Now more than ever, many of us are looking for free days out in our local area. Luckily, the West Midlands has lots to offer both indoors and outdoors. My list of free things to do in the West Midlands has everything from museums and historical buildings to play areas, walks and picnics. For more things to do in the area from family or dog friendly attractions to ideas for a rainy day, head to my comprehensive days out guide.
You can also check out cost-free activities in neighbouring counties in the following guides:
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Birmingham
Birmingham Cathedral (Birmingham)
Interestingly, Birmingham Cathedral was built as a parish church on 1715. The grade 1 listed building is a lovely example of English Baroque architecture. Inside the cathedral, you’ll find stunning stained glass windows and remarkable treasures telling the tale of Birmingham’s heritage. Find out more about the cathedral and when you can visit from the cathedral website.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (Birmingham)
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is located in a huge, landmark building in the city centre. It consists of forty galleries displaying everything from art to social history, ethnography and archaeology. Admire art masterpieces, visit the Staffordshire Hoard or check out the temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year. Full information about the museum and art gallery is on the Birmingham Museums website.
Ikon Gallery (Birmingham)
Ikon gallery in Birmingham city centre has two floors of temporary exhibitions. It showcases work by from all over the world in a variety of formats including film, sound, mixed media, painting, sculpture and photography. Entry is free but it’s essential to book in advance. For opening times and to book head to the Ikon website.
Library of Birmingham (Birmingham)
Birmingham’s striking city centre library is a tourist destination in itself. It showcases photography, archives and rare books and boasts a modern gallery space allowing public access to its collections. Its BFI Mediatheque space allows people to view the National Film Archive. A studio theatre, informal performance areas, outdoor amphitheatre, dedicated children’s and teenagers’ spaces make it the most visited tourist attraction outside of London. Full information on visiting is available from Birmingham City Council.
Sheldon Country Park (Birmingham)
Sheldon Country Park and Old Rectory Farm are free to visit. The parkland covers more than 300 acres with wetlands, grassland and woodland. Broad paths have been put in place to improve accessibility including a nature trail from the main carpark that has a hard surface. A children’s playground and toilets are available. Why not have a picnic in the airport viewing area? Have a look around the traditionally managed farm and see their animals including ponies, goats, cows, pigs and birds. Three football pitches are available as well as a 5km walking or running route. Full information on the location and activities are provided by Birmingham City Council.
Ward End Park (Birmingham)
The 54 acres of Ward End Park have bene open to the public since 1904. These days there are two children’s playgrounds, a lake, basket ball and tennis courts and plenty of space for walking, running and picnics. For more information on the park and Ward End Park House, head to the Birmingham City Council website.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Coventry
Allesley Park (Coventry)
Historic Allesley Park is a huge green space between housing estates. It has tarmac footpaths, a children’s play equipment and a natural play area. There are plenty of places to have a picnic and dogs are welcome. The park has public toilets and a pavilion selling cold drinks and snacks. It is accessible for wheelchair users. Full information is available from Coventry City Council.
Coombe Abbey Park (Coventry)
The woodland, lake and formal gardens of Coombe Abbey Park stretch across 500 acres of landscape designed by Capability Brown. It is ideal for a walk, stroll or picnic for all the family with plenty of wildlife to spot and beautiful countryside to explore. Children under 10 will enjoy the visitor centre play area, while those aged 8 to 15 can have an adventure in the climbing forest. Other activities include pond dipping, duck and swan feeding, a bird hide and an orienteering course. Toilets and a cafe are available and barbecues are not permitted anywhere in the park. Dogs are welcome and need to be kept on a lead except in designated off-lead areas. The park is free to visit but there is a charge for car parking and for some activities. Full information is available on the Coventry City Council website.
War Memorial Park (Coventry)
Coventry’s War Memorial Park opened in 1921 as a tribute to soldiers from the area who lost their lives in the First World War. These days, along with commemorative memorial plaques, the park offers of sports facilities, an outdoor fitness trail and a water feature for children to play in. A cafe, toilets and car parks are all available here as well as children’s play areas and a multi-use games area. Sports pitches need to be booked and there is a fee to use them. Full information on visiting the park is available from Coventry City Council.
Coventry Canal Basin (Coventry)
Bishop Street canal basin in the centre of Coventry forms the final part of the Coventry Canal. Here you’ll find shops and boat hire, historic architecture and a great starting point for a canalside walk or cycle. Look out for the bronze statue of James Brindley, part of the Canal Art Trail. There’s a tea room to grab something to eat and it’s a short walk from here into the town centre for other amenities. Further details are available from the Canal and River Trust.
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (Coventry)
Delve into the history, art and culture of Coventry in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. Find out about modern art, the natural world and classic paintings. Interactive displays, temporary and permanent exhibitions and even the building itself provide plenty of fascinating things to see. The museum is free to visit and often hosts talks and workshops for all ages. The museum is accessible and breastfeeding friendly. Toilets and a cafe are available. Full information and opening times are on the museum’s website.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Dudley
Leasowes Park (Dudley)
The landscape in the Leasowes is grade 1 listed by English Heritage. It is thought to have been one of the first natural landscape gardens in England, having been designed by William Shenstone from 1743 to 1763. This historically important landscape boasts open grasslands, wooded valleys, lakes and streams. Having been managed with wildlife in mind for hundreds of years, it is an important habitat for plants, animals and birds. Full information on visiting is available from Dudley Borough Council.
Netherton Park (Dudley)
Netherton park’s grassy areas are popular for impromptu team sports while sunny and shady spots make ideal picnic areas. Well managed paths are great for walking and running. The park also boasts a children’s playground, floodlit multi sports area, outdoor gym, football pitches, wildlife areas and links to walking routes along the canal. For more information, head to the Dudley Borough Council website.
Priory Park (Dudley)
Just five minutes walk from Dudley town centre, Priory park has plenty to keep families entertained. A community cafe and public toilets serve visitors to the tennis and basketball courts, multi sports area, cricket practice zone, five aside football pitch, pond, children’s play areas and well managed walking paths. Explore historic ruins, have a picnic in the seating area or stroll around the woods. The majority of the park is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs with tarmac paths and paved areas. Full information is available from Dudley Borough Council.
Saltwells Local Nature Reserve (Dudley)
Saltwells Local Nature Reserve was planted by Lady Dudley in the 18th century to hide the impact of coal mining from the landscape. Its 247 acres now represents one of the biggest urban nature reserves in the UK. Check out the 16 species of Dragonfly in Daphne Pool, explore bluebell woodlands and old clay pits full of orchids. Climb a hill or check out geological sites of special scientific interest exposed by coal mining. Full details are available from Dudley Borough Council.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Moseley
Cannon Hill Park (Moseley)
Cannon Hill Park is an indoor and outdoor space with lots going on. Whilst you need to pay for most of the activities such as fairground rides, zoo and mini golf, there are two free playgrounds and plenty of green space to enjoy. With 80 acres of formal parkland and 120 acres of woodland and conservation areas, it’s a popular place for running and dog walking. Much of the park is accessible for wheelchairs, as is the MAC building. Toilets, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities are available. For full details, head to their website.
Moseley Bog (Moseley)
It’s not often you get the opportunity to visit a bog. It’s one of those landscapes that is very difficult to navigate without ending up caked in mud. Fortunately though, Moseley Bog on an old millpond site is well equipped for visitors. Both wet and dry woodland and fen vegetation are on the bog site itself, with more woodland to explore in adjoining Joy’s Wood. Parking is available both onsite and nearby, dogs on a lead are welcome and visitors can follow walking trails throughout the reserve. Many of the routes are wheelchair accessible. Full information is available from the Wildlife Trust.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Solihull
Dorridge Park and Dorridge Wood Local Nature Reserve (Solihull)
Dorrige Park is a large open space where you can book a football pitch, enjoy a picnic or let children run around. Car parking is free and there are bus stops and train stations nearby. A walking trail, organised walks and conservation days keep visitors busy and activities often take place here. Discover wildlife and nature in the woods or head to the large playground with the children. Here you’ll find trampolines, a climbing boulder, apace nets, a variety of swings and climbing equipment. Full information including accessibility information is available from Solihull Borough Council.
Earlswood Lakes (Solihull)
Terry’s Pool, Engine Pool and Windmill Pool make up Earlswood Lakes. This is a great place for walking or bird watching. Enjoy the scenery, take a look at the historic engine house or watch sailing boats drifting by. A craft centre on site has a tearoom and toilets as well as units selling items made by local craftspeople. Full information is available from the Canal and River Trust.
Elmdon Nature Park (Solihull)
Elmdon Nature Park is both a local nature reserve and a green flag park. A great space for families, it has wide open spaces and plenty of opportunities for relaxation and adventure. A children’s playground, outdoor gym, football pitch, tennis courts, lake and walking trails will keep you busy. Car parking is free and there are bus routes and train stations nearby. Full information is available from Solihull Borough Council.
Malvern and Brueton Park (Solihull)
Solihull’s Malvern and Brueton Parks merge into one large park in the heart of Solihull. With free car parking and plenty to do, it is a great place to take a picnic and enjoy a completely free day out. Look out for the Brueton Tree Trail, local nature reserve, woodlands, ornamental gardens, lake, cafe, pond, sensory garden, walking trails and tennis courts. A modern children’s playground is full of up to date equipment including trampolines, swings and climbing zones. A visitor managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has plenty of information on what to do in the area as well as a tea shop, toilets and adventure play area. For full information including visitor centre opening times, head to the Solihull Borough Council website.
Shirley Park (Solihull)
Shirley Park is a community space full of equipment including a modern play area, rugby and football pitches, outdoor gym, skate park, tennis courts, formal walkways, ornamental gardens and a dog agility area. Full details including opening hours and car parking information are available here.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Sutton Coldfield
Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary (Sutton Park – Sutton Coldfield)
Birmingham is one of several sites across the UK managed by The Donkey Sanctuary. Based in Sutton Park, the sanctuary is free to visit although they of course appreciate donations. Visitors can see the donkeys and learn about them from staff. They open every Saturday and the first Sunday of every month. Full details are on their website.
New Hall Valley Country Park (Sutton Coldfield)
New Hall Valley consists of former farmland. Its 198 acres of countryside is nature reserve including wetland meadows, listed buildings and Plants Brook stream. There is no children’s playground on the site itself, but children will enjoy the parks near to the Elm Road and Meadow Close entrances. Take a picnic and look out for heron, dragonflies, kingfishers and voles near the brook. There are walking and cycling routes and an outdoor gym. A 2km path is ideal for running as well so it is a great place to get active outside. Further information is available from Birmingham City Council.
Sutton Park (Sutton Coldfield)
Sutton Park is a 2400 acre national nature reserve just six miles from the city centre. Its vast heathland, woodlands, marshes and wetland offer a wide variety of habitat for wildlife. Wild ponies and cattle can be seen in the reserve and a donkey sanctuary is located within the park as well. A visitor centre, toilets, a gift shop and car parking are available. Two children’s playgrounds are located in the park, as well as several restaurants. Visitors can take part in walking, cycling horse riding and running with paths and bridleways including a 5km walking track. Full information on Sutton Park is available from Birmingham City Council.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Walsall
Barr Beacon Local Nature Reserve (Walsall)
The important geological site at Barr Beacon lies beside a geological fault running along the Black Country. Hopwas Breccia sandstone and “Kidderminster Formation” rocks are visible around this Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. Views from the summit stretch across the local area and pebbles at the foot of rock faces may contain fossils. Visitors are free to collect pebbles from the foot of the rock face but not from the rock face itself. There is a free car park at Beacon Barr but no other facilities are available. More information about the site and its history are available from the Black Country Geopark website.
The New Art Gallery (Walsall)
The free to visit New Art Gallery in Walsall boasts a collection of modern, historic and contemporary art. They aim to increase enjoyment and understanding of arts using dynamic exhibitions as well as events and education. The third and fourth floors focus on visual contemporary arts, while the first and second floors host more traditional art collections. They regularly have artists in residence in their studio and there’s also an art library, family gallery and Costa cafe to visit. Head to their website for opening times and events.
Walsall Arboretum (Walsall)
A 15 minute walk from Walsall train station, Walsall Arboretum boasts a boating lake, tennis courts, lakeside cafe, open playing fields and a children’s playground complete with splash pad. It’s ideal for sport and activity with plenty of space and well managed paths for walking as well as formal gardens. Further information and directions area available from the Visit Birmingham website.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Wolverhampton
Bantock House Museum (Wolverhampton)
Set in a 43 acre Parkland, Bantock House has been restored to the Edwardian era. Visitors can learn about Wolverhampton’s history and view exhibits revealing what life was like during Edwardian times. Admission is free to both the museum and the park surrounding it. Facilities include a cafe, toilets, baby changing, picnic areas, gardens and an outdoor play area. Full information is available from Wolverhampton Art.
Bilston Craft Gallery (Wolverhampton)
Bilston Craft Gallery’s displays tell the story of Bilston’s history. Beginning with rocks and fossils of international importance and precious minerals that allowed industry to flourish here. Exhibits include objects originating from the town’s industries from jewellery to bicycles. Learn about famous companies from the area and check out the family friendly dinosaur room to meet Barry the Baryonyx. Full information including opening times is available from Wolverhampton Arts.
Northycote Farm and Country Park (Wolverhampton)
Northycote Farm and Country park offers a breath of fresh air just 10 minutes drive from the centre of Wolverhampton. 90 acres of fields, woodland, meadows and Berry Brook make it a lovely place to explore. Visitors can see the animals too. Pigs, chickens and sheep. Tearooms area available from Tuesday to Sunday with indoor and outdoor seating and hot and cold breakfasts, lunches, drinks and snacks. It’s a great place for a picnic too and events taking place throughout the year are listed on the Northycote Farm website.
Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve (Wolverhampton)
Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve is a 60 acre area of countryside where wildlife habitat is more important than anything else. Wander through ancient woodland and meadows with a river, pools and the remains of an old mill. Check out the ancient yew tree, thought tore 2000 years old. Look out for rare bats, badgers birds and plants. A car park, toilets and walking paths are available. Full details and opening times are available from Wolverhampton Parks website.
Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve (Wolverhampton)
Smestow Valley boasts walking and cycling paths, picnic benches and car parking. Refreshments from the Station Cafe, an Edwardian railway station cafe popular for its tea and cake. A former railway track offers a flat cycling route or you can walk alongside the canal and watch the boats go by. Look out for birds and wildlife and explore the woodland, meadows and Smestow brook. Further details are available from Wolverhampton Parks website.
West Park (Wolverhampton)
Wolverhampton’s West Park was established as a municipal park during Victorian times. It is considered one of the most unspoilt examples of a Victorian park in England. Around 43 acres in size, it boasts a lake, landscaped green area, tennis courts, a children’s play area, tearooms, picnic spaces and a heated Victorian Conservatory. Full details, events and opening hours are available from Wolverhampton City Council.
Free things to do in the West Midlands: Around the County
Bourne Pool and Waterside Walk (Little Aston)
Located behind WM Wheat & Son garden centre, Bourne Pool and Waterside walk is a lovely place to immerse yourself in nature. The pool was created in 1443 to power an iron mill by damming Bourne Brook. Now, a beautiful waterside walk takes in bridges, paths and pools and children will enjoy feeding the fish. Full information is available from WM Wheat & Son.
Cofton Park (Northfield)
Cofton Park is made up of 135 acres of fields and trees adjacent to the Lickey Hills. Its football pitches, woodland and open grassland attract visitors looking to get outdoors and active. Coften Plant Nursery is located within the park. Full information is available from Birmingham City Council.
Edgbaston Reservoir (Ladywood)
A 2.8km path runs around Edgbaston Reservoir. It is a popular place for picnics in the summer and walkers and runners use the path all year round. Look out for wildlife including birds, newts and bats. Organised events allow volunteers to help rangers look after the reservoir’s wildlife. Full information is available from Birmingham City Council.
Haden Hill House Museum and Haden Old Hall (Cradley Heath)
Haden Hill House Museum is situated in a the former home of a Victorian gentleman. Its period style furnishings offer a fascinating insight into life at the time. The museum is surrounded by beautiful, vast parkland. The house itself was built in 1878 when the parkland was inherited by George Alfred Haden Best who had grown up in the neighbouring Haden Old Hall with his aunt, uncle and sisters. Still boasting many of its original features, the museum in the house now keeps children entertained with lively events and activities. The old Hall is also a museum, furnished with victorian artefacts. However, it is merely a shell due to fire damage and only partial restoration. Full information on visiting the museum is available on Sandwell Borough Council website.
Handsworth Park (Handsworth)
Handsworth park occupies a huge area that often hosts events. Two children’s playgrounds provide equipment for both older and younger children. A ranger service offers nature walks, conservation and other activities and toilets are available. A boating lake and leisure centre are located in the park as well as a multi-use games area and a 2km walking or running route. Full information is available from Birmingham city council.
Kings Heath Park (King’s Heath)
Kings Heath park is designed to be accessible for everyone. It is generally flat with paths and ramps are in place for access to the house and plant nursery shop. Public toilets are available in the park and it boasts two playgrounds. One for children aged 1-5 and one for 5 to 12 year olds. Lots of wildlife makes its home in the green space and family events and activities teach children about nature. A 2km path is ideal for walking or jogging. Birmingham City Council have full information about visiting.
Lapworth Museum of Geology (Edgbaston)
Lapworth Museum of Geology is a free to visit exhibition that is part of Birmingham University. Visitors can explore 3.5 billion years of life on earth by viewing objects from one of the best geological exhibitions in the UK. Interactive exhibits stand alongside fossils and state of the art galleries to bring the museum to life. Learn about everything from fossils and rocks to earthquakes, volcanoes and dinosaurs. Full information about visiting and what’s on is available from the museum website.
Lickey Hills Country Park (Rednal)
The Lickey Hills cover an area of 524 acres to the south of Birmingham. It’s a great place for a family day out, picnic, walk, kite flying and wildlife spotting. Its geology and animal habitats are fascinating and encourage diverse wildlife. Off road paths are available for walking, cycling and horse riding. For children, there’s an adventure playground and a Tri-golf course. A free table tennis table near the visitor centre is a popular way to pass the time and rounders equipment is available to borrow. The visitor centre has lots of ideas of things to do and there’s also a cafe, gift shop and indoor and outdoor seating there. Toilets including accessible toilets and baby changing facilities are available. Birmingham City council have more information about visiting.
Lightwoods Park (Bearwood)
Lightwoods Park and house offers lots for families to explore including a skate park and children’s play area. Inside the house there is a tea room and community room. Outside you will find paths to stroll around, drinking fountains, a 19th century bandstand and formal gardens. Full information is available from their website.
Mary Stevens Park (Stourbridge)
Alongside the facilities at Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, regular community events and wildlife, heritage and fitness activities take place there. Look out for the outdoor gym, play area and water feature. Tennis courts and a multi use games area are great for getting active. Children will enjoy feeding the ducks with food from the activity centre and cafe and free parking is available. Full information including opening times is on the Dudley Borough Council website.
Millison’s Wood Local Nature Reserve (Meriden)
Head for Millison’s Wood local nature reserve to see mature woodland with abundant wildlife including rare birds and butterflies. A well signposted walking trail is a lovely way to explore the area. Full information is available from Solihull Borough Council.
Oak House Museum (West Bromwich)
Oak House Museum is based in a historic building built in around 1620. Learn about the family who lived in it, how the house got its name and what life was like in the 17th Century as you look around the traditionally furnished house. The museum is free to visit with a programme of regular activities for all ages. Outside is a children’s playground and grounds to explore. The first floor of the house is not accessible for wheelchairs although the upstairs of the visitor centre is accessible. Dogs are not allowed other than assistance dogs. Full information is on the Oak House Museum website.
Sandwell Valley Country Park (Sandwell)
Sandwell Valley RSPB reserve is free to visit but donations are welcome and parking costs £3. The site boasts a visitor centre, toilets, picnic area, nature trails and a children’s play area. Refreshments are available to buy. Look out for unusual ducks and other birds that make this urban green space their home. Make a den, enjoy a natural play trail and den building area, look for secret paths or play in a mud kitchen. Regular events take place here and details of those as well as opening times and things to do and see are provided by the RSPB.
Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery (Wednesbury)
A Victorian, purpose built museum is home to the Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery. Permanent collections include a nostalgia room with everyday objets that date back to the 1960s and 70s, fine art, old toys and Ruskin pottery. Temporary activities and exhibitions also take place throughout the year, with additional events during school holidays. The museum is free to visit and has a platform lift for access to the first floor. Sandwell Borough Council provide full details and opening times.
Willenhall Memorial Park (Willenhall)
Established in the 1920s, Willenhall Memorial Park is a tribute to those from the area who died during the First World War. Facilities include a children’s play area with wheelchair friendly roundabout, multi sports area, skate park, splash pads, outdoor gym and a cafe. Wide, tarmac paths make the park accessible and there are also free tennis courts although you need to book those in advance. Further information on the park and how to get there is available from Walsall Council website.
Woodgate Valley Country Park (Bartley Green)
The vast area of countryside in Woodgate Valley Country Park incorporates meadows, hedgerows, woodlands and ponds. Bournbrook runs through the park. A visitor’s centre, children’s playground and cafe make great pitstops if you are exploring one of the park’s many walking routes. The Woodgate Valley Urban farm within the country park has an entrance fee of £1 per adult and children are free. Further information about the park including opening times and its history are available from Birmingham City Council.