It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Birmingham, and we are so ready to embrace the festivities. Just like last year, 2023 has had its fair share of ups and downs, but we want to end things on a high! So hit play on the Xmas playlist, fish out the fireworks for New Year’s Eve, and dine at some exciting new restaurants. Have a jolly ol’ time with our guide to the best things to do in Birmingham this December.
1. Grab yourself a Christmas tree
Unless, of course, you’ve started already, December is the time for Christmas decorations. Climb into the attic and collect that big dusty box overflowing with baubles, tinsel, fairy lights, stars and bunting. Whether you’re bulk buying from the supermarket or meticulously hand-making your own, you’re going to need a centrepiece to tie the room together. There are plenty of places all around Birmingham, luckily, where you can buy a Christmas tree or two.
2. Watch a ‘first-of-its-kind’ drone light show
We all expect Birmingham to become extra colourful at Christmas, but this December, something unique is happening. A ‘first-of-its-kind’ drone light show will light up West Midlands skies on December 14. The team behind this year’s Eurovision and London New Year’s Eve shows launches Evolution, taking audiences on a journey through time and space. Using cutting-edge technology, the show starts with the Big Bang and then journeys to the origins of conscious life on Earth. In addition to the main event, audiences can revel in festive fun with fairground rides, music and a food village with local traders. Learn more here.
Brace yourself for the biggest bingo event of the year as UKG BINGO makes its debut in Birmingham on December 16. Celebrating all things UK Garage in the most outlandish way possible, expect a big night of bingo and basslines. So re-rewind to the glory days of UKG, while playing a whole bunch of bingo games. With prizes to win, UKG singalongs, and dance competitions, this is one of UKG Bingo’s biggest events yet. Get your tickets to UKG Bingo Birmingham Special here.
4. Take the family to the UK’s largest indoor Christmas funfair
That’s right. Winter Funland, the UK’s largest indoor Christmas funfair, is returning to the NEC in Birmingham. You can expect plenty of thrills on the funfair rides, such as waltzers and dodgems, and the gigantic ice skating rink. Of course, what would Christmas be without a visit from Santa? The main man himself will be in his grotto every day until December 24. On top, the circus will be in town with hilarious clowns and jaw-dropping acrobatics. To learn more head here.
5. Hit up Birmingham Christmas Market
One of the very best Christmas markets in the UK cannot be missed. It’s the largest authentic German Christmas market outside Germany and Austria, attracting 5.5 million visitors each year, with over a hundred stalls filling New Street and Victoria Square. Yes, we’re talking about the Birmingham Christmas Market.
But when looking for things to do this December, there’s more than one Christmas market in Birmingham. Christmas in Cathedral Square is another must, which is on until December 17. Worth visiting for the beautiful Christmas lights alone!
If you ask us, Christmas is nothing without the music; it just wouldn’t be the same without traditional Christmas carols and modern Xmas pop hits. Mariah Carey is synonymous with the season these days. So how about listening to a classical rendition of All I Want For Christmas at St Paul’s Church (December 9)? Plus, everything from Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande to Last Christmas by Wham!
More of a fan of Let It Snow? See a string quartet perform more traditional Christmas tunes at Birmingham Cathedral on December 20 & 29. Playing the likes of The Little Drummer Boy, Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland and more. Oh, and did we mention all these concerts were performed under the gentle glow of candlelight? To get your tickets to these Candlelight Christmas Concerts head here.
7. Dine on a festive feast at Carters’ greenhouse
Deciding to extend its stay in the market town of Evesham, Carters of Moseley will remain working out of a greenhouse at Westlands UK until New Year’s Eve. Surrounded by living herbs, flowers and fauna, the Michelin-starred restaurant will be serving up a festive feast – complete with geese, firepits, drams, and snow.
Carters at Westlands UK will serve a festive lunch menu from 12pm to 1.30pm on Saturdays (£65) and a new dinner menu from 6 p.m. on Wednesday to Saturday (£85), every week from November 29 until December 31. Plus, there will be a special NYE Dinner on December 31 from 5pm. Read more about it here.
8. Enjoy cheesy hits with Greggs and HedKandi
Greggs is rewinding to the 90s on December 8 for a massive Christmas party in Birmingham. With 90s powerhouse HedKandi headlining, Bake to the 90s will take place at Secret Space in Digbeth. Hunsnet’s Gareth Howells will also be DJing a mix of ultimate Christmas hits and nostalgic anthems, while you’ll also be able to fill up on slices from Greggs’ very own Pizza Van, as well as complimentary Christmas cocktails.
9. Glide onto the ice
December means the arrival of winter (bleurgh), but not everything about the season is depressing. Several ice skating rinks have popped up around Birmingham this month, for a most magical activity everyone can enjoy. So whether you see yourself as the next Torvill and Dean, or you’re more of a Bambi on ice, it’s time to grab your skates this December. From year-round Planet Ice near Solihull to the return of Ice Skate Birmingham, see here for the best places to ice skating in Birmingham this December.
10. Pup to the cutest doggy meet-up
POP+BARK is back at Resorts World this December with a dog-sized sleigh, mini pink grotto and The Grinch. Can you guess the theme? It’s a Christmas-themed doggy meet-up of course! Bringing along the Big Man himself too on December 16 & 17, this off-lead social experience is open to all dog lovers. Expect the world’s only Pupuccino Bar, Rudi’s The Doggy Barkery, plus, there will be plenty more adorable doggy-sized furniture, fun props, and cute photo opportunities to enjoy!
11. Buy authentic Japanese products at Comic-Con
MCM Comic Con is hitting up NEC Birmingham on December 1 to 3. This three-day celebration of all things pop culture will feature everything from live panels and famous guests to wrestling and cosplay. Buy comics, play tabletop games, and eat some Asian treats. While there, make sure to check out the Japan Store. Popping up in physical form, the online store will be selling countless authentic Japanese products, from hot sauce to gaming software. To learn more about Comic Con at Birmingham head here.
12. Watch Christmas classics at the Luna Cinema
Even if you’ve already re-watched all the classic Christmas movies in your own home, from Love Actually to It’s A Wonderful Life, nothing beats seeing them on the big screen. Setting up at The Factory Works from December 9, the Luna Winter Cinema will host several screenings every day until December 23. There’s something for everyone too, from a singalong session of Frozen to Die Hard (for those who insist it’s a Christmas movie.)
Just some of the screenings include Christmas standards like Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Home Alone (1 & 2). Plus, some Christmas romcoms like The Holiday and Last Christmas. But if cheesy classics aren’t your thing, there are plenty of alternative festive movies to enjoy. What about Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas? Or how about… Gremlins?
13. Fall in love with these West Midlands winter trails
Nothing screams ‘December’ more than twinkly, dazzling, glittering explosions of Christmas lights. And these Christmas light trails, which have popped up around the West Midlands, have created the most magical experiences for miles. Luminate Birmingham at Birmingham Botanical Gardens (November 25 to January 2) is the closest in Birmingham. But Winter Glow at Malvern Showground (November 24 to January 6) and Warwick Castle (November 25 to January 7) are worth travelling for. To see the best Christmas light trails near Birmingham head here.
14. Ring in 2024 from this rooftop restaurant
So much of December is often about Christmas, it’s easy to forget the other major celebration at this time of year. New Year’s Eve should not be overlooked this December, especially when you can watch the city’s fireworks with a 7-course tasting menu at Orelle. The rooftop restaurant will also play host to an evening of entertainment, which guests can enjoy during one of two sittings of the night.
15. Go to a silent disco at Millenium Point
The 354-seat auditorium is getting into the festive swing of things this December. Millennium Point will sprinkle some Christmas magic by screening the much-loved modern classic, Elf on Sunday, December 10. The multi-sensory movie experience will also feature heaps of film trivia, uncontrollable laughter, and four unique cocktail creations. Not only that, but it is hosting a seasonal silent disco on Christmas Eve Eve Eve (December 22), where you can singalong to the very best Chrimbo tunes for the Festive Silent Disco.
16. Follow this cute ‘Snowdog’ trail around Brum
The annual Christmas trail taking over Birmingham is based on the animated short, The Snowman and the Snowdog, this year. Snowdogs Discover Birmingham sees ten festive sculptures pop up around the city centre, anywhere from Selfridges to Centenary Square, Piccadilly Arcade and the Christmas Market. Families that visit each Snowdog are also in with a chance of winning a £100 dining voucher, and a £50 shopping voucher. You have until January 4, 2024, to spot all 10 Snowdogs, which you can learn more about here.