Lisa, husband Eoin and their children Lois, 7, and Jimmy, 3
Why we went
Living in the country we just love a city break, with all the diversity and cultures, shops, restaurants, museums and theatres, there’s just so much to do 'en famille'. Birmingham is Britain’s glittering second city - it’s been a long time since the dark dirty days of industry - and we’d heard so much about how glamorous it is these days, so we decided we just had to see it for ourselves.
Right in the heart of the country, Birmingham is so accessible that we drove and it took just over 2 hours from Hertfordshire. It was a simple journey as the city centre is straight off the M6 and is fairly easy to navigate.
We stayed in the fabulously central Staying Cool apartments at the Rotunda. Situated above the shiny new Bullring shopping centre and New Street train station - you could say our apartment was well located! Not only that, but with a wraparound balcony all the way up in the penthouse on the 20th floor, we had amazing views of Birmingham. With clean modern décor and two double ensuite bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, games and toys provided for the children, there was certainly plenty to keep them entertained; although they were more than happy doing laps of the apartment at top speed.
What we did
We immediately hit the shops. Rude not to with them just downstairs. We are usually very busy and do most of our shopping on line, so Lois and Jimmy found The Bullring a facinating and extremely exciting destination. With all the major shops present, you couldn’t want for more. However, just down the road is the more arty Eastside if it’s independent shops and pop up boutiques you’re after.
A 15 minute drive from the city centre brought us to the gorgeous village of Bourneville, home to Cadbury World - ‘Mecca’ for small people and chocaholics. You can smell the Dairy Milk in the air as soon as you arrive at the car park. The tour of the factory takes you through the history and discovery of chocolate in the west and the anthropological beginnings of Cadbury’s chocolate factory. The story is interesting for adults and children alike, plenty of chocolate is given out along the tour and there’s even an adventure playground outside for the little balls of energy to run off all that sugar before collapsing into a well earned slumber on the back seat of the car.
What we ate
A lot of chocolate. But also, just a five minute skip along Birmingham's New Street brought us to Ask Italian which had only recently opened. Set in an old converted bank, the space was a mix of old and new. Naturally the Italian menu is super family-friendly and the small people ate every morsal, as did we - the tiramisu certainly did not disappoint!
The Mailbox is Birmingham’s most stylish shopping and lifestyle destination, situated in the iconic redeveloped former Royal Mail sorting office and home to luxury brands and designer stores such as Harvey Nichols, plus sixteen cosmopolitan waterside restaurants to choose from.
Why we would go back
Being located in the middle of the UK, Birmingham is enroute to many places and boasts an international airport. It would be great to include Birmingham in other travel plans, and besides, we only scratched the surface of family fun; there’s so much more to see and do!
DAY OUT: cadburyworld.co.uk
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