A Book Lover’s Guide to the Best of Birmingham

A book lover’s guide to the best of Birmingham

by Beth Hutton

With its rich literary history of liberal writers and radical thinkers, Birmingham is a creative hotspot for aspiring authors to flourish. So, whether you’re looking for a bustling writing space, the best coffee to complement your next novel, or a quiet read in the morning sun, this bookworms’ guide to Brum has you covered.

#5: Roots Market, Jewellery Quarter

A coffee house and grocery shop with quality and sustainability at its heart, Roots Market provides a tranquil reading spot away from the commotion of the city centre. By offering organic produce and zero-waste dispensers, the shop tunes into the evolving environmental demands of our age. Drinking fair-trade coffee and reading your favourite book whilst helping to save the world—what’s not to love?

Publisher’s recommendation: Has Roots Market encouraged you to challenge the sustainability of our current lifestyles? If you’re yearning for a new way forward for our society (and a top-notch coffee), then make sure to grab a copy of Mark Lanyon’s Who Stole Grandma? en route to Roots; it’s a life-affirming, heart-warming read, and the proceeds raised £3,000 for charity.

#4: Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath

Bring the outdoors in by visiting the Kitchen Garden Cafe, situated in the up-and-coming area of Kings Heath. The cafe boasts home-cooked food, an urban garden centre, and an art shop, all of which source locally and ethically. Its verdant setting, natural lighting, and peaceful atmosphere not only make it a great spot to rejuvenate the mind, but also a haven for the romantics of the writing world.

Publisher’s recommendation: If the art shop has inspired you to flex your creative muscles, check out Your Next Big Idea: Improve Your Creativity and Problem-Solving by Samuel Sanders. This self-help creativity guide helps readers to reach a higher mindset by advancing their skills in innovation and perceptiveness.

#3: Urban Cafe, New Street and Jewellery Quarter

Is the hustle and bustle of Birmingham’s city scene more up your street? If so, Urban Cafe is the place for you. Caffeine fanatics will be pleased to know that their large coffees contain three shots of espresso, which makes it an ideal writing spot for both a morning pick-me-up and an afternoon lull.

Publisher’s recommendation: With your head already buzzing with caffeine, why not pick up Carly Peacock’s A Pocketful of Porn? This honest, unconventional book is sure to stimulate your mind—and perhaps motivate you to write about a mostly unexamined topic that’s important to you.

#2: Warehouse Cafe, Digbeth

Well-known among Birmingham’s Queer Book Club members, Warehouse Cafe is a worker-owned cooperative with an ethos centred around equality and empowerment, and a must-try for vegans. Whether it’s through LGBTIQ+ events, pay-as-you-feel meals, or topical literature evenings, this cafe promotes a safe space for everyone, both inside and outside of its four walls. It’s more than a good reading spot; with its spoken poetry nights, book exchanges, and literature panel discussions, it’s the perfect place to meet like-minded bookworms.

Publisher’s recommendation: What better book to accompany your visit to the oldest vegan cafe in Birmingham than Glen John Jones’ Think and Grow Vegan? Jones shines a light on common misconceptions about food with easy-to-digest summaries of up-to-date research on veganism.

#1: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston

If you’re experiencing a creative slump, then break away from the monotony of your work environment and take a trip to Birmingham’s botanical gardens, with their large, picturesque lawn and four spectacular glasshouses, from tropical rainforest to arid desert. Admission is free for University of Birmingham students, so if you’re an aspiring writer on a budget, this is a great alternative to visiting local cafes. But don’t worry if you’re in need of your daily caffeine fix; the gardens also have a pavilion tearoom, which is quaint, rustic, and understated—a book lover’s dream.

Publisher’s recommendation: Soak up the fresh air and much-needed solitude of the gardens with a copy of #Life. In this thought-provoking book, Jym Brown explores the wisdom behind achieving a fulfilling life, with quotes from ancient philosophers and modern influencers.

And if you’re looking for more bookish guides, check out our top literary-inspired British staycations here, and follow us on social media to keep up to date with our new blog posts.