The region of the West Midlands in England is an underrated gem! While guidebooks and travelers often overlook this region, there are actually many amazing places to visit in the West Midlands with kids.
Families will enjoy experiencing the unique history of the region, as well as all the beautiful places in the Midlands. From castles to safari parks, bustling cities to literature inspiring towns, there are so many fun things to do in the West Midlands for every family member to enjoy. Here’s why you need to include a visit to the West Midlands in your England itinerary.
This post was updated on March 13, 2023.
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Stumbling upon fun things to do in West Midlands
We visited the West Midlands with kids in the fall of 2021, primarily staying in small towns just outside of the city of Birmingham. We didn’t know what to expect from the West Midlands. And to be honest, had it not been for a housesitting opportunity, we likely would not have visited the West Midlands at all.
But we’re sure glad we did visit!
We spent about two weeks in the West Midlands and had a blast finding all the fun things to do in West Midlands and all the places to visit in the Midlands.
Our British friends think we’re crazy for loving the West Midlands the way we do, but once you read about all the places in Midlands that we loved, you might fall in love with it too.
Why we love experiencing the many places to visit in the West Midlands
The United Kingdom is a beautiful country with so many places to spend a kid-friendly vacation. While we enjoyed our time adventuring through the city of London, as well other cities like Salisbury and Brighton, the West Midlands was really what captured our hearts.
We loved the understated coolness of the city of Birmingham. While the beautiful places of the region made drives through the countryside absolutely enjoyable. We also appreciated learning about the industrial history of the region. It’s a part of British history that often gets passed over for the flashiness of castles and ancient ruins.
Most of all, we enjoyed talking to people while we were in the West Midlands with kids. Everyone we met was so friendly, and genuinely curious about where we came from and why we were visiting the area. It certainly felt like we had a chance to experience British life.
Where is the West Midlands?
The West Midlands is a region located in the central western part of England, hence its name. It’s bordered in the north by the North West region, next to the southeastern part of the Peak District National Park. This park is a great option for places to visit near West Midlands.
In east England are the East Midlands. And to the south are the South East and South West regions. The West Midlands is also a county within the region, where the city of Birmingham is located.
Other notable cities and towns to visit in the West Midlands with kids include Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwick, Coventry, and Worcester.
Top tips to prepare for the things to do in the West Midlands
Before embarking on your trip to the West Midlands with kids, it’s best to do a bit of preparation. First, take some time to learn more about things to do in the West Midlands, and about the history of the area.
The region played a large role in the Industrial Revolution as a major source of British coal. And today, the city of Birmingham is a major hub of technology and industry.
Sadly, most guidebooks for the UK and England overlook this area entirely. This is a shame, because there are so many fun things to do in West Midlands. We like this guidebook because not only does it cover the best places to visit in the Midlands, it also covers some places to visit in the West Midlands:
Visit at the right time of year
For warm weather activities, the best time to visit the West Midlands is from late June to late August. During this time of year, the temperatures range between 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The shoulder season months (late March to June and mid-September to late October) are also a great time to visit the West Midlands with kids. While the weather is much cooler, and oftentimes more wet, you’ll still be able to enjoy many outdoor activities around the area.
If you’re planning to travel to the West Midlands, bring along some layers of clothing. These are some of my favorite clothes to pack when I travel:
- Columbia women’s jacket for layers
- Waypoint Goods infinity scarf with a hidden pocket
- Columbia maxi dress for dressing up a casual look
- Keens sandals for comfortable walking
Don’t forget other travel essentials, like water bottles with filters and packing cubes.
Get to know the pubs in the area
One of the best ways to sample British cuisine is to eat at a pub. And fortunately, the West Midlands has no shortage of great pubs to enjoy. We loved popping into a pub for a lunch of fish and chips with mushy peas or steak and ale pie.
In the UK, pubs are kid-friendly during the day. And some of them even have special kids menus that are just as appetizing as the grown-up menu. Here are some of our favorite pub places to visit in the West Midlands with kids:
- The Swallow’s Nest near Halesowen
- The Old Hare and Hounds near Lickey Hills
- Swan at Fairfield in Bromsgrove
One thing we like about the pubs in England is that they’re usually connected to an inn. So if you’re staying at an inn above a pub, you can just walk up to your room and plop into bed after a hearty meal at the pub!
Sunday roasts are also a quintessential experience to have when you’re visiting England. Roasts can range from pork, lamb, or chicken, and served with yorkshire pudding, gravy, and vegetables. If you’re planning to eat a Sunday roast at a pub (only served on Sundays!) be sure to make reservations ahead of time.
Familiarize yourself with driving in England
The best way to get to all the places to visit in the West Midlands is to rent a car. A standard rental car in England costs roughly £40-45 (roughly $48-$55 USD) per day.
British drivers drive on the left side of the road, and use the imperial system to measure distances, like in the United States. Highways in the UK are called motorways, and marked with an M. Exits on motorways are labeled as junctions (marked with a J). There are also major access roads that are marked with an A.
As you’re driving around the West Midlands with kids, pay attention to the motorway signs. Sometimes they’re written on the road and not on a sign post. Also, roundabouts go in a clockwise direction (compared to roundabouts in North America). And if you’re planning on parking your car, know that some of the car parks app-based forms of payments.
Choose your top places to visit in the West Midlands
Unless you have unlimited time at your disposal, and a lot of stamina, it’s impossible to fully experience all the places to visit in the West Midlands in one trip. We spent almost three weeks in the West Midlands and still didn’t get to see everything we wanted.
Since we’re more of a slow travel family, we don’t like to squeeze in too many activities into one day. It gets exhausting! That’s why we tend to do one activity per day, and that’s what I recommend for you. Many of the places to visit in the West Midlands need a full day to experience anyway.
One of my tips for families visiting the West Midlands with kids is to choose your top 10 places to visit in the Midlands (or even the top 5 if your time is limited), and be okay with not seeing everything on your list. This allows you to dive deeper into each site you visit, and also allows you to go at your own pace, without feeling rushed.
Our favorite Birmingham places to visit in the West Midlands
The region of the West Midlands centers primarily around the city of Birmingham. With a population of over 1 million people, Birmingham is the largest city in the West Midlands.
Birmingham came into prominence primarily due to its role in the Industrial Revolution, serving as a center for manufacturing for England. Yet, despite its size and importance to British industry, the city itself has often been overlooked by travelers and visitors. In fact, our British friends are often surprised when we say how much fun we had visiting Birmingham!
There’s actually a lot for families to love about Birmingham. Here are our favorite spots to visit in centre Birmingham and its surroundings.
Thinktank is a science museum located in Birmingham. It’s full of interactive exhibits that are fun and educational for kids. For families who like incorporating learning into travel, Thinktank is definitely one of the best educational places to visit in the West Midlands.
The focus of the exhibits is on industry and technology, but there are also natural science exhibits too. We enjoyed all the exhibits focusing on different aspects of manufacturing: cars, products, and engines.
Thinktank is open on Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm (UK school holidays have different hours). Tickets start at £14 (roughly $17 USD) for adults and £10.25 (roughly $13 USD) for kids over the age of three. Kids under three are free.
2. Birmingham Science Garden
Located outside of Thinktank is Birmingham Science Garden. It’s an open play space for kids that has a science theme.
The Birmingham Science Garden is broken out into three areas: engineering, mechanics, and transportation. Each area has hands-on structures where kids can explore these different science concepts through play. We love this play area because there are plenty of opportunities for kinetic learning for kids!
Entrance to the Birmingham Science Garden is free, which makes it one of the more affordable places to visit in the West Midlands. Hours of opening are from 3pm to sunset.
3. Lapworth Museum of Geology
Continuing on the topic of science, one of the most underrated, yet fascinating, places to visit in the West Midlands is the Lapworth Museum of Geology. Located on the campus of the University of Birmingham, this museum houses an extensive collection of geological artifacts from around the area.
The Lapworth Museum of Geology also features a giant wall containing different types of rocks. We had a lot of fun trying to identify the differences between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. There is also a room with gemstones, both in their raw and their polished states. And for kids, the Lapworth Museum of Geology has an activity booklet with a scavenger hunt, to encourage kids to engage more with the exhibits.
The Lapworth Museum of Geology is free to enter. Its opening hours are from 10am to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 12pm to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
4. Old Joe and the University of Birmingham
While you’re at the University of Birmingham, take some time to explore the rest of the campus. The University of Birmingham is a public research university that was established in the 1900’s.
There are over 35,000 students enrolled at the University of Birmingham, making it one of the largest universities in the UK. Despite its size the University of Birmingham is a very walkable campus, with plenty of common spaces, green spaces, and food trucks for snacks.
One noteworthy landmark is Old Joe, a historical clock tower located on campus. The clock is named after the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain. It’s rumored to have been the inspiration for the black tower of Isengard in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.
5. Winterbourne House and Garden
One additional option for places to visit in the West Midlands within the University of Birmingham is the Winterbourne House and Garden. This is the historical home of John and Margaret Nettlefold, built in 1903. A visit to Winterbourne gives families a chance to see how a wealthy family lived in England during that time.
One of the things we loved about Winterbourne House and Garden was the sprawling garden. The estate holds a variety of trees and plants from all over the world! The gardens are a great place to spend a quiet afternoon after checking out all the things to do in the West Midlands.
Winterbourne House and Garden is open daily from 10:30am to 5pm during the months of March through October, and 10:30am to 4pm during the months of November through February. Admission is £8.20 (roughly $10 USD) for adults and £7.20 (roughly $9 USD) for children aged 5-16. Families can take advantage of the £26 (roughly $32 USD) family ticket, which is good for 2 adults and up to 4 children.
6. Pen Museum
During the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham was a thriving center for manufacturing and metalwork. One of the best places to visit in the West Midlands to peek into the region’s industrial past is the Jewellery Quarter, in the centre Birmingham area. Here, you can take a visit to the Pen Museum.
This museum showcases how pen nibs for traditional ink pens were made. There is an extensive display of pen nibs, and exhibits describing the history of pen manufacturing in Birmingham. Kids can even try their hand at writing with a quill and ink or using an old fashioned typewriter! Families can also take a tour of a pen workshop, where you can cut and press your own pen nibs.
The Pen Museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 11am to 4pm and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm. Tickets cost £7 (roughly $9 USD) for adults, £5.50 (roughly $7 USD) for students, and £3 (roughly for $4 USD) for kids between the ages of 5 and 15. Children under 5 are free.
7. The Coffin Works
Another museum in Birmingham worth visiting is Coffin Works. This museum was the former office and factory of Newman Brothers, a company that created and sold decorations for coffins. Newman Brothers was in business from 1882 to 1998.
A visit to the museum includes a tour of the rooms where metal plates and decorations for coffins were pressed. Families can learn about how giant presses were operated, and some of the working conditions in the factory at the time. The tour also includes a walk through the warehouse and offices of Newman Brothers.
Hours of admission
Coffin Works is open Thursdays through Sundays from 10:45am to 4pm. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, guided tours are offered at 11am, and the rest of the time is open for self-guided tours. On Thursdays, Coffin Works is only open for guided tours, which you can take at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm.
Costs of tickets
Admission to Coffin Works is £10 (roughly $12 USD) per person for guided tours. Self-guided admission is £8.50 (roughly $10.50 USD) for adults and £4.50 (roughly $5.50 USD) for children aged 5-16. There are two family ticket options: £15 (roughly $18.50 USD) for one adult and up to 3 children, and £23 (roughly $28 USD) for two adults and up to 3 children.
8. Guided tour of Birmingham places to visit in the West Midlands
If you only have a day or two in Birmingham, you can use that time to experience Birmingham places to visit in the West Midlands with a guided walking tour. For traveling families, walking tours are a great way to incorporate learning and physical activity into your sightseeing.
There are many Birmingham group walking tours you can choose from, but here are some options that showcase a unique perspective of the city:
Birmingham City Centre Walking Tour
This walking tour led by a local guide takes visitors to many of Birmingham’s points of interest, including Birmingham Town Hall, Chamberlain Square, Centenary Square, and Broad Street.
Book the tour: Birmingham City Centre Walking Tour
From Canals and Victorians to Today’s city
This is another walking tour that also brings visitors to many of the city’s landmarks.
Book the tour: From Canals and Victorians to Today’s City – Birmingham Walking Tour
Discovering Birmingham: The Jewellery Quarter
This walking tour focuses specifically on landmarks within the Jewellery Quarter.
Book the tour: Discovering Birmingham 2 hour Walking Tour to the Jewellery Quarter
Migration Stories from the Stratford Road
Birmingham is home to a large immigrant population, and this walking tour showcases some of those immigrant communities.
Book the tour: Birmingham Walking Tour – Migration Stories from the Stratford Road
Black Heritage Madiba
The Handsworth area of Birmingham is home to a large Afro-Caribbean community. This walking tour brings you to Handsworth to learn about the heritage of this neighborhood.
Book the tour: 2.5-Hours Walking Tour of Birmingham into Black Heritage Madiba
Visiting other parts of the United Kingdom? Read my posts for ideas.
Other fun places to visit in the West Midlands for families
Besides the city of Birmingham, there are plenty of other interesting places to visit in the West Midlands for a day trip. The region has a strong industrial heritage, so you’ll definitely want to spend some time digging into that history during your day trips in West Midlands.
But the West Midlands also has a lot of natural beauty, so be sure to include some outdoor time during your trip to the West Midlands. Here are some of our favorite places to visit in the West Midlands, outside of the city of Birmingham.
9. Black Country Living Museum
A great way to learn about the region’s industrial history is with a visit to the Black Country Living Museum. This is by far one of our family’s personal favorite places to visit in the West Midlands.
The Black Country Living Museum is a living history museum located near the town of Dudley, northwest of Birmingham. It’s a small village that has been preserved, where families can learn about coal mining during the Industrial Revolution, and the metalwork industry that stemmed out of those coal mines.
Families can walk through homes dating back to the 1800’s and into the World War II era. For fans of Peaky Blinders, the Black Country Living Museum serves as a filming location for some of the scenes in the show.
Museum admission rates
Tickets to the Black Country Living Museum are £19.95 (roughly $24.50 USD) for adults and £9.95 (roughly $12 USD) for children aged 3-15.
Sometimes they’ll offer a promo for free admission if you return within the month. We took advantage of that and got to visit the Black Country Living Museum twice!
Hours of operation
The Black Country Living Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm during the months of April through October. For the month of March and the month of November, hours are 10am to 4pm on Wednesdays through Sundays.
Hours for the other winter months vary depending on the weather.
10. Warwick Castle
British history is long, varied, and complex. Some of the places to visit in the West Midlands with kids date back thousands of years!
One such place you can visit is Warwick Castle, located in the town of Warwick, between Birmingham and Oxford. This castle was built by William the Conquerer in 1068. Warwick Castle is one of the oldest castles in England!
Visitors can tour the grounds of the castle, and walk through some of the rooms to learn about English history. There is also a kid-friendly maze for younger kids to play in. And visitors can watch historical demonstrations, including archery, falcons, and a full-size trebuchet.
Admission and lodging
Warwick Castle is open every day from 10am to 4pm. Tickets start at £24 (roughly $29.50 USD) per person. Lodging is also available near Warwick castle, and you can also purchase annual passes if you live in the area.
Parking at Warwick Castle
Limited parking is available at Warwick Castle, but you can also find parking at public car parks in the town of Warwick and walk to the castle.
After your visit, head over to Royal Leamington Spa for a family dinner at one of its many pubs!
11. Cadbury World
For lovers of chocolate, one of the can’t-miss places to visit in the West Midlands is Cadbury World. From our travels in Mexico and our visit to ChocoMuseo in Costa Rica, we’ve had a chance to learn about the origins of chocolate and cacao in Central America. So visiting Cadbury World was certainly full circle for us.
A visit to Cadbury World includes a tour of the factory where Cadbury chocolates are made. Visitors can watch chocolate making demonstrations and try hands-on activities where they can make and temper their own chocolate. There are also many educational exhibits about the history of chocolate. And younger kids will enjoy the small ride with animatronics, as well as the outdoor playground.
Take a read through this review of Cadbury World to get an idea of what to expect on your visit.
Hours of operation
Cadbury World is open every day. You’ll need to check the calendar on their website to see the actual opening hours, as they vary depending on the day of the week and the time of year.
Admission rates to Cadbury World
Tickets to Cadbury World are £21 (roughly $26 USD) for adults, and £15.50 (roughly $19 USD) for kids aged 4-15. Family packages are also available, priced at £63 (roughly $77 USD) for a family of four (2 adults), and £76 (roughly $93 USD) for a family of five (2 adults).
Lovers of literature should not miss a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon while they’re touring all the places to visit in the West Midlands with kids. This town is the birthplace of writer, William Shakespeare, known for plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth.
Visitors to Stratford-Upon-Avon can take a tour of his home, and other buildings that were important in Shakespeare’s life. You can also take a walk through the streets and enjoy the local restaurants and shops.
If you’re in the mood for taking some workshops and eating good food, check out these fun-looking cooking classes in Stratford-Upon-Avon offered by The Dough House:
Shakespearean Cooking Experience in Stratford-upon-Avon
Sourdough Bread Making Lunch Experience in Avon Cres
Traditional Afternoon Tea Experience and Baking Class in Stratford-upon-Avon
13. Safari Park
Animal lovers in the family will enjoy a visit to the West Midlands Safari Park. It’s an open area animal park, and is one of the popular places to visit in the West Midlands for families.
Unlike a typical zoo, the animals are able to roam around in a relatively large enclosed space. Visitors drive through the park to see elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, and other animals. You’ll need to have a car to do this, but if you don’t have one, you can opt for the guided minibus tour option.
Hours of operation
The West Midlands Safari Park is open daily, however opening times vary by season and day. Check the calendar on their website for the most up to date opening times.
General admission tickets cost £25 (roughly $30 USD) for adults and £20 (roughly $24.50 USD) for children between the ages of 3 and 15. If you buy your tickets through the West Midlands Safari Park website, you’ll get a code for a free return ticket, which is valid for up to 6 months.
14. Excursion to AONB places to visit in the West Midlands
One of the best ways to experience the West Midlands with kids is to enjoy the region’s natural surroundings. During your trip to the West Midlands, take a visit to the region’s designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). These include Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills, Cannock Chase, and Malvern Hills.
Another AONB partially located in the West Midlands is The Cotswolds. This beautiful and historic area of England is home to small picturesque villages, like Bourton-on-the-Water. The Cotswolds is certainly one of the most eye-pleasing places to visit in the West Midlands!
If you want a guide for your excursion to the Cotswolds, consider booking one of these guided tours:
Tour of the Cotswolds from Stratford-upon-Avon
Cotswold Walks & Villages Tour from Stratford-upon-Avon or Moreton-in-Marsh
15. Other hiking places to visit in the West Midlands
Besides the AONBs, there are plenty of other hiking-focused places to visit in the West Midlands with kids. During your trip to the region, be sure to save some time to experience some hiking in the area.
Hiking areas that are close to the city of Birmingham include Clent Hills and Lickey Hills. There’s also Sutton Park, a nature reserve in the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield and Sandwell Valley Country Park, located outside of Birmingham near West Bromwich.
Also, all throughout England are public footpaths that families can walk along. Some of these footpaths go through beautiful farm lands and lush forests. Check out the FootPath Map website to find all the public footpaths located throughout England.
More ideas for places to go in West Midlands for families
Despite spending almost three weeks in the region, there were still so many things to do in West Midlands with kids that we didn’t have time to include in our travel itinerary. We definitely need to return to England, just to get another chance to experience all the places to visit in the West Midlands.
Here are some places we wished we could have visited while we were in the West Midlands:
Dudley Canal and Caverns
Boat tour of the historical canals around the town of Dudley, including some underground canals.
Dudley Zoo and Castle
Family-friendly zoo, as well as an 11th century castle that families can visit.
17th century historical mansion that’s open for tours.
UNESCO World Heritage Site and living history museum.
Sarehole Mill Museum
250 year old watermill, and also an area where J.R.R. Tolkien spent part of his youth.
Coventry Transport Museum
Museum focused on the history of transportation in the United Kingdom.
National Motorcycle Museum
Touted as the largest British motorcycle museum in the world. After our experience with riding scooters in Bali, we absolutely love motorcycles!
Planning a longer trip? Check out my family gap year planning guide.
Making memories with these amazing places to visit in the West Midlands
We loved our time in the West Midlands, and can’t wait to go back there again someday. Unlike popular England destinations like London, Bath, and Brighton, all the towns and cities we visited in the West Midlands felt like hidden gems. We had such a good time diving into the history of the West Midlands and experiencing the region’s amazing natural beauty.
If you have time in your England itinerary, don’t skimp out on a visit to the West Midlands. Use this list of things to do West Midlands to give you ideas for your own itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!
Have you had a chance to visit the West Midlands with kids? What were your favorite places to visit in the West Midlands? Share them in the comments.
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