Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023

The Colmore Food Festival provides a great opportunity to sample food from some of the best restaurants in Birmingham.  I was determined to visit and sample the food at the festival.  There was one drawback, the rain.  Waking up on Saturday, the forecast was not good with the prospect of a soggy day ahead.  Motivating the family to go into Birmingham on such a wet day was not easy and the train strikes compounded the problem.  Once I had convinced everyone, we set off for the city centre.  Parking turned out to be straightforward and we made our way from New Street station to St Philips Cathedral.  The area around the Cathedral is known as Pigeon Park and in the northern quarter nearest to Snow Hill station, the Colmore Food Festival was set up and in full flow.  

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Enjoying the food on offer.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Queuing up for soft drinks
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Eating whilst sheltering from the rain.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Lots of colours and tastes.

So was it worth the effort to get there?  The answer is Yes.  We enjoyed the festival.  There was so much to like.  The choice of food outlets was excellent and for the family we were split between Asha’s and Purnell’s.  We went for dishes from both and were not disappointed.  The food was well cooked and so tasty.  There was a chance to wash it down with a glass of Purity’s session IPA from Purecraft beer stall.  Once the main course was finished, we browsed the other stalls and kept going back to Miss Macaroons for dessert.  The brightly coloured meringue-based sandwich cookies were in many different flavours.  Our choice included the following Pistachio, Rhubarb and orange, strawberry, and caramel. There were many more there.  We all agree that the food stalls were excellent and I apologise that I cannot review more of what was on offer but there is only so much we could eat.

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
The Festival was well attended despite the rain.

My grandson was spoilt rotten.  He received a free spiderman face paint, free drawing materials, a book, and a balloon. He was very happy which also made mum and grandparents very pleased.  This was the detail that made the food festival a success for the family.  Not only was the food good but the children were well looked after.  The music was good as well even though dancing on the wet ground was a challenge.  Everyone was in a happy mood despite the rain.  I am already looking forward to next year’s food festival and I don’t think it will be a problem motivating the family to go whatever the weather.

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
A happy grandson with Spiderman faceprint.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Enjoying ourselves in the rain.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Singing in the rain.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Happy vibes.

I hope you enjoy the pictures which were all taken on my Fujifilm x100v.  The camera is weatherproofed which makes it ideal when the weather is wet.  I even had someone come up to me to ask about the camera as he liked the look of it so much. 

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Making sure we all enjoyed the day.

Finally a big thanks to Colmore Row Business District for organising the food festival.  I have provided a link to CBD and the food festival so you can make a note of the event for next year. 

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Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row

By far the most popular venue for the #keyofthecitybrum was Birmingham’s newly built skyscraper, 103 Colmore row. On the 18th floor, there is a south facing viewing platform that provides amazing views of the City’s major buildings.  When the Key started, Instagram was inundated with pictures of the City of Birmingham from this platform.  Many of these pictures were excellent and circulated by the social media team at 103 Colmore Row.  I left my visit to the building till late July and wondered how I could do a different picture from the platform.

Arriving in the foyer of the building with Nicky Warwickshire, my photo companion for the day @nickywarwickshire, we were met by Touwa, one of the volunteers for the Key to the City Brum.  Touwa welcomed us to 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham, England. He explained that the newly built building was a 108-metre tall 26-storey commercial office skyscraper.  We were going to the 19th Floor and above this floor is the soon to be opened restaurant on the 24th floor. We were not going to the 18th floor viewing platform but to a floor that provides a 360o view.  The floor was empty, and I was able to get pictures of buildings such as the BT tower and the Rotunda.  I even did a panorama to take in the skyscrapers.  It was also possible to capture views of the people visiting who were fascinated with the views.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Admiring the view
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Panorama of the City

My different picture?  I got down low and framed the top of the BT tower in the frame of the windows.  I was pleased as I had got a different view which still conveys the sense of height above the city. The picture was featured by BBC Midlands Today that evening.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
A different view of the BT Tower
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
My picture on BBC Midlands Today

Finally a few more pictures showing the colours of the City for the Commonwealth Games taken from the 19th floor of 103 Colmore Row.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Looking over the City and beyond. What can you see?
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Colours on the pillars.
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
The view with everyone’s favourite the BT Tower.

My Journey with the Key
If you wish to review my journey then I have published all my visits on my blog as follows.


Christmas Tree - Great Western Arcade - Birmingham

There are many lovely Christmas trees around Birmingham this year in spite of the Pandemic and Covid-19. The trees are more prominent as they are not competing with other decorations or events where there are crowds of people such as the German Market. However, they do look lonely as the numbers of people in the City centre are down and the Christmas trees are left to look after themselves. I have taken pictures of those trees I have seen on my travels including the one in Knowle where I live. Merry Christmas Everyone and hope you have a lovely time over the next few days.

Christmas Tree - Victoria Square - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Victoria Square – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - St Paul's Church - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – St Paul’s Church – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Great Western Arcade - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Great Western Arcade – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - The Bullring - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – The Bullring – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - St Phillip's Square - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – St Phillip’s Square – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - St Phillip's Cathedral - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – St Phillip’s Cathedral – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Mailbox - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Mailbox – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Mailbox - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Mailbox – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Knowle - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Knowle – Birmingham

When the chance came to take photographs from the top of the Rotunda then I was first in the queue. Maybe not first as there were several other keen photographers that wanted to up there as well. Those people with passion, @Birminghamweare organised the visit to Floor 20 of the iconic Rotunda. We had a 6 to 9.30pm slot on a Sunday night in one of the Staying Cool apartments. The city was buzzing as the Velo bike riders were finishing their 100 mile trip around the West Midlands. I thought I would be late for the trip to the top but I found a place to park and made my way to the Rotunda. I have passed the entrance many times but now I was going in and up to the top. We were based in Room 25 which has the best views over Grand Central and out to the west of Birmingham. I met up with my fellow photographers and walked out onto the veranda – viewing platform at the very top of the Rotunda. I took several minutes to take in the scene and as I often do in these situations got my phone out and took some pictures.

Having settled down and after the initial excitement had subsided, then it was time to start taking some pictures of the magnificent view. I had brought along my 100 – 400mm Canon lens which was able to pick out all the landmarks. These included Birmingham City football ground, St Martin’s Church, the Bus station, Grand Central, St Philip’s Cathedral. the Mailbox and Snow Hill. So many different views to choose from.

The setting of the sun was very exciting and we were all politely jostling for position to get the best shot in. We all managed to get our pictures of the sunset and then this was followed by the night lights of Grand Central and the surrounding buildings. Another set of pictures were taken. Then it was all over. Three and a half hours had gone so quickly. When I got back home it was such fun to look back at all the pictures and also so interesting to see pictures taken by the other photographers from the @Birminghamweare group.

A BIG thank you to Jonathan Bostock and Debra Power from @Birminghamweare for organising this memorable visit. Also thank you to Staying Cool at the Rotunda for allowing us the opportunity to view Birmingham from above. Finally I hope you enjoy all the pictures on show and tune into people with passion – Birminghamweare

“Birmingham we are” is full of passion and I have been posting pictures on their Twitter account for over 3 years. It is run by Jonathan Bostock and Daniel Sturley with help from Debbie. They have successfully published the Birmingham Gem’s Calendar for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. Their web site is popular and has many followers throughout the West Midlands and beyond. Jonathan organised a visit to St Phillips Cathedral for a group of enthusiastic photographers who contribute to the @birminghamweare twitter account . The meeting was also an opportunity to meet @wasps (we all shoot photographs) collective of photographers. We met up at the St Philips Cathedral on a Saturday morning and were greeted by one of the volunteers, Andrew, who showed as around. We initially went outside and then undertook a detailed visit of the inside of the Cathedral. There were many highlights and the stained glass windows in particular were interesting both to photograph and to listen about the story about their creation.

The stained glass windows were impressive each with a story to tell
This City was built on Books
The Sacristy
Beautiful glass
Every church should have one
Andrew answering questions

There were so many other pictures taken and here is a gallery of them and if you want to see how others interpreted the Cathedral then please visit the fantastic post from Birminghamweare.

A view outside