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5 fun ideas for rainy days out in Birmingham

When it's autumn, winter, spring—or, let's face it: England—you've got to be prepared for rain.

Rainy days often put a dampener on whatever plans you had for the weekend. However, I think we can all agree that there are only so many days of lying around watching movies that you can take. Eventually, you're going to want to get out, and you'll need some idea of what you can do without getting (too) wet.

As one of the UK's largest cities, Birmingham has plenty of indoor activities for students to do when the sun won't shine; here are five of them:

1. Feast on 'free' chocolate at Cadbury World

Although the assorted chocolate bars might feel free after it's been a few days since you paid the entry fee, really they're just compensation for the £12.21 that you had to part with when booking.

It's totally worth the money though, because, in addition to the chocolate that you're supplied with at the beginning of your journey, you get to learn all about the history of Cadbury's.

From the discovery of cocoa by the Mayans to Richard and George Cadbury's decision to move their business to Bournville village (where Cadbury World is located), interactive trails, cinemas, games, and rides manage to make chocolate educational.

If you want, you can even write your name in chocolate or have your photo taken against a green screen with a chocolate-related backdrop.

Bournville village, with its picturesque Victorian-era architecture, is an attraction in itself. What's more, the entire area smells faintly of chocolate. Yum.

To stay out of the rain, you can catch a train to Bournville station, which will drop you off right on Cadbury World's doorstep.

2. Travel through time at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

One thing you need to be aware of is that this place is massive - kind of like the TARDIS. So make sure you leave a whole day for it, or else make two separate trips. Filled with art and artefacts dating from Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt to the present day, it really is a giant museum and art gallery rolled into one.

After spending a few hours here, you'll forget you're just five minutes away from New Street.

The site also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions. Currently, these are 'Who is in Birmingham?', 'Body Image and the Self' and 'Fighting for Our Heritage'. Apart from 'Fighting for Our Heritage', all the exhibitions are open until at least early next year, so if you want to see that one then make your visit this side of Christmas!

If you happened to be wondering where in Birmingham you could tuck into an afternoon tea for two (all for yourself, if you so wish), then you'll be pleased to find out that Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery houses the Edwardian Tearooms.

Overlooked by some of the museum's prettiest ceramics, metalwork and jewellery, the tearooms provide a welcome break from traipsing its many floors and staircases.

3. Dig into dinosaurs and diamonds at the Lapworth Museum of Geology

Again, this museum is bigger than it looks from the outside. For a collection made up of only fossils, minerals, and rocks, its walls and floors are dense with extensive sets of geological objects and impressive facts.

Even if you're not some kind of Geography student, I guarantee that you'll leave here having learned something of value.

Whether you're drawn to human evolution or the earth's movements, there's a section for everybody. Or if that's not your thing, then you can always spend your time exploring the giant globe or floor map!

Located right on the University of Birmingham's campus, the Lapworth is readily accessible to UoB students. Although, visitors from elsewhere can easily hop on a train to University station to experience a different kind of History lesson.

4. Investigate artistic inspiration at the Ikon Gallery

A neo-Gothic ex-school building on the outskirts of Brindleyplace, the stylish Ikon Gallery fits right into the area's cosmopolitan elegance.

This contemporary or even futuristic feel isn't ignored by the gallery's artists, who contribute mixed-media pieces that fill the space and minds of its audiences with culturally-relevant opinions and analyses.

Perfect if you're not enough of a History nerd to enjoy Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery's oldest collections, the Ikon Gallery focuses on what is current and new and is the ideal haunt for Art students and lovers of all things contemporary.

Almost equidistant between New Street and Five Ways station, you have a large amount of the city centre available for you to explore after, including dozens of restaurants and bars.

In Brindleyplace alone, there's a Zizzi, a Pizza Express and a Café Rouge, all of which offer student discounts, so you can turn a couple of hours out into an all-day affair at a minimal price!

5. The Library of Birmingham

Yes, I know it's not an entertainment source in itself, but I would still recommend that you visit the Library of Birmingham at some point, if only for the impressive views across the city that it gives from its rooftop garden. Although you might want to bring an umbrella for that one.

Walking to the library from New Street or Snow Hill station, you won't be able to miss its bright yellow and grey tiers.

English Literature students and bibliophiles alike will find heaven in this beautiful library, with its rows upon rows of bookshelves that are somehow reminiscent of Hogwarts.

Its strings of fairy lights, dim lighting, and blue glow-in-the-dark escalators will make you feel like a kid in a candy shop, there's just that much to look at. And that's forgetting about the books!

After you've finished gawking at the extravagant design, you can move on to browsing the literature, and perhaps sit down for a read in the cafe or on one of the ten floors. Yes, ten.

This could be a great way to jazz up your university reading experience or to take a break from studying and read something for leisure.

Fans of Shakespeare should also check out the Shakespeare Memorial Room, which houses a significant collection of rare items and early editions of Shakespearean plays.


So next time you're stuck in your room gazing at the rain as it falls past your window, remember that it's still possible to do some exploring.

This semester, try to visit at least one place that was mentioned. Work your way through the list as the year goes on.

If you're only in Birmingham for a short time, it's a great idea to explore some of the city's most interesting spots - and not just weather-permitting!