure to peak your interest.

Historic Churches

Birmingham is home to an array of beautifully constructed churches dating back to medieval times. Even if you’re not religious, these buildings are worth a visit if only to admire their extensive decor and stained-glass windows. Take your pick from St.Laurence’s in Northfield, St. Philip’s Cathedral in the city centre, St. Martin’s in the Bull RIng shopping centre and St.Chad’s Cathedral in the Jewellery Quarter among others.

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Located in Chamberlain Square, the city’s main museum is open 7 days a week, including bank holidays. It houses a massive art collection from the Pre-Raphaelite era, as well as both local and international historical relics, culture and art pieces.  The Staffordshire Hoard can also be found here. Admission is free of charge.

Parks and Green Spaces

The city is full of lovely public parks and gardens where you can take in some greenery and fresh air. With over 600 in all, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Cannon Hill Park and Kings Heath Park are popular options within the city. The lakes and reservoirs also make ideal spots for nature-lovers or those interested in sailing and bird-watching.

Meanwhile, Martineau Gardens is a large, organic, community garden worth exploring. Here wanderers can take the nature trail and come upon vegetable plots,  herb beds, ponds as well as numerous species of trees and flowers and some furry friends in the woodland habitat.

BBC Public Space  

On the 7th floor of the popular Mailbox shopping centre, you can find the BBC Public Space. Try your hand at presenting a show or go on a studio tour, all for free.

The Library of Birmingham

No visit to Birmingham would be complete without a visit to the city’s well-established library in Centenary Square. Comprising ten floors, there’s lots more than just books to peruse. Exhibitions, performances, workshops and poetry readings are just a few of the activities one can expect during a typical week.  

Ikon Gallery

The Ikon Gallery in Oozells Square at Brindleyplace, features some fancy internationally-acclaimed art pieces from local and foreign artists in a variety of mediums, including film and installations.

The Mac

Located in  Cannon Hill Park, this building hosts an array of markets throughout the year, as well exhibitions, all of which have no entry fee.

Other sights of interest that warrant a visit, include the city’s infamous Jewellery Quarter as well as the Creative district in Digbeth. that houses the iconic Custard Factory shopping centre. Both these areas are sights in their own right and you can spend hours appreciating their wares.

Finally, if you’re looking for something a little different, why not take a visit the Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary and fawn over the adorable creatures that also offer therapy to special-needs children.

In a city with so much to offer, you can definitely make the most of Birmingham without having to spend a fortune on sightseeing.