A spot of culture
There is so much to see and do in Birmingham and the West Midlands. From family fun days to national sporting events, exploring historical attractions or soaking up the best 'Brummie' Culture - all is possible from the convenient location of our Holiday Inn Express hotel in Birmingham Oldbury.
Birmingham is a fascinating city to experience, with many influential moments and personalities throughout many centuries. With a rich industrial heritage, genre defining musicians and incredible literary names, Birmingham has plenty of highlights for culture vultures.
You may not have known that the Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R, grew up in the city that inspired his most famous work.
Holiday Inn Express is delighted to welcome you to Birmingham. Our city is a wonderful place to visit and with that, here is a guide to our favourite places to discover more surprising facts about Birmingham.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Visit to see over 40 galleries, bursting with an outstanding array of artwork and artefacts from seven centuries and incredible cultures.
The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) has been a part of Birmingham since the late 19th century and today remains one of the finest museums to visit in the UK. The Grade II listed building of the BMAG is worth taking the time out to see on its own merits. However, inside you'll find galleries with something for everyone.
In the heart of the bustling city of Birmingham, you are free to explore one of the largest collections of Pre-Raphaelite paintings as well as world-renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Cezanne and Boticelli. We really mean free to explore, there is no admission fee although a small donations towards the museum's maintenance are appreciated.
With art and objects from the best of ancient Greece, Roman and Egyptian culture to admire and of course the spectacular Saxon Gold displays in Staffordshire Hoard gallery, the beautiful Victorian BMAG deserves a visit.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
The former home of Matthew Boulton, the diverse and intriguing Brummie industrialist, Soho House is now a fascinating museum to see with a bit of spare time in Birmingham.
Just off the beaten track, Soho house is now an excellent display of Boulton's lifestyle and interests. In the 1760s Soho House originally had the world's first factory as an extension from Boulton's own home.
Parts of the orginal Soho foundry still survive today, however the real highlights of Soho House are the glorious Georgian features, faithful restored to their former grandeur.
Each room in Soho House contains delightful period design as well as dazzling silver ornaments (especially the ring made specially to commemorate Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar), luxurious furniture and inspiring artwork. Venture upstairs to try on some period dress and see how you might have looked as a rich, 19th century manufacturing mogul.
The guided tour is filled with excellent descriptions and provides a great insight into the great history of Boulton; including his Lunar Society (the group of famous inventors and exceptional thinkers) meetings.
It's a very worthwhile visit to this characterful Georgian, house full of history.
108-110 Soho Rd
The Pen Museum
On the outset, a museum dedicated entirely to the design and manufacture of pens may not seem like the most exciting way to spend an afternoon but The Pen Museum in Birmingham is a very special place to visit.
It's full of information regarding Birmingham's grand industrial past, in particular its world-renowned status in steel pen manufacture. This attraction is hugely interesting, in a surprising way; the variety of classic pens to browse over is wonderful as it the pen nib construction demonstrations.
In a digital world, the craft and skill need to create pen nibs is something to admire. If you think it is simply, then you can even try to create your own pen nib and you'll realise that something apparently as simple as a pen isn't simple at all. The kids will love experimenting with their own pen designs. They'll also enjoy learning calligraphy and even how to write their name in Braille.
The real pleasures of The Pen Museum are the enthusiastic members of staff and their enjoyable guide through the museum. They really make this museum a special visit indeed.
The Pen Museum
Unit 3 - The Argent Centre
60 Frederick Street
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Just 10 minutes from the University is Birmingham's hidden gem, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is an art gallery consisting of a wealth of artwork from the 14th up to the 19th centuries.
Within the Gallery's four main rooms, you can peruse jaw dropping masterpieces of Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Rubens and Turner. With work from Rossetti, Bellini, Gainborough and a couple of Rodin sculptures to admire too, The Barber's collection stands up to the finest collection available to see outside of London.
The gallery is small enough that the displays are not over-whelming although they are varied enough to interest and impressive every visitor. Make sure to visit the fantastic collection of Byzantine and Roman coins that are simply stunning to see.
With a range of rolling special exhibitions, workshops and events for all ages, The Barber Gallery is well worth the visit.
Barber Institute of Fine Arts
University of Birmingham
Venture to trendy Brindlyplace and you'll spot the lovely IKON Gallery. Keeping with the fashionable area it's located in, the IKON is a well-designed, attractive showcase of surprising contemporary art work.
The IKON is small in size but always manages to arrange unusual and interesting exhibitions. The paintings for anyone with an interest in contemporary art are challenging but accessible.
The staff are more than willing to discuss the artists' interpretations to help you gain a deeper appreciation for the work. Their passion for the subject often shows and they appreciate the personal contact with the artist that the IKON affords.
With a brilliant café to sit in and people watch, not to mention treat yourself to delicious light-lunches. The gift shop packed with various postcards and interesting books and the great area of Brindleyplace makes for a great day out.
1 Oozells Street