Wednesday, 29 May 2019

TRAVEL: What to Do on a Family Day Out in Birmingham

TRAVEL: What to Do on a Family Day Out in Birmingham*Advertorial Content 
Birmingham attracts over 41 million visitors each year, is home to more canals than Venice and with 90% of the UK within 4 hours it is the ideal place to visit for a city break or family day out. There are so many different hotels in Birmingham that suit all budgets, families and ages, making it a city perfect for exploring. We recently spent a family day out discovering what the city has to offer a family with young children and we certainly weren't disappointed. After a lot of browsing the different options we settled on going to the Legoland Discovery Centre and Sea Life Centre, but other attractions that caught our eye were Thinktank, Birmingham Library, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Cadbury World. 

As both the Legoland Discovery Centre and the Sea Life Centre are owned by Merlin Entertainments Group it means that you are able to use one of the many 2 for 1 offers you find on cereal packets, as well as make the most of the Combi Ticket option which is what we did. When you go onto either website there is an option for a Combi Ticket, which allows you to book into visiting both places for a reduced price of £25 per person. Also, if you don't want to visit both places in a day the Sea Life Centre ticket is valid for up to 3 months, so you can return to Birmingham for another day out if you'd prefer. 

We decided to start early and visit Legoland Discovery Centre first, then head for lunch and finish the day at the Sea Life Centre. I booked us in to Legoland Discovery Centre for 10am, which was such a good time to visit and I'd highly recommend booking in then if you can. When we entered the venue was really quiet and because the main area is one big room it meant that Isabella and Poppy had all of the activity options to choose from. After a Lego ride you enter 'Mini Brum', which has the most impressive models of iconic buildings around Birmingham. The girls loved spotting places they'd been before, as well as watching Lego canal boats bob along the water and see Warwick Castle which we had visited recently. This leads onto a large room filled with Lego, building challenges, a Duplo play area for 2-5 year olds, race tracks, soft play, rides, coffee shop and 4D cinema. It's really nice that it is so open because it allows siblings/friends to choose where they want to explore and parent/carers can see where they are. 
Soon after we entered there was a screening in the 4D cinema, so we headed in there for a multi-sensory experience. We were given 3D glasses and then throughout the short film (about 20 minutes long) we were sprayed with water, bubbles and blown with air. Isabella and Poppy absolutely loved this; their excited faces said it all. Aside from the 4D cinema everything is open to access as many or as little times as you like. We had a go at making some Lego cars, then racing them on the track there, as well as building a giant house out of large Lego bricks and playing in the soft play area. Neither Isabella or Poppy are that skilled at Duplo/Lego building, but that didn't take away from the experience at all. However, if you have a Lego enthusiast then this will be their heaven! There are 'Master Classes' in which you can watch a Lego Master make a model and then have a go at making it yourself. 
We spent a good couple of hours in the Legoland Discovery Centre, although if your child is slightly older (Isabella is 4 years old and Poppy is 2 years old) then I imagine you could spend a good hour longer there. One of the best parts of the Combi Ticket is that both places are located within short walking distance from each other and there is a wide array of restaurants in the Brindley Place area too. Some of the restaurants to choose from include: Carluccio's, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, OKO, Pizza Express, Slug & Lettuce, Wagamama, Zizzi etc. 

We settled on the Slug & Lettuce, which despite it's cocktails/bar exterior was actually incredibly child/family-friendly and were very accommodating. Their children's menu was impressive and affordable, offering two courses and a drink for only £4.99. Our waitress also offered to bring the children's meals out with our starter of nachos, which if you're a parent will know makes all the difference to the overall 'meal out' experience. So while we enjoyed our nachos to share, Isabella tucked into a burger, chips and corn on the cob while Poppy went for sausages, mashed potato and peas. Both plates were left clean in the end, which is evidence that the food was delicious. For the mains my husband went for a burger and I went for halloumi, chips and mushy peas (aka. vegetarian fish and chips), both of which were very tasty. 
Once we were all refuelled we headed over the canal to the Sea Life Centre for an afternoon with the fish, penguins and sharks. Isabella was particularly excited to see the sharks, so that's what we were on the hunt for. We last visited the Sea Life Centre when Isabella was around 18 months, so it had been a while and was exciting to return. I do have to say that the first few viewing areas (covering the penguins) were extremely busy, but once we got through that section the crowds seem to disperse and it was easier for the children to see the sea creatures. The whole place is pushchair friendly, although due to the number of people visiting I would recommend not taking one if you can. As you walk around the designated route you pass all manner of fish, 'nemo and dory', seals, penguins, giant sea turtle, sharks, octopus, jellyfish, seahorses, rockpools, eels, rays and piranhas. All of the tanks are low enough for Isabella to see through by herself and most Poppy could also see through, which is ideal for letting them watch the sea creatures. 
At the end of the Sea Life Centre there is a 360 degree tunnel, which was pretty impressive and the perfect way to finish off our day of exploring Birmingham. If you're thinking of organising a family day out in Birmingham, then rest assure there is plenty to see and do for all ages. 

Have you been to Birmingham before? What are your favourite things to do?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x

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11 comments

  1. Not been here, yet! Keep meaning to book a few days in the Birmingham area as we’ve not visited those attractions for a long long time

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  2. I love Birmingham, it’s only 20 minutes from me but has so much to offer.

    I was not sure about the Lego centre but you’ve sold it to me, it looks amazing.

    I always find the sea life centre too busy really but it’s a good place to visit. I think we will do the combo ticket, seems like great value x

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  3. I love the look of both of those places. My eldest hasn't gotten in to Lego yet but it still looks like there would be lots for him to do. We hope to get down to the Birmingham area to visit friends in the near future so it's nice to see some ideas for where to take the kids while we're there

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  4. Birmingham really is a great city with so much to do. We love the Sealife Centre!

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  5. There is certainly plenty to do for families in Birmingham. It looks like you had a really great time.

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  6. More canals than Venice - what an amazing fact! I love the idea of the Sea Life Centre, and Lego Land looks more interesting than I'd expected. Thanks for sharing. Xx

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  7. We've never been to Birmingham as a family but I can see that there's so much to do there.

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  8. We used to visit the Lego Discovery Centre in Berlin at least once a year when we lived there. It looks almost identical to the Birmingham one, except the Lego cityscape is of Berlin.

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  9. Looks like you had a great time in Birmingham for sure. The sealife centre tunnel looks fab xx

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  10. Birmingham is such a perfect place to visit if you have kids. There are so much thing to do there. Looks like you really had a great time there.

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  11. This is a suitable tourist spot for my family.
    We have 2 small children. This is great for them.
    My wife and I got to know each other through a website Livejasmin
    .
    Thanks for the article of the author

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