< Back to Cities in England

Birmingham City Guide

With one of the youngest populations in Europe, Birmingham is a dynamic, creative city which is constantly evolving. As the UK’s natural meeting place, Birmingham is also a crossroads for culture and diverse cultural influences are easy to spot everywhere in the city.Birmingham boasts something for everyone – whether you’re a culture vulture, shopaholic, food enthusiast, party animal or sports fanatic, Birmingham is a destination of limitless opportunity, offering visitors an eclectic mix of things to do. With a compelling and varied arts scene, Birmingham is home to inspirational organisations and venues right across the cultural spectrum. Birmingham’s growing reputation as a foodie haven, critically acclaimed independent festivals and a year-round calendar of world-class sporting events offer a unique visitor experience.

Art Galleries in Birmingham

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is home to the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork in the world, as well as collections of silver, sculpture, ceramics and ancient and social history galleries. The Gas Hall Gallery houses a constantly changing programme of exhibitions. Entrance is free except for certain exhibitions. One of Europe’s leading contemporary art galleries, Ikon is stylish, progressive and recognised for its individuality. The Ikon exhibits the best international and British art in a changing programme of exhibitions and events. Admission is free.

Birmingham’s unique Jewellery Quarter is home to Europe’s largest school of jewellery. There’s a number of galleries showcasing work including the UK’s second oldest independent art gallery; the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. St. Paul’s Gallery is also a must visit and is notable for being the world’s leading retailer of signed record covers. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts has an outstanding collection of Old Masters alongside and modern classics. You’ll see works by Rubens, Gainsborough, Rossetti, Monet, Degas and Magritte. Eastside Projects based in Digbeth is a new model for a gallery, one where space and programme are intertwined. Alongside experimental contemporary art practices and exhibitions, the gallery has featured long-term, permanent works from international artists such as Liam Gillick, Lawrence Weiner, Susan Collis and Heather & Ivan Morison.

Also in Digbeth – for those who like their art straight from the artist – there’s The Custard Factory: a vibrant, buzzing corner of Birmingham that’s home to a hive of young creative companies, galleries and fine artists. The newest development of the Custard Factory is the dazzling Zellig which provides an inspiring environment for 101 independent creative enterprises. The Art Lounge, the largest commercial gallery of contemporary art in the city centre is located in the Mailbox and in Brindleyplace you’ll find Number 9 the Gallery a must-visit for anyone interested in fine and modern arts.

Less than 20 minutes from the city centre you’ll find the gallery space at Solihull Arts Complex which exhibits a programme of exciting contemporary work by regional and national artists. The Gallery also commissions professional artists to create new works and run education activities.