Birmingham is a fun and convenient location for a family day out if you live in the Midlands. Plus, with CrossCountry you can hop on a train and find yourself right in the centre of the action. With so much to do, the biggest challenge is picking the perfect things to do with kids in Birmingham.
Trains are the perfect way to travel with kids – not only is it a great adventure, but you can also engage with them while you travel, and you don’t need to worry about finding parking when you get to the city centre. We recommend booking Advance tickets and snagging a table seat if you can. Bring a colouring book or download our I-Spy game to keep the whole family entertained.
From museums to gardens to parks, there’s something whatever the weather in Birmingham. Read on to find out more.
1. Get outdoors in one of Birmingham’s parks
Make the most of the great British summertime and get outdoors into the sunshine. There are tonnes of great parks to choose from in Birmingham, so you and the family will be spoiled for choice. Choose to have a picnic in East Side City park alongside some other city centre activities. Or, head out of the city to Cannon Hill Park and make the most of the boating lake and other attractions.
Where is it: East Side City Park - Curzon St, Birmingham B4 7AP. Cannon Hill Park - Russell Rd, Birmingham B13 8RD
How to get there: East Side City park is a 15-minute walk (maybe a little more for little legs). For Cannon Hill Park, take the 35 bus from City Centre Moor Street to Edgbaston Rd on the edge of the park.
2. Discover marine wildlife at the National SEA LIFE Centre
Sea Life Birmingham is home to a whole host of sea creatures, from the curious to the mysterious. With regular talks and feeding sessions, you and the kids can really get a feel for the residents and meet friendly critters like Bev the Octopus and Pablo the Penguin. New for 2019 is a pair of rescued seals who are sure to be a hit with the little ones.
Where is it: The Water's Edge, Brindley Pl, Birmingham B1 2HL
How to get there: It’s less than 20 minutes to walk to the National Sea Life Centre from Birmingham New St.
Price: Tickets are £15 when you buy them ahead online, or £20 for walk up tickets.
3. Think big at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum
Thinktank is an award-winning science museum, and it’s absolutely jam-packed with kid-friendly activities for a family day out. From the Spitfire Gallery to the Marine Worlds exhibition, there’s something for the whole family. We particularly enjoy the MiniBrum interactive gallery, specially designed for under 8s so the kids are in charge!
Where is it: Millennium Point, Curzon St, Birmingham B4 7XG
How to get there: Thinktank is an easy walk from the station – between 15 and 20 minutes depending on how long little legs are.
Price: Adults - £14, Children - £10.25, with discounts available for booking ahead online.
4. Take your little bookworms to Birmingham Library
Perfect for a less than sunny day, you won’t regret a visit to Birmingham’s Library. One of the largest public libraries in the UK, this is a treasure trove of literature and fun. With plenty of kids’ activities available throughout the year and more books than you could read in a lifetime, this is a perfect day out for your little bookworms.
Where is it: Centenary Square, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2ND
How to get there: The Library is just a 10-minute walk from Birmingham New St Station.
5. Explore the greenery at the Botanical Gardens
Whether your little ones have green thumbs or just enjoy running around outside, the Botanical Gardens are an excellent day trip for family. Explore the four stunning glasshouses with plants from across the world, burn off some energy in the playground and refuel at the tearoom.
Where is it: Westbourne Rd, Birmingham B15 3TR
How to get there: Take the 23 or 24 from Colmore Row.
Price: A family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 kids) is £22, Children under 5 go free.
6. Get active at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre
Take the kids out for a day of swimming and fun at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure centre. The pool boasts a wave machine, a 50-metre flume and interactive water features. Other activities are planned during the summer holidays, such as Roller Disco and Soft Play.
Where is it: Alcester Rd S, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 6ER.
How to get there: Take the 50 bus from Moor St.
Price: Dependent on activity
7. Venture further afield to Cadbury World
Cadbury World is an excellent choice for kids of all ages, and that includes the adults. Find out about the history of the brand, the origins of chocolate in the Aztec Jungle, and, of course, taste lots of delicious treats on your way. There’s even an outside playground to burn off some of the sugar.
Where is it: Linden Rd, Birmingham B30 1JR
How to get there: It’s a 15-minute walk from Bournville Train Station, which is a 14-minute train journey from Birmingham New Street (trains every 10 minutes). With CrossCountry, you can purchase a ticket to anywhere in Britain, including all the way to Bournville Station.
Price: Adult tickets cost £17.00 and children (aged 4-15 years) cost £12.50. If you show your train ticket, you get 30% off.
What to pack for a family day out to Birmingham
Here are a few of our must-bring items for a day out with the kids:
• Plenty of layers – you never know when it might get cold and you can change the kids in case of trips or spills.
• Train activities like our I-spy game or colouring books.
• A picnic lunch and other snacks – although we have an at-seat service on our trains, too.
• Wet wipes or a damp cloth – for those inevitable mucky moments.
• Plenty of water – no matter what your chosen activity, it’s important to keep hydrated.
In the rush to get out of the house on a day out, it can be easy to leave bits behind. Don’t panic though; there are lots of shops in Birmingham’s Grand Central, which is just up the escalators from Birmingham New St Station.
For more travel tips with children, check out our Train Ride Survival Guide.
Child-friendly restaurants in Birmingham
• Whether you’re looking for a snack while out and about or a healthy lunch for the littles, Yorks Café is the perfect choice. Conveniently located near the station, this independent café is the perfect place to start your day – they have a great selection of breakfast options.
• The Edwardian Tea Room inside the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is the perfect place to stop during a busy day out and about in Birmingham. Whether you’re shopping or sightseeing, rest little legs and enjoy a delicious bite to eat.
• It might not be the most obvious choice to take kids to a stylish cocktail bar, but The Botanist has a selection of meal options for even the pickiest palate, and, after a family day out, you deserve a strong drink.
If you’re planning a longer city break, Birmingham is a great choice. There are lots of options to choose from when it comes to places to stay, so check out the amazing hotels in Birmingham.
Make sure you take advantage of great savings with CrossCountry Advance train tickets and you download our mobile app to buy your tickets.
Written by Seb