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William Shakespeare's birthplace place house on Henley street in Stratford upon Avon in England

Things to do in  West Midlands

The heart of England

Running from the heart of England to the Welsh border, the West Midlands region was the epicenter of the UK’s industrial revolution and hosts the nation’s second city, bustling, multicultural Birmingham. Many travelers know it for Stratford-upon-Avon, the postcard-perfect market town where Shakespeare was born and died, or Warwick Castle, the 11th-century fortress where jousters do battle and falcons swoop. More obviously industrial are the potteries of Stoke-on-Trent and Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to the world’s first iron bridge, an 18th-century blast furnace, and more.

Top 15 attractions in West Midlands

Peak District National Park

The Peak District became Britain’s first national park in 1951 and remains one of its most popular outdoor destinations. From fertile farmland and stately homes to towering peaks and underground caves, there’s much to explore across the 143,700-hectare park, including the beginning of Britain’s best-known trail, the Pennine Way.More

Shakespeare's Houses & Gardens

The medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of iconic wordsmith William Shakespeare. Visitors can follow in the literary giant’s footsteps by exploring some of his homes and gardens—there are five in town, each offering a fascinating insight into Shakespeare’s life and works.More

Winterbourne House and Garden

Just outside the city center, Winterbourne House and Garden is a natural oasis and time capsule of the Edwardian arts and crafts era. The restored home is filled with antiques and historic timepieces, and the surrounding 7-acre (3-hectare) botanical gardens contain more than 6,000 plant species from across the globe.More

National SEA LIFE® Centre Birmingham

Inhabitants at the National Sea Life Centre range from penguins and otters to piranhas and jellyfish, displayed in antarctic pools and rain forest habitats. At the dynamic center, viewers can learn about marine life from around the globe in a series of exhibits such as an underwater tunnel, tropical forest, and penguin enclosure.More

Cadbury World

The perfect destination for chocolate lovers, Cadbury World offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of Britain’s most famous chocolate brands: Cadbury. Located on the site of the original Cadbury factory in Bournville, it’s a fun family attraction with interactive exhibits and chocolate-making demonstrations.More

Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum

Brimming with interactive science and technology displays, Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is home to everything from talking robots and steam engines to a planetarium and marine life gallery. The hands-on exhibits span four stories inside the Millennium Point building, and offer entertainment and education for visitors of all ages.More

Pen Museum

Birmingham’s historic Pen Museum celebrates the city’s instrumental role in expanding communication and literacy worldwide. Set in a 19th-century Renaissance-style factory that once manufactured the majority of the world’s pens, the museum offers educational exhibits and interactive workshops.More

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

There are few places more fitting to watch one of Shakespeare’s plays than in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the iconic playwright. The town’s most prestigious venue is undoubtedly the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the official home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Built in 1932, the theatre was designed by Elisabeth Scott, one of Britain’s first female architects.More

Holy Trinity Church

Overlooking the River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Holy Trinity Church was where William Shakespeare was baptized and buried. One of England’s most-visited churches, it draws visitors wanting to see the grave of England’s greatest bard—and those of family members—as well as its medieval and Victorian architecture.More
Powis Castle (Castell Powys)

Powis Castle (Castell Powys)

Originally built for a Welsh prince in the 13th century, Powis Castle is now one of Britain’s finest stately homes. Behind the red sandstone façade, which is surrounded by spectacular Baroque gardens and a deer park, visitors can explore elaborately decorated 17th century dining halls and state rooms, before admiring the collection of Indian artefacts in the Clive Museum.More

Harvard House

This property in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon was built in 1596 by the grandfather of Harvard University's original benefactor, John Harvard. Currently closed for conservation, the building’s ornate facade still can be enjoyed from the outside, and keen-eyed history buffs may spot a few hidden features that reveal its origins.More
National Motorcycle Museum

National Motorcycle Museum

With more than 1,000 machines from 170 manufacturers, the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham has the world’s largest collection of British motorcycles. Visitors can gain insight into British engineering, learn about the vehicle’s history, and see motorcycles from classic models to 21st-century superbikes up close.More
LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham combines massive collections of LEGO® bricks with amusement park–style action to create the ultimate LEGO playground. At the park, designed for kids ages 3 to 10, families can enjoy LEGO-themed rides, explore a LEGO re-creation of Birmingham’s top attractions, and practice their skills in the build and test zone.More
Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor

Encompassing a zoo with 100 animals and a theme park, Drayton Manor Park is the ultimate family day out. Preschoolers go wild for the Thomas the Tank Engine-themed Thomas Land, while older children and adults can enjoy the exhilarating rides and roller coasters, from the Apocalypse drop tower to the swinging Bounty pirate ship.More

Alton Towers

Alton Towers is a theme park in central England that is famous for its hair-raising rides. Opened in the 1980s, the park quickly became one of the most popular days out in the UK. Visit to enjoy a variety of roller coasters and a water park, as well as mini golf and other family-friendly fun.More
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Top activities in West Midlands

Shrewsbury Prison Guided Tour

Shrewsbury Prison Guided Tour

Warwick Castle Admission Ticket

Warwick Castle Admission Ticket

City Sightseeing Stratford-upon-Avon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
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The Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham
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Haunted Birmingham Outdoor Escape Game
Special Offer

Haunted Birmingham Outdoor Escape Game

US$8.68  US$1.74 savings
Shakespeare Distillery Tour - 11am Ticket
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Cotswold Discovery Trail Self-Guided Tour

Cotswold Discovery Trail Self-Guided Tour

per group
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All about West Midlands

When to visit

As with so many English destinations, the West Midlands are at their best during the elusive British summer, bookended by late spring and early fall, because the days May–September are longer and the weather is (usually) brighter. The second half of June and first half of July hit the sweet spot: Local kids are still in school, so family-friendly attractions are less crowded.

Getting around

Like other European countries, England has a good rail network and public transit system. Birmingham is easy to get around, with trains, trams, and buses, and (strikes permitting) there are solid train links between most West Midlands towns and cities. If you’re hoping to pop out to quiet country pubs and stately homes or to explore the Malvern Hills or Shropshire Hills, consider a guided excursion that includes transportation or self-driving a car.

Traveler tips

Birmingham is the home of the balti, a fiery curry cooked super-fresh in a vessel of the same name, similar to a wok. Created by the Pakistani community during the 1970s, the dish has given its name to a city neighborhood known as the Balti Triangle. Try it at Shababs, which has been hosting locals since 1987. If you fancy a pint where Shakespeare might have sipped, then Stratford-upon-Avon’s Garrick Inn is likely the town’s oldest pub, with a criss-cross Tudor timber frame that dates back to the 16th century.

People Also Ask

What are the most popular things to do in the West Midlands with kids?

The West Midlands region is home to two of the UK’s top theme parks, Alton Towers and Drayton Manor, as well as Cadbury World, a chocolate fest that’s one of the UK’s top family attractions. Medieval Warwick Castle offers a wealth of family-friendly history-focused activities, including waxworks, jousting, and falconry.

What are the top attractions to visit in the West Midlands?

Besides the Alton Towers and Drayton Manor theme parks, the West Midlands region houses Stratford-upon-Avon, the city where you can visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Other attractions include Ironbridge Gorge, Warwick Castle, Coventry Cathedral, and Cadbury World, as well as parts of the Peak District and the Cotswolds.

How should I spend a day in the West Midlands?

Not to be confused with the much smaller West Midlands county, the West Midlands region is a big place. Spend the morning exploring UNESCO-listed Ironbridge Gorge, then head to Stratford-upon-Avon for lunch and Shakespeare sightseeing. Wrap up with a balti, a live performance, and a bar crawl in buzzing Birmingham.

Are the West Midlands worth visiting?

It depends on how experienced a UK traveler you are, your interests, and how much time you have. First-time visitors on a short trip should consider Stratford-upon-Avon a must. Repeat visitors should add Coventry Cathedral and Warwick Castle to their itineraries, while roller coaster junkies should check out Alton Towers.

Is there anything nice in Birmingham?

Yes. Birmingham, England, is the UK’s second city and has many things to do. The Jewellery Quarter, a refurbished industrial district, houses boutiques, galleries, and working jewelers. Family-friendly attractions include Cadbury World, the Legoland® Discovery Centre, and the National SEA LIFE Centre, while the city itself is famous for balti.

What are the West Midlands famous for?

The West Midlands region is known for Birmingham, Great Britain’s second city. It’s the home of the UK’s industrial revolution and of British delicacies including Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, and balti curry. Famous towns and cities include Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace; Warwick, known for its castle; and Coventry, with its famed cathedral.


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Frequently Asked Questions
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