21 unmissable fun things to do in Birmingham with kids

Last updated on August 16, 2023

Black Country Living Museum

The UK’s second biggest city, Birmingham (or “Brum” as it’s known locally), is filled to the brim with exciting attractions for families, including museums, galleries, amusement parks and zoos. And if you step just a little outside the city, you’ll discover even more to do in the countryside of the West Midlands, from castles to safari parks to the epic – and unmissable – Cadbury World.

Here’s our pick of the best things to do in Birmingham with kids.

21 unmissable things to do in Birmingham with kids

Cadbury World

Top of your list for a visit to Birmingham with kids (or without!) is Cadbury World, home of the UK’s most famous chocolate brand. It’s a place that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fans will adore, bringing to life the dream of visiting a real-life chocolate factory.

But it’s more than just a factory tour, Cadbury World is like a chocolate amusement park – there’s even a ride! Discover the history of chocolate and Cadbury through interactive exhibits, including an Aztec jungle, 4D chocolate adventure and ride-on journey through a chocolate wonderland.

And there are also opportunities to get hands-on with chocolate making, including having a go at tempering chocolate. And of course, there’s a humongous chocolate shop too! It’s a brilliant family day out in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

SEA LIFE Birmingham

The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham has over 2,000 creatures and the UK’s only 360 degree ocean tunnel where you can be surrounded by sharks, rays, giant turtles and hundreds of tropical fish. Other exhibits include penguins, octopus, sea otters and touch pools. It’s an ideal thing to do in Birmingham with toddlers or older kids.

There are talks throughout the day and they also hold regular special events. Save money by buying a combined ticket for Legoland or Warwick Castle too.

Reserve your Sea Life tickets now

Legoland Discovery Centre

Birmingham is home to one of two Legoland Discovery Centres in the UK (the other is in Manchester). It’s a wonderland for Lego fans with huge worlds made of Lego, a Lego 4D cinema, Lego soft play and two rides: Merlin’s Apprentice and Kingdom Quest.

There are also lots of hands-on opportunities to build your own Lego creations and test the speed of your own Lego vehicle. The amazing MINILAND has used over 1.5 million bricks to create a Lego city, including Birmingham landmarks. The whole place is aimed at ages 3-12. It’s an unmissable thing to do in Birmingham for kids.

Check availability and reserve your Legoland Discovery Centre ticket now

Thinktank Science Museum

Our kids love a science museum and Birmingham’s science museum, Thinktank, is a brilliant one with hundreds of hands-on experiments, a 4k planetarium, talking robots and lots of trains, cars and planes to explore. MiniBrum – a child-sized mini city where kids can play at being a grown-up – is a highlight for younger kids in Birmingham.

The outdoor Science Garden is also great with a giant hamster wheel and around 30 other mechanical activities. The garden is free to enter from 3pm each day.

Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor has it all: a theme park, zoo and Thomas the Tank Engine land! You can even stay there. It’s just 30 minute’s from Birmingham City Centre, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Birmingham with kids.

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The theme park has rides for all ages with rollercoasters, water rides and all manner of thrill-seeking adventures. While Thomas Land is perfect for little kids, with 25 rides, aimed mostly at primary school kids and younger. There are even Thomas-themed rooms at the hotel.

The zoo has over 500 animals spread over 15 acres. It’s an easy winner when planning a fun day out for kids in Birmingham. For another theme park (arguably the UK’s best, see Alton Towers below).

The Bear Grylls Adventure

The Bear Grylls Adventure at the NEC is one for older kids and adrenaline-seeking adults (most of the activities are aimed at ages 8 and up).

The activity centre is filled with all sorts of daring adventures, from archery to climbing walls to indoor skydiving and shooting. There’s even the chance to dive with sharks! A highlight is the Royal Marines-inspired assault course.

You can get a multi-pass or choose individual activities from around £20.

Check availability and book your tickets now.

RAF Museum

The RAF Museum in Cosford is just over half an hour from Birmingham city centre, and a Birmingham kids’ favourite. There are all sorts of historic aircraft and vehicles to explore, including tanks and the world’s oldest Spitfire. There’s also an excellent outdoor playground with airplane-themed equipment.

A highlight is the Flight Zone with a 4D theatre, flight simulator and VR zone. Amazingly, there’s no charge to enter, making it one of the best free things to do in Birmingham with kids. Book your timed entry ticket here.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

The Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park in Cannon Hill Park is a little zoo with a fun selection of animals including red pandas, lemurs, reptiles, meerkats, otters, birds, wallabies and a large collection of monkeys.

There are talks and feeding times throughout the day, and a playground too. Pre-book your tickets here. For a bigger zoo, see the West Midlands Safari Park or Drayton Manor Zoo.

West Midlands Safari Park

The West Midlands Safari Park is quite far out of the city (about a 50-minute drive) but well worth a visit for families. You can do a safari drive-through, spotting all sorts of animals, from lions to tigers to camels to zebra to deer. And there’s also a cool ice age exhibit to explore, including a volcano to walk through, and a big animatronic dinosaur area.

As well as the drive-through safari, there’s also a walking trail where you can see red pandas, penguins and sea lions, and walk among a huge flock of lorikeets. And to top it all off, they also have an adventure theme park on site with lots of rides like rollercoasters, a swinging ship, dodgems, wild water ride and giant swings. It’s an incredible family day out near Birmingham.

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle (about 45 minutes from the city centre) is an exciting day out in Birmingham for families. You can even stay the night there. Kids will likely enjoy the simple novelty of being at a proper castle, but there are also lots of specific kids’ activities, including a Zog playground, 3D Zog trail and Horrible Histories maze.

You can also have a go at archery, explore the castle’s state rooms and meet the garden peacocks. And they have daily shows and regular events that bring the medieval castle to life. It’s one of the best things to do near Birmingham for families.

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Check availability and book your tickets for Warwick Castle now.

We’ve also included it in our guide to the best UK family Christmas breaks.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

We’re always up for a botanical garden and the Birmingham Botanical Garden is perfect because it’s so family friendly. They have ‘Garden Explore Family Backpacks’ that you can hire, filled with activities and resources that help kids to explore the garden – you get activity sheets, a magnifying glass, tape measure, calculator and bug pot! It costs £2 to hire a backpack (plus an £8 deposit).

There are also children’s trails to follow, including Brilliant Butterflies, a walk through the butterfly house, and Magical Plants, a trail that helps you discover the plants that inspired Harry Potter. Each trail costs £1.50.

There are also lots of fun family events throughout the year. And the gardens themselves are stunning.

Cannon Hill Park

Cannon Hill Park is one of the top things to do in Birmingham with kids. At around 200 acres (80 of formal parkland and 120 of woodland), it’s one of the city’s biggest parks and is filled with family-friendly attractions. There’s a mini golf course, lake with swan-shaped pedalos, a train that rides around the park, and even a fun fair with rides for little kids up to 10.

It’s also home to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, which we’ve already mentioned. Also check out the programme at MAC Birmingham as you might be able to combine your trip with a show.

Lickey Hills Country Park

Just 10 miles outside of the city centre, Lickey Hills Country Park has 524 acres and is a gorgeous place to be quickly out in nature. It’s the place to go for woodland walks, picnics and time amid the trees. There’s a playground for kids, as well as a cosy café, and there are fantastic view across the city.

Black Country Living Museum

The Black Country Living Museum is an open-air living history museum where you can discover the history of the Black Country and what is used to be like to live in one of Britain’s first industrialised areas.

There are 26 acres to explore, including reconstructed houses, pubs and shops, and interactive exhibits, such as old fashioned games to play and a vintage cinema. There’s even a traditional fish and chip shop. The museum is about 30 minutes’ from Birmingham city centre.

Alton Towers

Alton Towers is just over an hour away from Birmingham, but still needs to be on this list as it’s one of the best things to do with kids in the UK, not just Birmingham. The epic theme park is England’s best and has 10 white-knuckle rollercoasters, as well as rides for the family and little ones too. Plus there’s an incredible waterpark (separate tickets required for entry).

Check availability and book tickets now.

Donkey Sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary charity has a shelter in Birmingham that’s been around for over 40 years. It’s open to the public every Saturday and the first Sunday of every month, and you need to book a morning or afternoon slot.

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While there, you get to meet the donkeys and hear about the charity’s work. It’s a firm family favourite in Birmingham.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The Birmingham Museum and Gallery (BMAG) is normally a fantastic place for kids with lots of Ancient Egyptian and Saxon exhibits (think swords and knights) and even includes a dedicated Mini Museum with dressing-up, soft play and animal exhibits.

However, it’s currently partially closed for renovation and won’t entirely open again until 2024. Be sure to check the website for the current status of opening hours as it may be that the entire place is closed. When it does re-open, be sure not to miss the classic Edwardian tearooms.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

The Lapworth Museum of Geology has a massive collection of fossils, minerals, rocks and early geological equipment that allows you to explore life over 3.5 billion years. It’s one of the UK’s oldest geological museums and holds over 300,000 objects.

There are lots of talks, tours and art activities for kids. And it was recently redeveloped to bring it up-to-date, with interactive exhibits, animations and soundscapes.

Ikon Gallery

Ikon is a fun family-friendly gallery in the city centre, exhibiting both local and international works. They have family activity packs to go with each exhibition, and the first Saturday of every month is ‘Family Saturday’ where they host hands-on activities based on the exhibitions. It’s free entry and they have a nice café on site too.

Do a treasure trail

A fun way to explore the city is by doing a self-guided treasure trail. You download the trail to your phone and then follow the clues around the city, paying close attention to details and learning facts along the way.

There are a few different themes to choose from, including this Treasure Hunt with clues from a Pirate Captain (takes around 2 hours). And this Red Rag to a Bull trail that’s only a mile-long and takes about an hour to complete.

BBC Visitor Centre – currently closed

Take a tour and explore memorabilia and costumes from your favourite shows at the BBC Visitor Centre, including Doctor Who’s Tardis and the Strictly Come Dancing Desk. There’s also a focus on how the BBC is using tech, like VR and filming in 360. And kids can play with the BBC’s kids’ apps.

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More UK travel guides

We have loads of UK travel guides. And oodles of tips for London and Bristol – where we lived/live now. Here are some of the highlights…

UK road trips: Best UK road trips | Best Scotland road trips

UK destination guides: Bristol | Isle of Mull Frome | Liverpool | London | York

UK family travel guides: Birmingham with kids |Bristol with kidsCornwall with kids | London with toddlers Edinburgh with kids | Manchester with kids | Best UK family Christmas breaks | Travelling with a baby

And if you’re looking for somewhere special to stay in the UK, we have loads of UK Airbnb and hotel guides for destinations from the Lake District to Devon. See all our UK guides.

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