This lovely, leafy 13km (8 mile) circular walk takes you into one of the most popular and sought after suburbs of Birmingham to live in, Harborne. You will walk along leafy lanes, canal towpaths, past Michelin star restaurants, Botanical Gardens, the lively Harborne high street and even country style pubs just a stone’s throw from the city centre!
Please note this walk is on good quality paths or pavements but does include sections of steps to and from the canal towpaths. Not all sections of canal towpath are lit at night so best to do the walk during the day time.
Start the walk at Brindley Place, by the Costa coffee shop at the centre of Brindley Place. Looking towards the South East, head towards the Ikon Gallery in Oozells Square.
Stop in here to look at some of the modern art on display, entry is free! As you leave the Ikon Gallery turn left to bring you out on Broad Street. Turn right onto Broad Street and walk up here until you reach Five Ways Island.
You will pass several bars and restaurants as Broad Street is one of the main night-time entertainment venues in Birmingham. Just before Five Ways Island, on the left of the road, is a Cineworld cinema if the weather is bad and you feel the need to pause your walk. [If you start this walk at Five Ways Railway Station, turn left at the top of the stairs as you exit the station, carry on up to Five Ways Island where you will see the Costa Coffee and Marriott Hotel mentioned in the description below].
As you reach Five Ways Island, follow the pavement into the underpass to come out in the garden area in the middle of the island. If you fancy a lunchtime or evening treat, you will see the Park Regis hotel to the left with Rofuto restaurant on the top floor having great views over Birmingham. Head over towards the left hand side of the Marriott Hotel – you will go through another underpass and come out on Harborne Road. You should have a Costa Coffee on your left hand side and the Marriott Hotel on your right hand side if you have gone the right way!
Walk along Harborne Road until you reach the corner with Highfield Road. You will walk past Morrisons supermarket and several restaurants and home interior stores. Turn left into Highfield Road.
Walk along here until you reach the small roundabout with St George’s church. This roundabout is becoming a bit of a foodies destination – with Simpson’s Michelin starred restaurant, the Physician pub, the Highfield country-style pub, Boston Tea Party and Edgbaston Boutique Hotel’s cocktail bar all on or just off this roundabout! Birmingham is itself a real foodie hotspot with five Michelin star restaurants – more than any other UK city except London. Take a walk to the other Michelin star restaurants of Birmingham in our Edgbaston, Moseley and City Centre walks!
At the end of Highfield Road, turn right to walk past the entrance of Simpsons restaurant (on your right hand side) and then turn right again to turn into Westbourne Road. Walk along Westbourne Road and you will pass Birmingham Botanical Gardens on your left hand side. Keep going along Westbourne Road to the end and follow it round to the left. You will pass the White Swan pub on your left here, a country-style pub that’s the perfect stop if you need a rest!
Continue along past the White Swan, and at the pedestrian crossing, cross the road. Turn right into Yateley Road, which has lovely houses overlooking the Harborne allotments.
At the end of Yateley Road, turn right and walk up Nursery Road a short distance before crossing over and turning left into Westfield Road. This is another lovely tree lined road full of multi-million pound houses!
At the end of Westfield Road, at the mini-roundabout, turn left. Carry on along this road (Woodbourne Road) until the next road on your left, Gillhurst Road. Turn left into Gillhurst Road, and a few metres in on your left hand side will be a little entrance onto the Harborne Walkway.
Head through this and onto the old disused railway line (don’t take the path down into the valley, but the furthest one away from you that is better quality and stays higher up), now a nicely surfaced walkway. Turn right onto the walkway and keep going until you reach the bridge near the very end – you will see the walk continue over a bridge ahead of you, and a path off down the hill to the left of the bridge – take this path down on the left onto Park Hill Road and turn right onto the road.
Walk a short distance along Park Hill Road underneath the bridge, then turn right onto Margaret Grove. Follow Margaret Grove up and round to the left, and at the end turn left onto Ravenhurst Road then first right onto Park Edge. At the end of Park Edge turn left to walk clockwise around The Circle until you come to Wentworth Gate and follow Wentworth Gate along to Wentworth Road.
This area forms part of the Moor Pool Estate, opened in 1910, which is an early example of Arts & Crafts suburban planning in Birmingham. The estate provided affordable housing in a green, garden suburb environment, very different from the unplanned and overcrowded housing estates which were common in British towns and cities at the time.
Turn left onto Wentworth Road, walk along here, then take the first right onto Lonsdale Road. At the end of Lonsdale Road, turn left onto Lordswood Road. Opposite these is Harborne Swimming Pool so remember to take your swimming costume if you want to stop for a dip!
At the first roundabout, carefully negotiate the crossings to head straight over into Albert Road. Follow this to its end, then turn right into St Peter’s Road. Follow this as it bends round to the left slightly, and at the end turn right onto Old Church Road. This bends almost immediately round to the left where you will find the Bell pub, with a lovely beer garden overlooking a bowling green. Another lovely “country-in-the-city” type of place to rest those tired feet!
Just after the Bell, take the passage on the left to head up towards St Peter’s Church, go around this in an anti-clockwise direction to pick up the footpath behind the church, in a North East direction. Take this path, carefully cross over the road when you come to it, to carry along the path between some cricket fields.
The path ends at Harborne Park Road – this is quite busy so cross over at the nearby pedestrian crossing. Turn left along Harborne Park Road, then turn right into Vivian Road.
Keep going straight ahead along Vivian Road – you will pass the lovely New Inn pub, and come to a Waitrose supermarket on your right. Keep going straight on past Waitrose and come out onto Harborne High Street, full of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Continue along the high street in the same direction, heading all the way down to the traffic lights at Metchley Lane junction.
At the traffic lights, turn right into Metchley Lane, then keep left to continue into Somerset Road. When you come to a roundabout, keep left to stay on Somerset Road, and at the next mini-roundabout carry straight ahead to continue to stay on Somerset Road.
Just after the crossroads with Farquhar Road, you will see steps down onto the canal towpath from the right hand side pavement. Take the steps down onto the canal and turn left to go under the bridge you have just climbed down from.
For an alternative, step free access to the canal towpath, follow the dotted line detour through The Vale University of Birmingham campus area in the diagram above.
You are now following the leafy green canal back towards Birmingham city centre.
Keep going along this canal until you reach the Mailbox and Cube buildings on your right hand side on the other side of the canal. You can use the footbridge to leave the walk here and visit the Mailbox for a bite to eat, or follow the canal round to the left to walk all the way back to Brindley Place, which was the start of this walk.
Overview of route:
Map details © OpenStreetMap contributors