Culture

With great diversity comes a city full of rich culture. There's plenty of creativity around the city to pique your interest again and again

Symphony Hall

Overview

There is a great mix of artistic talent across Birmingham. Within the centre you can find museums and art galleries with music and film festivals of all genres. The internationally famed City of Birmingham Orchestra and Birmingham Royal Ballet have also made their home in the centre.

The award winning Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is perfect for a fun family day out. Located at Millenium Point building there are four floors of hands-on exhibits and historical collections that will amaze and inspire.

Modern art and theatre can be found throughout the city with Digbeth, the Jewellery Quarter and Eastside contributing to the art scene.

Key Facts

  • Over 36,000 people watch the world famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra every year, more than any other UK orchestra
  • Birmingham Hippodrome is the busiest theatre in the UK including the West End in London
  • The Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 2015

Festivals

Birmingham hosts a vast array of festivals and events throughout the year; from live music and international dance to literature and street art events.

Some of these festivals include the Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, International Dance Festival Birmingham, Fierce Festival and Birmingham Pride, each bringing together national and international artists and acts to the city. 

Food festivals frequently take place in the city, these include the Digbeth Dining Club, voted the Best Street Food event in the UK. There is even a whole festival dedicated to the chilli!  

Learn more about Birmingham’s festivals by visiting the Visit Birmingham Website.

Museums & Galleries

Art Galleries can be found across the whole of Birmingham. At the heart of the city is the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with its insightful exhibitions, alongside the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork in the world and collections from all eras.

There are also classic collections, matched with more modern pieces at the Barber Institute of Fine arts

The Ikon Gallery is Birmingham's leading contemporary art gallery located in Brindleyplace. It also houses Birmingham's only independent arts bookshop.

For a more modern approach to art, the Custard Factory is famed as the creative quarter of Birmingham with many up-and-coming artist exhibits. Close by is the Eastside Projects who commission, produce and present experimental art practices and demonstrate ways in which art may be useful as part of society.

CBSO & Royal Ballet

Two of Birmingham's largest talent pools for culture reside in the city centre.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet, based at the Hippodrome, is directed by the award-winning David Bintley and is the UK's premier touring ballet company. The company celebrated its 25th year in 2015 and has a huge repertoire consisting of traditional and classic ballets to brand new works, to encourage the talents of new choreographers and composers.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is also internationally enjoyed, with performances from Beethoven to Bollywood and even Friday Night classics to meet your fancy.

Stage & Screen

Each year there are multiple events and festivals full of stage arts and films displayed across Birmingham. Many of these festivals encourage new artists and film makers to showcase their work and offer the opportunity for people to enjoy experimental art forms.

Festivals such as the Flatpack Festival and the BE Festival bring a variety of ground-breaking international art performances and films to the stages of Birmingham. Brindleyplace Film Festival also returns annually for some cinematic favourites shown in the square on the big screen.

There are some great cinemas around Birmingham including The Electric Cinema. It is the oldest working cinema in the UK with amazing comforts such as luxury sofa seating, waiter service and a full bar. Film fans can catch all forms of cinema from the latest blockbusters to classic and independent films.

Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is universally known as one of the greatest playwrights in history who lived in Stratford-Upon-Avon, just on the outskirts of Birmingham..

2016 celebrated the 400th anniversary of his death with a number of events and new exhibitions throughout the region. Visitors were able to see the writer's final home, New Place, and his original schoolroom which was opened to the public for the first time. 

Both the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Royal Shakespeare Company welcome visitors each year to discover the history behind one of England's greatest creative minds. With tours of his former home, schoolroom and recreations of the classic plays taking place in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Heritage Attractions

There are many attractions and tours that will take you through some of the best known tales and eras of Birmingham.

The Jewellery Quarter has 250 years of English Heritage, with beautiful Georgian and Victorian surroundings. There are numerous museums and galleries in the area celebrating local history. Also in the quarter is the historical attraction The Newman Brothers Coffin Works which allows you to see how the factory would have looked in Victorian times.

Both the Black Country Living Museum and Warwick Castle are some of the more interactive museums with portrayals of eras long past, with costumed demonstrators taking you back through history. Both are a truly immersive experience for the whole family.

Read more about Birmingham's Heritage Attractions on the Visit Birmingham website.

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Discover More of what Birmingham has to offer

With everything from the latest fashion and greatest dining, the liveliest bands to the most relaxing canal rides and festivals throughout the year, there's always something new to discover in Birmingham.