14 Best Things to Do in The Black Country, West Midlands (UK)

Are you wondering what are the best things to do in the Black Country? I used to work for a good number of years for an international hotel chain in the Black Country. I know the Black Country region like the back of my hand. It is a region in the Midlands that is rich in industrial history and strongly forged with the skilful hands of its people. 

Let me share with you these great places and activities that you can enjoy in this part of the West Midlands. 

Best things to do in the Black Country, West Midlands  (UK)

1. Black Country Living Museum

The Black Country Living Museum is a fantastic award-winning open-air museum located in the heart of Dudley.  It is a great place to visit for a day out with your kids and the whole family learning the history that forged the industrial region of the Black Country of the Midlands.

You can enjoy various Victorian time shops and truly feel how is it like to live during those times. Go down to the old coal mine to experience the trade and life of a coal miner. You can also visit the old Victorian pub and chemists within the museum. Since the Black Country region is historically known due to its industrial past, you can also enjoy different related activities like the metal forging of brass, glass making and pottery.  

Throughout the year, the Black Country Living Museum has different events that highlight the beauty of the late Victorian era. The museum attracts a lot of visitors all over the country and the world.  

The Black Country Living Museum is also one of the filming locations of the popular series, The Peaky Blinders. If you want to visit the museum, you can pre-book your tickets here. 

2. Sandwell Valley 

Spend the day enjoying nature within the Black Country.  A visit to Sandwell Valley Park is one of the best things to do in the region. Within the park, you can visit the Forge Mill Farm and Sandwell Park Farm.  There are also various leisure activities for all ages.  There are cycling routes if you want to explore the reserve and there is a massive play activity area for kids.  

You can also enjoy bird watching, picnicking and hiking around the nature reserve. It would be a fun day out for the family!

3. Dudley Castle and Zoo

Dudley Castle and Zoo are one of the most popular attractions and things to do in the Black Country for families and kids. It is advisable to pre-book your tickets before your visit. 

Dudley Castle
Best things to do in the Black Country: Visit the Dudley Castle and Zoo

The Dudley Castle is 11th-century castle ruins built by French Baron Ansculf de Picquigny was succeeded by the Paganel family who eventually became the Lords of Dudley. The castle was the witness of the struggle for power during the Medieval times and was even considered a possible residence for the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots.

 The Zoo was opened in 1937 on the 40-acre castle grounds.  The Dudley zoo is home to hundreds of animals including rare and endangered species such as lions, tigers, orangutans, lemurs and Humboldt penguins.  

4. Football Clubs and Stadiums

The Black Country is home grounds for a few of the UK Premier football clubs such as The West Bromwich Albion (The Baggies), Walsall Football Club and the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club (Wolves).  

The West Bromwich Albion (Baggies) was founded in 1878 by a group of young workers at the George Salters factory in West Bromwich. In 1886, The Baggies are the first team in the Midlands to reach the FA Cup, then from then on, their victories are unstoppable. They are one of the most prominent teams in the Premier Leagues in the UK and Europe with global fans. Their home ground is located at The Hawthorns Football Stadium.  

The Walsall Football club (Saddlers) is the combination of two local football clubs called Walsall Swifts and Walsall Town in 1988. The Saddlers mainly compete in EFL (English Football League) League Two and their home stadium is the Bank’s Stadium in Walsall. 

The Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves)  was founded in 1877 and was one of the founding members of the English Football League (EFL), the first domestic football league in the world.  The Wolves won various trophies, titles and FA  and League Cups. Their home stadium is the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton.  

5. Mad O’ Rourke’s Pie Factory 

A visit to the Black Country won’t be complete without stopping by the Mad O’Rouke’s Pie Factory. Its quirky and almost mad history began in 1856 and will absolutely captivate your interest. It’s the home of the world-famous pie of the Black Country region.

If you are a foodie or just someone who loves a challenge, I encourage you to try and tackle the Desperate Dan’s Cow Pie all in its quirky and massive (Steak & Kidney pie) 4 lbs pie glory with a big pastry bull horns. If you succeeded in the challenge, you will then be awarded a certificate to mark your glorious victory against the famous pie! 

Alternatively, if you wish to have the kidney removed from the pie, you will need to pre-order it ahead, and you will automatically get the “ Wimps’ certificate”. You can also enjoy other iconic and quirky pies that they offer in their Legendary Pie menu.  

6. Himley Hall

A grand manor house of the Lords of Dudley was built in the 17th century. After Dudley Castle got damaged during the English Civil war the Lords of Dudley, made Himley hall their family home.

The Himley Hall was passed on over the generations of the Lords of Dudley and within their noble family. In 1966, due to the decline of the coal mining industry in the Black Country, the Himley Hall was then acquired by the local council. 

Himley Hall and Park have been great local attractions for the locals and tourists. The once Lords of Dudley’s Manor house became a quintessential hotel and venue hall for special occasions like weddings etc.  The grounds of the manor house have become a recreational park and golf course.  

I attended once a great Bonfire Night celebration in Himley hall.  It was a great display and evening with food stalls, a market and the fireworks display for Bonfire Night.  

7. Baggeridge Country Park

The Baggeridge Country Park was once part of the grounds of Himley Hall. It is now a recreational park with walking and bike trails, fishing, a miniature railway for kids (and young at hearts), a community room and a cafe.  

It is a great nature spot within the Black country benefiting the locals and visitors alike.  

8. Greyhound Dog Races

The Greyhound Dog Racings is another type of sports racing event loved by the British. Most of the Greyhound dog races are governed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) which sets the standards of clean and fair betting as well as securing the welfare of the Greyhounds.

In the Black Country, The Monmore Green Stadium is a known Greyhound racing ground. It is one of the active members of the GBGB.  

I have been to a Greyhound Dog racing day once as a day excursion within my local social club. It was my first time to see and experience it, I pretty much got no clue on how to place my bets etc and just trying my luck as I go along not even paying attention to the odds.

9. Dudley Canals

One way to see the beauty and history of the Black Country is through its canals. The Dudley canals were opened in the late 18th century through the initiatives of Lord Dudley.  Canals played a huge part in transporting goods and produce from the cities like London, Liverpool and Birmingham up to the far-flung villages of the British Isles

Currently, The Dudley Canals and Tunnel trust is a charity organisation that manages the preservation and sustainable initiative to keep the canals and their heritage alive and shared with the new generations.  They offer various canal tours and private cruising within the canal systems around the Dudley area.  

10. Willenhall Memorial Park

The Willenhall Memorial Park was a tribute in the 1920s to the fallen soldiers of the First World War. It has been a great recreational area in Willenhall and nearby villages in the Black Country. It has a bandstand for community events, a skate park, splash pads, a play area and a café. 

It is one of the main green spaces in the Black Country region. In 2008, The Willenhall Memorial Park won a Green Flag Award which recognises the park’s outstanding standards for Parks and Green spaces in the UK. 

11. Bantock House

The Bantock House Museum is located in Wolverhampton.  It is a historical house by the previous mayors of Wolverhampton named Thomas and Mary Bantock and was then passed on to their son and his wife, Baldwin and Kitty (Kate) Bantock. It is a beautiful Edwardian house well decorated with solid oak wood furniture. It has gorgeous areas like the Billiard room, the Drawing room and the Dining room that will give you an idea of what is like to live in those times.

When Baldwin Bantock passed away in 1938, he instructed in his last will to give the Bantock House to the Wolverhampton council after his wife passed away.  Hence, the local council turned it now into a local historical attraction in the area.

12. David Austin Roses

A visit to David Austin Roses is a must for rose lovers. I’m sure that at one point you have heard of the “English rose”, other than its great historical symbol throughout the history of Britain,  it is also associated with the beautiful hybrid roses from David Austin.  

David Austin is a local rose breeder from the Black Country, and his life works of breeding beautiful roses have been known and spread around to the different parts of the world. He created hundreds of varieties and thousands of roses have been grown in the David Austin Roses Nursery in Wolverhampton.  The David Austin roses are mainly named after the British Royal family in their honour, Characters in famous English Literary works and famous British people.

As a plant enthusiast, I have some beautiful David Austin Roses too in my garden as part of my plant collection namely: Roald Dahl, Eustacia Vye, Lady of Shalott and Gabriel Oak rose.

13. Wightwick Manors & Gardens

The Wightwick Manors and Gardens is another historical landmark and museum to visit in the Black Country.  It’s a Victorian house with a revival Tudorian style, built in the early 20th century. It has become an attraction to the local area due to its beautiful architectural design both indoor and external buildings.  

It has pre-Raphaelite arts displayed throughout the manors and other Victorian collections and the decor of Sir Geoffrey Mander and his family. 

14. Walsall Leather Museum

Walsall Leather Museum is the home of Walsall’s long history of leather saddle making that began in the Middle Ages.  Over the centuries, it has forged a good number and great quality saddles. 

Horses have become an essential part of Victorian times, due to the expansion of the British empire, British horse racing and wars. The boom of the saddle industry in Walsall has become unstoppable. 

As the years go on and the rise of the light leather goods as well as the manufacturing move to other developing countries due to cheaper production, the leather trade in Walsall has seen a dramatic decline.  

Most of the remaining Walsall’s trade has now niched down in providing luxury saddles for the upper-class market.

  

best things to do in the black country west midlands uk
Best Things to Do in The Black Country, West Midlands (UK)

I hope that inspired you to visit the Black Country in the West Midlands! If you have been here before, let me know which attraction or things to do is your favourite.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

Leave a comment