Birmingham is better to visit than Wolverhampton when it comes to shopping.

Is It Better To Visit Wolverhampton or Birmingham? Review By A Local

Find out below which city is better to visit: Wolverhampton or Birmingham.

I’ve lived in Wolverhampton for the majority of my life and feel pretty confident when it comes to answering which city is better to visit: Wolverhampton or Birmingham?

Although Birmingham may sound like the obvious answer, Wolverhampton does surprisingly have plenty to offer and is a good alternative to England’s second city.

As a Wolverhampton native, I know both cities like the back of my hand and in my experience they differ quite significantly and offer very contrasting experiences.

In this blog post I’ll cover all the best things to do in both cities, as well as answering the question: which city is better to visit – Wolverhampton or Birmingham.

Is It Better To Visit Wolverhampton Or Birmingham?

Ask the majority of locals or people who have visited both Midlands cities, and they will probably all say that Birmingham is by far superior than Wolverhampton.

Why Birmingham is better

It’s hard to disagree with Birmingham being the better city to visit in all honesty. Birmingham is more modern, bigger in size and has a lot more going for it than Wolverhampton does.

It is the more attractive, cosmopolitan city with great quality high end bars, restaurants, pubs and more. There are a lot more activities to do in Birmingham overall as well.

And Birmingham trumps Wolverhampton when it comes to shopping too, with countless top quality stores both in the Bullring shopping centre and at The Mailbox.

The city also has a lot of really cool, trendy areas, such as the Jewellery Quarter, Moseley and Digbeth, which is considered Birmingham’s trendiest neighbourhood.

Why Wolverhampton is a good alternative

Wolverhampton on the other hand has suffered economically over recent years (decades, truth be told) and is now considered a poor city, with a lot of shops having closed in the city centre.

However, Wolverhampton does still have a lot going for it, and contrary to most people’s opinions it is a good city to visit.

It’s a much cheaper city compared to Birmingham when it comes to a night out, with a lot of unique food spots including vegetarian focused restaurants, plus pubs offering drinks/meals at cheaper prices.

Birmingham can be a very expensive place to visit, with a lot of swanky restaurants and upmarket bars being overpriced and lacking any decent atmosphere.

Wolves (as it’s referred to by many) has a much better atmosphere, with the locals being friendlier and more open compared to Brummies (the nickname for Birmingham locals).

Wolverhampton is also a much quieter, smaller city, making for a less crowded night out or a daytime shopping visit.

Birmingham can get extremely busy at it’s many bars, restaurants and shopping centres, especially on a weekends.

Historical Pubs and Buildings in Wolverhampton

There are (perhaps surprisingly) several top quality cocktail bars worth visiting in Wolverhampton, as well as traditional, historical pubs which Birmingham lacks.

Some of the most historical pubs worth checking out in Wolverhampton are: The Posada, a Victorian pub that opened in 1894, The Lych Gate Tavern (which dates back to the 1500’s) and The Giffard Arms which was built in the 1700’s.

A lot of Birmingham bars and pubs are too modern for their own good, lacking any real character or history.

There are more really interesting historical buildings in and around Wolverhampton compared to Birmingham as well, which are well worth a visit. If you’re a history buff then you may want to check out these places:

📍 Bantock House Museum and Park

This is a lovely Edwardian building surrounded by 48 acres of beautiful parklands. It’s a delightful place to visit and to take a stroll around the lush gardens, and there is a café offering food and drinks too.

📍 Wightwick Manor

This is a National Trust Victorian building that features an impressive array of Pre-Raphaelite art. It is one of the most beautiful historical buildings you can visit in England and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

📍 Moseley Old Hall

Based in Staffordshire just north of Wolverhampton, this building is known to be ‘the house that saved a king‘, as it was the hiding place for Charles II back in the 1500’s when he was escaping Scotland for France.

Wolverhampton is a lot closer to nature areas as well, meaning it’s a better option to visit if you fancy visiting nature reserves or parks, such as Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.

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    Top Things To Do In Birmingham

    Now that we know that Birmingham is in some respects the better city to visit compared to Wolverhampton, let’s take a look at what are the top things to do in Birmingham:

    Cadbury World 🍫

    If you’re a bit of a chocoholic (and let’s admit it, who isn’t?), then you really should pay a visit to Cadbury World when visiting Birmingham.

    Situated in Bourneville just on the outskirts of the city centre, Cadbury World is a really fun chocolate factory to visit.

    You can an interactive tour of the chocolate factory, learn how the UK’s favourite chocolate bar is made and even get a free chocolate sample.

    Cadbury World is an ideal activity for families, especially for youngsters and it’s worth spending a good couple of hours here at least.

    Learn how Birmingham inspired: ‘Peaky Blinders’

    If you’re a fan of the TV series: ‘Peaky Blinders‘ then you may remember that it was set in Birmingham and is all about the gangs that were notorious in the city over a hundred years ago.

    When visiting Birmingham you can take a tour to learn all about the real Peaky Blinders and the infamous: ‘slogging gangs‘ that inspired the show.

    This 2 hour walking tour is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the history of Birmingham’s gang violence from the past which will give you a fresh perspective of the city’s fascinating history.

    Bullring Shopping Centre 🛍️

    Birmingham is one of the best cities in the UK for shopping, and it’s main shopping centre is the Bullring shopping centre, which has a lot of history.

    Nowadays it’s a modern indoor complex with over 160 shops, which vary from clothes stores, jewellery shops, cafes and it even has an indoor crazy golf course!

    It’s just a few minutes walk from the train station as well and you can easily spend an hour or two here going on a shopping spree.

    Jewellery Quarter

    Probably the most interesting historical part of Birmingham is the Jewellery Quarter, which is based just under a mile away from the city centre and is easily reachable by train, tram or by walking.

    The Jewellery Quarter is known as a national treasure in England because of it’s rich history. As it’s name suggests, it’s the home to jewellery makers with over a hundred specialists in the area.

    It’s heyday however was in the 19th century when it was known as one of the main hubs not just in England but the whole world for producing jewellery.

    The Jewellery Quarter is now quite an attractive, modern place with plenty of trendy cafes, restaurants and bars.

    St. Paul’s church area is one of the nicest places in all of Birmingham and it’s a lovely place to go for a quiet stroll and a bit of window shopping.

    Digbeth

    A short 10 minute walk from the city centre is the interesting, trendy area of Birmingham; Digbeth.

    Looks can be deceiving and on first view you may think that Digbeth is a bit rundown and not understand what all the fuss is about with this area.

    However, you’ll soon discover plenty of trendy shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and even an independent cinema here.

    It’s home to local creatives and has been dubbed as one of the coolest places to live in England.

    It’s known for it’s awesome street graffiti art as well, with some stunning murals.

    Digbeth is a really interesting mix of industrial buildings and urban factories contrasting with hipster places, it’s definitely worth a visit when in Birmingham.


    Top Things To Do In Wolverhampton

    Although Birmingham is in some respects the better city to visit compared to Wolverhampton, there are still plenty of interesting activities and places to visit in Wolves.

    So let’s see what the top things to do in Wolverhampton are:

    See some live music at the Halls 🎵

    If you fancy seeing some live music when visiting England, then one of the best locations is (maybe surprisingly), Wolverhampton.

    Wolverhampton is known to have produced some fantastic rock bands over the decades and is home to a world class, newly renovated music venue; the Halls.

    Formerly known as the Civic Hall, the Halls has recently undergone a huge renovation that cost £48 million and only reopened in June 2023 after being closed for several years.

    The venue now attracts some of the best bands on the planet, as well as comedians, magicians and more from around the world.

    Birmingham has several top class music venues as well of course, but nothing that rivals the Halls in my honest opinion.

    Watch a Premiere League football match ⚽

    One reason why a lot of people visit Wolverhampton is to watch a game of premiere league football at the Molineux, which is the name of Wolverhampton Wanderer’s stadium.

    Wolverhampton Wanderers (or just ‘Wolves‘ as most people call the team) have been playing in the top division of English football for the past several years with varying degrees of success.

    It’s best to book in advance if you want to buy a ticket to a game, with seats costing anywhere from £40 to £80.

    The club has a rich, proud history, having won the English division three times in the 1950’s as well as the much coveted FA Cup in the 60’s.

    There is a Wolves Museum based in the Molineux stadium and is a great visit for any football fanatic and you can also take a tour of the stadium too.

    Birmingham are (at the time of writing) enjoying a lot of success in the Premiere League, with their main club Aston Villa outperforming Wolves in the premiere league, but the less said about that the better!

    Visit the Black Country Living Museum

    So the Black Country Living Museum is not technically in Wolverhampton (it’s based just down the road in Dudley), but for this blog post I’ll list it in the things to do section for Wolverhampton.

    As we’ve seen there are several really interesting and beautiful historical sites in and around Wolverhampton, but the Black Country Living Museum is easily the best worth visiting.

    This is an amazing open air museum with recreated historical buildings that brings to life what it was really like during the industrial revolution period in England.

    Here you can meet costumed characters from this era, from metalworkers, miners, nurses and teachers who will explain to you what life was like back in the Victorian era.

    There are over 80 shops to explore, as well as homes and industrial workshops. You can try some classic fish and chips and a few beers from this era too.

    The Black Country Living Museum was actually used to film several scenes for the hit TV series: ‘Peaky Blinders‘, so it’s worth visiting if you’re a fan.

    And if you’re wondering what the Black Country is, it refers to a region in the West Midlands that became famous because of black smog that was produced in the Victorian times from coalmines and metalworkers.

    Enjoy a night out at a traditional pub 🍻

    As discussed previously in this blog post, Wolverhampton has some fantastic old traditional pubs, compared to Birmingham which doesn’t have too many.

    Probably the best old pub in all of Wolverhampton in my opinion is: ‘The Giffard Arms‘, which dates back to the 1700’s and became a pub in the early 20th century.

    What makes this pub different from the rest in the city is that it is very much a gothic themed pub, with many people claiming that it is also haunted. There is definitely a spooky vibe to the place for sure.

    The pub has taken advantage of this by having several coffin shaped tables and also a huge Game of Thrones type throne that you see as soon as you walk into the place.

    The Giffard has two floors and DJs play goth and rock classics every weekend until the early hours. It’s a lively, quirky place with a great atmosphere and guarantees a great night out in Wolverhampton.

    Go for a stroll in West Park

    And finally, as previously mentioned Wolverhampton is much closer to nature areas compared to Birmingham, which is severely lacking in greenery and parks.

    The best park in Wolverhampton is without a doubt West Park, which is one of the best Victorian Parks you’ll find in all of England.

    With over 43 acres, it’s a really beautiful place to go for a stroll and to get away from city life. It’s very close to the Wolves’ Molineux stadium and is a peaceful place.

    The park features lovely lakes, gardens and free to use open air tennis courts. There’s plenty of walking paths and cycle paths and can’t be beaten on a glorious summer’s day!

    I visit West Park at least once a week for a nice walk (weather dependent of course!) and it is in my opinion the most beautiful part of the whole of Wolverhampton – definitely recommend!


    Wolverhampton/Birmingham FAQs

    Still not sure about visiting either Wolverhampton or Birmingham? Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about these Midland cities:

    What is the weather like in Wolverhampton/Birmingham?

    It all depends on what time you visit both of these cities; like a lot of the rest of the UK, the weather can range from fantastically beautiful to downright horrible!

    The summer months are usually nice affairs in both Wolverhampton and Birmingham, with temperatures averaging in the mid 20 degrees Celsius.

    Heatwaves do happen some summers, with the summer of 2022 experiencing temperatures in the mid to late 30 degrees Celsius. A heatwave in a big city like Birmingham can be quite a brutal, unpleasant experience for sure.

    The spring and autumn months are generally not too bad weather wise, but winter time can be a dark, wet, freezing cold and a downright depressing time in both cities.

    How many days should you visit Wolverhampton/Birmingham for?

    I would recommend a day trip to Wolverhampton, which would allow you to visit the city and get a feel for the place. Any longer time in Wolverhampton is honestly not worth it, which may sound harsh, but true.

    With Birmingham having a long more to offer, I would recommend spending at least a couple of days in the second city whether travelling there alone or with friends or family.

    You could visit for longer of course, depending on how many activities you want to do while visiting.

    What are the best day trips from Wolverhampton/Birmingham?

    With both cities being based centrally in the midlands, they are both ideally placed to reach other connecting cities in and around the UK.

    Rather than being either too far in the south like Brighton, or too far up north like Inverness, the midlands is perfectly located to travel pretty much anywhere in England, Wales or even Scotland in just a few hours.

    If you want to escape the big city life of Birmingham, I would recommend a day trip to Shrewsbury, which is a delightfully quaint medieval market town just an hour away by train.

    The Lake District in the north of England is in my opinion the most beautiful nature area in the whole of the UK, and you can reach it via train within just 2-3 hours from the midlands.

    Another quaint countryside region worth visiting is the Cotswolds, and of course you can easily reach London from Birmingham within a couple of hours by train as well.


    Conclusion: Is It Better To Visit Wolverhampton Or Birmingham?

    So, that’s everything you need to know when it comes to is better to visit Wolverhampton or Birmingham. The general consensus is no, Wolverhampton doesn’t really have much to offer compared to Birmingham.

    And that’s a fair assessment which I have to agree with to be honest. But for a more authentic Black Country experience which is not going to be as expensive as visiting Birmingham, then I would definitely recommend Wolverhampton.

    It’s not the most obvious travel destination in the midlands, let alone the rest of England, but Wolverhampton has several fascinating historical buildings and parks which are definitely worth checking out.

    And the locals are known as being salt of the earth type people, and the pints of beer are cheap here too!

    So when you’re next visiting the midlands and wondering: is it better to visit Wolverhampton or Birmingham, now you know the answer!

    You may also enjoy these blog posts about Wolverhampton:

    ➡️ Why You Must Visit These 10 Hidden Gem Food Spots In Wolverhampton
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    The 10 Best Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants In Wolverhampton
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    The 10 Best Cocktail Bars In Wolverhampton – Reviewed By A Local
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    Is Wolverhampton a Safe City? 22 Reasons Why You Should Visit
    ➡️
    10 Reasons Why Wolverhampton Is A Good City To Visit – From A Local


    ➡️ Planning your trip? Here are my favourite resources:

    🏨 Accommodation: I recommend using Booking.com
    🚙 Rental Car: Use Discover Cars for the best car rental prices
    ❤️ Travel Insurance: I recommend using Visitors Coverage
    ✈️ Flights: Use Kiwi.com for the best prices on flights

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