We love living in Birmingham – from the Balti Triangle to The Custard Factory – there’s so much to see, taste and do everywhere you step. But even we’ll admit sometimes it can get a bit… samey. Because even the glamorous becomes mundane after a while, which is why it’s good to switch up your surroundings ever so often. So step into a world of new sensations and try these perception-altering immersive experiences in Birmingham. They are like nothing you’ve experienced before.
Could there be a better way to enjoy one of the nation’s favourite TV shows? You can literally live out your fantasies in the hangout spots of Joey, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe and Ross. The FRIENDS™ Experience at the NEC lets you cook up a storm in Monica’s kitchen, recline in La-Z-Boys at Joey and Chandler’s apartment, have a catch-up in Central Perk, and of course, splash about the FRIENDS™ fountain.
So out down those old FRIENDS™ boxsets and head to one of the most incredible immersive experiences in Birmingham. Where you can visit these interactive sets, play with original props and get more photo ops than Ross has had marriages. Get your tickets to The FRIENDS™ Experience here.
We’ve all heard the expression ‘you eat with your eyes first’. But what if that sense was taken away from you? It’s time to let your other senses lead for a change, as you taste your way through a sublime three-course meal completely blindfolded. It might sound strange, but this immersive experience intensifies your other senses; it allows for interesting textures and superb scents to come out of your food.
Dining In The Dark experience comes to Zen Metro on September 7, with this unconventional culinary experience. There are three menus to choose from, each showcasing bold and balanced flavours from Thailand and India: Meat, Seafood and Vegan. But other than that, you won’t know what’s coming. You’ll just have to rely on your taste, smell and touch (potentially even your hearing. Get your tickets to this tasty immersive experience in Birmingham here.
3. Step back in time to the world of The Peaky Blinders
Over at the Black Country Living Museum, you’ll find a slice of life like it was 200 years ago in Dudley. This living, breathing open-air museum – established in 1978 – provides the chance to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Black Country from the Industrial Revolution to post-war prosperity. There are over 26 acres of reconstructed shops, pubs and houses to explore, plus historic characters to meet.
For fans of the BBC show Peaky Blinders, one of the most unique immersive storytelling experiences in Birmingham goes even further with special themed nights. Don your finest threads as you step into the smoky underworld of the 1920s, and hear tales of Birmingham’s most notorious gangs. Black Country Living Museum was a key filming location for Peaky Blinders, so you can’t get closer to the action, with some of the series’ most iconic moments filmed here – including the infamous tea party scene.
A beautiful immersive experience isn’t always about overloading the senses. Some are so mesmerising they can whisk you away with something so simple. Such as a gorgeously exclusive venue, thousands of gentle candles and a four-string quartet playing classical music. Candlelight provides something for everyone to enjoy at these concerts too.
If you prefer Adele to Vivaldi, watching blockbuster movies, or reading fantasy novels, you’ll find a Candlelight concert. Just relax into these multi-sensory, immersive experiences like no other in Birmingham! Check out all the Candlelight concerts available in Bristol here.
5. Go bananas with Bongo’s Bingo
The great thing about immersive experiences is that they can transport you to some strange places, without ever leaving Birmingham. If you’re bored of heading to the same old clubs, week-in and week-out, this absolutely barmy bingo rave might be the unforgettable night you’ve been waiting for. Taking the quintessentially quaint British pastime of bingo, Bongo’s Bingo’s immersive live show features rave rounds, dance-offs, and crazy prizes.
Throwing regular shows of magic, madness and mayhem in Birmingham, it appears to be next in town at The Forum on August 20. But there are plenty of other dates lined up throughout autumn. While Bongo’s Bingo will also be at Wolverhampton’s Astoria in October. One of the most outlandish afternoons you’re ever likely to experience awaits. Learn more here.
6. Escape into a new dimension
Fancy escaping Birmingham? Well, you can with the immersive virtual reality metaverse OTHERWORLD. This portal to a virtual paradise sees visitors escape the concrete jungle and discover, scattered across an island, the world’s best virtual reality games and adventures – including blockbusters like Half-Life: Alyx.
Each of OTHERWORLD’s immersion pods features ground-breaking 360° 4D-FX technology too. Allowing you to feel the wind in your hair, the sun kiss your skin and the ground quake beneath your feet. With 18 multi-sensory pods to step into. But the immersion doesn’t end at the headset. The neon decor is out-of-this-world, while a 16-tap self-serve drinks wall is truly futuristic. So you’ll be able to enjoy cocktails and craft beer in-between trips into parallel dimensions.
7. Visit a very big house in the country for a fine dining experience
Birmingham is blessed with a number of brilliant restaurants. But the talk of the town at the moment is undoubtedly Grace & Savour – which not only gained a Michelin star earlier this year but keeps picking up award after award. We think its immersive dining experience is a major factor in that.
Set in the stunning Hampton Manor, you can stay overnight in one of the Garden Suites that look across the wild garden to the kitchen. You’ll be thinking about dinner before you’ve even unpacked your bags! One of the chefs will give you a tour of the garden, where everything is grown, and talk you through the 15-course menu. Then, at last, you’ll be invited to sit down and eat. This is eye-watering pricey mind, from £360 per person, but an immersive dining experience like no other in the West Midlands.
8. Spend the night sleeping with the lions
We all played sleeping lions at primary school, right? Well, not like this you didn’t. Spend the night and watch West Midland Safari Park’s pride of lions roam the land from one of its Lion Lodges. With an “up-close and immersive overnight wildlife experience like no other”, these wild lodges can fit up to six people.
This unique experience will let you eat, sleep and relax while the park’s four male lions play – with panoramic views of the entire habitat. During your visit, you can enjoy West Midland Safari Park’s other attractions too: like the Adventure Theme Park, the African Walking Trail and the Tiger Tropics. There are also immersive lodges in the enclosures of the red pandas, cheetahs, tigers and elephants.