‘Tis the season to explore Birmingham virtually!

New #ChristmasinBham campaign highlights festive events, activities and gifts for locals and visitors.

Tourism businesses across Birmingham are spreading the festive cheer this Christmas with lots of events, shows and musicals on offer.

Despite local restrictions, the city has adapted its Christmas programme to entertain people from home, as well as in person over the winter period. From a virtual pub quiz hosted by Selfridges to a Michelin-starred festive feast delivered to your door, Birmingham’s biggest and best attractions are preparing to put on a big show for locals and visitors this Christmas.

Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos Entertainment will be producing an all-new adaptation of the kids-favourite pantomime Robin Hood from 15th-31st January 2021 at the Alexandra Theatre. The star-studded line-up includes Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel-Horwood as The Sheriff of Nottingham who is trying to outwit Robin Hood – played by panto legend Matt Slack – to win the hand of the discerning Maid Marion.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Ormiston Academy has made an exclusive recording of The Snow Queen available to watch from 1st December. The performance was first shown at The Old Rep in December 2019 and takes viewers on a journey to defeat the evil Snow Queen, the iron-fisted icy ruler of the world.

Away from the bright lights and dramatic performances of pantomime, Birmingham Hippodrome is hosting Van Gough Alive until 31st January 2021, an extraordinary art exhibition that gives visitors the unique opportunity to immerse themselves into Van Gogh’s life and artistry.

The NEC will also host the The Luna Drive-In Winter Cinema, where film-lovers can enjoy classic favourites such as Love Actually, Home Alone, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Holiday, Elf and Frozen 2 from the comfort of their own car.

In response to social distancing restrictions, a number of the region’s favourite eateries are bringing the festive flavours to front doors across the country. Michelin-starred Peel’s Restaurant – which is located in Solihull’s 19th century Hampton Manor – has set-up Peel’s to the People. The service is offering deliveries of special meals on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to bring a little extra magic to customers’ festivities.

Additionally, South American rodizio bar and grill Fazenda is offering an ‘at home’ service for customers to purchase products and ingredients from its suppliers. The restaurant’s showstopper is the Fazenda at Home Box, which includes four delicious cuts of meat, tasty sides and delicious desserts.

Finally, source unique Christmas gifts this year with ease, as Birmingham Museums Trust has created The Virtual Christmas Gifts Market, enabling independent stores to showcase their wares and trade online to more than 1,900 shoppers.

In the city centre’s Bullring shopping mall, designer department store Selfridges will be hosting several virtual and physical events to entertain shoppers this Christmas. Visitors can go online to enjoy The Queen’s Head Pub Quiz and a number of crafty workshops that will give participants tips and tricks on card making, present wrapping and more, or customers could opt to book an in-store event, including a Breakfast with Santa, tutorial for personalising gifts, and a Santa reindeer hunt.

Becky Frall, Head of Visitor Attraction at the West Midlands Growth Company, which operates the Visit Birmingham programme, said: “It has been a tough year for many of us and we all need some festive fun to cheer ourselves up over the winter months.

“Although the celebrations will be different this year, an inspirational programme of physical and virtual events has been put together by the region’s innovative tourism and hospitality businesses. All events are Covid risk assessed and will keep you and your family entertained throughout the festive period. So please, log on virtually or come and join the events in person, to the spread the Christmas joy!”

Councillor Patrick Harley, representing the West Midlands Board for Tourism, said: “The number one focus of the West Midlands Regional Board for Tourism is to ensure that our region’s voice underpins the work of Government and national bodies like VisitBritain, as we navigate the sector’s road to recovery. Our tourism and hospitality businesses need targeted support that recognises the challenges Tier 3 restrictions will create over the festive season – a period that is critical to the bottom-line of this sector.

“As Christmas approaches, we’re also taking the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful community spirit of the West Midlands, and the continued effort of both residents and businesses to protect and support local trade and one another. The array of festive offerings in the West Midlands, despite the challenges, is truly inspirational.”

Visit Birmingham, the city’s official tourism body, has been publishing content throughout its channels as we gear up for a fun-filled Christmas. The website has been highlighting festive events from across the city and wider region as part of its #ChristmasinBham campaign.

The campaign includes a festive trip down memory lane that asks Twitter followers to send in their favourite Christmas moments in Birmingham and a Christmas gift wish list, which showcases gift vouchers, hampers, experiences and products from the region’s businesses.

For more inspiration this Christmas, log on to visitbirmingham.com/christmas.