A major city in in the West Midlands area of the UK, Birmingham is also one of the top conference destinations in the UK. Ranked as number 120 in the world last year by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) for association meetings, it hosted 20 international association meetings last year. Online event management and planning company, CVENT, listed Birmingham as 23rd in their top European Meetings Destinations in 2015. A former manufacturing powerhouse, Birmingham has a rich industrial past which can be seen in its many landmarks and buildings. Home to an extensive network of canals, Birmingham now boasts plenty of trendy bars, cafes and restaurants thanks to the city’s recent regeneration projects.
Travel – Getting Around Birmingham.
Birmingham, like most big cities, is well connected. There is an airport that is home to more than 50 airlines flying to more than 100 destinations and it is also well connected via rail, road and bus. Coaches link Birmingham to 500 locations in Europe and more than 1,200 places in mainland Britain, with an hourly service to London.
Once you have arrived, there are plenty of options to get you around the city. The more traditional travel choices includes the well connected local rail lines and buses, also the Midland Metro which is a state-of-the-art light railway system linking Snow Hill Station and Wolverhampton. For those visitors wanting a less conventional way to get around, you can always opt to hire a bicycle and traverse the many bike lanes and cycle paths in the city. Brompton folding bikes are available to hire from £5 per day for visitors from the docks near Moor Street Station, near Snow Hill Station and near New Street Station. With the many waterways and canals, narrowboats are a great form of transport for those that aren’t in a hurry and want to see all the sites of Birmingham on its historical waterways. Another fun way to get around is by hiring that most iconic of British cars, the mini. The classic mini was made in Birmingham and the classic car can be hired and delivered direct to your hotel!
Hotels – Where to Stay in Birmingham.
A converted Royal Mail sorting house in the heart of Birmingham city centre, the stylish Mal Maison offers visitors the choice of 192 ‘lavish’ bedrooms that have been decorated to create a modern, yet retro look. Unwind in the funky Chez Mal Bar, enjoy French cuisine in the Brasserie, or relax in the Spa. For those that want to mix business with pleasure, the Mal has a specially created Work & Play space that has superfast wifi, six flexible rooms and meeting pods.
For delegates wanting wow-factor, Birmingham’s Staying Cool apartments offers its guests stunning views of the city from modern and stylish surroundings. The Apart Hotel is located on the highest floors of Birmingham’s Rotunda, a cylindrical tower in the city. Located in the heart of the main shopping area, each apartment has floor to ceiling windows, a kitchen, wifi, an apple mac, 24 hour reception, concierge service and a food menu for those that don’t want to cook after a long day. Take your pick of apartment; from studios to the impressive penthouse.
For those that want to get away from the stresses of city life during their stay in Birmingham and experience a bit of local history and tradition, a stay on a floating canal hotel narrowboat could be just the thing. Away 2 Stay offer guests the choice of three small, but cosy rooms – two double bedrooms or a twin cabin – onboard their traditional narrowboat in the heart of the city. Fully catered, visitors are offered a cooked breakfast, drinks in their cabins and even the choice of an evening meal if desired. Despite being in the centre of Birmingham, the ‘hotelboat’ is a world away from the hustle and bustle of a conventional city hotel.
The first thing that will strike you about Hotel Indigo is the amazing building in which it is situated. Birmingham’s iconic Cube is a breathtaking building and the hotel is located in the top. This is a hotel with serious wow-factor and rooms and public spaces are designed with murals, bold colours and modern furnishings. Visitors will enjoy stunning views of the city from the hotel, and can unwind at the end of the day in the gym, pool or the spa. There are also meeting rooms and spaces in the hotel, and within the building a Marco Pierre White restaurant for those that want to enjoy fine dining during their stay.
For those looking for a functional and low cost business stay, Nitenite Birmingham is a 10 minute walk from New Street and offers visitors hotel room that are more reminiscent of cabins or sleeping pods. The ‘rooms’ are windowless, but feature a plasma screen which shows a live view of the city and are a low cost option for those that don’t plan on spending a lot of time in their hotel. For those that require more space, there are also 11 modern apartments to choose from. The hotel benefits from a central location, a 24 hour front desk, funky surroundings and free wifi!
Unique Conference and Meetings Spaces in Birmingham.
Birmingham’s Electric Cinema is the oldest working cinema in the country dating back to 1909 and still has the original art deco design in its lounge and cocktail bar. Offering a range of space for events, Screen One is the main auditorium and the largest space with seating for 108 attendees. The rear of the space has 24 luxury sofas giving it a cosy area for delegates to talk and network.
The Custard Factory is as unusual as its name and is the ideal conference venue for those wanting plenty of character! Catering for conferences with up to 225 delegates, Birmingham’s “revolutionary arts and media quarter” was built 100 years ago by the man behind Bird’s Custard! The ‘Old Library’ dates back to 1866 and is the main event space for hire in the Custard Factory. Oozing history and charm, this versatile conference space has the latest technology for events with a gothic backdrop of vaulted ceilings and high original windows.
The Studio Birmingham is a conference and meeting venue with a difference. With 19 vibrant spaces on offer over four floors, all size conferences and meetings are catered for; from two people to 220 delegates. This is a thoughtful venue that is really geared towards offering conference planners the perfect blank canvas for their event. A user-friendly website assists conference organisers to expertly plan their event, thanks to the interactive venue floorplan.
The Bond is a stunning space in the creative quarter of Birmingham alongside the canal. A unique ‘cluster of victorian buildings’ with its own private canal wharf, The Bond offers conference planners a variety of stunning spaces to choose from including The Gatehouse which can accommodate up to 180 people in its own standalone structure. For more intimate gatherings there are six other spaces to choose from including the Waterside and the Conservatory.