18–19 March 2023 173 days to go! Tickets

Get Outdoors in Birmingham with the National Outdoor Expo


In this article written by National Outdoor Expo ambassadors Josie & Greg (The Backpack Library) find out ways you can get outdoors in Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

Birmingham is well known for its culture, music and remarkable food scene (with the most Michelin stars outside the capital). But with the National Outdoor Expo coming to town, we’re here to remind you that the second city offers plenty of access to the great outdoors too!

There’s loads to do, right on Birmingham’s doorstep.

If paddle boarding, open-water swimming, climbing and ziplining at the National Outdoor Expo isn’t enough excitement for one weekend, keep reading for even more adventures – all within an hour of Brum!

(And we promise, there’s not a single mention of the miles and miles of canal.)

Open water swim at…

Lodge Farm Reservoir, Netherton. If you’re craving that coldwater buzz, you’ll find it less than 30 mins out of the city at this welcoming NOWCA-owned watersports venue. It’s also located next to a stunning nature reserve, so why not make a day of it? With deep and gorgeously clean water, you can also dive and try many other activities with Dudley Watersports.

Spot wildlife at…

Carding Mill Valley. This mountainous area an hour from Birmingham feels like a different world. With miles of heather and bilberries, we’d liken it to a mini Snowdonia right here in the Midlands, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot the wild horses that roam the hills. For added adventure, why not take a dip at Carding Mill Reservoir, a stunning wild swimming spot just a 20-minute walk from the car park

Escape the city at…

Birmingham Botanical Gardens. For a quick escape into nature, why not try a visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens? With a range of glasshouses you can be in tropical rainforest one minute and arid desert the next, all without leaving Brum!

Go hiking at…

Clent Hills. This hilly National Trust area just outside the city is a beautiful space to while away a few hours. With glorious views over the city and surrounding countryside, you can follow the crowds up to the four stones, get off the beaten track by exploring Walton Hill, or step back in time with a short walk to St Kenelm’s Church – a medieval pilgramage site that marks the source of the River Stour. It may be a little early in the year for the famous bluebells that smother the hills in May, but fear not – the best butty of your life awaits back at the Nimmings Wood cafe.

Mountain bike at ...

Cannock Chase. Located just north of the city, Cannock Chase AONB has trails for all abilities and ages. Mountain bikes can also be rented at Cannock Chase Cycle Centre if you fancy a go but don’t have the gear! For a more relaxed day out, Cannock Chase also has plenty of walking routes, including a Gruffalo trail for little ones.