The hit TV series Peaky Blinders has placed Birmingham and the West Midlands firmly in the national and international spotlight. But long before the BBC drama series aired, the region was already celebrating its unique and colourful past.
But who are The Peaky Blinders?
The Peaky Blinders were an urban street gang based in Birmingham and the West Midlands, operating from the end of the 19th century up until the start of the First World War. Recognised for their signature outfits of tailored jackets and peaked flat caps, the gang built themselves from social power robbery, violence, political influence and gambling to become one of the most influential gangs of that era (pretty clever eh?). So influential in fact, that writer & drirector Steven Knight and the BBC decided that they needed their own series, and we’re all hotly anticipating the launch of S5!
What can you expect when visiting Birmingham and the West Midlands? Unfortunately, we can’t promise Thomas Shelby himself, however we do have some amazing Peaky Blinders inspired experiences to get your teeth into…
Black Country Living Museum, Dudley
The Black Country Living Museum has long played a starring role in high profile films and TV series, but has reached global audiences in recent years as a location for the epic drama Peaky Blinders.
Some of the series’ most dramatic moments and iconic scenes have been filmed at the Museum. During filming the Canal Arm is transformed into Charlie Strong’s Yard – centre of many deals and disagreements, including the famous tea party scene. Other locations across the 26 acre Museum have also been featured, from illicit meetings set under the Canal Bridge to the scene of a grisly murder filmed in St James’s School.
Fans can walk in the footsteps of iconic characters and explore the history of the period on a visit to the Museum. Also look out for the highly popular Peaky Blinders Nights; an immersive experience of the underworld of the 1920s.
Escape Live, Peaky Blinders experience
Escape Live are excited to announce the launch of the official Peaky Blinders escape rooms in Birmingham in early summer 2019.
Want something different to do with your friends or family? Escape Live is a fantastic way of creating some lasting memories and getting the adrenaline pumping. You will have just 60 minutes to work together to crack a baffling selection of codes, puzzles and brainteasers. An ideal activity for a stag weekend or hen do or just an exciting afternoon out with your mates, have you got what it takes to escape before it is too late?
Be the first to know more by becoming an Escape Live VIP and receive access to book your Peaky Blinders experience before anyone else.
Brum Tours presents: “Peaky Tours” The original Peaky Blinders Tour in Birmingham.
Immerse yourselves in in the story of the real Peaky Blinders who terrorised the racecourses of England in the 1920s. A walking tour full of stories, you’ll discover the inspiration for the term “Peaky Blinder” right here in Digbeth, Birmingham’s thriving creative quarter, told by some of the most knowledgeable guides in the country. The city is proud to have one of, if not the most reputable historians of his generation, Prof. Carl Chinn MBE in charge of our tour guides.
You’ll start the tour off at The Old Crown, Birmingham’s oldest non-religious buildings that sits proudly in the heart of Digbeth. Relaxing over a welcome drink your guide will bring to life the true story of the Peaky Blinders in Birmingham as you set off to walk the streets of Digbeth. You’ll finish off the tour sharing more stories of this bloody gang over a typical Victorian meal (it doesn’t get more immersive that than!), leaving with stories to tell and a true insight into the real Peaky Blinders of Birmingham.
A pint & a pie at The Old Crown, Digbeth
“Your Community pub since 1368”
Having stood the test of time throughout the English Civil War, The Old Crown has earned its place as one of the cities true landmarks, with even Queen Elizabeth I staying here in 1575 on her way home from Kenilworth Castle. The Midlands Food and Drink Hospitality Wards named it ‘best traditional pub’ in 2019 and we can see why…
Settle down for the evening in the traditional and cosy setting of wooden beams and stools, surrounded by welcoming locals and friendly faces. With an amazing selection of ales and beers to enjoy alongside some pub classic dishes, you won’t be left disappointed (or hungry!), you might also catch one of their many events and festivals taking place all year round, from summer garden parties to Ocktoberfest – now that’s how to party like a Peaky Blinder!
And if you’re too tired/full to get yourself home, then their 10 bedrooms available are the perfect place to unwind.
Graffiti Art Tour, Digbeth
Swapping caps for cans, this fascinating walk shows you some of the amazing graffiti art around Digbeth in Birmingham. The walk starts and ends at Moor St train station (though pick it up wherever!), and is 4 km (3 miles) long. There are cafes and bars along the route to take a break, especially around the famous Custard Factory, built by Alfie Bird to produce Bird’s Custard in 1906. Today it retains its industrious edge playing home to a variety of creative talent and independents.
In Peaky Blinders Thomas Shelby sends illicit goods to London via Birmingham’s canal network – send yourself on a canal voyage instead, not to London, but around Birmingham’s famous canal network.
One of the best ways to discover the canals and learn about their industrial heritage is via a Sherborne Wharf Heritage Narrowboat tour. You can board one of three tour boats from the International Convention Centre Quayside in Brindleyplace – today the canals look unrecognisable from the moorings depicted in the series. The tour takes in Oozells Street and Icknield Port Loop and you’ll learn how Birmingham was instrumental in the start of the first Industrial Revolution.
If you want to see the actual canal used in the series head to the Black Country Living Museum (scroll back up!) – We’d recommend driving for this!
Whilst this isn’t the true location of the bloody war that erupted in 1921, if you want to live like a real Peaky Blinder then a trip to the Racecourse is a must (minus the violence of course!). Wolverhampton Races is one of Britain’s busiest racecourses, hosting 80 horse racing fixtures across the year. With amazing hospitality, it’s guaranteed to be a great day out.
Wolverhampton train station is just 10 minutes from the tracks, so avoid the parking queues and hop on a train with West Midlands Railway, taking just 17 minutes from Birmingham – enough time to brush up on your betting knowledge, you never know you could be winning big like the Shelby’s!
Sadler’s Brewing Co, Stourbridge
Sadler’s Brewing Co is situated in the heart of England’s famous and industrial ‘Black Country’ in Stourbridge. Founded in 1861 by Nathaniel Sadler, today the brewery is still run by 6th generation brewer Chris Sadler and has once again become a thriving family run Craft Brewery.
Producing a selection of signature craft beers, including their very own Peaky Blinders inspired range! Try it out for yourselves at their relaxed brewery experience, starting off with a few samples and their famous Brewhouse & Bar followed by a tour around the Brewery by the Brewer themselves (how many times can you say ‘Brew’ in one sentence?!).
Fans or no-fans, this is the perfect day out with friends, family or colleagues. Prices from £20 pp, running every Saturday, more details here.
Situated in Lye, near Stourbridge, the Brewery has once again become a thriving family run Craft Brewery, supplying public houses & shops with Sadler’s award winning ales throughout the Country. The Brewery now produces a selection of Signature craft beers and a series of distinctive specials in both cask, keg, bottle & can including a Peaky Blinders inspired range.
Birmingham Beer Week
19-28 July | Various locations
The Peaky Blinders tipple of choice is whisky, but hey, they’re minted! Following the Series 5 premiere at Birmingham Town Hall, there’s a week-long celebration of Birmingham’s thriving and more affordable beer scene. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket for the premiere be-er shame to leave!
There are currently 15 independent breweries operating out of Birmingham (the Shelby’s would no doubt have had some involvement in the management of these we’d wager) and there’s also a rapidly growing number of independent venues, serving a dazzling array of wonderful craft ales – naturally, many of these venues and ales are involved in the week of beer.
Talking of pubs – The Garrison Pub features heavily in seasons 2 & 3 of Peaky Blinders, with Thomas Shelby buying and then blowing up the boozer before rebuilding it again! He must have had one too many! Remember, know your limits beer fans – you don’t want to get in similar circumstances by getting Peaky Blind drunk!
And don’t drink & drive – Get the train with West Midlands Railway with their £2.50 evening return fares.