The Best 10 Museums in Birmingham

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust

Birmingham, England has a vast array of museums for visitors to enjoy, catering to art lovers, history buffs and even motorcycle enthusiasts. The city is home to the Birmingham Museums Trust, which is the largest independent charitable trust of museums in the U.K., running nine museums around town. Whether you're interested in touring a historic home, like Aston Hall, or learning more about Birmingham's jewelry-making history at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, there's a lot to experience around Birmingham. Here are the 10 best museums to explore.

01 of 10

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust

Address
Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH, UK
Phone +44 121 348 8032

The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is the city's most notable museum, housing a vast collection of international objects. You'll find fine art and ceramics, natural history and archaeology displays, and exhibitions on local and industrial history. The museum originally opened in 1885 and it's housed in Grade II listed landmark building, which is an experience in itself. Visitors of all ages can explore more than 40 galleries, and it's welcoming to kids and adults. Be sure to enjoy a treat in the museum's Edwardian tea rooms, as well. The museum is free for all visitors, which means you have no excuse not to stop by.

02 of 10

National Motorcycle Museum

Room at the National Motorcycle Museum with dozens of motorcycles on display

Courtesy of Visit Birmingham

Address
Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Hampton in Arden, Solihull B92 0EJ, UK
Phone +44 1675 443311

The National Motorcycle Museum, which opened in 1984 with a display of 350 motorcycles, is the largest British motorcycle museum in the world. There are now more than 1,000 motorcycles in its collection, most of which have been fully restored to the manufacturers' original specifications. But you don't have be a motorcycle expert to enjoy the displays, which are extensive. There's also a food court in the museum's foyer, guided tours and regular events, which can help the average visitor feel more immersed in the subject matter. Each October, the National Motorcycle Museum hosts Museum Live, an annual event that invites the public into the museum for free.

03 of 10

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham

Courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust

Address
75-80 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6HA, UK
Phone +44 121 348 8140

Run by the Birmingham Museums Trust, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter showcases a preserved jewelry workshop. It can be found in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter and was once the home of the Smith & Pepper jewelry manufacturing firm, which retired in 1981. It's best experienced via a guided tour, which includes live demonstrations of jewelry making, as well as two galleries of displays. The museum also features the Smith & Pepper Tearoom, as well as a small shop, which sells original work by local designer makers. The opening days and hours can vary, so check online ahead of your visit.

04 of 10

Soho House

Soho House museum in Birmingham

Courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust

Address
Soho Avenue, Birmingham B18 5LB, UK
Phone +44 121 348 8150

The stately Soho House was the home of industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 to 1809. The house, decorated in a late Georgian style, has been restored and preserved for visitors, with lots of details to see, like Sheffield plate tableware. Soho House was also a former meeting place of the Lunar Society, a leading an Age of Enlightenment group that included Erasmus Darwin, James Watt and Joseph Priestly. The house is located a mile north of the Birmingham city center, but it's easy to access by bus or metro if you don't have a car. Be sure to check the museum's calendar for upcoming special events.

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05 of 10

The Coffin Works

Exteriror of a brick factory building with lettering that reads "Newman Brothers"

Courtesy of The Coffin Works

Address
13-15 Fleet Street, Birmingham B3 1JP, UK
Phone +44 121 233 4790

While you might not have imagined your trip to Birmingham would include a tour of an old factory, Birmingham's Coffin Works is a compelling attraction. Coffin Works was first established in 1882, by Alfred Newman and his brother Edwin, and went on to build coffin furniture (which includes handles, breastplates, crucifixes, and decorative ornaments). It even made the fittings for the funerals of Joseph Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, and the Queen Mother. The museum runs one guided tour per day, as well as self-guided entry. Hours are fairly limited, so it's best to check online before your visit and plan ahead.

06 of 10

Thinktank - Birmingham Science Museum

Thinktank - Birmingham Science Museum

Birmingham Museums Trust

Address
Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham B4 7XG, UK
Phone +44 121 348 8000

This family-friendly science museum boasts more than 200 hands-on displays on science and technology. The museum, located in the Millennium Point building, caters to kids of all ages and features a 4K planetarium. Opening hours and days can vary by season, so plan ahead, and consider booking a timed ticket in advance to skip the queue. Grab lunch or a snack at the Signal Box Cafe, and don't miss the museum's shop, which has tons of cool toys for sale. Thinktank also hosts regular activities and events for kids, which can be found on their calendar.

07 of 10

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

people walking on a sidewalk in front of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts on a sunny day

Courtesy of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Address
University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TS, UK
Phone +44 121 414 7333

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is both an art gallery and a concert hall, located on the University of Birmingham campus. The gallery has a solid European art collection, with works by artists like Degas and Monet. The collection also includes decorative art, sculptures, and a rare coin collection (the Barber has over 16,000 objects in its coin archives). There are also temporary exhibitions, which typically remain on display for a few months. The gallery is free, but visitors will need to book tickets for any concerts.

08 of 10

Lapworth Museum of Geology

dinosaur skeleton on display in Lapworth Museum of Geology

Courtesy of the University of Birmingham

Address
Aston Webb Building, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Phone +44 121 414 7294

Part of the University of Birmingham, the Lapworth Museum of Geology allows visitors to explore 3.5 billion years of the Earth's history. The exhibits showcase everything from rocks and fossils to volcanoes and earthquakes to dinosaurs, and many of the displays are interactive. The museum, which is free to enter, regularly hosts family activities, educational talks and tours, as well as arts and crafts activities for younger visitors.

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09 of 10

Aston Hall

Aston Hall in Birmingham

Birmingham Museums Trust

Address
Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6JD, UK
Phone +44 121 348 8100

Journey back to the 17th century at Aston Hall, which is known as one of the last great Jacobean houses in England. Built for Sir Thomas Holte between 1618 and 1635, the house has had many owners and even more famous visitors, including King Charles I and Queen Victoria. Visitors can explore the Great Hall, as well as numerous other rooms, which have been preserved with their historic details. Don't miss Lady Holte’s Garden, situated around the house, and be sure to plan your visit around one of Aston Hall's many events.

10 of 10

Blakesley Hall

Blakesley Hall museum in Birmingham

Birmingham Museums Trust

Address
Blakesley Road, Birmingham B25 8RN, UK
Phone +44 121 348 8120

Blakesley Hall, a historic Tudor house, is a whopping 400 years old. Found in Yardley, it's one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham and is a great place to learn more about Tudor architecture and details. Inside, you can glimpse a painted chamber, which was covered until World War II bomb damage revealed the original painted walls from 1590. The house is located outside the center of town in a quiet neighborhood, with a peaceful garden and the Herb Garden Café. To get there, take a bus or train from central Birmingham. Visitors can also drive and park in Blakesley Hall's free parking lot.

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The Best 10 Museums in Birmingham, England