All the corona-permitting things to do in Brum
Brum even during Covid-19 has got something for everyone
Birmingham is great, but it’s sad to see so many students don’t see much beyond Selly Oak, Digbeth and the Bullring. It’s easy to feel like we’re going to be spending our precious university years rotating between watching lectures in bed, and occasionally going to Aldi or a Selly pub. But the big wide Brum world can give you so much more!
Understandably, many of us won’t want to visit busy spaces or fully booked bars. But hopefully there’s something here for everyone, which can be done safely.
Among them include a quiz at Birmingham’s oldest pub, to tea at Winterbourne House and Gardens, and playing a round of Ghetto Golf.
Get into nature
If you’re ready to brace the weather, go for a few walks. We all know that we have Canon Hill Park as a friendly local green space, and Lickey Hills for pretending you’re in the countryside. However, if you’re looking for other places, try out Moseley Bog (not too far from Campus), or Sutton Park – a train ride away, but worth it for the Donkey Sanctuary (note that we’re still sadly awaiting its reopening).
A more classy addition to this is visiting the Winterbourne House and Garden (and why wouldn’t you, with free entry with your UoB student card). It’s one of Brums best kept secrets. However, due to COVID-19 Winterbourne House remains closed, there is also a one way system of entry into the gardens, despite this the gardens reman open seven days a week.
Or even the Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston, however everyone including members, must book an allocated slot online.
Eat & Drink while supporting local businesses
Going to a coffeeshop to do some work? Miss out on a Starbucks and enjoy an independent coffee. A Brum fave is York’s café – either right next to New Street Station or by the Ikon Gallery.
For lunch, head to the Chinese Quarter with its endless options, there’s something for everyone (Café Soya, anyone?). Next on the list should be city centre’s 3 Three’s – an entirely vegan coffeeshop and art cafe, which also hosts meditation sessions and specialised talks, if that’s your thing.
If you’re looking for a more evening vibe, maybe a chill dinner and drinks. Local hospitality businesses need your support now more than ever. Try Cherry Red’s near New Street Station, a cute café-bar supplying a retro vibe, great beer selections, a banging all-day breakfast and board games. Remember though when booking you can only go with up to six people due to the rule of six.
Or if you want a cute, romantic atmosphere try the traditional pub, Canalside Café by Brindley place: offering affordable comfort food by the canal.
It’s also a wise thought to go somewhere with a good outdoor beer garden to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Old Crown is a fab option for this. It’s also Birmingham’s oldest pub – celebrating its 650th birthday in 2018 and hosts regular quizzes.
Go to a socially distanced gig
Loads of us have been missing live music – being in a horrible sweaty crowd, losing your voice, embarrassing yourself with offkey singing and tipsy dancing. But the shows go on – just in a crowd of six people per table.
Some great venues include Dead Wax in Digbeth, a vibrant vinyl bar with a roomy outdoor area with a stage. There are regular gigs on; just be sure to book. See some music, have a few pints and stick around for one of their vinyl DJ sets. Another place to check for gigs is the Dark Horse in Moseley – this time an indoor stage, with a fun psychedelic ambience. Not to mention they do great food.
Take a day trip
For a quick but cute day trip, catch the train to Lichfield; on the University/New Street line. Visit the historic cathedral, or visit our pal Erasmus Darwin’s house. (He’s got a very pretty, insta-worthy garden). If that tickles your history-buff fancy, you might also like the Samuel Johnson Birthplace museum – a short but sweet trip with a bookshop. Then, if the weather permits, take a picnic to Beacon Park. Filled with cosy cafes and streets of charity shops, Lichfield is a charming break away from city life.
Another (slightly further) day trip is Stratford upon Avon. Hire a rowing boat and pretend you’re in a rom-com, or visit Shakespeare’s birthplace for a bit of culture.
Go see some art
Have a cultured and artistic day out by visiting some galleries. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has some amazing stuff – from Birmingham’s history, to exhibitions about race, sexuality and gender. However, the level three galleries and the Staffordshire Hoard gallery are currently closed.
There’s also the Ikon gallery offering some impressive contemporary art.
Go to the Farmer’s Market
Birmingham campus has a great farmer’s market full of locally sourced and ethical goods. But if you want to get away from campus for once, head to Moseley’s award-winning farmers market on the last Saturday of the month, right on Moseley high street.
When going around the stalls remember to wear a face mask and keep a distance, hand sanitiser is also available.
While you’re there, have a look around Moseley, and venture down to Kings Heath! They’re both full of independent pubs, cafes and shops.
Activities, but make it 18+
Digbeth has got your cute date or birthday plans sorted. Take arcade gaming, but add drink. NQ-64, in the heart of the Custard Factory, is full of retro arcade and console games. Even if your guests aren’t the gaming type, with its neon décor, craft beers and themed cocktails there’s something for everyone. It works on a token-exchange system, with plenty of disinfectant stations to keep you safe.
Pretty much next door, Ghetto Golf is a classic night out that we all know and love. Even if you don’t like mini golf, the courses make it a laugh– from Blockbuster displays to dildo obstacles.
Carrying on the classic birthday party activity, Roxy Ballroom is a must for fans of bowling, ping (or beer) pong, with a dash of indie tunes, food and drink.
However, the venue closes at 10pm, following government guidelines and details for track and trace will be needed, otherwise entry will not be allowed.