PLAN YOUR TRIP
We are very lucky to have our workshop inside a beautiful historic building, walking distance from Birmingham City centre and the Jewellery Quarter. An original Victorian factory restored and turned into a museum as well as work spaces in 2014 with many original features it is the perfect setting for our jewellery classes, workshops and for you to make your own wedding rings.
Arriving at the building you will find the entrance through the courtyard and up a set of old wooden stairs.
WELCOME TO BIRMINGHAM, WE’VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU
If it’s your first time in fair ol’ Brum, then lucky you. It’s difficult to think of a city which has transformed itself so markedly, whilst lovingly protecting its heritage, better than this city of 1,000 trades. And whether you’re on a bit of a budget, or, you’re treating your visit as an excuse to celebrate in no uncertain terms, we’ve got bars, beds, boutiques and some spots you kinda need to know a local to hear about, waiting for you.
We’ve focussed on the Jewellery Quarter, where you’ll find Victoria’s workshop, and also given some love to the reassuringly proximate city centre, where you’ll arrive if using public transport. Enjoy.
HUNGRY? WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT BE
If you’ve just stepped off the train and are in need of brunch, coffee of cake, head directly to Yorks. Moments from the station’s Stephenson Street exit, the laid back, stripped back all-day emporium does a mighty trade in baked goods, and has a regularly changing brunch offering, where, apart from the usual suspects, you’ll find every variation on eggs you can imagine, including a fragrant edition of the Middle Eastern staple, Shakshuka.
If you’re in the market for something more substantial, Fumo is a few minutes up Temple Street, (which is on the way to the workshop from the station) and wildly tummy pleasing. Serving up fresh Cicchetti (think tapas but Italian), first-rate ingredients are at the centre of everything Fumo does. With a menu so extensive, it would be a challenge to be left without plenty of ordering options, the scallops, the pizzetas and the charcuterie are all excellent. You can’t book, but turnover is relatively swift and some would say a spot at the bar, which over looks Brum’s baroque cathedral, is the best seat in the house anyway.
And for a quick taste of Brum’s BIG big Indian scene, between the city centre and Jewellery Quarter, you’ll find Indian Brewery. Open all day seven days a week, the team do outrageous things with chickpeas, tamarind, lamb and spices. Plus as you’ve probably gathered from the name, their craft beer game is fierce, and changes regularly. A casual and speedy lunch spot which is a lot less heavy than your conventional Indian (though we’ve got plenty of those too).
BRING THE CULTURE
A short walk from the Quarterworkshop, along the canal, you’ll find Ikon gallery. An internationally acclaimed contemporary art venue, it’s big and bold enough to demand a visit, without being overwhelming if you don’t consider yourself “in to art”. With Yorks Cafe serving up brunches, pizzas and liquid refreshment below, be sure to take the lift while you’re there (and no, we’re not being lazy). Entry is free.
If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery hosts an enviable collection of Pre-Raphaelites, as well as the region’s Staffordshire Hoard — the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found. There are regularly rotating exhibitions and events within the city’s mightily impressive Chamberlain Square digs.
If you want to catch a show while you’re in town, we’ve got ballet, comedy, drama and a world class orchestra for starters. Relocating from Saddlers Wells, you’ll find Birmingham Royal Ballet at the city’s Hippodrome, in the Chinese Quarter. For a concert or a comic, check out what’s on at the Town Hall and the Symphony Hall. Both are easily accessed whether you’re staying in the city centre or the Jewellery Quarter.
AND FOR YOUR EVENING LIBATIONS
You’ve had a super day making your wedding rings and now it’s time to see what else the Jewellery Quarter is about. If it’s sunny, get drinks on The Button Factory’s generous sun trap of a terrace and stay for their thoughtful, charcoal-fuelled food. Or if gin is your thing, find Aman at 40 St Pauls, accessed via an unassuming door and with its own gin wheel, and a tonic created by the team. Booking is advisable at weekends.
In terms of dinner options, you’re as spoilt for choice as you’re hoping you might be. Otto is the neighbourhood pizzeria that will have you considering a postcode change. Do get the pistachio ice-cream. While smart Lasan, just off St Paul’s Square, has had a major refurb and now offers a cocktail bar as well as accomplished, good looking, modern feeling Indian food that’s packed with flavour. Booking is essential at weekends.
For an extra special treat we have to mention our personal favourite Carters of Moseley just a short taxi ride from the city centre it is definitely worth the trip! Booking is essential
For that hard to reach spot between fine dining and a good pub, Saint Pauls House is a light, bright addition to the JQ (as you’ll be calling it by this point), which is big on design and has a hard working kitchen. Mains are from around £13, and with a sizeable bar, plus boutique hotel above it, you could essentially spend your entire time in Brum with the team.
Though, that would be a shame, as conveniently located next to Saint Pauls House, you’ll find Jools Holland’s club. The Jam House goes lively and late Thursdays through Saturdays, with other specific events coming up earlier in the week — check the website for the latest. Well worth booking ahead come the weekend, if you want to be a bit more spontaneous The Church has most excellent cocktails and a DJed back room where everyone is welcome, as long as having a good time is top of your agenda.
REST THINE HEAD
From £45 for a double room, Bloc Hotel is small but perfectly formed — think cabin on a rather lovely yacht rather than a traditional hotel room. Less than five minutes from Victoria’s workshop and just off the city’s loveliest square, book early for the best prices.
Complete with bar and restaurant (see above), Saint Pauls House is a new entrant to the market, and a very welcome one at that. From about £110 for a double room, there are some fun nods to the building’s former life as a rope factory, though, if you’re a light sleeper and aren’t planning a night out, note that things can get a bit lively at the weekends.
With just 12 individually designed en-suite rooms, there’s something rather special feeling about this Victorian restoration, which launched in 2016. Including breakfast, rooms at The High Field Town House start at about £120. It’s a mile out of the city, in leafy Edgbaston Village but neighbours a high-end, Gatsby-style cocktail bar (The Edgbaston), a gastro pub where you’ll have your breakfast (The High Field), and boasts the holder of Brum’s longest Michelin-starred restaurant just around the corner. Simpsons is a real treat whether you make it on this trip or come back especially. And there are oodles of other nearby dining options: Fiesta del Asado for the city’s best steak, Laghi’s for the city’s best pasta and El Borracho de Oro for some top notch tapas. Yes, you are definitely going to need more than one night.
TELL ME MORE PLEASE
For the very latest goings on and openings in the city, check out I Choose Birmingham’s website or follow the team on Twitter. Or, if you’re looking for something slightly different, get in touch with Victoria — we could write this guide three times over and we’d still be missing very worthy places out. Like the four other Michelin-starred restaurants in Brum we haven’t even had the space to mention.
Words by Katy Drohan
Vegetarian & Vegan
For moden vegetarian Resturant 1847