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Birmingham Visit Inc. UK’s Oldest Cinema & Fab Chinese Meal

The Professional Traveller • Jul 04, 2020

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Birmingham Trip Review Including Hotels & Things To Do

I travelled to Birmingham a couple of times to catch up with friends. During those two visits I stayed at 3 different hotels, two near Birmingham airport and one in the city centre.

I also ate at a great Chinese restaurant and went to a fantastic independent cinema, the oldest in the UK, in Birmingham too.

Below are my hotel reviews, helpful information, visit reviews and links to help you find really cheap hotels if you are visiting Birmingham too.

If you are flying from Birmingham Airport check out the flight deals section at the bottom of the page and see how low the prices are for your trip.

Getting to Birmingham Airport

I flew from Inverness to Birmingham. There used to be a regular service operated by Flybe. There is a service between Inverness and Birmingham which is now operated by Loganair – it is considerably more expensive than it used to be.

Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport is a nice sized airport. I took the train from Birmingham International to Birmingham New Street Station and then walked to the hotel I was staying at. It was an easy walk and took about 15 minutes once I had found my way out of New Street!

birmingham independent review the professional traveller
What I Did and Where I Ate in Birmingham Centre

Chung Ying Chinese Restaurant

While I was at the Ibis I ate at Chung Ying Chinese restaurant which is just across the road. I chose this restaurant because it had an extensive vegetarian menu. I ate bean curd dim sum for start, which were like trying to eat molten lava. The main course of fried rice and vegetables in a birds nest was very nice but I couldn’t eat the birds nest (made from noodles) because I only had a spoon and chopsticks. With two soft drinks the meal cost £21.00

Electric Cinema

I also visited the Electric Cinema while I was in Birmingham. This is a quirky independent cinema that is beside New Street Station. The lobby area is tiny and because it was cold and there were two films starting close together it was jammed in the lobby area while waiting to get into the cinema. I loved the little bar, although I couldn’t reach it to get a drink or a homemade cake/cookie. The seating was comfy and there were also sofas as well. I saw the film Parasite and it was a great experience with members of the audience laughing etc throughout – it felt almost like a communal cinema experience.

As with any hotel review the experience is personal but I have stayed at a number of Ibis hotels over the years so I compared this hotel to those as well.

Ibis Budget Birmingham Airport

ibis budget the professional traveller

I stayed at the Ibis Budget Birmingham for one night, a Sunday, in February 2020.

Hotel Review – What I Liked

  • The price was excellent – it was about £32 to stay for the night
  • The location was great – it is just across the main airport building
  • The room was clean and tidy
  • The blackout blind was great so the room was very dark
  • Despite being near the airport there was very little noise – infact this was the quietest hotel of 3 I stayed in during my trip. It was also right in the middle of Storm Denis and again it was very quiet.
  • The shower was great
  • The hairdryer was powerful
  • The WIFI was good

Hotel Review – What I Liked Less

  • The queue on arrival to check in was quite long – it was to the front door. Infact it had to curve around a bit. The queue was still there when I popped to the shops a bit later on.
  • The restaurant was very busy and noisy and also had a queue. There had been a great deal of flight cancellations that day because of Storm Denis so that may have been what caused the problems and queues.

It had been a long day so I popped over to the Marks and Spencers in the airport building to get some stuff for my tea. There is a Costa Coffee and a WHSmith there amongst other things. These are before security i.e. available to anyone.

I would certainly stay here again.

As with any hotel review the experience is personal but I based this review on comparison of other airport hotel stays.

Want to Stay?

Read the TripAdvisor reviews of the Ibis Budget

Want To Stay On Site at Birmingham Airport?

Here are a couple more options. The Novotel Birmingham Airport is next to the main airport building and is a 4 star hotel.

Want To Stay Close to the Airport?

The Genting Hotel at Resorts World is a luxury hotel. It is 0.6 miles from the airport building. It has great reviews and a lovely pool and spa complex.

It is one of the more expensive options near the airport.

Ibis Birmingham Styles

ibis birmingham the professional traveller

I stayed at the Ibis Styles on a Friday night in February 2020. I was visiting Birmingham and then travelling to Derby so it was a handy location for the train station.

Hotel Review – What I Liked

  • The price was good value given this hotel was in the City Centre – it was about £55 for the night
  • The location was good although it is just across from the Chinese Quarter so it is a little bit away from the station itself
  • The check in staff were friendly and welcoming
  • The room was clean with extra pillows available in the room
  • The shower was nice and powerful and there were nice clean towels
  • It was located right opposite the Chinese Quarter – the restaurant I planned to eat in was just across the road
  • There was a kettle with tea and coffee in the room
  • The hairdryer was a nice powerful one

Hotel Review – What I Liked Less

  • The room was very stuffy. I was on the third floor and there was a unit for hot or cold air but it wouldn’t dispense cold air at all. This meant I had to lave the window open to get any fresh air into the room which meant there was also quite a bit of noise.
  • This hotel is surrounded by clubs, restaurants etc so I think there would be noise whichever part of the hotel you stayed in. Thank goodness for ear plugs
  • There was no plug beside the bed – but thankfully my long cable meant I could use the wall socket
  • The television signal kept coming and going – it seemed to be a digital service that was picking up interference
  • The room was compact which is to be expected in a city hotel and at that price. However I did bump my leg on the bed a few times when I was walking round it as it was quite tight for space

Want to Stay?

If you want to stay at the Ibis Styles check out the link below to see which site has the cheapest prices.

Want To Stay In Birmingham Centre?

The Clayton Hotel is a modern hotel. It has good modern facilities and it is a 10 minute walk from New Street staion.

Want to Stay in the Birmingham City Centre Area?

Check out the map for the cheapest prices in the area

Village Hotel, Solihull

I’ve included this hotel review here as it is close to Birmingham Airport, which is why I stayed there.


Well here is my first video hotel review. I hope to use this format more often in future as it enables you to see inside the rooms of hotels etc.

Overview of Hotel Stay

This was a corner room in the Village Hotel in Solihull which I stayed in during February 2020.

The room was quite chilly and in the end I had to ask for a heater in the room as the air conditioning unit seemed only to blow cold air, given it was February that wasn’t ideal.

Whilst there is no phone in the room you can easily WhatsApp the front desk to make requests or order meals etc.

Originally I had requested a room with a walk in shower but these rooms actually have a very low bed, which are designed for people in a wheelchair so this room wasn’t suitable and I then moved to this room. There are a limited number of walk in shower rooms in the hotel, all the rest have showers over the bath, despite the pictures on the website showing different showers.

Unlike some other Village Hotels there is not the option to upgrade to a Club Room etc, so all the beds are the same size. You can upgrade and get some perks like an included coffee and access to the gym but this access was at a certain time so I didn’t bother.

The gym is open to the public and it is on the ground floor alongwith the coffee bar and the bar/restaurant. The bar had several large screens so it was quite noisy and it was very busy when I ate there on a Friday night. The coffee bar was good for breakfast items at times that suited rather than fitting in with breakfast times.


Parking is free at the hotel during the weekend period. At other times you need to enter your registration number when checking in.


This was an OK hotel for a weekend break or something like that. The hotel is located on a small industrial type area. The lack of room types means there is less choice than some other Village Hotels.

Want To Stay?

Check out the search box below to find which site has the cheapest prices for the Village Hotel in Solihull.

Want to Stay In Solihull?

The Voco St Johns Solihull looks like a really lovely option. It has a nice pool and leisure centre, modern decor and it has great reviews. It also has an onsite bar and restaurant.

Want to Stay in Birmingham?

Check out the map search below to find where the cheapest hotels are in Birmingham.

Want to Fly From Birmingham?

Check out flight deals using the search box below.

The search is set for Amsterdam but you can easily change this to your preferred destination.

Want to Fly From Birmingham?

Use the map search below to see how far you can fly on your budget

Always Find The Cheapest Hotel Price Quickly

Download the free app and double check any hotel deals to make sure you are getting the cheapest price.

The app shows you the cheapest price on the internet.

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