The West Midlands is not one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK but if you take the time to visit, you will find an undiscovered gem with lots to see and do. The county is family friendly and is great place to relax and unwind.
A guide wearing period costume will take you on a tour through this former Grade II listed coffin factory and explain how life was for the workers in the late fifties and early sixties using stories, sights and sounds. Previously run by the Newman Brothers and built when Queen Victoria was still in mourning and funerals were big business. The firm closed down in 1999, but the interior has been left almost untouched since. There are digital tour books for those who would rather see the factory at their own pace. This factory once produced some of the finest coffin fittings, such as brass handles, on a daily basis, even producing coffins for the likes of Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother!
The last standing set of back to back houses has been preserved as a museum to help people to understand how people lived in previous generations. This is an atmospheric glimpse into the lives of the ordinary people who helped make Birmingham the city it is today. The houses where used from the 1840’s to the 1970’s. Guides will take you on a tour and explain everything from how people did their washing to how many people lived in each small room. You will hear stories of the many residents who lived in these houses.
This free museum shows the history of glass production through interesting displays inside a red brick cone. This site has been used for glass production since the 1780’s. In school holidays and on weekends a free guided tour is offered with a glass blowing demonstration and you can also try your hand at glass blowing for a small fee.
Ride a miniature steam train along a third of a mile track. The views from the train are lovely and if you can visit around Halloween or Christmas you will see a number of themed displays along the route. Children will love it and it’s just as much fun for the adults!
This small animal park is great for children and those interested in conservation of endangered species. Home to a wide range of animals including critically endangered species ( Alaotran Gentle Lemurs, Yellow Breasted Capuchin Monkeys, Northern Bald Ibis, Utila Island Iguanas, Cotton Topped Tamarins). You can tour the whole zoo in about two hours but you should allow time for a meal or a snack at the restaurant. Highlights include the red pandas, lemurs and otters. They offer a keeper for the day programme for those wanting to find out more about the parks conservation work.
The museum explains the history of music in the area from the middle ages to modern times through informative and interactive displays. Tours are guided by knowledgeable volunteers who bring the story of music to life. Coventry famously gave 2-Tone music to the world, spawning bands like The Specials, The Selecter, Madness and The Beat and the 2tone music display is one of the highlights of the museum.
Take a tour of the state of the art studios at BBC Birmingham where shows such as The Archers and Midlands Today are produced. An interactive display allows you to take part in your own radio drama complete with sound effects. The tour takes place in a working studio so no two tours will ever be the same. Guides will explain the whole production from scripts to the finished show.
Choose between a 45 minute trip along the canal, a 2 hour trip through one of the tunnels or a 6 hour trip that includes two locks and two tunnels. The tunnels offer an interesting look at the history of the area and the many uses that the tunnels have. There are even sections that are actually 420 million year old caves! At Christmas, Santa joins the trip in the tunnel and the tour includes gifts for all the children.
This museum covers over 26 Acres of former industrial land. Here you will find 50 shops, houses and workshops that have been carefully reconstructed to tell the story of when industry first came to the area and local manufactures brought worldwide fame to the Black Country. There is a tram ride around the site and a tour of a mine. Costumed characters bring the story to life all around you.
Buy a top up card and taste wine from vending machines located all around the room. You can taste wines from all over the world including South African and Australian wines. The staff are very knowledgeable and will help you to select the wines you would like to taste. All wines are available from the store and they will deliver to your house.