Five of the best things to do with kids in Birmingham this summer from just £10.25
IN JULY, Birmingham will be in the global spotlight when it hosts the Commonwealth Games.
But does our second city have enough action to entertain a family during summer vacation?
We put it to the test.
(Oh and take note, Tory MP Heather Wheeler, Brum isn’t “God awful” – it’s awfully good…)
The Legoland Discovery Centre, west of the city center, keeps things wonderfully simple with a main area that lets kids get lost among thousands of bricks.
My eight-year-old daughter sets out to build the best car possible to race down a ramp, while her younger sister experiments with changing clothes and hairstyles on Lego minifigures.
Around that, things get much more ambitious.
In the Kingdom Quest ride, the girls blast boulders out of trolls’ hands with lasers, then there’s Miniland, an impressive scaled-down town, with marvelous scale models of Edgbaston cricket ground and Warwick Castle.
Tickets cost from £22.95 per person on legolanddiscoverycentre.com.
Thinktank’s science garden is full of pulleys, pulleys and water fountains to balance the plastic balls.
But it’s the human hamster wheel that tires my youngest the most, spinning faster and faster.
For those with a little less energy, there is also a mock canal where visitors can help navigate a foam boat through a system of locks.
Entry to the Science Garden is free, but you can add the Thinktank Science Museum (birminghammuseums.org.uk) for £14 per adult and £10.25 per child.
The main event
A trip to Birmingham wouldn’t be complete without visiting Cadbury World (cadburyworld.co.uk), which is as close to a surefire hit as you can get with kids in tow.
The main section is a high-tech, hologram-filled guided tour that delves into the history of chocolate in an endlessly entertaining way.
Your kids can enjoy touchscreen quizzes, chocolate-making demonstrations, and writing on desks with squeezable melted chocolate.
They’ll be captivated by behind-the-scenes videos that show how a creme egg is made, and thrill-seekers can enjoy a simulated roller coaster ride on Chocolate Adventure 4D.
Tickets cost £59.85 for a family of four.
An optional addition is a rich chocolate afternoon tea with appearances by Cadbury characters.
Under the sea
THE National Marine Life Center has more than just fish in tanks.
Gentoo penguins and sea otters up the cute factor, but my girls are more interested in aquatic villains, piranhas and swinging jellyfish.
The real highlight of the center, however, is the vibe and wow factor, with plenty of hideouts where you can observe the oddities of the ocean from below, and a bizarre underwater tunnel where you’ll walk among sharks. , rays and turtles.
Entry costs £20.65 per person on visitsealife.com.
The family party
THE Canal House Bar & Restaurant (thecanalhouse.uk.com), in the center of the action and close to New Street station, looks undeniably cool, with historic timber beams, a glass roof and chandeliers made of old bottles.
But it’s not all about the interior.
This staging extends to the sausage and mash on the children’s menu where Cumberland curly sausages are presented hanging from a skewer.
The adult food menu is also a cut above standard pub fare.
Be sure to try the Hot Board, which offers tater tot poutine and lamb koftas, both rich and indulgent.
Other solid family dining choices include the colorful canal-side Tex-Mex at Perios (myperios.com) and the trusty Neapolitan pizzas at Rudy’s (rudyspizza.co.uk).
somewhere to stay
The Novotel Birmingham Center (Novotel.accor.com) is within walking distance of several key attractions mentioned here, such as Legoland and Sea Life Centre.
Standard rooms cost from £110 room-only and are suitable for a family of four with pull-out sofa beds.
But for adults who want their own space, there’s 50% off a second connecting room.
Other kid-friendly bonuses are the corner with toys and games at reception and the free breakfast for kids.
Maybe next time . . .
Birmingham has many canals and these waterways are a great way to soak up the city.
If you have time, rent a self-driving GoBoat.
Each vessel can accommodate up to eight people and costs from £135 for two hours on goboat.com.