Online travel magazine, covering travel in more than 70 countries

15 COOL THINGS TO DO IN BIRMINGHAM: AUTUMN 2019

Autumn in Birmingham is one of our favourite times in this city. Here are 15 brilliant reasons to visit Birmingham this season.

SEPTEMBER

1) BIRMINGHAM HERITAGE WEEK (SEPTEMBER 12-22)

History lover? Revel in this eclectic celebration of heritage. Choose from 200 events (so many that Heritage Week actually runs for 11 days in Birmingham) . We’re tempted by so many things, but a Cadbury’s Bournville walking tour on September 12th (includes entry to Cadbury World) is seriously hard to ignore. If architecture is your bag then we’d suggest the walking tour of John Madin’s Calthorpe estate.

2) LEGITIMATE PEAKY BLINDERS FESTIVAL (SEPTEMBER 14-15)

Peaky Blinders is a global TV phenomenon. What could be better than a two-day Peaky Blinders fest curated by its creator, Stephen Knight? Digbeth – where the series is shot – will be transformed into the world of the Shelby family with 200 actors (including members of the TV cast) adding to the atmosphere. Music is hugely important to the show and Knight is bringing bands such as Primal Scream, Frank Turner & The Rattlesnakes, Slaves, Nadine Shah and Anna Calvi to Birmingham. Brummie Mike Skinner is DJ-ing and you’ll also be able to see jazz and swing acts such as The Correspondents, The Jive Aces and The Heavybeat Brass Band.

3) THE BLUE ANGEL (SEPTEMBER 22)

Don’t miss this Sunday afternoon matinee of The Blue Angel at Brum’s indy Electric cinema. Marlene Dietrich sizzles in this 1930s German classic about a professor falling in love with a nightclub singer. “As timelessly alluring as ever.” Mark Kermode

4) HOME OF METAL (UNTIL SEPTEMBER 29)

This exhibition marking 50 years of the heavy metal genius of Black Sabbath ends on September 29th. It includes historical, ephemera, and memorabilia belonging to all of the original members of Black Sabbath. You can also see 3,000 portraits of the band’s fans from across the world.  members.

OCTOBER

5) BIRMINGHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL (OCTOBER 3-13)

We LOVE a lit fest. They’re just so darn civilised. Birmingham Literature Festival is a particular goodie. This year, the line-up includes Poet LaureateSimon Armitage, in conversation with Stuart Maconie, Konnie Huq, Billy Bragg, Carol Ann Duffy, How To Fail with Elizabeth Day and Adam Kay’s This Is Going To Hurt. Check out a wide array of writing workshops (including one led by Staying Cool’s first-ever Writer in Residence, Richard O’Brien) and plenty of new writing performed by the likes of Luke Wright.

6) BIRMINGHAM WEEKENDER (OCTOBER 4-6)

Birmingham Weekender returns after a brilliant showing in 2017. The Weekender is a free arts festival and this year it is being held in funky Digbeth, down the hill from our Rotunda apartments. Discover Digbeth and Birmingham’s Southside with an exciting programme of music, street art, dance and performance. The full programme is available online or search for the ‘Poster events’ app to have everything on your phone. 

7) BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL (OCTOBER 5-13)

Brum’s comedy festival goes from strength to strength with 10 days of funny. See the hilarious James Acaster at Town Hall Birmingham. Acaster’s previous shows have earned him five Best Comedy Show nominations at the Edinburgh Fringe and he has produced some brilliant Netflix specials. Other big names include The Last Leg’s Josh Widdicombe, Henning Wehn  – ‘the German Comedy Ambassador’ – and the USA’s marvellous Reginald D. Hunter.

FIERCE FESTIVAL (OCTOBER 15-20)

We never tire of Fierce festival and this year’s intriguing tagline is “Performance Parties Politics Pop”. Fierce is for you if you like to be challenged and – as they put it – embrace “disruptive international performance.”

BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL PIANO FESTIVAL (OCTOBER 25-NOVEMBER 8)

Each year, the International Piano Festival brings some of the world’s finest pianists to Birmingham. Professor Kenneth Hamilton and Ulrich Gerhartz will lift the lid on the Henry Barber Trust funded brand new Steinway grand piano. The festival also features former BBC Young Musician of the Year Freddy Kempf, Messiaen’s masterpiece Visions de l’Amen and gospel-tinged, folk-inspired jazz from the Sam Leak Trio.

10 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE* (*SORT OF) OCTOBER 15-NOV 2

This irreverent take on the Jane Austen classic at Birmingham’s excellent Rep theatre earned four stars in The Guardian: “Isobel McArthur’s adaptation merrily conflates 200 years of romantic-pop history and presents the Bennet sisters singing karaoke covers of Will You Love Me Tomorrow and I Got You Babe while standing on a beer crate in the middle of a regency ball.” Sounds like a great night out!  If you have kids, then you might also want to check out Peter Pan, which comes to The Rep from 30November into January.

NOVEMBER

11 CAKE INTERNATIONAL (NOVEMBER 1-3)

With the UK in the grip of Great British Bake Off fever once more, there couldn’t be better timing for the world’s largest sugarcraft and cake decoration show. If you are into Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers then this show at the NEC is definitely for you! (And if you stay with us at Rotunda we will pay for your train tickets if your book our NEC VIP offer).

12 CARMEN (NOVEMBER 5 & 8)

Bizet’s classic opera Carmen comes to the Birmingham Hippodrome this autumn. This new production from WNO is set in 1970s South America and will be sung in French with English surtitles. Rigoletto and The Cunning Little Vixen are also being staged between November 5-9.

13 GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKET (NOVEMBER 7-DECEMBER 23)

The Christmas market – all the way from Frankfurt – starts right outside our front door at Rotunda and is so popular that it runs from early November. We highly recommend drinking glühwein from a kitsch pottery boot and getting your Christmas spirit in early.  

14 OPUS SOURCE WINE DINNER (NOVEMBER 8)

Opus is one of our favourite places to eat in Birmingham, especially when we are up for some fine dining. The restaurant runs Source dinners throughout the year hosted by one of their favourite fishermen, farmers or winemakers. November brings a wine evening featuring wines from New World estates.  

15 LOKI CHRISTMAS WINE AND SPIRITS FAIR (NOV 23)

Loki is an award-winning Birmingham independent wine merchant. Their annual wine fair takes place in the Council House in Victoria Square – just down the road from Staying Cool’s Rotunda serviced apartments. It’s so popular that it has been split into two sessions and this is a great way to try new wines and spirits for the festive season.