Birmingham has been firmly in the spotlight of late.
The recent rise in popularity of the British period drama Peaky Blinders, set in the Black Country, has done wonders for raising the profile of the city’s industrial heritage, the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, and an endless range of new venues, restaurants and event spaces opening up have reaffirmed the city as desirable meetings and events destination.
This month we’ve been exploring Birmingham and the surrounding area’s venues afresh, revisiting old favourites, discovering new gems, and picking out some of our favourites.
Why choose Birmingham?
As a location, Birmingham is a great option if you are bringing delegates in from around the country, or even internationally.
An hour and a half from both London and Manchester by rail, nearly half of the delegates at Birmingham city events choose to arrive this way. It is a central point to the UK’s motorway network, and the airport is the third busiest outside of London – incidentally the only UK airport to have a direct train link to the terminal, getting passengers to the city centre in just ten minutes.
With over 30,000 bedrooms in the city and surrounding area, and offering everything from rooftop bars, to canalside venues to a thriving arts scene, you really are spoiled for choice.
Birmingham enjoys most of the major brands, from the boutique Hotel du Vin, and Malmaison, to international brands, Hyatt, Radisson, Crowne Plaza and the Jurys Inn on Broad Street, which will be re-launching as a Leonardo Royal brand this year.
And, having talked about the Commonwealth Games already, if it’s sports stadia you prefer as an event organiser; Aston Villa and Edgbaston Cricket ground have great spaces for creating memorable conferences, events and meetings.
All cities have a diverse culture and Birmingham leads the way. From the creativity of the Jewellery Quarter to the history of Black Country Living Museum, the music of Symphony Hall to the adrenaline-fuelled Blue Badge Access Award winner Bear Grylls Experience, you can easily integrate culture into your events.
We particularly love the Rep Theatre and the Library of Birmingham for their versatile event spaces and you can’t beat the grandeur of the Grade I listed Town Hall for a bit of prestige and glamour – guaranteed to make your event truly memorable.
4. Clean Air
If your business is conscious of the environmental impact of your events, there are several ways in which you can encourage your delegates to work towards a common goal. You can, of course, choose a hybrid or virtual event, but meeting in person does not mean you can’t make sustainable choices.
Birmingham’s clean air zone, established in 2021, means the most polluting vehicles passing through Birmingham city centre will have to pay a daily charge. By choosing a venue within the zone you can encourage delegates to consider other options of travel such as carshare schemes, cycling, and rail, to help reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in the air. (for more information visit brumbreathes.co.uk)
Some of our favourite venues (and why)
We love the Park Regis, located on the Westside of the city. A few minutes walk away from Five Ways rail station and 15 minutes from New Street Station, this central hotel is a huge hit with our clients. The Tram, which opened in May 2022 for the Commonwealth Games, connects the hotel with Grand Central – nine minutes stop to stop.
When entering the lobby you’re immediately impressed, and this continues throughout the hotel – the Sky Loft and Gallery on the 16th Floor is a stunning conference space with panoramic views of the city. The versatility of their 11 event spaces enables event planners to host almost any type of function they want – especially large events which need multiple syndicate spaces alongside the main event (plus they can accommodate everyone too). There’s also a new Indian restaurant which opened this month on the fourth floor of the hotel – Indus.
The Eastside Rooms is Birmingham’s newest conference venue. Close to Curzon Street Train Station re-opens (closed in 1966 – at which point it was only used for freight) as the HS2 Hub, this area of the city has seen a huge development, with the Clayton Hotel adding a further 40+ bedrooms during the COVID lockdown. Eastside Rooms connects with the aLoft Hotel (a Marriott brand), which boasts versatile conference and meeting space with the Affinity Suite 888m2 pillar-free major conference space, offering a large capacity of 1,200 delegates.
Last but not least we can’t leave out The Grand Hotel, which originally opened in 1879, but reopened last year following a £50 million restoration and refurbishment – a truly stunning venue, if you haven’t visited yet, then you NEED to go see this amazing landmark hotel!