I visited 'Birmingham's answer to Central Park' and you've probably never heard of it

Eastside City Park is just a seven minute walk from Bullring
-Credit: (Image: Brummie Mummies)

A dad sat peacefully on a bench watching his son running around on the grass, whilst a nearby worker in hi-vis lay down to sunbathe and a group of students sat putting the world to rights on a park bench. I was right in the heart of Birmingham city centre, just a seven-minute walk from Bullring, and yet it felt like I was in a lush green oasis. Could this be Brum's best kept secret?

Eastside City Park offers a long rectangle of pretty planting, unusual trees and flat wide paths that are easy to navigate with wheelchairs and buggies. Having been bombarded with noise, roadworks and bustling bodies on my walk here from Bullring, the change in atmosphere was palpable as soon as I wandered into this haven.

It was instantly quiet, as if the trees were soaking up the city sounds, creating a barrier to the outside world around us. I walked through, enjoying the ornamental grasses, red hot pokers, sculptures and the sun reflecting on the bark of the oriental-looking birch trees set against metal pergolas. There was barely a sound to be heard apart from the soothing chirrup of birdsong.

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A coachload of schoolchildren arrived, pouring out in a long line to march their way into Thinktank and I thought what a wonderful introduction to Birmingham this is for kids. Those children were likely to go home telling mum and dad that Birmingham is a big green park full of fab things to see, like spitfires and engines. What a view to have of our great city.

For anyone who has ever thought Birmingham isn't particularly family-friendly, I'd say head to this 14,000 square metre sanctuary. There are plenty of benches to relax, grass to throw out rugs and picnic tables for lunch, meaning you don't have to spend a fortune on eating out with kids. It also gives them a safe space to run around.

The park is framed by Millennium Point, Thinktank and Birmingham City University. A free photography exhibition was displayed outside the university doors, which was great to see. You can wander into Millennium Point without having to pay (there are toilets here too) and there's a wonderful cafe on the second floor, serving great coffee and pastries, all of which are baked in-house. I bought a takeaway coffee and a Biscoff-filled croissant to enjoy in the sunshine. More on Mulino Cafe later.

The fourth side is all the ongoing HS2 work on Curzon Street but this has been boarded off so it's not too visible and it's surprisingly quiet too. The road here is closed for works so it may currently be more peaceful than when the road is open again.

Being a perfect rectangle, this could be Birmingham's answer to Central Park, a green lung in the centre of our sprawling concrete jungle. It will be interesting to see how it feels once all the HS2 work is complete.

There's a brightly-coloured food and drink kiosk called Platform 2 (although it was closed when we visited) and a small kids playground, which is free to enter and features musical play equipment, climbing ropes, whisper dishes and a texture hunt wall all on soft bump-friendly flooring. This could be improved, perhaps with a swing and a slide, but it was fun for kids nonetheless and a nice treat for them post-Bullring shopping.

Eastside Park in Birmingham City Centre
Eastside Park in Birmingham City Centre -Credit:Brummie Mummies

It's well worth noting that Thinktank offers free entry into its wonderful Science Garden after 3pm on Wednesdays to Sundays during term times and from 3pm every day throughout the school holidays. With more than 30 hands-on exhibits, there are loads of fun things here for all ages.

What was noticeable was the complete lack of litter in this park. There was an abundance of bins, making it easy for people to keep the space clean. Nothing was overgrown or worn out. There was a bit of graffiti on the bins and the shutters of the food kiosk but nothing too major.

This was heartening as the £11.75 million park has been open for 11 years and still looks as good as new. The only sad part is the water features are no longer in action but they are still maintained so they don't look like an eyesore. In fact, the curvy benches gave it a zen-like quality.

Sat on my park bench, sipping a delicious coffee, I watched the trains come in and out of Moor Street Station - just a five minute walk away - listening to their distance chug without finding it noisy or distracting. It was a pleasant escape from the frenetic city centre. I wholeheartedly recommend giving this park a try.

Where to find Eastside Park

Entrances to the park are on Curzon Street and Cardigan Street. It's an easy walk from Moor Street Station and Bullring. Buses 4, 6, 45, 60, 74, 94, 95 and X8 pass near the park. It's also just a short walk from Digbeth and New Street Station.