It’s showtime in Birmingham!

  • 13th March 2017

In recent years’ tourism has boomed in Birmingham. So how does the UK’s second city entertain its 1 million-plus overseas visitors each year? Well, there are the city’s five Michelin starred restaurants, the world’s finest collection of pre-Raphelite art at Birmingham’s Museum and Art Gallery and… shows! Lots and lots of shows. Whether you want to roar with laughter, gasp at plot twists or be uplifted by world-class music: Birmingham is ready to entertain you.

Live music

A hugely popular venue, set in Birmingham’s beautiful St Paul’s square, is the Jam House. Owned by celebrity musician Jools Holland, the live music here – from soul to rock’n’roll – is certain to get you dancing! Plus you can’t fail to mention Symphony Hall. Seating over 2,000 guests, it is a fitting arena for Birmingham’s world-class and much-loved symphony orchestra.

If you are more interested in Bruno Mars than Mozart, touring global superstars are almost guaranteed to play at the 15,800 capacity Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham’s city centre. The smaller 02 Academy also does a great job showcasing well-known, as well as up-and-coming artists.

For the most organic music experience, however, head to the Hare and Hounds. This Grade II listed pub-come-live music venue has done a great job unearthing talent before they hit the big-time! The likes of Alt-J, UB40 and Ed Sheeran have all been seen playing to 200 or so lucky guests here.


With William Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon nearby, it’s not surprising to find an inspired theatre scene in Birmingham. For large productions The Rep, located between the Symphony Hall and the city’s new library (the largest public cultural space in Europe), guarantees quality performances. Equally, the Hippodrome has a good reputation for musicals while the New Alexandra Theatre hosts a variety of productions from theatre to stand-up comedy.


Birmingham also boasts its fair share of intimate theatre venues too. Although you’re unlikely to recognise any of the cast, the Blue Orange Theatre in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and The Crescent Theatre, located in the attractive and buzzing Brindley Place, regularly please theatre-goers. The Old Joint Stock pub, worth visiting if only to admire its glamorous interior and glass-domed roof, also frequently hosts theatre in an upstairs room.


Brummies, as the people of Birmingham are known, are famed for their sense of humour. The Glee Club and The Comedy Loft are two of the larger comedy venues and draw well-known acts to perform there. Located in the city centre, they are also well-placed to continue your night at one of Birmingham’s many bars and clubs.

Alternatively, travelling 15 minutes out of the city, The MAC arts centre offers all kinds of entertainment, including comedy, but covering theatre, dance, music, and foreign cinema too. Near the MAC is the neighbourhood of Moseley. Among Moseley’s many superb pubs and restaurants are one or two venues with regular (and free) comedy nights, such as Fat Penguin at the Patrick Kavanagh pub.

So how does Birmingham entertain over 1 million foreign visitors each year? Well, it’s rather obvious, isn’t it?

On the 8 May 2017, BMI Regional airlines starts direct flights between Gothenburg, Sweden and Birmingham, UK. Book your direct flight from Gothenburg to Birmingham at

This article is written by Rob Griffith-Jones. Proud Brummie and Co-Founder of ­– the unofficial guide to Gothenburg – he loves nothing more than spreading the love for his two homes.