Dog-Friendly Birmingham: Visiting with a Dog

The second largest city in England, the city of Birmingham is an often overlooked destination in the UK. Find out what to do when visiting this Midlands city with your dog, from walking along the canals to great dog-friendly day trips nearby.

Dog-Friendly Birmingham

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Birmingham

Whether you want to explore the city centre of Birmingham or use the city as a base to explore the surrounding countryside, consider ticking off the following dog-friendly things to do in Birmingham.

#1 Walk Along the Canals

During my explorations of Birmingham, my favourite part of the city was the Canal District. Situated on the western edge of the city centre, the historic canals and locks are a great spot for a walk with your dog.

The Canal River Trust has put together these instructions for a 1 mile (1.6km) long walk, starting at Livery Street and ending at the Mailbox. I walked it in reverse, although it’s a little trickier to spot the points of interest noted when walked this way.

Canal Locks Birmingham
Explore the Canal District of Birmingham on a walk

In particular, I found the stretch between Old Turn Junction and the Mailbox, past Gas Street Basin, the most interesting, with many pubs and eateries lining the route. And of course most places are dog-friendly – I list some of my favourites below.

One point of interest not listed and worth detouring for is the Black Sabbath Bridge, formerly Broad Street Bridge (near point 8 on the walk’s map). The bridge is home to a bench showing the members of the band that formed in Birmingham – a great spot for a selfie with your pup!

Black Sabbath Bridge Birmingham
Detour up to Black Sabbath Bridge

Another interesting place to look out for is the Fudge Boat. I believe this canal boat is anchored next to 52 Gas Street (a little west of the Holliday Street Aqueduct) year round. Sample a few flavours and then buy packets of fudge right on the edge of the canal!

Fudge Boat Birmingham
Fudge for sale on the Fudge Boat in Birmingham

While walking along the canal walk, make sure you keep your dog on a short leash – both for their own safety close to the water’s edge and out of the way of other pedestrians. And make sure you clean up after them! The first half of the walk has some convenient patches of grass.

Birmingham Canalside Walk Pick Up Sign
Clean up after your dog on the canal walk

#2 Hop Onboard a Canal Cruise

If you’d like to explore the Canal District of Birmingham but would prefer not to walk, instead you can take a canal cruise. There are multiple cruises on offer, but one that is definitely pet-friendly is Brindley Cruises.

Brindley Cruises operates one hour cruises with live commentary. Cruises depart multiple times per day, seven days a week, although they may be cancelled due to bad weather.

Brindley Cruises Birmingham
Enjoy a canal cruise with your dog

Cruises depart from just east of the Old Turn Junction. No advance bookings are taken, with the cruises quite reasonably priced.

#3 Admire the City Centre

The main city centre of Birmingham also has some grand old buildings that are worth admiring. Make sure you head to Victoria and Chamberlain Squares when visiting Birmingham, even if you can’t enter any of the buildings.

Victoria Square, which is home to a statue of it’s namesake, is dominated on its southern side by the grand Council House, built in the late 19th century and home to Birmingham City Council.

Victoria Square Birmingham
Council House and The River

Much of the square is taken up by a large water feature, known as The River, one of the largest in Europe, with pools at the top and bottom of the stairs. Another eye-catching feature are the pair of sphinx, called The Guardians. They’re huge and quite enigmatic.

Sphinx at Victoria Square Birmingham
The Guardians at Victoria Square

Around in Chamberlain Square is the entrance to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (currently being renovated) and the clock tower known as “Big Brum”. On the southern side of the square is the facade of the Birmingham Town Hall, built in the early 19th-century in the form of a Corinthian temple.

Birmingham Town Hall
The Town Hall from Chamberlain Square

#4 Picnic at Cannon Hill Park

One of the best parks close to the centre of Birmingham is Cannon Hill Park. This large park is just two miles south of the city centre and is very popular for picnics on sunny days.

Cannon Hill Park Birmingham
The lush lawns of Cannon Hill Park

While the park is also home to the MAC Birmingham cultural centre, a fun park and more, that are off limits to dogs, it’s still a great spot for dog walks. Keep your dog leashed around the lake and if your dog can’t be trusted around picnics. I also spotted some “No Dogs” signs – keep your dog out of these areas.

Lake at Cannon Hill Park Birmingham
Enjoy a walk around the lake at Cannon Hill Park

If you haven’t brought your own picnic, the Garden Tea Room has a large terrace area with outdoor tables where you can sit with your dog (no dogs are allowed inside), with water bowls provided.

#5 Go on a Craft Beer Crawl

Birmingham is home to a flourishing craft beer scene. One of the best areas to visit some breweries and bars is the suburb of Stirchley, about four miles south of the centre of Birmingham. There is even a Stirchley Beer Mile route!

One of the top breweries to visit is Attic Brew Co. I visited this brewery on the Sunday afternoon of a Bank Holiday weekend, when the brewery was bustling with visitors and their dogs. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome throughout the premises (plus children until 6pm).

Attic Brew Co Sign with Dog Birmingham
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Attic Brew Co

I recommend ordering some half pints to sample a variety of their range. As well as Core beers, including their flagship Intuition Pale Ale, there’s always a large range of special beers available, plus guest beers. Food vendors are often located onsite, otherwise you can bring your own food.

Attic Brew Co Sign with Dog Birmingham
Taps of the Attic Core range

#6 Explore the Street Art

The hip and creative Custard Factory area on the eastern edge of Birmingham is home to a variety of bars and restaurants, set in what was previously a series of Victorian factories manufacturing Bird’s Custard. The surrounding area is also home to some great street art.

Street Art Custard Factory Birmingham
Street art in the Custard Factory district

Wander along Gibb Street and Lower Trinity Street to check out the latest murals, plus head over to Floodgate Street, in a still gritty part of Digbeth.

The Jewellery Quarter is also home to a popular Banksy mural. Check out “Ryan and His Reindeer” on Vyse Street near the train station.

#7 Take a Day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon

Birmingham is centrally located to explore many of the historic sites that dot around the Midlands. Just a 45 minutes drive south of Birmingham is Stratford-upon Avon, best known as the birth place of William Shakespeare.

There are many sites around the town connected to Shakespeare that are open to the public, including Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s New Place, that can be visited with a joint ticket.

Anne Hathaway Cottage Stratford-upon-Avon
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon

While pet dogs are not allowed inside the cottages at either of the first two (the building is no longer standing at Shakespeare’s New Place), they are allowed in the gardens and grounds, as long as they are kept leashed. If not travelling solo, perhaps take turns to visit the interiors?

Stratford-upon-Avon is also home to countless charming Tudor houses, and is a great spot to enjoy a stroll with your pup. Perhaps walk between Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Holy Trinity Church, the place of his baptism, marriage and burial, passing many historic buildings on the High Street.

#8 Visit Ironbridge Gorge

Another historic district near Birmingham that dates to a different era is Ironbridge Gorge. Home to mines, blast furnaces, factories and railways, the area just outside of Telford is a symbol of the Industrial Revolution, that has been World Heritage listed since 1986.

One of the most interesting sites is the bridge at Ironbridge, the world’s first bridge constructed of iron, built in 1779. It’s a great spot to visit with your dog and wonder at the important developments that occurred in England in the 18th- and 19th-centuries. Entry is free.

Ironbridge Gorge
The famous bridge in Ironbridge

The area is dotted with multiple museums, that explore the area’s history in depth. Unfortunately, most museums are off limits to pet dogs, with only guide dogs allowed inside. The one exception is the Blists Hill Victoria Town. Dogs on a leash are welcome to join you in exploring this recreation of a town from 1900.

Pets on Public Transport in Birmingham

A variety of public transport operates across Birmingham. While some places are accessible by train or tram on the West Midlands Metro (with the network soon to be extended to Digbeth), you’ll need to take buses across much of the city.

After a successful trial in the summer of 2024, the West Midlands Metro now allows pets onboard, not just assistance dogs. One well-behaved dog is permitted onboard per adult fare-paying customer, as long as the dog is wearing a leash, plus a muzzle if required. Cats or other small animals are also permitted in a carrier up to 80 x 60 x 60cm. No charge applies.

There are multiple bus operators in and around Birmingham, with one of the main operators National Express West Midlands. According to their Conditions of Carriage, the carriage of dogs other than assistance dogs is up to the discretion of the driver. Reasons why dogs might be refused include if the dog appears dangerous, or if they are likely to upset other customers or animals already on the bus.

Birmingham National Express West Midlands Bus
Pet dogs are allowed on National Express West Midlands buses at the discretion of the driver

Dog-Friendly Cafes in Birmingham

A quiet canal-side cafe in Birmingham that is popular with dog owners is Ju Ju’s Cafe at Canal Square. The cafe specialises in good old-fashioned home cooked food, and has a large terrace of outdoor tables – perfect for sunny days.

The cafe is open for all-day brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including veggie and vegan options. It’s also open in the evenings until 10pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Note that it is currently closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ju Jus Cafe Birmingham
The canal-side Ju Ju’s Cafe

Dog-Friendly Pubs in Birmingham

There’s no shortage of dog-friendly pubs in Birmingham, with plenty of them conveniently located along the canals – perfect for combining a walk with your pup with a pub lunch or just a pint.

At Gas Street Basin, stop off at the rustic Canalside Bar for a drink. Choose between an outdoor table next to the canal or the cosy interior – dogs are also allowed inside. The staff are friendly and water bowls are provided for pups.

Canalside Bar Birmingham
The dog-friendly Canalside Bar at Gas Street Basin

Just across the canal is The Botanist. Keep in mind that the chain has two locations in the city if making a booking – this is the Brindley Place location, with a second location on Temple Street.

Arrive early on sunny days to grab an outside table on the terrace – they fill up quickly! Dogs are also allowed inside in the bar area. The food menu is extensive and highly rated.

The Botanist Brindley Place Birmingham
Enjoy lunch at The Botanist at Gas Street Basin

At the Roundhouse near the Arena, you’ll find The Distillery. This casual pub has a huge beer garden, perfect for sunny days in summer. Another highlight are the gin paddles, thanks to being the home of Round House Gin. Dogs are also welcome inside, except in the restaurant section.

The Distillery Birmingham
The beer garden at The Distillery

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Birmingham

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. See my full disclaimer.

For a luxurious stay in Birmingham, make a booking for The Grand Hotel Birmingham, the original grand-dame hotel of the city that has been recently renovated. It’s best to directly book a Pampered Pooch Package, which includes complimentary dog beds, water bowls and a “doggie bag” of treats for up to two dogs.

Another dog-friendly hotel with more affordable rooms is the ibis Birmingham Centre New Street Station Hotel, located on the southern edge of the city centre. An additional pet surcharge of £10 applies per stay (not per night).

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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