We live 10 miles out of Birmingham and often travel into the city centre and surrounding area for activities and days out with my 14 year old son.
It can feel difficult to find things to do in Birmingham that teens will love, but I have now become an expert in finding the best activities.
Read on for our choice of top 15 activities for teenagers to do on a visit to Birmingham.
The library isn’t the first place you’d think of when trying to entertain teens. But Birmingham library is well worth a visit. Plus it’s free!
It has a 4.5 rating on trip advisor and when you take a visit you will see why. It’s the biggest public library in Europe. The architecture is unique and it’s pretty stunning inside too.
But what teens will really love is the climb to the top where there is a secret outdoor garden and amazing views of the city.
View from the top…
The Secret garden…
The library is the most visited tourist attraction outside of London! So, well worth a visit if you’re in Birmingham.
Birmingham Back to Backs
Picture by NotfromUtrecht
If you want to educate your teenager with some history, this National Trust property has 5 star reviews on trip advisor and is definitely worth a visit. You’ll still be in the middle of Birmingham but you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The stories of the working classes of the 19th century and much of the 20th century are revealed. They are places of echoes and memories, where ordinary people lived extraordinary lives.
You need to book in advance. Be aware there are lots of narrow doorways and steep stairways so it’s not accessibility friendly.
Think Tank Science Museum
Spitfire Gallery at Think Tank Museum, Birmingham (Image: Stephen Lightfoot)
The Think Tank museum is aimed at all the family and there is plenty to occupy teens.
One part not to miss is the Planetarium. The show lasts 30 minutes and is well worth the small extra cost to attend. Book the Planetarium at the ticket desk as soon as you arrive. The tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis and at busy times the shows are booked up quickly. In school holidays, there are often lots of shows and extra events to book onto as well and these are lots of fun.
If you have a mixed age family with young teenagers this is an excellent choice. Adults, teens and kids will enjoy the interactive galleries and the exhibits at the science garden.
Top money saving tips
1.) You can access the science garden for free every day after 3pm. These exhibits are best for kids but teens may enjoy some of them!
2.) You can also Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay for entry at this attraction.
3.) If you travel to the Think Tank by train you can get a 2 for 1 voucher for admission. You need to book online with the 2 for 1 voucher code before you go. (check out the details here)]
Find at more at the Think Tank Science Museum website
Like most city centres, Birmingham is great for shopping! If your teen likes shopping, check out the Bull Ring (an iconic building in Birmingham) for over one hundred shops from high end (such as Gucci and Selfridges) to all the High Street names.
The Bull Ring has been the ultimate shopping hub in Birmingham for 800 years. Small market traders used to sell their goods here. There are indoor markets next door to the Bullring where you can also have a good browse.
The High Street
Birmingham is home to the biggest Primark in the country which you will find on the High street.
Grand Central is above New Street Station. It’s full of cafes, restaurants and shops. It’s perfect to look round for shopaholics especially if you are waiting for a train.
Teens will also enjoy a visit to iconic mailbox for luxury (and a range of exclusive restaurants). Why not break up your shopping trip with an afternoon tea at The Ivy on Temple Row or Malmaison at the Mailbox?
If your teen likes independent shops, visit the independent and vintage shops in Digbeth, the Red Brick Market in Digbeth and the Custard Factory. Digbeth is about a 10 minute walk from the city centre.
Treetop Adventure Golf
Photo of the Might Oracle at Treetop Adventure Golf (image: facebook.com/treetopgolfbirmingham)
If you pop into the Bullring for a spot of shopping, why not break up your trip with a spot of treetop adventure golf? The attraction is new for 2021 and features two, 18-hole courses – Tropical Trail and Ancient Explorer – together with themed bars and cafes.
Find out more at Treetop Advenuture Golf website.
If your teen loves chocolate, why not visit Cadbury World? It’s a short 15 minute train ride out of the city centre to Bournville (or you can drive).
Start your chocolate adventure with a couple of free chocolate bars. Smell the chocolate as you walk through – the site is a factory too. Take a trip into the past and discover the fascinating history of chocolate. Jump on the Cadabra ride (a short ride – aimed at young kids but still fun). See how different chocolate bars are made, experience the 4D cinema and have a go at some interactive fun at the end. You can also get hands on at the “have a go zone” where you can doodle your name in chocolate and practise your chocolate piping skills.
The whole visit takes approximately 2 to 3 hours but is informative and fun. Many of the activities are aimed at kids but I think if you teenager loves chocolate, Cadbury World is still worth a visit! Read some reviews on trip advisor from families with teenagers.
You need to book tickets online at the moment due to Covid measures, but they still apply the 5% discount to all tickets booked online.
Teamworks Karting in Birmingham City Centre has a few different activities to keep teenagers happy. Obviously there’s the karting but why not have a game of laser tag or a simulator experience as well? When you need to relax grab some refreshments from the cafe and bar.
Book your experience on their website: Teamworks Go Karting
Take a Kayak Tour From Roundhouse Birmingham
Photo of Birmingham Canal (Image Elliott Brown)
Many proud Brummies will tell you that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice. With 35 miles in total, it seems that a visit to Birmingham isn’t complete without at least one walk along the canal.
If a walk sounds boring to your teen, why not take a kayak tour along the canal instead? You can take a guided Kayak tour from the Roundhouse and no previous kayaking experience is required. The Bustling Birmingham Kayak Tour goes towards the city centre and is designed to help you see the city from a different perspective.
There is also the Green Escape Kayak Tour which takes you to some of Birmingham’s many green spaces. The Green Kayak tour is slightly longer at 5 miles. You can do this one with no previous experience but if you are a newbie they recommend doing the Bustling Birmingham tour first.
Find more information at their website.
Take a Canal Boat Trip or the Waterbus.
If Kayaking is not your teenagers cup of tea, why not try a relaxing canal boat trip? Daily boat trips depart from the International Convention Centre Quayside, opposite Brindley Place, in the heart of Birmingham. Each trip takes about 65 minutes. The trips are daily from Easter until the end of October but only on weekends in the winter months.
If the boat trip is too long, an alternative is a waterbus. You can take the water bus as an exciting way to get from Brindley Place to the Mailbox. There’s a waterbus every 30 minutes.
West Midlands Police Museum
Discover what life was like in a Victorian lock up as both a criminal and a police officer. Teens will love finding out about some of Birmingham’s notorious criminals who were held in the lock up including the real Peaky Blinders. There’s many interactive activities. Investigate and solve crimes in the forensics lab and get your mug shot taken. See the real police box, motorcycles, pictures and memorabilia.
It’s a great day out. Find the museum in the heart of Birmingham, only a short walk from Snow Hill station and just 10 minutes walk from New Street Station.
Sea Life Centre
Penguins at the National Sea Life Centre (Image Gp258)
The sea life centre is a good option if you have other children that need to be entertained as well as young teenagers during a visit to Birmingham. They will appreciate the opportunity to walk in the UK’s only 360 Ocean Tunnel where sharks, rays and a giant green she turtle will be swimming right by. There’s 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, featuring over 2000 creatures. Don’t miss the chance to stroke a star fish, see an octopus and visit the playful Gentoo penguins.
Money Saving Tip
If you travel to Birmingham by train, you can get a 2 for 1 ticket for this attraction. Unfortunately it doesn’t apply during certain dates which seem to include the school holidays.
Find out more at the Sea Life Centre, Birmingham.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is located in central Birmingham and open every day. It’s completely free so you’ve lost nothing if you visit with a teenager and they don’t like it. With over 3000 paintings, they are going to love the museum if they like art or study art.
Highlights of the museum include the Ancient Egypt gallery with Egyptian mummies and the Staffordshire Hoard gallery which is the biggest hoard of Anglo Saxon gold that’s ever been found.
There’s also an Edwardian tearoom which offers a lovely atmosphere for brunch, lunch or tea and cake.
If you’ve got younger kids, there are often activities and interactive exhibits for the children. Check out the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery website for more information.
Bear Grylls Indoor / Outdoor Activity Centre at the NEC
For adrenaline filled action, head to the Bear Grylls Adventure Centre. From climbing to archery, assault courses to escape rooms, high ropes to indoor sky diving – there’s tons of activities to choose from.
The nearest train station is Birmingham International – it’s just a 10 minute walk from there and occasionally you can get 2 for 1 on the activities when you buy a train ticket.
Alternatively, you can drive and park your car.
Escape Hunt – Birmingham
In need of an idea for a rainy day? Share the adventure of an escape room with your teenagers at Escape Hunt Birmingham Central! There are 4 thrilling experiences are designed to be fun for the whole family.
Choose between themed adventures including Doctor Who, The 4th Samurai, Our Finest Hour and Blackbear’s treasure.
On arrival you’ll be met by your Games Master in character who’ll brief you on what you need to do.
This escape room has 5 star reviews on trip advisor so it’s well worth a family visit. They also do outdoor games.
Find out more at Escape Hunt Birmingham Central
A Visit To Digbeth
Digbeth is a very up and coming area of Birmingham. It’s less than 10 minutes walk from the Bull Ring and Grand Central. There are some fun attractions for teenagers to explore and try at Digbeth. Here are some ideas:
Visit Matrix Virtual Reality – A VR gaming arcade with sit down racing games, shooting zombie games, archery games, skyscraper vertigo and lots more.
Visit Chance and Counters, the board game cafe – based in Birmingham’s iconic custard factory, Chance and Counters is a brilliant venue, particularly for a rainy day. Try out one of the 500 plus board games and enjoy some lunch or tea and cake. They’re pretty busy on evenings and weekends so book in advance if you can.
Visit the independent shops at the Custard factory. If your teen enjoys shopping this is an ideal activity. There are more than 30 unique shops to visit and explore. There are also restaurants and cafes.
Watch a movie at the independent Mockingbird cinema.
Electric, Birmingham is the UK’s oldest working cinema and a fun place to watch a movie. It dates back to 1909. The seats are super comfortable and you can text your drink and snack order and it’s brought to your seats.
Find out more at the Electric Cinema.
Star City (Image: Elliot Brown)
If you want bowling, ice skating indoor crazy golf, restaurants and the cinema – head for Star City. It’s only a 10 minute drive from Birmingham City Centre. This unique family entertainment destination is home to one of Europe’s largest cinemas, the largest indoor adventure golf complex, a 22 lane ten pin bowling alley and a purpose built all-weather 5 a side football centre.
There really is something for everybody. You can spend all day here or treat the teenagers to an evening out.
Find out more at Star City
Christmas In Birmingham
November and December are some of the best times to visit Birmingham as there are lots of festive attractions and events. The biggest of which is the annual German market.
Birmingham German Market (image Tony Hissget)
The German Christmas market happens between the beginning of November and the end of December most years. Unfortunately it didn’t run in 2020 due to the pandemic but it’s back on 4th November to 23rd December 2021.
It’s the largest authentic German market outside to Germany or Austria. The very festive atmosphere and beautiful lights are appealing to all ages. It can be best to go on a weekday evening as it can get quite busy on weekends especially on Saturday nights.
Find out more at Frankfurt Christmas market Birmingham.
Big Wheel and Ice Skating
Another top attraction in Birmingham during Christmas (that teens are going to love) is the big wheel and outdoor ice skating rink. Both are also due to return to Centenary Square in 2021 and will run from November 4, 2021 until January 9, 2022
Lickey Hills Country Park
Venture out of the city to the Lickey Hills. It’s about a 30 minute drive from the city centre but it’s worth a visit to get some fresh air and experience some green areas around in the city. The views at the top of Beacon Hill stretch for miles and you see the city of Birmingham from the top. Also if it snows in the winter months it’s one of the best place in the area to go sledging which teenagers love.
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