Megabus, the market leader great value coach operator have recently extended their service, with 6 new coaches on their London to Aberdeen route. They are now stopping at even more cities, and one of those cities is London. With general train travel becoming ever more expensive, and unreliable, comfortable coach travel becomes a viable option when travelling, especially if you are travelling for pleasure.
The new Megabus service has wireless charging, tables if you need to work and 24 seats that can be reserved. It has also got newly designed interiors to add to your comfort levels.
With the launch of the new service, Megabus tasked me with taking on Birmingham, and showing you some of the best things you can see and do in the city for under £60.
Birmingham is well known for having a range of independent eateries, and breakfast is no different. I love Centenary Lounge, which is located in the Grade 2 listed Moor Street station and has an art deco feel to it, complete with a fireplace that was originally in a London railway station. I love the feel of the place, and the great coffee and pastries that are a perfect start to the day.
If you like a more substantial breakfast then I would suggest Waylands Yard, another stunning building on Bull Street. Aussie Eggs are a favourite or you could try Banofee Eggy crumpets. Head there for brunch if you’ve had a night on the tiles the night before, and enjoy a coffee tonic.
Shop til’ you drop
Birmingham is a shoppers paradise, with the Bullring, Grand Central and The Mailbox well known. A trip to Birmingham has to take in the iconic Selfridges building, and a trip to the World’s biggest Primark, which also has its very own Disney Cafe. Make sure you check out the independents in The Great Western Arcade, a beautiful Victorian shopping arcade that is well worth a look, as well as the brilliant Cow Vintage in Digbeth, with its bright yellow door it is a landmark in its own right, and is a great place to find vintage denim and leather coats.
The Link Street mall that runs from Grand Central to the Bullring is also worth a look, there are a range of independent and pop up stores there, great ideas if you are starting your Christmas shopping.
If you are on a budget, but need your culture fix, Birmingham is the place to go. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Ikon Gallery and The Barber Institute have priceless collections and host exhibitions, many of which are free to attend. (Just this year the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery had a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition that there was no cost for.)
Check out the enormous Castle Fine Arts Gallery in The Mailbox, that has a wide range of contemporary art, including pieces from Ronnie Wood and Bob Dylan and is just an amazing space, complete with a bar.
If you are interested in architecture in the Second City, you could check out on of the Art Deco tours that photographer Kevin Thomas hosts around the city, a great way of finding out some history and admiring some of the buildings that you have probably walked past, but are definitely worth a second view.
My favourite place for Katsu in the city is Yakinori in Grand Central, this is attested to by the lunchtime queues for take out. You can enjoy a small box of noodles and Katsu prawns for just £5, or a Bento box for a little more. It costs a little more to eat in, but is still a bargain at just under £15 for food and a drink. Their Raman is also worth a try, the hubby swears by it.
The Electric Cinema
Finish your trip with a visit to the Oldest Working Cinema in the UK. The Electric Cinema is a gem of the city, and easily accessible from Grand Central station. It has an eclectic programme of new releases, classic old movies and themed nights, including Den of Geek releases, paired wine and movie nights, and a brilliant Christmas selection.
Definitely one of my favourite places in the city.