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Top days out in Birmingham

As the second biggest city in the UK, there is an abundance of incredible days out to experience in Birmingham. These are our top 10.

  • Thinktank, Birmingham science museum 
  • Barber Institute of Fine Arts
  • Cadbury World 
  • Black Country Living museum 
  • Botanical gardens 
  • Peaky Blinders tour
  • The Birmingham Bullring 
  • Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park
  • Sea Life Centre
  • Cannon Hill Park

Thinktank, Birmingham science museum

Whether you enter the Thinktank science museum with an interest in science or not, you will certainly leave it astounded by what you’ve seen. Thinktank is an award-winning museum that is home to an eclectic collection of science-related exhibits.

For centuries, Birmingham has been an important industrial centre, and Thinktank showcases many of the machines that helped Birmingham’s industrial growth. Some of the key exhibits include the Spitfire Gallery, the Science Garden, and the Thinktank Planetarium. 

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is home to an exciting collection of Renaissance and 20th-century art. It is located a stone’s throw away from Birmingham University, and includes art from the likes of Botticelli, Bellini, and Monet. You can explore the wonderful collection of artwork at your own pace, or book a guided tour. If you have time, make sure to visit the café and gift shop. 

Cadbury World 

Who wouldn’t want to visit a chocolate factory? Bournville, a short drive from Birmingham, is home to the original Cadbury’s chocolate factory, where the Dairy Milk was formed.

Begin by taking a tour of the factory and learning about the history behind Cadbury’s chocolate. Then, explore Bull Street, a replica street that is reminiscent of the 1820s. Finally, let your inner child come out and enjoy the theme-park-like attractions the park has to offer. 

After fully touring the factory and its grounds, spend some time exploring the picture-perfect village of Bourneville, which was built by the Cadbury family in 1860.

Black Country Living Museum 

As mentioned, Birmingham is an industrial city. Nine-miles west, in the town of Dudley, is the Back Country Living Museum. Set across a 26-acre site, visitors can delve into the history of mining through an old mine shaft and reconstructed, turn-of-the-century, industrial community, consisting of 50 authentic buildings. You can completely immerse yourself in this experience as you take costumed guided tours, travel on a vintage tram, and even enjoy a 19th-century fun fair

Botanical gardens 

You will find Birmingham’s Botanical gardens in the suburb of Edgbaston. Founded in 1829, the Botanical gardens were used to showcase new and exotic plants that had been found around the world. Apart from the greenhouses, which house a number of exotic flora, the layout of Birmingham’s Botanical gardens remains largely the same. The Botanical gardens are beautiful during all seasons, although specifically in the spring/summer months, and are a fantastic way to see an array of exotic flora. 

Peaky Blinders tour 

If you are a fan of the hit BBC drama Peaky Blinders, why not discover the true story of the gang?

You will begin your tour at The Old Crown on Deritend High Street, where you will be met with a welcome drink. There, you will also meet your tour guide, Professor Carl Chinn MBE. Next, you will be taken through the streets of Birmingham, and told the gruesome truth behind Birmingham’s most notorious gang. After your tour, you will feast on a traditional Victorian dinner, which will end with the telling of the Peaky Blinders ultimate demise.

The Birmingham Bullring  

The Birmingham Bullring is the go-to location for all your shopping needs. Connected via a link bridge to Birmingham Grand Central train station, the Bullring is the largest city centre shopping centre in the UK. Established in 1154, the Bullring has historically been the go-to place to shop. What was once a series of market stalls, is now an indoor shopping centre, home to a multitude of shops and restaurants, including one of only four Selfridge’s department stores in the UK. 

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park 

Birmingham’s Wildlife Conservation Park is home to a unique collection of animals from across the world. Just some of the wildlife you can see include red pandas, lemurs, meerkats, otters, and wallabies. Some of the animals homed at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park are endangered in the wild, so the park work to breed those animals in an attempt to conserve the species. If you are an avid zoologist or just love animals, Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is a must-visit. 

Sea Life Centre 

Keeping with the animal theme, if you are a fan of aquatic animals then the Sea Life Centre is the perfect day out. Home to over 60 marine exhibits,  a million-litre ocean tank, and an underwater tunnel, the Sea Life Centre is guaranteed fun for all ages. There are over 2,000 sea creatures that call the centre home, including sea horses, reef sharks, giant turtles, and giant octopi. Birmingham’s Sea Life Centre is a fun, and educational, day out. 

Cannon Hill Park  

If you have visited Birmingham’s Wildlife Conservation Park, you can spend the rest of your day exploring Cannon Hill Park. From fun parks to the land train, Cannon Hill Park is packed with fun family activities. Included in the park are mini-golf, swan boats, the garden tea room, and tennis courts. Whether you’re sporty, competitive, or just want to admire the greenery, Cannon Hill Park has something for everyone to enjoy. 

Whilst you’re enjoying a day-out in Birmingham, let us take care of your laundry. Head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app, to book your laundry and dry cleaning service.


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Celebrating bonfire night

Image by Roy Costello

Bonfire night 2020 will not be the same. Due to COVID19 restrictions, many firework displays across the UK have been cancelled. That does not mean that you have to miss out on the firework fun. 

  • What is bonfire night?
  • How to stay safe on bonfire night
  • Light a bonfire 
  • Play bonfire games
  • Throw a firework display 
  • Light some sparklers 
  • Make marshmallow rockets

What is bonfire night? 

Every year, on the 5th of November, people across the UK celebrate bonfire night by lighting fireworks, sparklers, and, of course, bonfires. This is done to remember The Gunpowder Plot, a plan by Guy Fawks to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Many towns and cities in the UK host mass firework displays and light big bonfires to remember the occasion, whereas others decide to host smaller, more private, firework displays. 

How to stay safe on bonfire night 

Bonfire night is a lot of fun, however, there are a lot of dangers. Some general bonfire night safety tips are:

  • Children should be supervised at all times.
  • If you are setting off fireworks, assign one person to set them off to limit the number of potential injuries.
  • If there are several people attending the firework display, make sure that they are a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being set off. 
  • Keep pets indoors to avoid them becoming scared.
  • Do not set off fireworks after midnight. 

Light a bonfire 

Light a bonfire, gather, up to 6, of your friends and family, and warm yourself by the fire. It is the best way to celebrate the occasion. 

It is important to remember that you can only light a bonfire in a clear and safe space, away from fences, sheds, bushes, trees, and roads. You should also check with your local fire department whether it is legal to light a bonfire in your area. If it is safe to light a bonfire in your area, make your neighbours aware that you will be lighting it.  

To build your bonfire begin by creating a circle from bricks or stones, this will help contain the fire. Next, stand your tinder in a tepee shape in the centre of your circle. Place a couple of fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of your tepee structure. Repeat this process up to five times to build up your bonfire. When you’re happy with your structure, drop a match in the centre of your tepee to start the fire. 

If you are lighting a bonfire, make sure that you have plenty of water at hand to put it out before it gets too large.

Play bonfire games 

Once your bonfire is lit, it’s time to play some games. Gather around your guests, play some music, and start by playing Hot Potato. Stand in a circle, a safe distance away from the bonfire, and throw a potato from one person to the next. Whoever is left with the potato when the music stops is holding the ‘hot potato’ and is therefore out. Keep going until there is one victorious player remaining. 

After you’ve warmed everyone up with Hot Potato, next is In the Bonfire. There are four phrases to learn for In the Bonfire-

1. In the Bonfire- everyone put their hands out to warm on a bonfire,

2. Out of the Bonfire- everyone puts their hands high in the air,

3. On the Logs- everyone put their hands on their knees,

4. Sparklers- everyone put their hands in the air and shake them around.

Nominate one person to shout out the phrases in any order. If anyone does the wrong movement they are out, as is the slowest person to complete the movement. 

To end your night of games, why not indulge in a singalong. Choose your favourite songs, gather everyone around the bonfire and sing the night to a close. 

If you haven’t got the space to light a bonfire, don’t worry, you can have just as much fun playing these games indoors.

Throw a firework display 

There is no better way to bring the night to an end then by throwing a personal firework display. Stock up on your fireworks, and stand in awe as a kaleidoscope of colourful flames light up the nights sky. 

If you are hosting your own firework display, make sure that you only buy your fireworks from a reputable shop. To ensure that your fireworks are legal, make sure that they have CE and BS 7114 on the lid of the box. 

Before setting your fireworks off, make sure that you read the instructions of each firework and fully understand them. When you are ready to set your firework off, aim it away from any buildings or stand buyers, light the firework at arms length, and stand well back from it as it explodes in the sky. 

It’s important to stay safe around fireworks and when setting fireworks off. Make sure that you have read up on your local areas firework safety guidance prior to setting any off. 

Light some sparklers 

Sparklers are a magical bonfire night treat for all. Unlike with bonfires and firework displays, you do not need to have a large open space to light a sparkler, however, you do need to light them outside and a good distance away from others. 

Light your sparklers outside, and observe the way they sparkle at arms length. Once the sparkler has burnt out, or if you want to put it out, put it in a bucket of water and leave the flames to completely extinguish. 

Make marshmallow rockets 

Marshmallow rockets are a simple, yet delicious, bonfire night treat. 

All you need for your marshmallow rockets is 

  • Wooden skewers
  • Marshmallows 
  • Chocoalte of your choice 
  • Sprinkles 

To make your marshmallow rockets, begin by piercing your marshmallows on the end of your wooden skewers. Next, melt down the chocolate of your choice either by microwaving or melting it on the hob. Once your chocolate is melted, dip your marshmallows into the chocolate until they are three quarters covered. After your marshmallows are covered, sprinkle a handful of sprinkles on the top of each marshmallow, and leave them to stand until they are set. As soon as they are set, share them amongst your friends and family, and enjoy your bonfire night. 

Don’t let laundry ruin your bonfire night, let us pick up your laundry, dry clean it, and redeliver it back to you, completely contactless. To book your Laundryheap service head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 

Laundryheap is operational across the UK in London, Birmingham, Coventry, and Manchester.


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Birmingham: Fun Facts About The UK’s Second City

The UK’s second city isn’t always first on everybody’s must-visit list, but we are here to change that. Birmingham is best known for its industrial background, hardworking people and famous waterways, the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’ also has a rich history of arts, music and culture. 

  • The First Game of Lawn Tennis Was Played in Birmingham
  • Birmingham has More Canals Than Venice
  • The Busiest Theatre in the UK in in Birmingham
  • Cadbury Chocolate and HP Sauce are both from Birmingham
  • Inspiration for the Lord of the Rings
  • Home to some of the UK’s most famous metal bands
  • Bullring Shopping Centre has been going since the Middle Ages
  • Home to the real-life Peaky Blinders

First Game of Lawn Tennis Was Played in Birmingham

Modern-day tennis as we know it can be traced back to Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Pereraw who are credited with playing the first game of modern lawn tennis in their house in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Edgbaston Lawn Tennis Club remains the oldest in the world. Take that Wimbledon! 

Birmingham Has More Canals Than Venice 

Birmingham’s famous waterways stretch for a whopping 35 miles, meaning it has more than the famous Italian city. These canals are enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and narrowboat owners alike and serve as a reminder of the cities industrial past.

The Busiest Theatre in the UK is in Birmingham

With a whopping 520,000 visitors per year, the Birmingham Hippodrome is officially the UK’s busiest theatre. Here you can catch year-round performances varying from dance, pantomime, musicals and theatre. 

Cadbury Chocolate and HP Sauce are from Birmingham

That’s right, two of Britains most iconic food brands call Birmingham home. Cadbury’s chocolate started opened for production in 1905. Cadbury made its first Dairy Milk bar in 1914, with a higher percentage of Milk than previous bars, it soon became the company’s best selling product. 

Another titan of the British cupboard is the famous HP Sauce. The ‘HP’ stands for Houses of Parliament, although this sauce’s roots don’t trace back to Westminister, but to its factory in Aston.  

Birmingham was the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings

Not many people know that Lord of the Rings author J.R.Tolkien spent his formative years in and around the city. It was the landscape of the city and surrounding countryside that provided part of the inspiration for his books.

Locations like ‘The Shire’, home to his famous Hobbit characters, was inspired by a village called Sarehole, which has now been absorbed into Birmingham’s suburbs. 

Home to some of the UK’s most famous metal bands

Another lesser-known slice of Birmingham’s history is the cities connection to Heavy Metal music. Bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest all played their first gigs in the city, with many of their members having grown up in Birmingham. The city still hosts a strong metal scene today in venues like the Tunnel Club and Scruffy Murphy’s. 

Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham has been going since the Middle Ages

Bullring Shopping Centre is situated in an area that has been a shopping hotspot in Birmingham since the middle ages. Long before enormous shopping malls and department stores, this area was host to a bustling corn market. The market legally began trading in 1154 and lives on today in the form of the Bullring Shopping Centre. 

Home to the real-life Peaky Blinders

If you haven’t heard of the BBC’s hit period drama Peaky Blinders yet then where have you been? Set in post World War One Birmingham, the show has done more in recent years to put Birmingham on the map than anything else.

Tommy Shelby and his gang brothers have become the new heroes of the city. Championing the Brummy accent not just across the UK, but now taking America by storm since the hit streaming service Netflix has started airing the series. Based loosely on a real gang from the city with the same name, this show is a gateway to Birmingham life in the 1920s.

Thinking about visiting Birmingham to experience some of this amazing history first hand? You can also get your laundry done while you visit. Laundryheap operates throughout the city, all you have to do is book a same-day laundry and dry cleaning collection with free next day delivery.