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Birmingham and the Black Country cultural attractions

Whether you prefer to visit a festival or a museum, we’ve captured Birmingham and the Black Country’s best arts and culture destinations and here are some of the best venues. The massive NEC exhibition complex itself stages such internationally-renowned events as Gardeners World, Crufts, the BBC Good Food Show, Antiques for Everyone, Grand Designs Live and Autosport International. Back at Brindleyplace, Symphony Hall is the jewel in the city’s musical crown. One of the world’s finest concert venues, it is also home to one of the world’s finest orchestras, the CBSO.

On the jazzier side, there’s life beyond the festivals with Birmingham Jazz keeping the vibe blowing at the 1000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter, while, over at St Paul’s Square, The Jam House mixes up jazz, soul and funk. Fans of the silver screen aren’t forgotten. Curated by the enterprising 7” Cinema, taking place annually, Flatpack Festival is the UK’s most innovative festival for independent, short, experimental and archive films while the Black International Film Festival takes place in October.

Our picks

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) first opened in 1885. It is housed in a Grade 2-listed city centre landmark building. There are over 40 galleries to explore that display art, applied art, social history, archaeology and ethnography. The art gallery is famous for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings, which are part of the largest public Pre-Raphaelite collection in the world. The Birmingham History collections feature prominently in the ‘Birmingham: its people, its history’ gallery, which covers the majority of the 3rd floor. Visit website

Grand Union
Grand Union

Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5RS

Grand Union is a gallery and artists’ studios complex in Digbeth that hosts a free programme of public exhibitions and events. It provides high quality, affordable studios for visual artists in the heart of a supportive creative community, with frequent opportunities for members of the public to visit behind the scenes. It is also leading a £3.25m project to bring Junction Works, a Grade 2-listed building on Fazeley Street back into use. Visit website

Symphony Hall
Symphony Hall

Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EA

Located in the heart of Birmingham, the Symphony Hall is Europe’s best concert venue with 2,262 seats. The hall is home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and hosts around 270 events a year. The venue also presents a program of jazz, world, folk, rock, pop and classical concerts and performances. Visit website

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TS

Monet, Manet, Magritte, Renoir, Rubens, Rossetti, Rodin, Degas, Delacroix, Botticelli, Gainsborough and Turner… You can enjoy works by all of these masters and more, as well as major temporary exhibitions, concerts, lectures, workshops and events for all ages at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Visit website

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

75-80 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6HA

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is built around a perfectly preserved jewellery workshop offering a unique glimpse of working life in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. When the proprietors of the Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firm retired in 1981 they simply ceased trading and locked the door, unaware they would be leaving a time capsule for future generations. Today the factory is a remarkable museum, which tells the story of the Jewellery Quarter and Birmingham’s renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage. Visit website

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Image credits: ©Arena Photo UK/; Barber Institute of Fine Arts; Emma Jones/Grand Union; John James/Barber Institute; Luke Unsworth/Birmingham Museums Trust

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