It’s nice to know that it’s still possible to have a great family day out without it costing the earth. Our extensive network of leisure centres, libraries, museums and parks can all help you make your money go further, and the sheer value for money of the city’s Bull Ring Markets and Balti Triangle Experience can’t be matched anywhere.
Birmingham is also lucky to have lots of brilliant parks and open spaces, which are easily accessible from anywhere in the city. And if you want to soak up some culture or history in one of the city’s many art galleries or museums, there are some real gems waiting to be discovered – in fact you might see Birmingham in a completely new light!
In partnership with the NHS, we are now offering all Birmingham residents* free swimming, group exercise classes and gym sessions. To join the scheme you'll need a Leisure Card. Just complete an application form and take it to your local centre along with two documents which show your name and address.
*Birmingham residents pay council tax to us. Non-Birmingham residents aged over 60 or under 17 can still swim for free.
Exercise on Prescription
Exercise on Prescription aims to help people to become more healthy by increasing their physical activity. It is one of the biggest GP-referral schemes in the country and operates all over Birmingham.
Since it started in 1994, Exercise on Prescription has had over 22,500 people referred to the scheme by their GP and approximately 3,500 people join each year.
The Exercise on Prescription scheme operates at the following sites:
- Castle Vale Community Leisure Centre
- Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre
- Erdington Leisure Centre
- Fox Hollies Leisure Centre
- Handsworth Leisure Centre
- Kingstanding Leisure Centre
- Northfield Pool & Fitness Centre
- Saltley Community Leisure Centre
- Shard End Community Centre and Sports Hall
- Stechford Cascades
- Wyndley Leisure Centre
For more information www.birmingham.gov.uk/eop
Passport to Leisure
To join the scheme you'll need a Leisure Card. Just complete an application form and take it to your local centre along with two documents which show your name and address. There are council fitness and leisure centres all over Birmingham. You can pay as you go or pay monthly. If you’re on benefits, a full-time student or over 60 you qualify for Passport to Leisure discounts. People over 60 and youngsters aged 16 and under can swim for free at any council swimming pool.
Visit your local library and borrow instead of buying. You can also get free access to the internet, and get help with training and CVs.
Entry to all council museums is free and there are free activities for children every weekend.
Birmingham Nature Centre
Located on Pershore Road, two miles south of Birmingham City Centre, the Birmingham Nature Centre is home to a wide range of animals from across the world.
Whether you are interested in animal conservation or just having a fun day out with the family, the Birmingham Nature Centre offers something for everyone.
Winter Season: Open weekends only 10am-4pm (last admissions 3pm) from the first weekend of November until the last weekend of March.
Summer Season: Open daily 10am-5pm (last admissions 4pm) from the first weekend in April until the last weekend of October.
Small admission charge. Discounts for senior citizens, students and Passport to Leisure holders. Children under 5 FREE (must be accompanied by an adult). Season tickets available.
Birmingham Nature Centre
0121 472 7775
Birmingham Parks and Open Spaces
Within a short distance of where you live or work you will be able to enjoy one of Birmingham's parks every day of the year.
For a full list of local parks, identified by ward, go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/localpark
For more information:
0121 464 8728
Listed below are the City’s premier parks, which serve communities from all across the city
Cannon Hill Park is a prestigious Victorian Park and focus for Civic pride through its picturesque parkland and as a centre for civic events. The Parks has been awarded the coveted Green Flag Award for excellent environmental and management standards.
Kings Heath Park is located in the Moseley and Kings Heath Ward. A lovely example of a Victorian Park, Kings Heath Park has been awarded the coveted Green Flag Award for excellent environmental and management standards.
Handsworth Park is a prime example of a Victorian Park in the West Midlands. Highly valued by the local community there are ambitious plans underway to restore many of its original features to their former glory as well as providing facilities that address the needs of the local community.
Sutton Park National Nature Reserve is Birmingham's largest park, covering 2,400 acres consisting of woodlands, heathlands and wetlands. The entire park is designated a National Nature Reserve by English Nature. It is the home of a wide variety of wildlife, many species uncommon elsewhere in the West Midlands region. Visitors benefit from a true countryside experience, remarkably all within six miles of the very heart of the city. The Visitor Centre contains displays and information related to the park.
Lickey Hills lies 11 miles south west of Birmingham city centre and covers an area of 524 acres. The hills are covered by a mosaic of mixed deciduous woodland, conifer plantations and heathland, all rich in a variety of wildlife. The attractive visitor centre offers a wide range of information and refreshments and Rangers are always on hand to answer queries.
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You can also receive the monthly Business Bulletin to get the latest news and views on business in the city.
To subscribe go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/bulletin, or text bb [email address] to 62299
Bull Ring Markets
Birmingham’s world famous Bull Ring Markets are a brilliant way to pick up fresh, healthy and inexpensive food, as well as some brilliant bargains in clothing, material, quality goods – you name it, they probably have it!
The markets include:
Bull Ring Indoor Market
It sells a variety of produce and is famous for its Fish Section. It has 140 stalls.
Bull Ring Rag Market
Renowned for the extensive range of materials it has to offer, in addition to other merchandise, has 350 stalls and 17 perimeter shops.
Bull Ring Open Market
The Open Market now provides 130 purpose-designed and manufactured stalls including stalls around the Bull Ring Rag Market providing a lively and attractive market scene. The markets offer excellent goods, quality service, bargains and much more.
Sunday Car Boot Sale
Held every Sunday morning in the Wholesale Markets Precinct, with over 300 hardstanding pitches, for the sale of second hand and new goods.
Farmers Markets This is held in the City Centre every first and third Wednesday of each month.
More information available at www.birmingham.gov.uk/markets
Most of the parks and visitor attractions in Birmingham can be reached by bus or train. For more information about these services please contact
Traveline 0871 200 2233
If your visiting Birmingham by car, please check our car parking pages.