West Midlands is a county in the midland area of England formed in 1974 after the British government passed an act allowing reform of local government in 1972 and consists of seven metropolitan boroughs – Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, and Wolverhampton.
There is a wide variety of attractions in the West Midlands including Coventry Skydome Arena, Perrott’s Folly, the National Exhibition Centre and the National Indoor Arena. London can be reached in about 3.5 hours by train and about 5 hours by bus.
Towns in West Midlands
The West Midlands is a historic county with roots in wool and cloth manufacture dating back to the middle ages, and coal and iron ore extraction and export also dating back to the same era.
Coventry was once one of the most important towns in England with its wool and cloth exports being major sources of income. Modern-day Coventry boasts a fine selection of sightseeing and museums, restaurants and shops as well as points of interest including Coventry Cathedral, Baddesley Clinton, and the Warwick Arts Centre.
Birmingham is a diverse city, both culturally and ethnically, however, its history is a long one, with evidence of human occupation as far back as 500,000 years. Its first real settlement came about in the 6th century by an Anglo Saxon tribe.
Modern-day Birmingham (or as it is affectionately known “Brum”), has plenty to offer with its main points of interest being the National Sea Life Centre, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Aston Hall.
Originally part of the county of Warwickshire, Solihull has a strong architectural history, with numerous period buildings sporting Tudor and Gothic styles. Modern-day Solihull has a busy center with many sights to see in and around the area, including Akamba Garden Centre, Shirley Windmill, Haystacks Play Barn and the Parkridge Centre.
With plenty of Bed and Breakfasts and hotels, finding somewhere to stay in Solihull is a breeze with most places within easy reach by foot or public transport.
Parks and Gardens
The West Midlands has a good variety of green spaces, open-air gardens as well as botanical exhibitions.
Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens
This stunning, Jacobean Manor is one of the oldest of its kind having been built in its original form in the year 1599. The gardens are even more special as during the English Landscape Movement in the West Midlands in the 19th Century, many ornamental gardens with foreign influences were removed and replaced by English formal gardens.
Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, however, survived with the modern day offering including gardens of the world, as well as native English gardens. For more information about this truly unique garden, visit the website: Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
These stunning gardens are a celebration of worldwide botanical locations including warm and humid tropical rainforests, the relaxing pleasure grounds based on English manicured gardens, a Japanese Bonsai garden with beautiful miniature trees and the intriguing shrubbery garden with relaxing walks and pathways draped lovingly in beautiful, mesmerizing colored flowers and blossoms.
View more about this botanical masterpiece here: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
New Hall Valley Country Park
A conservation park in Sutton Coldfield, Just outside Birmingham, New Hall Valley Country Park is a nature reservation dedicated to animals and birds of all kinds, most notably herons, kingfishers, water voles, and dragonflies. Ideal for cycling and walking New Hall Valley Country Park is well signposted through its 198 acres of wetland, grassland and woodland, all connected by gentle cycle paths and walkways.
Points of note along the way include a working 17th-century corn mill, plus a 14th-century hotel with a moat. View more information here: New Hall Valley Country Park
Attractions and Places to See
The West Midlands has some very beautiful scenic areas, as well as a large and varied range of fascinating buildings and sights.
Cadbury World Museum
Cadbury is the most successful chocolate maker in the world, a fact recognized and celebrated by lovers of their chocolate worldwide. The museum celebrates the history of chocolate and Cadbury’s on a wondrous walk through time, stopping off at places like the Aztec rainforest where cocoa was first discovered,
The journey of chocolate from South America to Europe as well as discovers and recounts the history of John Cadbury’s Quaker family who established the first factory. Discover more about Cadbury’s World Museum here: Cadbury’s World Museum
Built-in 949 AD, Warwick Castle is an amazing day out, examining over 1000 years of history from Medieval times right up to the present day. Discover the dungeons, towers, and ramparts of this wonderfully restored battle castle, with its mighty gatehouse and barbican fully restored.
With a fully working trebuchet (a battle engine like a very large catapult capable of flinging boulders over great distances), a dungeon tour and battle reconstructions of great detail, Warwick Castle is a day full of fun for the entire family. Find out more about this family treat here: Warwick Castle
St. Pauls Gallery
St. Pauls Gallery is a museum with a large twist. Rather than displaying fine art and sculpture, or even pottery or historical artifacts, St. Paul is the home of a fantastic collection of signed album art by artists representing many music genres. Pieces include signed covers from acts like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Donovan and many more. Find out more about this hidden gem here: St Pauls Gallery
Things to Do
There are a plethora of things to do in the West Midlands (sometimes referred to as West Mids), with attractions in the main cities numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands.
Alton Towers is an exciting family theme park based in Alton, just outside Birmingham. The park itself has a gigantic range of rides to choose from, with some of the more notable ones being Oblivion which is a rollercoaster that actually drops for a few thrilling seconds underground, vertical drop rides, plus kids’ parks and shows the whole year round.
Find out more about Alton Towers here: Alton Towers
Dudley Zoological Gardens
This 40-acre zoo is a family favorite, with Siberian Tigers, Owls, Orang-utans, parrots, African hunting dogs, Black Bears and many more on display year round. The habitats that the animals live in are beautifully looked after with the zoo team offering experience days for all ages including tiger feeding, petting, and cleaning of smaller animals.
The zoo has a great gift shop too with free parking and great food from its Castle restaurant. Find out more here: Dudley Zoological Gardens
The Hippodrome is an impressive building situated in the Chinese Quarter in Birmingham, capable of catering to half a million visitors a year. With a multitude of shows having been shown in its short history, with massive dance performances, great pantomime, and family theatre as well as wonderful bands and singers,
The Birmingham Hippodrome is a premier location for lovers of the performing arts. Find out more here: Birmingham Hippodrome
Afternoon Tea Ideas in the West Midlands
The West Midlands is home to some fine tea rooms and elegant cafes serving excellent afternoon tea.
Mallory Court Hotel – Leamington Spa
Mallory Court Hotel has a tradition of excellence in everything it offers, from fine dining through to top class accommodation. With three AA Rosettes, its afternoon tea menu is second to none,
Including but not limited to a large assortment of delicious sandwiches, sliced cakes and fancies and the nations’ favorite homemade scones and jam with scrumptious clotted cream. Find out more by visiting their website: Mallory Court Hotel
Moor Hall Hotel – Sutton Coldfield
A wonderful four-star country house hotel, Moor Hall offers superb wining and dining with afternoon tea one of its premier offerings. Built in 1905, afternoon tea can be taken in the wonderful oak-paneled bar, the Minstrel’s Gallery or in the garden on the terrace with its beautiful views of the West Midland countryside.
On the menu here, is a veritable gourmet of delights with tea served in a traditional earthenware teapot, with fine cakes, scones and creams available every day. Find out more here: Moor Hall Hotel
Edwards Bar and Restaurant – Birmingham
Edwards Bar celebrates the tradition of afternoon tea by serving up delicious, classic food in a warm and friendly environment in Erdington. Discover fine finger sandwiches and a great array of wonderful pastries, cakes, and scones with the delicious and ever-welcome additions of raspberry jam and clotted cream. Find out more here: Edwards Bar and Restaurant
Wedding Venues in West Midlands
The West Midlands has a wonderful choice of contemporary, modern and classical venues for a wonderful wedding ceremony.
Austin Court – Birmingham
Austin Court is a beautifully restored building with bags of character and classical charm. It is a wonderful place for civil ceremonies and can hold 150 guests. Wedding parties are granted exclusive use of the whole facility, which is located in the ever popular and very trendy Brindleyplace district of Birmingham. View more information here: Austin Court
The Belfry Hotel
With a stunning £26m refurbishment of this wonderful hotel recently completed, The Belfry is a shining example of class and elegance in British wedding society. Nestling in 550 acres of idyllic countryside,
it is the perfect retreat for a peaceful and relaxing ceremony with ambient gardens, sunny walks, and wonderfully appointed en-suite rooms. Find out more here: The Belfry
Campsites / Caravans:
There is a great selection of camping and caravan sites in the West Midlands, with wide open fields and green spaces at a premium.
Caravan Club Sites
• Chapel Lane, Wythall, Birmingham
• Harbury Fields, Harbury, Middle Road, Leamington Spa
• Clent Hills Caravan Site, Halesowen, West Midlands
• Kingsbury Water Park, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
• Hill View Caravan and Camping Site, Shustoke, West Midlands
• Chapel Lane Campsite, Wythall