TBirmingham Museums Trust’s portfolio of nine incredible venues includes Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, the Museum Collection Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum and Weoley Castle Ruins. While Group Visits have always been available, Birmingham Museums have responded to customer needs and have redesigned their packages. Packages are now decided by the visitor, with a visit-only option as the starting point. Groups can then add on guided tours, refreshments, lunches and guide-books as required.
Lucy Elvin, Business Development Associate at Birmingham Museums said: “Our aim was to make the customer experience and group booking offer as flexible as possible. For example, a group might be visiting us as part of a wider itinerary and might not need refreshments and lunches; household members within a group visit might not need multiple guidebooks. By taking this approach and by offering excellent add-on options we can help each group plan and create a tailor-made package that’s perfect for them.” Group visits start from just £7 per person at Blakesley Hall (Right) - a beautiful home with impressive features such as the uneven Long Gallery, lavish decorative framing and fine painted cloths. Blakesley Hall is furnished using an inventory taken in the 17th century and reflects the lifestyle of a wealthy family of the late Tudor and Stuart period of English history. Aston Hall (Pictured next page top right) is a stunning Jacobean mansion and groups can visit from just £9 per person.
The Grade I listed magnificent mansion house boasts over 30 furnished period rooms including Britain’s finest Long Gallery. Visitors can also see paintings spanning four centuries, including Peter Lely’s famous official ‘warts and all’ portrait of Oliver Cromwell, as well as portraits by famous artists such Thomas Gainsborough and George Romney. Guests can also enjoy architectural ruins, and stunning gardens including Lady Holte’s Garden, a formal garden surrounded by brick walls. Both Soho House and the Museum of The Jewellery Quarter are currently only open exclusively for guided tour group visits. Soho House was the elegant home of the industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 to 1809. The house has been beautifully restored and reflects the fashions and tastes of the late Georgian period. Visitors can see some of the products of Boulton’s nearby factory – where buttons and buckles, clocks and vases, and silver and Sheffield plate tableware were made – and where he developed the steam engine in partnership with James Watt. Soho House was also a favourite meeting place of the Lunar Society - a leading Enlightenment group that met every month on the night of the full moon to dine, conduct experiments, and discuss philosophical matters of the day. The society’s famous members included Erasmus Darwin, James Watt and Joseph Priestly who all gathered around the Lunar Room table and engaged in a lively exchange of ideas which inspired many new discoveries and inventions. Groups can visit Soho House from £10.75 per person including a guided tour.
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is built around a perfectly preserved jewellery workshop offering a unique glimpse of working life in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. When the proprietors of the Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firm retired in 1981 they simply ceased trading and locked the door, unaware they would be leaving a time capsule for future generations. Today the factory is a remarkable museum, which tells the story of the Jewellery Quarter and Birmingham’s renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage. Group visits to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter are from £11.50 per person, including a guided tour. For more details on groups visits email groups@birminghammuseums.