How to plan a weekend trip to Solihull - The Solihull Observer

How to plan a weekend trip to Solihull

Solihull Editorial 15th Sep, 2023   0

On the banks of the River Blythe, Solihull is an affluent market town on the southeastern outskirts of Birmingham that encompasses a bustling urban core and rural surroundings. It’s home to the runways and terminal buildings of Birmingham International Airport and on the doorstep of the lakeside retail stores, eateries and entertainment facilities of the National Exhibition Centre. With easy access to National Trust properties and Britain’s largest collection of motorcycles, Solihull is a great destination for a weekend getaway.

This suggested itinerary gives you plenty of options for planning your stay, with a good mix of green spaces, culture and family-friendly entertainment. When it comes to finding accommodation in Solihull, you’ll find a wide choice at Rentola United Kingdom to suit all budgets. Not only are there apartments in the heart of the town centre but also rural abodes in the scenic surroundings. No matter where you choose to stay, you’re only a short drive from Solihull’s attractions and its eclectic choice of eateries. The following itinerary includes a few recommendations for cafes and restaurants that are among the area’s best.

Saturday morning

Begin your visit to Solihull with a stroll through the town centre and admire the medieval parish church of St Alphege. Dating from the 13th century, it features beautiful stained-glass windows, decorated Gothic tracery and elegant screenwork. Rising above the church is a 57-metre-high spire, which replaced the one that collapsed in 1757.

Nearby is the Core Theatre, which hosts temporary exhibitions in its Courtyard Gallery and Art Space. Check to see what’s taking place here in the evening, with everything from stand-up comedians to rock tribute bands on the calendar. You can have lunch at the ENCORE restaurant or head to the Touchwood shopping centre where you’ll find a diverse choice of eateries.

Saturday afternoon

Once you’ve refuelled, you can explore the upmarket stores of Touchwood, which include names such as Monsoon, L’Occitane and River Island. On a rainy day, why not see what’s screening at the shopping mall’s Cineworld multiplex. If the weather’s nice, head across the railway lines to Tudor Grange Park, which is home to a children’s playground, a skate park and a cycling track. You can challenge your family and friends on the 18-hole pitch and putt course or spot geese and swans on the centrepiece lake.

Alternatively, wander east to Malvern Park, which bends around in a U shape to connect with Brueton Park. It features a picturesque lake created with the damming of the River Blythe, as well as seasonal garden beds and an enchanting rose garden. At the Parkridge Visitor Centre, you can learn about the native wildlife that inhabits the area.

If time allows, make the short drive southwest of Solihull to the Akamba Heritage Centre, which features a tropical landscaped garden complete with large-scale metallic sculptures of African wildlife. It was created by its owners after 20 years of living and working in Kenya and brings a taste of the continent to the West Midlands. Akamba is famed for its Afro-Caribbean eatery, which serves authentic jerk chicken and curried goat.

Sunday morning

Begin the day with a scenic drive south to Packwood House, a Tudor manor house that is now managed by the National Trust. It was originally constructed as a timber-framed farmhouse in the 16th century but took on its current appearance under the ownership of Graham Baron Ash. Its interiors are beautifully decorated with antique furnishings and tapestries while the barn has been transformed into a dance hall. Packwood House is particularly renowned for its Yew Garden, which was designed to represent the “Sermon on the Mount”.

Just five minutes’ drive from Packwood House is another National Trust-run property, the moated manor house of Baddesley Clinton. Surrounded by the Forest of Arden, it was the home of the Ferrers family for more than 500 years and provided a safe haven for clergy during the 16th-century English Reformation. Admire the Great Hall with its impressive stone chimney and explore the walled gardens and fish-filled ponds. You can grab lunch at the Barn Restaurant, which serves sandwiches, hot pastries and locally-made ice cream.

Sunday afternoon

In the afternoon, head to the village of Hampton-in-Arden, which is home to the National Motorcycle Museum. It was established by Roy Richards in the 1970s and now boasts the largest collection of British bikes in the world. Vintage models of Triumphs, Nortons and BSAs are on display, together with motorcycle memorabilia dating back more than 100 years. Highlights of the collection include a 1912-built Wilkinson Luxury Tourer and a Superior Golden Dream built by George Brough in 1938.

Also in Hampton-in-Arden is the National Exhibition Centre, which regularly hosts trade shows, sporting events and performances by big-name touring artists. It lies on the shores of Pendigo Lake, adjacent to Bear Grylls Adventure where you can test your skills in everything from axe throwing to shark diving on a family-friendly day out. Also forming part of this entertainment complex is Resorts World Birmingham, which features a shopping mall and globally-inspired restaurants.


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