Birmingham Town and Canal Walk

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Take a walk around Birmingham City Centre and see the pros and cons of urban regeneration.

The walk starts at Saint Martin's Church in the Bull Ring, situated next to the controversial new Selfridges building. We move immediately on to the world-famous rag markets before reaching the Chinese Quarter and Arcadian Plaza. When you're ready we move on to Hurst Street, where you'll find the National Trust Back to Backs, The Hippodrome Theatre and depending on the time of year, this is where Birmingham's Gay Pride Celebrations take place.

Onwards to the Mail Box, where we find up-market shops such as Harvey Nicholls and then to the newly regenerated canal wharf. Stroll the canals, take in the ambiance (have a beer or coffee or maybe a boat ride?) before moving on to The National Sealife Centre, National Indoor Arena and The ICC and Brindley Place with its wealth of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes.

We now head through the stunning ICC and out to Centenary Square, where we find the Repertory Theatre, civic buildings and the City's primary war memorial. From here we go via the Central Library to Chamberlain Square, the location for the Art Gallery and Town Hall next to Victoria Square, with its mix of the Old and New. At Christmas the square hosts the biggest and best German Market outside of Germany.

At this point, for those requiring a shorter walk - or if you don't feel you want to attempt the section of canal that has not been regenerated (which some people find intimidating), you can head straight back to the walk start via New Street. (The Tourist Information office is situated halfway down New Street).

Now we move on to take in the historical cathedral and then Saint Paul's Church and Square, before making our way back to the canal, where you can see for yourself how the canals looked not too long ago. After a number of locks and some fascinating tunnels and bridges, we leave the canal again and head back to the start, not before visiting the new science museum at Millennium Point and another listed building (Curzon Street Station).

The walk ends where it started, at the Bull Ring – one of the UK's premier shopping centres.

England - Central England - West Midlands - Canal Walk


Ancient Monument, Birds, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Museum, National Trust, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets
10/19/2023 - Alan and Jackie Bennett

Walked on a crisp autumn day and loved it. We agree that certain areas along the canal were slightly intimidating but as a couple and daytime we found it absolutely fine and should not put you off doing this walk around the City. Loved it.

12/16/2012 - Josie Llewelyn

I agree with Howard Laws comment about avoiding parts of the canal walk if walking alone. I did this walk 'alone' in August 2011 and it certainly was intimidating in parts. Nevertheless if you like urban walking I found it to be an extremely interesting walk. I am walking it again today but this time with a male friend.

3/11/2012 - Howard Law

Generally good, but the long stretch along the canal isn't entirely pleasing and I would suggest it should not be attempted alone.

3/16/2011 - Mangal Mistry

Yesterday (14/03/11) I and a friend did this walk of Birmingham and the canals. A very interesting walk, full of ancient and modern monuments, industrial sites along the canals, churches, shopping malls, food, shops, restaurants .... which we both enjoyed very much. Very easy to follow. You can see my photos of the walk at :

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