The Bullring shopping centre opened on 4th September 2003 at a cost of £530 million. The original 1960s building located there was actually the UK’s first indoor shopping centre.
The name ‘Bullring’ comes historically from the old market site where bulls used to be tied to an iron hoop (the ‘ring’) and then baited. During redevelopment, archaeologists found artefacts dating back to the 12th century!
The Bullring is designed as two interlinked wings, the East and the West Malls, that are linked by an underground passage.
At one of the main entrances is the unmissable sculpture of a 2.2 metre bronze bull, which is always a popular spot to get your photo taken.
The building’s design is intended to combine traditional and modern architecture. There is a glass ‘Skyplane’ roof to let in natural light, glossy white interiors and noiseless escalators that float you from one floor to the next. The outside of Selfridges department store is covered in 15,000 aluminium discs, like silver sequins, which gives it an eye-popping, futuristic look.
It occupies over 1.2m sq ft of retail floor space, and its three floors are home to over 160 shops, including 28 cafes and restaurants. The Bullring draws large shopping crowds. In its first year of opening, it was the most visited shopping centre outside of London. The average annual visitor footfall is 38 million, and over the Christmas period alone there are more than a million visits per week. It has even been designed so that the entrance doors can be removed to accommodate large crowds.
There are lots of places for coffee and cake stopovers, including Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Muffin Break, Love Coffee, Druckers Vienna Patisserie and Chatime.
For hungry shoppers wanting to grab a quick bite on the go there is EAT, Greggs, Subway and Baguette Du Monde, amongst others.
For a dining experience, the Bullring has Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Wagamama, Nando’s, Cafe Rouge and the Handmade Burger Co, Chaophraya, plus others. It is particularly well-known for the large Jamie's Italian that faces out onto the high street.
Selfridges Foodhall features the international eateries Yo Sushi, Rossopomodoro, Ekachai Noodle Bar and Itihaas.
There are no supermarket shops or food markets in the centre itself, but there are plenty just outside.
The Bullring has a dedicated event space for fashion, beauty and food. This is usually an opportunity to find exclusive offers for the brands within the centre via fashion shows, student sessions and retail promotions.
The events page is online at https://www.bullring.co.uk/events/events-at-bullring. A Bullring Plus app is available to download from the app store for more information.
For young children there is a games area, Teenie Weenies, that is located just across from the centre in the Moor Street car park. This is split into two soft play areas: one for toddlers and children up to age five, and another for older children up to age eleven. There is also a supervised crèche for children aged three to eight.
Currently, there is a baby grand piano located on level 3 by Selfridges if you want to tickle the ivories.
The beauty of the Bullring is that it is friendly to all pockets, with a mixture of high-end and high street brands, so you can splash the cash or find a bargain - especially in the sales.
At the time of its opening in 2003, 91 of the 160 brands were new to Birmingham city centre, including Forever 21’s first ever European shop.
The shopping centre has been designed in a way to loosely categorise the shops floor by floor.
On the upper level is the higher-end fashion, such as All Saints, DKNY Jeans, Kurt Geiger, Ben Sherman, Reiss and Karen Millen, combined with mainstream brands such as Gap, H&M, Topshop and River Island.
At a mid-level there is fashion (e.g. Oasis, Warehouse, New Look and Dune) and lifestyle retailing (e.g. Boots and HMV) aimed generally at the younger customers.
On the ground floor can be found the more typical high street brands selling a whole range of fashion, music, footwear, health and beauty and mobile phones.
There are two major department stores in the Bullring: the fourth-largest Debenhams in the country and one of only four Selfridges in the UK. This Selfridges has won eight awards for architecture and retailing, and it spans all of the floors of the shopping centre.
The Entertainer is always a good stop-off if you’ve got children in tow or are young at heart as there is a wide range of toys and games, plus regular demonstrations, events and competitions.
The Bullring is, like any other major city centre shopping centre, busy from mid-morning and weekends. However, if you go early enough in the day it can still be quiet and relaxed.
On the doorstep of the Bullring shopping centre are the Bull Ring indoor market and the world-famous rag market. The first specialises in fish, meat, fruit and vegetables and household supplies. The second, the rag market, has a dazzling array of fabrics, haberdashery, fancy dress costumes, clothing, hosiery, household supplies and accessories and is well worth a visit, although do note that this is only open four days a week.
The Bullring’s opening hours are 10am–8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm on Saturdays and 11am-5pm on Sundays.
Late-night shopping is available during festive occasions such as Christmas, but as this varies check the website for more information.
For The customer service desk is located on level two, helping with matters such as finding your way and lost property, plus local travel information.
For disabled customers there is a Shopmobility service offered in the Bullring during the Christmas period, which is run by the charity wmsnt Group. It is located on car park level 2 and it is possible to hire electric scooters and wheelchairs or manual wheelchairs. Visit www.birminghamshopmobility.com or call 0333 241 2747 for more information.
For members of the public, the centre provides a variety of different services. If you need to charge your phone, four ChargeBoxes in the centre can charge your phone for free for 30 minutes. On the Upper West Mall are Amazon Lockers offering a collection service for online Amazon orders to the centre. Car washing is available in both the Centre and Moor Street car parks.
For parents and babies, baby changing facilities are located throughout the centre.
The Bullring runs a Child Safe scheme and staff are trained in helping separated children and parents. A helpline number is given on shop windows throughout the bullring.
For children, the Teenie Weenies games area is located across the street from the centre in the Moor Street car park. This caters to children aged up to 11 and provides two soft play areas. There is also a supervised crèche for children aged three to eight.
There is a grand total of 3,100 car parking spaces dedicated to Bullring shoppers. These are divided between 900 in Debenhams Edgbaston Street car park, 1,000 in in the Centre car park and 1,200 in Selfridges Moor Street car park.
There are 19 family parking spots and 35 disabled parking spots, plus free motorcycle parking. Prices vary by location. 2 hours costs £5 at the Bullring centre, £4.50 at the Debenhams car park and £4.50 at Moor Street.
It is easy to reach the Bullring by public transport, including bus, tram and train. It is closest to Moor Street train station, but still close enough to New Street and Snow Hill so that it is within easy walking distance. The Bullring also has the use of 3,100 parking spaces split between three car parks.
The UK’s second capital has become known as a shopper’s paradise. The Bullring is arguably the largest and most diverse shopping centre in the city, but there are plenty of others on its doorstep, as well as the whole high street to explore.
Birmingham’s history is founded on its emergence as a leading centre for its ability to craft, manufacture and sell goods. This heritage is now continuing stronger than ever.
It can be difficult to navigate around the large number of shops or to find the right exit especially on the lower floors, so take advantage of the touchscreen computers where you can browse a map.
In November to December of each year, Birmingham plays host to the largest German Christmas market outside of Germany. This begins right outside of the Bullring, making it an extra-special time to visit for the festive atmosphere.