To get into the festive spirit, earlier this month Gavin and I took a day trip to Birmingham to visit the Christmassy sights. I used to go to university in Birmingham (many moons ago now!) so I always enjoy visiting the city to see if anything has changed and what’s new. On our trip we visited the Christmas Market, the Christmas Illuminated Lights Trail at the Botanical Gardens, and then went to the Broadway Casino Restaurant for dinner.
German Christmas Market
When I was a student I always liked having a look around the German Christmas Market on New Street and around Victoria Square. The market has run for over 15 years and is very popular in the city so is often quite busy. It is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and is a big favourite with locals and visitors to the city. The market offers lots of Christmas gifts such as handcrafted decorations, toys, and jewellery.
The stalls are all so pretty with lots of colourful goods on display. The gifts are on the pricey side, but it’s always worth a look as some things are quite reasonable value. You can also enjoy some traditional German snacks including pretzels, bratwursts, weissbeer, and hot chocolate from the many stalls. The market is only on until 24th December, so if you’re looking for something festive to do this weekend I recommend paying Birmingham a visit!
Christmas Illuminated Lights Trail at the Botanical Gardens
After our stroll around the market we got an Uber up to the Botanical Gardens which is a few minutes drive outside the centre of Birmingham. I had tickets for the illuminated lights trail and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But I was really very pleasantly surprised when we arrived and I was immediately impressed by the display that was put on for visitors.
I managed to get a few photos of the illuminations and I really enjoyed my time there, despite it probably being more targeted towards families with children. Everything was lit up so nicely and was so pretty! Along the trail there were icicle lights dripping from the trees, the giant bird cages were illuminated with colour changing lights, a flickering fire garden, and the main lawn area was alight with thousands of bulbs, all changing colour and dancing in time to the music.
The Christmas Illuminated Lights Trail at the Botanical Gardens is open until the end of December, so book your tickets quickly! I’d really recommend it if you have kids (or even if you’re just a big kid like me!).
Dinner at Broadway Casino Restaurant
A short taxi ride away is Broadway Casino which is located at Broadway Plaza at the top of Broad Street near to Five Ways. For dinner we visited the beautiful Italian restaurant within the casino that serves only authentic Italian food. The restaurant is all very sleek and modern with large tables and a light airy feel to it.
The wonderful Restaurant Manager Roberto from Rome greeted us and talked us through their menu and wines. As well as being offered a glass of prosecco, we were recommended a glass of the Linteo Nero d’Avola wine, which is a dark Sicilian wine and went very nicely with our meal. Before our starters arrived we were also presented with a wooden board of fresh breads and olives to accompany our drinks.
For the starter I went for the Capra and Terre which is a grilled goats cheese salad with caramelised walnuts & onions and finished with a balsamic dressing, although there wasn’t much salad to be seen (not that I minded!). Gavin tried the Gamberoni which is prawns sauteed in a tomato sauce infused with garlic and chilli which was beautifully cooked and full of flavour. For the main courses we both opted for the 8oz fillet steak served with vegetables, and I also tried the delicious Diane sauce with it.
For dessert we shared the profiteroles which were filled with Chantilly cream and topped with a very yummy white chocolate. The profiteroles are quite large, so three was just enough for us to share between the two of us. Gavin also decided to try a ‘grappe’ which is a potent Italian brandy traditionally drank after a big meal. Beware.. it’s very strong (45% volume)! I would thoroughly recommend the Broadway Casino restaurant if you’re visiting the area, as it offers excellent value for money and service that cannot be beaten!