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Nine incredible things to do in Birmingham in October

Make the most of one of the busiest months in the Birmingham events calendar
Gillie Rhodes/Flickr
By Time Out editors |

Birmingham’s always brilliant in October. There's the arrival of theatre spectacular Fierce Festival and loads of half-term family fun. So, while it might be getting colder and darker outside, it's the perfect time to get out and about. Check out the best things to do in Birmingham in October below.

Things to do in Birmingham in October


Willard Wigan MBE: In the Eye of the Needle

icon-location-pin Jewellery Quarter

It’s your last chance to see this miniature art exhibition by micro-sculptor Willard Wigan, famous for creating the world’s smallest works of art. A selection of 21 of his beautiful miniature scenes are on show at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, including ‘The Last Supper’. All of them are small enough to sit within the eye of a needle, so don’t forget to bring your reading glasses. Until Sat Oct 28.


Knights of the Raj

icon-location-pin Central Birmingham

Everyone knows that Brummies love a good curry. But where did the obsession start? Satiate your curiosity with this free exhibition exploring the history of Brum’s famous Indian restaurants and the Balti Triangle at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Learn about the Bangladeshi migrants who kick-started the Birmingham curry trade back in the 1940s, with vintage photos, videos and interactive displays. We guarantee you’ll leave hungry. Until Jan 7 2018.

© John Hipkiss Photography
Bars and pubs

Purecraft Bar & Kitchen

icon-location-pin Central Birmingham

Pint, anyone? Craft beer fans can get their geek on at this temple to artisan brews. Choose from six cask beers and 16 crafts on draught, plus around 60 bottled beers from all around the world. Join one of the tasting sessions and you’ll get a tour of the Theatre of Beer, where you can brush up on your brewing basics and learn all about different beer styles. Chow down on pork pies and piccalilli as you drink.  

Fierce Festival

For a whole week this cultural celebration of live art brings together theatre, dance, music, installations, activism and parties. Festival performances will take over stages, galleries and unexpected pop-up venues as Birmingham bursts with creative spirit. Highlights include Christopher Willes and Adam Kinner’s 'Listening Choir', where groups go on silent walking tours listening to the sounds of the city. And look out for word-play and frisbees on stage during the UK premiere of Louis Vanhaverbeke’s vibrant 'Multiverse' at The Mac. Mon Oct 16-Sun Oct 22.

Find out more about Fierce Festival.


Nakira Bar & Grill

icon-location-pin Birmingham

Chicken and pork are just so 2016 right? What you should be eating now is crocodile, springbok and ostrich, which all happen to be on the menu at new African restaurant Nakira. Previously The Futurist cinema, '90s club DNA, then, er, a branch of Spearmint Rhino, this grand old Victorian building is now an eatery and cocktail bar, where African game and alpaca burgers sit alongside hot wings and lobster. A good one if you’re all about the protein gains, basically.


The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Escape the stresses and strains of the city at Brum’s blooming lovely Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston. Go back to nature by following its October seasonal walk – the route is available on the website – which focuses on plants that are at their best at this time of year. Highlights include the steamy Tropical House and the Sensory Garden, which is full of plants to touch and smell. Then get your tastebuds working with afternoon tea in the pretty Pavilion Tea Room.

Find out more about the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Find out more about photographer Amortize.


The Goonies

icon-location-pin Central Birmingham

Films are great. Free films are even better – and this one’s a total family favourite. As part of its 'Stranger Things' season, the Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen is offering a free screening of 'The Goonies', the 1985 comedy-adventure film about a group of kids on the hunt for pirate booty. Featuring a young Josh Brolin and 'Lord of the Rings' star Sean Astin, you’ll be doing the 'truffle shuffle' for weeks afterwards. Sun Oct 22.


Myths and Legends

icon-location-pin United Kingdom

Enter a world of fierce dragons, gross monsters, brave princes and even braver princesses at Symphony Hall this month. The acclaimed City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is hosting a family concert that will take listeners on a thrilling musical adventure through magical worlds. The hour-long programme includes music composed by John Williams for the 'Harry Potter' films and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Turn up early for free craft activities in the foyer for kids. Sun Oct 22.

©National Trust Images/Robert Morris

Birmingham Back to Backs

icon-location-pin Central Birmingham

Fancy time-travelling back to the 1840s? During the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham’s population swelled as people rushed into the city for work. Tiny ‘back to back’ terraced houses were built to provide homes for the new residents. Most have now been demolished, but the ‘back to backs’ on Hurst Street and Inge Street remain – and are now open to the public to explore. See what’s cooking in Mrs Oldfield’s kitchen or check out the threads at Mr Saunders’ tailor’s shop – all recreated exactly as they would have been in the 1800s and early 1900s. Best bit? Probably the retro treats at the sweet shop.