Get your fill of culture and chocolate before heading off to camp.
The second-largest city in the UK after London, Birmingham is a major business and cultural hub for the West Midlands. Birmingham offers loads of things to experience, from exploring its 313-mile network of canals to immersing yourself in the food scene. You can even pay a visit to the Cadbury World chocolate factory. If you love nature, be sure to check out the 15-acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens or spend some time on the greens in Cannon Hill Park. Once you’ve had your fill of city fun, head out to one of the many areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) in the area for a bit of walking, cycling, and under-the-star camping.
If you love plants, you’re sure to have a heyday in Cannock Case, with its expansive wetlands and heathlands along with woodland habitats for evergreen and deciduous trees. There are also quite a few points of historic interest, including the Castle Ring, a hill fort from the Iron Age, and Shugborough Hall, a National Trust-managed historic house dating to the 17th and 18th centuries.
South of Birmingham, the Malvern Hills AONB has long been known as a source for spring water—in fact, its home to the world’s oldest mineral water bottling operation. While it’s worth popping by just to fill up your bottles, you’ll likely be tempted to linger. Fortunately, there are solid options for staying the night, whether you’re the camping type or prefer the luxury of a glamping tent.
An hour’s drive east of Birmingham, on the border of Wales, the Shropshire Hills AONB offers beautiful, hilly scenery and ample opportunity for cycling, walking, or just driving around and taking in the scenery. While there are loads of spots to camp in the area, glamping reigns supreme—expect to find options ranging from tipis to treehouses.
The best time to visit Birmingham is between late spring and early autumn, when the weather is at its finest (and driest), but prime camping weather is in July and August. Summer is chock-full of festivities, including the biannual Birmingham International Dance Festival in June and the Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival in July. While August usually has particularly lovely weather, things can get crowded due to school holidays.