Just 15 minutes to the north of the city lies the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, renowned for being one of the leafiest boroughs in the UK and well worth a visit next time you’ve got a day to spare.
Take the A train
The Cross-City Line is a 32-mile stretch of rail connecting Worcestershire and Staffordshire, with Sutton Coldfield Station sitting somewhere near the middle.
Its excellent transport links mean that the town is an easy win next time you’re looking for a local jaunt, and you can easily carry-on trucking north to Lichfield, or south as far as Bromsgrove and Redditch if you’re looking to extend your adventure down the track.
Home to Europe’s largest urban park
It’s no secret that Birmingham is one of the greenest cities in the UK, and for at least part of that accolade, it has Sutton Park to thank. The 2.400 acre National Nature reserve is one of Europe’s largest urban parks, featuring an array of wildlife, including cattle and wild Exmoor ponies, plus seven lakes. This park isn’t one for the wild swimmers among you, though, as your only chance for a dip – an authorised one at least - is on the 25th of December each year when the park hosts its annual Christmas Day Swim in Blackroot Pool. Feeling brave?
The park is also home to The Donkey Sanctuary, which is free to visit every Saturday and the first Sunday of each month, for fussing furry friends.
Brunch, booze and bakeries
You’re never far from gastro-delights in the north of the city. In August 2022, Brum street food giants, Baked in Brick, expanded their portfolio to include Bakehouse, brimming with freshly baked bread and patisserie for you to enjoy every morning, and open throughout the day for coffee, cake, pastries, lunch and brunch. If it’s their award-winning Street Food you’re after, join them on Thursday – Saturday evenings for a seriously tasty spread.
For a quick coffee and a cake, you can’t go wrong at independents Under Pressure Espresso, Windowbox Café, Silver Tree Bakery or The Deli, but there’s always Quinto and Verdo Lounges if you fancy something a little less indie.
There are plenty of bars and pubs to choose from too, notable mentions include; The Station – which hosts a top quiz every Thursday, and DJs every Saturday; Brewhouse & Kitchen – for a cracking Sunday lunch and the odd sporting event on the big screen; and Ale Hub Micropub – a proper (tiny) pub where dogs are welcome, what more could you want?
The north of Birmingham is packed with second hand shops, if you like to grab a bargain. Within a ten-minute radius, you’ve got Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield, Wylde Green, Boldmere and Erdington, which each boast four or more chazzas along their highstreets. One highlight is The ReUsers, next to Sutton Coldfield refuse centre, that rescues, restores and recycles second hand items. They’re big on antique furniture as well as electricals, bikes and sports gear, so you can get a steal safe in the knowledge that you’re helping them in their quest to save 250 tonnes of waste entering landfill every year.