During the 19th century, it was rumoured that the degenerates of Bournville and Edgbaston would sneak off to Harborne for a drink. These days, the Birmingham suburb is considered just as upmarket as either of its neighbouring areas – but it still retains that cool edge it was once known for.
For this reason, the lifestyle magazine, Muddy Stilettos, has named Harborne one of the best places to live in the UK. Why? Despite not providing the leafy surroundings of its neighbouring areas – which you can still easily visit – it describes Harborne as cool, laidback and full of exciting eateries.
It says: “Next to green Bourneville with its Quaker roots and prim and proper Edgbaston sits Harborne. It’s a bit more of the cool sister, and while it might not be as pretty as its gentrified neighbours, it is up and coming and there’s no shortage of things to do here – particularly if you’re a foodie. Some of Brum’s best restaurants sit in this neighbourhood.”
So what restaurants are in Harborne?
We can’t talk about restaurants in Harborne without mentioning the intimate Italian restaurant, Tropea. Serving sharing small-plate dishes, heavily influenced by Italian street food, it was named one of the best local restaurants in the UK earlier this year. While the equally excellent Harborne Kitchen was described as “packing mass-appeal into posh nosh,” by The Good Food Guide in 2022. But there’s more to Harborne than just these two Michelin Guide-approved restaurants.
Need a hearty breakfast? Cosy Paul at No 41 will blow you away. What about a slice of pizza? Then it has to be Rudy’s. Or how about a pint and a roast? The Plough mixes sleek and stylish with village pub vibes. Some other spots you want to check out include The Junction, Hengata Hangout, Estado Da India, Raja Monkey, Sabai Sabai and The Cod’s Scallops. But there are plenty more options to discover.
What else is there to do in Harborne?
Go boutique shopping on the high street, visit the 250 acres of Woodgate Valley Country Park, complete with riding stables and a community-run farm, and check out The Lapworth Museum of Geology – this hidden gem will keep you entertained for a few hours. You’ll also find the Barber Institute of Fine Arts for some really interesting exhibitions, Harborne Pool for a swim, and the monthly Harborne Market full of handmade crafts.
Of course, living in Harborne doesn’t come cheap. According to Muddy Stilettos, house prices in the area had an average price of £305,858 over the last year. “Most sales were terraced for an average of £269,354. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £328,163, with flats fetching £175,919.”
Harborne wasn’t the only Birmingham suburb on the Top 260 Places to Live for 2024 list, however. The likes of Kings Heath, Bournville, Moseley and Edgbaston were all featured too. If you’d like to see the full list then head here.