Birmingham’s best old pubs & 10 things to do in Birmingham

Birmingham might be called the “second city,” but it’s not going to settle for silver when it comes to city sights and some of the most beautiful old pubs in the UK.

We won’t waste any more time telling you about it – we’ll show you with our list of the 10 best things to do in Birmingham, and some of the most historic pubs nearby for a chilled cask ale and hearty meal afterwards.

1. visit Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Housed in an extravagant Victorian building, you’ll find an extensive collection of art, artefacts, and archaeological finds here, including a domed Round Room exhibiting Pre-Raphaelites and the Staffordshire hoard.

Get directions to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

2. discover the jewellery quarter

As an important part of this industrial city’s history, you wouldn’t be doing your city exploration justice without a visit to this quaint – yet energetic – area! Wander around its many jewellery shops, art galleries, or independent cafés.

Get directions to the Jewellery Quarter.

3. relax at the Library of Birmingham

Consider yourself a bit of a bookworm? You simply must visit the Library of Birmingham, a modern masterpiece of architecture that houses thousands of books – alongside being a venue for local classes, workshops, and exhibitions.

Get directions to the Library of Birmingham.

4. Shop at the birmingham Bullring & Grand central

Birmingham’s go-to spot for shopping till you drop, the Bullring and its connected Grand Central Station are two spots designed with retail therapy in mind, keeping you on your toes with a mix of high street shops, luxury brands, and delicious cafés and restaurants.

Get directions to the Birmingham Bullring & Grand Central.

Best pubS for these attractions: The shakespeare inn, summer row

The Shakespeare Inn in Summer Row is only a short stroll from Snow Hill Station, meaning you can go straight from the train to the historic, homely vibes of our old British pub, or you can head to the Bullring & Grand Central and join us afterwards for a classic pub meal before catching the train home. Either way, we’ll have a seat waiting for you at ours – once you see The Bard on our outside wall, you’ve arrived.


Walk into a world of wonder at the eye-catching Thinktank Science Museum, where you can get involved with interactive exhibits and discover the true depth of this world’s scientific and technological experiments. It promises to be a fun day for the whole family!

Get directions to Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum.

6. Catch a show at the birmingham hippodrome

The Birmingham Hippodrome is said to be one of the UK's busiest theatres, bringing people from far and wide to catch the latest in tear-jerking theatre, memorable musicals, and everything in-between.

Get directions to the Birmingham Hippodrome.

7. Explore the Birmingham Back to Backs

Much like when you step into our historic British pubs, these restored 19th-century courtyard houses will have you feeling like you’ve travelled back in time.

Get directions to the Birmingham Back to Backs.

8. sweeten your day at Cadbury World

It’s said that Cadbury chocolate is one of the most delicious chocolates in the world, and where better to learn all about it than at Cadbury World itself? Here you’ll be able to delight in a chocolate-themed adventure with interactive exhibits and tastings.

Get directions to Cadbury World.

9. stroll through Cannon Hill Park

Cannon Hill Park is a sprawling space of green, giving you a space to escape the hustle & bustle of this vibrant city. Relax in this picturesque park and discover lakes, gardens, and recreational spots for all kinds of activities.

Get directions to Cannon Hill Park.

10. Enjoy the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Whoever said you couldn’t find an oasis of green in the big city? Not us, that’s for sure! Embrace the lush landscapes of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, where you’ll find a variety of plant collections and glasshouses.

Get directions to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Best pubs for these attractions: Bacchus BAR

Not to toot our own horn, but Bacchus Bar is one of the oldest pubs in Birmingham and it’s easily the most memorable to boot! Hidden underneath the Burlington Arcade, our pub dates back to 1398 and isn’t afraid to show it, featuring enviable vaulted ceiling, suits of armour, Greek and Roman mosaics, and an Egyptian room decorated with tomb paintings. Grab your favourite tipple and start exploring the walls of our underground paradise – it’s what Bacchus, the Greek and Roman God of wine would have wanted.

The SHAKESPEARE, lower temple street

Searching for a pub near New Street Station that’s always lively with locals? Head to The Shakespeare in Lower Temple Street, known as the watering hole you can’t resist on your way to the station – honest, we’ve tried. Expect a warm welcome, a bar filled with an eclectic range of ales and gins, and pub menus worth missing your train home for. Specialty pie, anyone?

the BIRMINGHAM ale & GIN trail

Don’t worry about deciding which old Birmingham pubs need to be on your to-do list… we’ve done it for you! Simple follow our Birmingham Ale & Gin Trail and you’ll visit four of the best pubs in Birmingham – as well as the best seasonal pies and the finest ales and gins in this beautiful city.

Starting in Summer Row and ending on Liverpool Street, right by the industrial architecture of Snow Hill Station, you’ll be glad you took a walk with Nicholson’s.

Oh, one last thing… For especially ‘appy travels along our Birmingham Ale & Gin Trails, remember to collect your Ale & Gin Trail loyalty stamps on our app. Keep it up and we’ll pour you a FREE ale or gin with every 4th old pub you visit.

If all that reading about the best attractions in Birmingham – and the charming old pubs that go hand-in-hand with them – has you feeling thirsty, we think you deserve a break.

Find your nearest Nicholson’s pub and take a load off, treating yourself to a couple of cask ales, and perhaps a classic British pub lunch, before getting back to your journey through the best cities in the UK.