One of the West Midlands’ major hubs, Wolverhampton lies somewhere between the picturesque Shropshire Hills and Birmingham – indeed, it’s less than 20 minutes on the train from the UK’s second city.
Home to iQ’s Fiveways House, around 10 minutes’ walk north of the city centre, Wolverhampton is known for its football club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and (admittedly to a lesser extent) for being the first town in Britain to install electric traffic lights. It’s also the home of several musical legends – but more of that later.
Here are a few places to check out as you get to know the wonders of Wolverhampton.
Light House – 15 min walk
You can find your standard multiplexes all over the West Midlands, but the Light House in Wolverhampton city centre is the only independent cinema in the Black Country. A cultural hub for the city, it shows a good range of films as well as streaming regular live events from the RSC, Met Opera and Royal Opera House – and there’s a café bar with a covered courtyard for pre or post-movie drinks. There are special prices for students on tickets, so it’s good value as well.
Grand Theatre – 15 min walk
This theatre is Wolverhampton’s home of live entertainment – so some of the performers listed as upcoming came as a bit of a surprise. Turned out it’s a steady stream of tribute acts reviving the hits of Whitney, Aretha, Elvis and the like, and even Bruno Mars (but nothing to worry about, Bruno). In between, you get musicals and the occasional TV celeb. Don’t expect anything too edgy – you might find more contemporary singers and stand-ups at the nearby Civic Hall or the (named-after-the-local-band) Slade Rooms.
The Robin 2 – 13 min bus
Meanwhile, just outside the city centre in Bilston, this live music venue is more of a down and dirty, ‘sticky carpet’ affair. While no strangers to the tribute act scene, The Robin 2 (and its predecessor, The, erm, Robin) has seen some famous names pass through in its time, so it’s worth checking the listings – if you’re into 70s rock, it could become your second home. There’s a bar, food (pizza, burgers and such) and a good vibe.
Interesting fact: numerous musicians have connections to the Wolverhampton area, including Beverley Knight, Jamelia, Carina Round and – undeniably the most exciting of all – Babylon Zoo’s Jas Mann.
Molineux Stadium – 10 min walk
Just down the road from us, and near the main university campuses, this is the home of wolves. Sorry, 'Wolves'. The local football team enjoys a loyal following, but even if you’re not devotee you can still have a good day out at the stadium, with guided tours available. There’s also an onsite museum charting the club’s 140+ year history and achievements, and a restaurant overlooking the pitch – not to mention a frighteningly wide array of Wolves merchandise to spend your money on, including toothbrushes, oven gloves, teddy bears and gnomes. Gnomes!
Lime Tree Café – 40 min walk
A bit of a walk away, admittedly, but if you’re up for some fresh air you can head for the Lime Tree in the picturesque Upper Green area of Tettenhall. Looking out over the green, you can enjoy yummy cakes with your tea or coffee, and light lunches freshly prepared on site. This pretty village feels a world away from Wolverhampton city centre, so it’s a good place to get a change of scene, and there’s a couple of other nice cafés there too.
Zuri Coffee – 14 min walk
Back in the centre of town, don’t be fooled by the name – Zuri offers much more than coffee. This friendly place on Lichfield Street is the place to go for authentic Indian street food and India-inspired variations of British favourites. Great for breakfast and reviving smoothies, there’s lots of vegan, veggie and gluten-free options as well – go check it out!
Made in Thai – 17 min walk
For a night out with friends over great Thai food, Made in Thai is the ideal choice. Nice atmosphere and tasty, authentic dishes you’ll be whipping out your phone to photograph. There’s a huge number of choices, so it’s worth checking out the menus on their website first to make the decisions easier. The set menus for sharing are great value.
Wild Bytes Café and Lounge – 17 min walk
As the name suggests, this friendly independent café on Darlington Street is somewhere you’re welcome to sit and browse the internet as you enjoy your coffee and snacks. It’s a bit of a community hub and does lovely hot chocolate, baguettes and paninis as well as cakes and cappuccinos. Its handy location makes Wild Bytes a great place to escape the bustle of the shops for a while. Nice comfy sofa too, if you’re lucky enough to secure it.
Oldies Unlimited – 17 min walk
The place to try for those records and CDs you can’t find anywhere else, Oldies Unlimited on Darlington Street is heaving with curious discs, some dating as far back as the 1940s. As in all the best independent record stores, these guys really know their stuff, so if they don’t have what you want in stock, they’ll probably know where to look for it.
Shop in the Square – 17 min walk
This is one of those interesting little shops that is great if you’re looking for handmade gifts or arts and crafts. It stocks the work of more than 30 artists from around the Black Country, so the gift you buy may be locally made too. You could even get to meet the designer or artist at one of Shop in the Square’s in-store events.
Betty Blake’s Toy Emporium – 28 min bus
You need to travel a bit out of town for this one, but if you’re after a really special toy for a younger sibling (or, let’s be honest, yourself), this specialist shop is worth the trip to Penn. It takes inspiration from Victorian times, so you will find cute wooden toys, adorable plushies, ragdolls and spinning tops amongst its curiosities. The cuddly bunnies and penguins get our vote. Awww.
Nathan Rose Music – 19 min walk
If you’re a musician, or looking to become one, you’ll want to get to know Nathan Rose Music on Skinner Street. A one-stop shop for guitars, keyboards, brass and pretty much anything else you can get a tune out of, the store also offers expert tuition at reasonable rates, covering a wide range of instruments. Who knows, it could set you off in a whole new direction.
Fiveways House is around 19 minutes’ walk from Wolverhampton Train Station, and the bus station which is located nearby. You can find more details on public transport in Wolverhampton and the West Midlands at networkwestmidlands.com
Your iQ team will be happy to help you get to know Wolverhampton better, so please ask at Reception if you need any help. And if you find somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife
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