Seatfrog Insider – Birmingham’s Hidden Gems

Let’s not talk about the accent (sorry, Brummies). Let’s just agree Birmingham is a fabulous, vibrant city that wears its second-city title well. Regeneration and renovation are happening apace, with architectural wonders raising up around the city as well as historical buildings being beautifully revitalised. Wander, wonder, and dive into a few of our favourite hidden spots. And of course, if you need a great ticket price for your train – or a cheeky First Class upgrade – you know who to call. Well, who to… app? Click? 

Credit: @leafvigurs

Perrotts Folly

No-one is really sure what this 96-foot tower was built for. Constructed in 1758, it eventually became a weather observatory before falling into disrepair. But what we do know, is that JRR Tolkein went to school near here, and that this was allegedly an inspiration for The Two Towers. You shall not pass!

Credit: @hockleysocialclub

Digbeth Dining

Digbeth Dining has been shaking up Birmingham’s street food scene for a while now. They have a few venues, but Hockley Social Club is the original and biggest. In a 10,000 foot former printing factory, there are three bars, rotating street food kitchens, plus live music and comedy nights. It’s one for all-comers. 

Credit: @thepenmuseum

Pen Museum

Did you know Birmingham was one the centre of the pen trade? Did you know there was, indeed, a pen trade? No, us neither. Luckily, this museum is dedicated to all things pen, and it’s genuinely great. Learn about pens, have a go at calligraphy, have your handwriting analysed – you can even make your own nib.  

Credit: @thebacchusbar

Bacchus Bar

Like a side of mad historic decor with your beer? Get it here. One of the oldest pubs in Birmingham, dating to 1398, is tucked under the Burlington Arcade, and has joyfully silly themed rooms. Roman mosaics? Tick. Suits of armour? Sure. Golden Egyptian tomb paintings? Obviously. We love to see it. 

Credit: @the_library_of_birmingham

Library of Birmingham secret garden

This is a hugely special library, with incredible architectural design and one of the largest book collections in Europe. There are ten floors to explore, but we recommend hopping in the lift to level 7 to find the secret garden. There are winding paths through beautiful plants, and absolutely stunning views. 

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