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“Worth a visit”
Review of Mac Birmingham

Mac Birmingham
Ranked #69 of 280 things to do in Birmingham
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Opened in 1962, mac birmingham is a hub of creativity and learning in the Midlands. With four performance auditoria, rehearsal and media studios, a cinema, and a visual art gallery, mac birmingham presents a broad range of contemporary work from both emerging and established artists across genres. mac birmingham is the most visited arts centre in the Midlands and is renowned for its family friendly and inclusive approach. Originally intended for children, the centre now caters for audiences young and old, from the local community and beyond. Re-opened in May 2010 after extensive refurbishment, the arts centre boasts stunning architecture and a high level of accessibility. Set in the magnificent surroundings of Cannon Hill Park and home to the Bridges Bar Café for meals and snacks, and the stylish Arena Bar for evening drinks, the centre is well worth a visit.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Stairs / elevator, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
Reviewed October 10, 2013

Went there since its revamp and much improved. Our daughters college revue was held in the theatre and it is well improved. There is a bar, cafe and all art facilities including cinema and rooms for lessons held over the week. And its next to cannon hill park and nature centre.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Marleyfan65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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148 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Lovely Latte & lunch in laid back park art centre.”
Reviewed September 27, 2013

First visit for me.
Served a great coffee and delicious smoked salmon pasta by lovely smiling staff...great value. Then sat out side in the precious Autumn sunshine to eat. After which we walked around the park looking at the beautiful trees and enjoying the smiles on the faces of everyone we met.
We came away with lots of leaflets and a programme of events. I can't wait to return.
My compliments to everyone involved.

Visited September 2013
Thank pzykit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
84 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Attractive venue - shame about the attitude”
Reviewed August 25, 2013

I don't like to write negative reviews, but feel I have to about the MAC. The refurbishment a few years ago made it into a very attractive, spacious complex with multiple facilities including conference rooms and a large snack bar and bar, and it looks great as you walk in and wander around. However - and this is a BIG however - scratch the surface and you may find that the from a people-friendliness point of view, there's much to be desired.

For example, there are two entrances from the car park: one over a wooden foot bridge and the other over the old stone/tarmac one, involving a walk. If you are less mobile but not in a wheelchair, this can be a problem, especially if you are leaving after the park gates close. There used to be a door straight from the disabled parking area into the MAC, but it has gone. A friend who walks with great difficulty asked the bar manager if there was a quick way out, back to his car. She was dismissive. He was made to feel like a problem she couldn't be bothered to solve. Zero marks for disability-friendliness, then. That meant a trek to reception to ask the receptionist to let him out. She was kinder, but there was yet another trek to get to his car.

There is a lovely picnic area outside the MAC with new tables. It always used to be where we ate our picnics when I was a youngster in the 60s-70s. Now, there's a bright pink sign screwed to each table telling you you can't eat your own food there. The staff are rude if you try, so don't. Are they trying to keep the 'riff raff' away, or just people on a modest income, I wonder? Or those who don't like to invest in somewhere that sells rip-off, unimaginative food? Or those who are on an eco-friendly or otherwise more strict diet? I can think of several categories of people who shouldn't be forced to eat food bought from the snack bar... The snack bar prices are ridiculous - I guess they're trying to recoup the money spent on the premises, and pay the electricity bill. Anyway, combine that with the snooty looks my friends and I got (no - don't even think we were smelly or badly behaved!) and this is definitely NOT my choice for a pleasant evening out.

A bottle of rose (pinot grigio), a coffee, a slice of carrot cake and a pint of lager came to £26 in the bar. Some of you may think that's OK. I don't. My husband didn't have another drink once he'd been to the bar that one time. I guess they don't want people like us in there. Like us? Well, the group I was with were on a committee team-building evening out. All of us over 50 and very well-behaved. What kind of people DO they want in there, I wonder? I imagine they would say 'the discerning', or something like that. I discern a rip-off. No wonder we were the only people there by 9pm, apart from 2 others, both drinking tap water and making use of the free wifi...

The cafe on the other side of the park, run by the rangers, is lovely - the kind of cafe you want to hang around for hours, just because the prices are good, the food is good and modestly-priced, and the staff are enjoying their work and give you a smile. I'm getting too old and careful now to waste my time hoping the MAC will ever come up to that standard. I give up. And that doesn't often happen with me. I tend to give places a 2nd chance (unless they're unhygienic of course). Given that I've been going to the MAC for 55 years, since the first time I crawled into a flowerbed at the Tulip Festival the park used run years ago, it's taken me a long, long, long time to call it quits...

Visited August 2013
Thank Jan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solihull, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
502 reviews
229 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
“Beautiful park and worth a visit!”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

Cannon Hill Park is a gem in the middle of Birmingham. Beautifully maintained and lots to see. I have been a frequent visitor over the years but haven't been for a while. I was impressed with the new Crazy Golf course. I am always impressed with the fact that people in the park seem to be filled with happiness and contentment - I am sure through the beautiful surroundings. The 'new' MAC is stunning and provides a range of entertainment and interesting exhibitions. There is a wonderful cafe (but be warned it gets busy) and a relaxing bar area. There is also a nice cafe in the Cannon Hill grounds which sometimes gets overlooked by the MAC facilities. Well worth a visit by families, couples, singles of all ages. The paths are relatively flat so suitable for wheelchairs, prams, buggies etc. One of my favourite parts is the model showing where Birmingham's water comes from... A bit hidden away but worth a visit. There is a nice assortment of ducks, swans, moor hens and various other bird life that all seem very happy to mingle with the public... In fact they seem to epitomise the laid back atmosphere of this amazing park.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank MRB01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solihull UK
Level Contributor
84 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Be prepared to queue”
Reviewed August 1, 2013

This was our second visit to the MAC for a live performance in 12 months. This time we were treated to The Spooky Men's Chorale - a group of Australian male singers. The venue was the outdoor arena and fortunately the weather in July 2013 was ideal for this – rain may have made it a miserable experience – in spite of The Spooky Men's excellent show.
The stalls seating was on plastic chairs but we were on the terraces, which are concrete seats with virtually no back support. We took a cushion each – two each would have been better. (I’ve still got a bruised bottom!) The staff were handing out thin foam pads, but they’d all gone by the time we established that we’d need them.
Having said all that the performance and the atmosphere were great.
Just one note of caution, and we had the same experience at our last visit to a show in the MAC theatre – they only open the doors a few minutes before the performance is due to start. As seats are not allocated it’s a case of first come get the best seats. This meant some folk standing for well over half an hour forming a queue and whilst this may not bother some, when you get the age when hips & knees are starting to retaliate against several decades abuse it can prove to be a most dispiriting experience.

Visited July 2013
Thank BeBeTheCatUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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