UK GAY NEWS TRAVEL SECTION


United Kingdom
Birmingham
Telephone area code 0121  (from outside UK , dial +44121)
(Currency mentioned on this page is English Pounds) 

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Birmingham's "The Floozy in the Jacuzzi" - officially, "The River" fountain, in front of the Council Offices.
Photo: UK Gay News


■ The changing face of Birmingham:  The Bullring, Europe's most exhilarating "retail shopping experience" - and it is in the city centre!

■  "The Bull" (below)

Photos courtesy Birmingham Bullring


 



 

 

 

 

 

 


There are no restrictions for people with HIV/AIDS entering the United Kingdom (and Gibraltar). See HIV Travellers Website for current UK regulations.

Last updated:  August, 2012

England's "Second City", often referred to as "Brum", is slap bang in the middle of England as has good communications from just about everywhere.  There is a thriving gay community, though admittedly not as well-known as those of London, Brighton or Manchester. The city is full of surprises for the visitor!

Over the past few years, the somewhat drab industrial city really has rediscovered itself and is now a vibrant place to visit - or to live.  The canals have been revitalised and the areas around them in the city centre have been redeveloped to create a "waterside" atmosphere where business and leisure meet.  Victoria Square is the location of one of the largest fountains in Europe.  Officially known as "The River", the fountain has become known as "The Floozy in the Jacuzzi".

The name of the city is made up of Birm (the ancient tribal leader), ing ("of the people") and ham (home).

Getting There

Air - Birmingham International Airport (BHX) is served by more than 40 airlines flying to most European countries and beyond.  Direct intercontinental flights to and from Newark, New Jersey, by FlyBE and Continental; Toronto by Air India; Delhi and Mumbai (Air India); and Dubai (Emirates).  Frequents rail service from airport's train station to Birmingham New Street - about every 15 minutes, journey time 11 or 16 minutes (£3.80 one way)   Airport website

Rail - Birmingham city centre has three rail stations - New Street (the main station), Snow Hill and Moor Street.  Direct services to New Street from most parts of the country, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, London, Brighton, Bristol, Bournemouth, Plymouth and East Anglia.  Train times, fares and online booking, click here.

Tourist Office:  The Rotunda, 150 New Street, B2 4PA.  (  0870 225 0127   website

Shopping:  The new Bull Ring.  Itís Birminghamís newest shopping destination, and the most exhilarating city centre retail experience youíll find anywhere in Europe.  Built at a cost of over £500 million, Bullring has brought over 26 football pitches worth of shops, boutiques and restaurants into the centre of town. It has reintroduced some of Birminghamís traditional streets and is a stimulating, glass covered environment where you can shop, eat or just be.  Bullring isnít just a shopping centre. Itís a new beginning for the city. It has introduced 3,200 more car parking spaces, improved public transport links and a refurbished Moor Street Station. And with a stunning mix of contemporary architecture and historic buildings, Bullring has completely changed the face of Birmingham.  website

Culture:  Birmingham offers a wide range of concert halls, theatres and galleries. Symphony Hall (home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) is widely regarded as the finest concert hall in Europe whilst the NIA and NEC Arena attract leading performers from the world of rock and pop. The Hippodrome is not only home to the world famous Birmingham Royal Ballet and is the regional base for the Welsh National Opera, but also features to touring shows. The worldís finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art can be found in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery whilst the Barber Institute of Fine Arts was voted Art Gallery of the Year 2004 in the Good Britain Guide.

Gay Village:  This is centred on Hurst Street and is very close to the Bullring and New Street train station.  Most - but not all - of the gay bars and nightclubs are located in the area.  The Hippodrome Theatre is in Hurst Street.

Famous natives of Birmingham:

John Cadbury (founder of a tea and coffee shop, that also sold chocolate, in Bull Street - now the world-famous Cadbury's); Sir Michael Balcon (one of the pioneers of the British film industry); Jasper Carrott (comedian); Sid Field (the British comedian once described by Bob Hope as "probably the best comedian of them all"); Tony Hancock (comedian - "Hancock's Half Hour" on radio and TV): Ozzy Osbourne (co-founder and lead singer of Black Sabbath);   J.R. Tolkein (author of "Lord of the Rings" - born  in South Africa, but was raised in Birmingham from age of three);

Have you anything to say about Birmingham?  Perhaps you have knowledge of one of the listing below and would like to give your view, or suggest a new listing.  Send us an email and we will include your thoughts

NOTE:  Since the Sexual Orientation Regulations applying to the provision of goods and services came into effect in the UK from April 30, 2007, all venues with the symbol are not permitted by law to discriminate against "straight" people.  The symbol is used to denote that the venue is primarily for LGBT people and is therefore "straight friendly".


Gay Information
(Birmingham Pride: May - Spring Bank Holiday Weekend)

2010: May 29 & 30 (to be confirmed)
 

Community

   Birmingham Gay & Lesbian Switchboard.  PO Box 3626, Birmingham B5 4LG.  (  0845 257 8255  website
A telephone help line which is available between 7pm and 10pm every night of the year (outside these hours, voicemail is available)

   Gay Birmingham Rememberedwebsite
An offshoot of the Birmingham Pride Community Trust and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Gay Birmingham Remembered is all about the cultural heritage of lesbians and gay men which has previously gone largely unrecorded and is particularly limited in Birmingham/ West Midlands. Contributions of memories and memorabilia are welcome - see website for details.

  HGL.  146 Bromsgrove Street, B5 6GR   (  440 6161  website
Healthy Gay Life is part of the Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust (NHS) and offers health advice for gay men.  'Drop-in' sessions (appointments available) are currently every Thursday between 9am and 1.30pm (check special website for details).

   Regional Gay Publication

Midlands Zone, 4/5 Dogpole, Shrewsbury, SY1 1EN.  (  01743 281777
Free glossy monthly available at most gay venues throughout the West and East Midlands


Hotels

   Four Kings Hotel, 152 Hurst Street, B5 6RY. (   622 4742. 
CURRENTLY CLOSED

   The Fountain,  102 Wrentham Street, B5 6QL.  (  622 1452.  website
A gay bar/pub with accommodation.  En-suite single, double or twin rooms.  From £40 a night weekdays - £60 at weekends.  Includes breakfast.  Wi-Fi available.

Ibis Budget (formally ETAP Hotel), 1 Great Colmore Street, B15 2AP  (  622 7575.  website 
Modern gay-friendly  "budget" hotel.  But .... no TV remote controls in rooms, no tea/coffee making facilities, once free Wi-Fi  internet connection now £7 for two hours (available in reception area only). Only a few minutes walk from the Gay Village. Rooms, with shower (no bath) and toilet, sleep up to three people (the third in a bunk bed).  £39  per room, per night.  Part of the French Accor Hotel group.   Book well in advance for weekend stays as this hotel is very popular
Alan from Norwich writes:  Fantastic value for money.  The rooms are clean have a good sized shower.  Took your point about no coffee making facilities so brought a travel kettle and a jar of coffer - the only trouble was I forgot to bring a mug!  But the staff came up trumps and lent me on from their breakfast room (July 2007).

Ibis Hotel, Ladywell Walk, B5 4ST   (  622 6010.  website
Mid-price gay-friendly hotel situated off Hurst Street (Gay Village).  Rooms, with en suite, from about £57 a night -from £72 when major events are on.  (Summer specials during July and August)

Ibis Hotel, 55 Irving Street, B1 1DH  (  622 4925.  website
Mid-price gay-friendly hotel situated very close to the gay village.  Free car parking.  Rooms from £45 a night - from £64 when major events are on). (Summer specials during July and August))

Malmaison,  1 Warfside Street, B1 1RD  ( 246 5000.  website
Luxury upmarket hotel, situated in the 'oh, so chic' Mailbox shopping centre, for those whose credit card is "unshockable"!  Rooms from £140 in winter to £320 for an open-plan suite.

Nite Nite, 18 Holliday Street, B1 1TB.  ( 0845 890 9099.  website
A "budget boutique" and gay-friendly hotel in the Canal District, close to Gay Village (10 minute walk).  Each room has a 42" plasma screen television, Wi-Fi internet connection and luxury bathroom with power shower.  Prices from £49.95 a room. 


Clubs/Bars/Pubs

The smoking ban came into effect in England on July 1, 2007, and all clubs and bars become 'smoke free'.  Many of those listed below will provide special outside facilities for nicotine addicts

  Bar Jester, 42 Holloway Circus, Queensway, B1 1EG.  (  643 8344  website
This iconic lounge/nightclub was one of Birmingham's original 'watering holes' for the gay community. Open seven days a week from 10pm to late.

  Boltz Club, 40 Lower Essex Street, B56SN.  (  666 6888  website
Boltz Club is the Midlandís horniest and sleaziest cruise club.  Membership is required, is free and you can join during your first visit.  Open seven days a week from 3pm to midnight (Saturday nights open until very late.

Club DV8, 16 Lower Essex Street, B5 6RD. (  622 1060  website
Club DV8 is fast becoming one of the most popular Gay Venues in the City, giving all the main ingredients for a great 'fun' night out, and playing host to some of the busiest club nights in town.  In the heart of the Gay Village.

  Eden Bar, 116 Sherlock Street, B5 6NB.  (622 1953  website
Formally the White Swan pub, there has been a total "makeover" so you can "give in to your temptation".  Entertainment in "the Garden of Eden". 

   The Fountain,  102 Wrentham Street, B5 6QL.  (  622 1452.  website
A busy gay bar in the Village catering for the skins, bears, daddies, scallies crowd.  Open from 5pm Monday to Friday - from 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Licensed until 4am 365 days a year, but doors close around midnight.  Also has accommodation (see above)

  Missing Bar, 48 Bromsgrove Street,UK. B5 6NU (   622 4256   website
Open daily from noon.  Entertainment every night of the week.

  Loft Lounge, 143 Bromsgrove Street, B5 6RG.  (  622 2444/622 4218  website
A fine restaurant/bar in the heart of the Gay Village.  Winner of "Birmingham's Best Food" 2007.  Open daily from 11 am until 11pm (restaurant) or 2am (bar).  Stylish surroundings inspired by New York "loft living".  Highly recommended - arguably the best bar and restaurant targeted at the gay community in the Midlands, and one of the best in all of UK.

  Nightingale, Kent Street, B5 6RD.   (   622 1718   website
One of the UK's best gay clubs.  Known simply as "the Gale", the club is owned by its 600 or so members and profits are ploughed back into the business, which includes a "style bar".  Three floors of entertainment, a restaurant, and a "quiet" bar for a drink and a chat and a little piano music.

  Queens Tavern, 21 Essex Street, B5 4TR.  (   622 5012  website
Smallish bar in the quiet area of The Village close to the Hippodrome.

  Sidewalk (formally The Angel), 127/131 Hurst St, B5 6SE.  (  666 6220  website
The former Angels Cafe Bar has now re-opened  following change of ownership and complete re-fit.  Open Sunday to Wednesday noon to midnight; Thursday and Friday noon to 2am; Saturday noon to 4am.  Restaurants opens Monday to Sunday 1pm to 9pm. 

  The Village152 Hurst Street, B5 6RY. (   622 4742.  website [note new url]
Essentially a pub.  Recently renovated, the Village is one of Birmingham's oldest gay hostelries.  For that quiet drink and a chat, try the "sofa lounge".  Entertainment every night, with cabaret every
Friday and Sunday.  Patio garden at rear for smokers. 


Bookshops/Video

  Clone Zone, 84 Hurst Street, B5 4TD.  (   0121 666 6640  website
In the heart of the gay village.  Licensed to sell R18 DVDs

  Prowler Expectations, 29-30 Stephenson Street, B2 4BH  ( 0121 665 6379  website
Gay and lesbian lifestyle store by New Street Station (Navigation Street entrance) and five minutes walk from the Gay Village. The largest 'gay' shop in Birmingham with huge selection of books, gifts and clothes, plus an extensive range of leather and rubber items.  Licensed to sell R18 DVDs


Saunas/Bathhouses

  Unit 2, 78 Far East Building, Lower Essex Street, B5 6SN.  (   622 7070  website
In the heart of the Gay Village - and one minute from the Nightingale.  All the usual facilities.  Open daily as follows:  Monday from 3pm to 11pm; Tuesday to Thursday 12 noon to 11pm; Friday and Saturday 12 noon to 3am; Sunday 12 noon to 10pm.  Admission is £10 (concessions available for students and those receiving benefits).
Alan from Norwich writes:  I have now paid three visits to Unit 2 and on all occasions I have found it to be very clean.  The staff and customers are friendly.  One of the better saunas in England and certainly the best in the Midlands.

 

Please Note that information is given "in good faith" and UK Gay News cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.  Comments are the personal views of contributors. Please email any corrections to editorial@ukgaynews.org.uk.  All prices are approximate and are given in currency of the country (a rough guide in UK pounds is also indicated, but currencies do fluctuate).  Click here for  XE.com's personal currency converter for online current conversions.