Counting the pennies this summer, but don’t want to become a hermit? Here are some of the best free things you can enjoy in and around Birmingham.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
BMAG is open seven days a week, and general entry is free for all ages. The museum is home to the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest hoard of Saxon Gold ever found. You can also check out the most important collection of pre-Raphaelite art in the world, examine artefacts from Ancient Egypt, and learn all about the history of Birmingham. If the funds will stretch to a coffee, the museum also has two cafes, so you can refuel after all that education.
Just outside of Birmingham you’ll find Clent Hills, a beautiful National Trust site. Entry is free, and parking is free if you have a National Trust membership. There are miles of paths and bridleways for walks with the family, friends or the dog. If you’ve got littles to entertain, you’ll find a natural play area behind the café at the Nimmings Wood entrance. Take a picnic for a very cheap family day out.
Street Art in Digbeth
Take your camera out for a stroll around Digbeth to check out the incredible street art. New pieces are going up all the time, but The Custard Factory and the railway arches are a great starting point. Head to the Ruin to see their map of the best bits of Digbeth to get some ideas for your next visit.
You’ll find the Ikon Gallery in Brindleyplace. The building itself is worth a visit; the gallery is housed in a stunning neo-gothic school building. Exhibitions change regularly, but entry is always free. Currently, you can see collections by artists Hew Locke and Lin Ke. Locke’s work uses mixed media to explore ideas of colonial and post-colonial power, while a video performance from Ke is screened in the Tower Room.
Thinktank Science Garden
While there is an entry fee to the Thinktank Museum, the garden is free after 3pm. This discovery area will fascinate adults and children like. Exhibits include a human sized hamster wheel and an eight-metre-high Terminus machine.
Real Birmingham offer free walking tours of the city on selected Saturdays throughout the year. There’s no need to book, and all the tours are totally free. Tours start from Victoria Square and you’re sure to learn about something that takes your interest. Tours take around two hours and cover points of historical and cultural significance, from the birth of heavy metal to the birth of Birmingham’s industries.
Parks and Gardens
Birmingham is home to many beautiful green spaces. Take a walk around the lake at the very popular Cannon Hill Park, find some peace and quiet at Highbury Park or pretend you’re a hobbit at Moseley Bog. Whether you want kids’ play equipment, nature walks or somewhere to lounge in the sun, there’s a park that will suit you.