Exploring the great Birmingham outdoors

As the autumn days draw in the outdoor landscape of Birmingham begins to change. From parks and woods to our city streets and urban areas, there’s plenty to see on a wander around our city. With the change of the seasons, as well as new guidance around how we mix indoors, now is a great time to get out and explore - be that exercising on your own, or meeting with others. Whether you prefer nature or city architecture, the outdoor space Brum has on offer is waiting to be discovered.

A stretch of Birmingham canal with an ornate footbridge

Get your nature fix

Despite being a city associated with industry Birmingham has over 8,000 acres of green space, is home to one of Europe’s largest urban parks, and as you may know has more miles of canal than Venice. There’s endless cycle routes and public footpaths, rolling field after rolling field and many, many park benches just waiting to be discovered.

Sutton Park

That large urban park we just mentioned? This is it. Located 6 miles from the city centre, Sutton Park has open heathland, woodlands, seven lakes and wildlife including wild ponies for you to discover. Hop on a train from New Street and within 15 minutes you could be running over the green hills, enjoying a Mr Whippy or coffee (weather dependent) as you gaze over a pool, or pretending to you know your way through one of its many trails.

Great for: The social one – being this big and varied you can spend all day here with friends and not get bored or run out of things to do.

Birmingham and Worcester canal

Whilst the city boasts of having more miles of canal than Venice you may not have the time, energy or indeed desire to take them all on. We recommend the stretch of the ‘Birmingham and Worcester canal’ starting in Bournville and ending at Gas Street Basin. This few mile stretch is an ideal way to take in the city’s waterways, view some greenery, and by ending in the Gas Street Basin you have Brindleyplace and the Mailbox to treat yourself to a nice meal or cheeky pint after stretching those legs.

Great for: The part timer – running close to the train line, if you get fed up or the weather takes a turn there are four stops for you to get that next train into New Street.

Rea Valley River route

The Rea is the river on which Birmingham was founded way back in the 7th century. It’s a short river that runs through most of the south of the city before being swallowed by the River Tame under that famous natural phenomenon Spaghetti Junction. Starting outside of Brum, up at the source in the Waseley Hills of Worcestershire. The route runs next to the majority of the river’s 16 mile stretch. Following it is an ideal chance to explore most of South Birmingham including leafy Edgbaston and trendy Stirchley. It also bolts straight through one of the city’s most popular parks, Canon Hill.

Great for: The exerciser – whether you’re a runner, walker or cyclist the trail is great to get on and get that cardio in.

City spaces


Instead of saving the ‘Great for’ section for after the blurb we figured it’s best to put it front and centre.

Great for: The street art lover!

Whilst Digbeth is known for its great novelty nightlife, top notch cafés, coffee shops and award winning street food you can easily spend all day (and night) wandering around its backstreets taking in the graffiti and artwork. From pieces inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali and David Bowie to foxes and gorillas, as well as recent salutes to the NHS it’s brimming with designs that will bring a smile to your face. If you’re not a street art lover yet, after a few hours in Digbeth, you will be.

Broad Street

If all this sounds great, but really you just want a short walk and then a bar to hide inside, try star gazing down the centre of the city’s nightlife street. Under a mile long, you can happily wander down the street, get your exercise in and be sat with a drink in front of you, all in under half an hour. Perfect. The walk-of-fame inspired pavement pays tribute to Birmingham’s favourite sons and daughters, from the world famous to the unsung heroes. 

Great for: The pub quizzer - It’s an opportunity to learn a little more about the people of Brum, with the help of Google.

Jewellery Quarter

Free things to do in Birmingham jewellery quarter

Whilst great architecture may not spring to mind when picturing Birmingham, the city is home to some picturesque pockets of external aesthetics. The houses of Bournville and council buildings of the city centre are worth honourable mentions, but we think the Jewellery Quarter is your best bet. The Georgian St Paul’s Cathedral sat in its leafy square, the 18th and 19th century factories that litter the suburb and famous clock tower are all stand outs. Make sure to look out for the old fire station that is now a nursery, the unique cemeteries and various galleries.

Great for: Those with an eye for detail - there's plenty of interesting hidden statues and figurines dotted around the many buildings to seek out, all of which could easily pass you by.

So whether it’s a riverside 10k or a short stroll to the pub that you’re after; culture or canals, in Birmingham you can find it all.

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Open Days

The best way to explore what's on offer is to attend an Open Day. Our events provide the perfect opportunity to chat to our staff and students and check out our state-of-the-art facilities.

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