Earth : Europe : Britain and Ireland : United Kingdom : England : West Midlands (region) : West Midlands (county) : Bearwood
Bearwood is a district of the town of Smethwick and part of the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, originally a tiny hamlet it’s on border of Sandwell and Birmingham (England) in the West Midlands County. Bearwood is primarily a shopping and residence area, historically one of its greatest claims to fame is that it was the home of the famous Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Company or Midland Red - The site of which is now a supermarket and car par.
From Birmingham City Centre, Bearwood can be reached by travelling down the Hagley Road (A456), one of the main arterial roads in Birmingham. It can also be reached by traveling through Winson Green, past the City Hospital, down City Road (A457).
By motorway, get off at Junction 2 of the M5 and head down the Wolverhampton Road (A4123) towards Birmingham. Turn left at the McDonalds, Amber Tavern Public House and The Chiquitos Junction onto the Hagley Road (A456). Alternatively you may also take M5 Junction 3 onto the Quinton Expressway / Hagley Road (A456) and once again past the above mentioned restaurants.
Bearwood is served by a number of National Express West Midlands (Former West Midlands Travel) bus services, most of which call at Bearwood Bus Station, just off the Hagley Road next to the Kings Head Public House. Bearwood can be reached by most buses running down the Hagley Road, from Birmingham City Centre, also there is a service via City Road & Cape Hill (Number 82). As well as the bus station, some services take an alternative route via Three Shires Oak Road and call outside the Bear Tavern Public House. Services that start from Birmingham go on to Wolverhampton, Dudley, Stourbridge, Halesowen, Blackheath & Merry Hill taking various alternating routes.
Other buses not connecting Bearwood to Birmingham City Centre include the 444, 447, 448 and 450, all tracing various routes that terminate in West Bromwich and the 11 Clockwise and Anticlockwise services, known as 'the Outer Circle' which link the suburbs of Birmingham together, including Harborne, Selly Oak, Bourneville, Kings Heath, Hall Green, Perry Barr and Handsworth. Choice travel also run a limited service from Bearwood Bus Station to Weoley Castle, via Selly Oak and the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.
There are no train stations in Bearwood. The nearest train stations are Smethwick Rolfe Street, Smethwick Galton Bridge or The Hawthorns and all about a mile and a half away near the High St Smethwick, they serve the local area. Most of the West Bromwich bound bus services pass one of the stations; Smethwick Galton Bridge has the most intense service and also serves certain destination in the North West. There is a limited service to London via High Wycombe from Galton Bridge and The Hawthorns. Birmingham New Street is only around 3-4 miles away and has services to destinations all over the country.
The nearest airport is Birmingham International, just over 10 miles away.
- Andy Hamilton & The Bluenotes (Bearwood Corks Club), Corner of Bearwood High Street and Sherwood Road, . Andy Hamilton MBE is a Jamaican born British Jazz Saxophonist and composer, he is world renowned and plays regularly on Thursdays at the Corks Club, no mean feat considering he is 91 years old. £4/£3(concessions).
- Warley Woods (Go for a walk), entrances on Barclay Road, Lightwoods Hill and Abbey Road, . Originally the private grounds of Warley Abbey, a stately home owned by the Galton Gunmaking family, Warley woods is now a public park, with a golf course and a small cafe. The annual picnic in the park takes place every July featuring live music.
- Lightwoods Park. Another park in Bearwood that can be reached from the woods by crossing Lightwoods Hill. A fairly average park with a bandstand and a playground built over 15 years ago by Anneka Rice and her television program. It also houses an old stately home, Lightwoods House (not open to the public) along with 'Shakespeare's Garden', a walled Victorian garden that has seen better days.
The majority of shops in Bearwood are situated on the high street and to a lesser extent on Three Shires Oak/Abbey Road. There is no large supermarket in Bearwood, the largest in close proximity being Asda in Cape Hill. However, there is an Aldi, Cooperative & Iceland on the high street. There are also a number of independents including three or four butchers, three florists and 2 greengrocers.
On the high street there are a few clothes shops, including a mature ladies fashion store, a discount store, a younger women's fashion store and a 'Peacocks'. There is also an independent shoe shop, Blunts. Three charity shops also take their place on the high street, three banks/building societies. There are a two dispensing chemists, and a non-dispensing drug store on the high street, a dentist and opticians. There is even a thriving building supplies shop on Three Shires Oak Road. Despite this very healthy selection of stores, both The high street and other streets seem dominated by takeaway premises.
By far the biggest off-licence in Bearwood is 'Global Wines' opposite the Abbey Pub, with a massive choice of Beers, Wines and Spirits it is a contender for best off-licence in Birmingham. Other off licences include 'Park Cellars' on the corner of Park Road and Upper Saint Mary's Road.
There is also the quite famous 'Drink Stop' on the high street, which is managed by Tony who has been a well known face on the High Street for the last 30 years. The shop is renowned locally and regionally for stocking a wide variety of unique products. The Drink Stop has been designed by Lapworth Architects and won Design Retailer of the year 2011.
- Teknaf Cuisine, 622 Bearwood Road (Hagley Road end of the High Street), ☎ 0121 420 4499. One of the better balti houses in Bearwood, with a more modern take on Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine £10-£20.
- Franzl's (Austrian Cuisine), Milcote Road, . An Austrian Restaurant, nestled on a residential street in Bearwood. Expensive but well regarded £20-£30.
- Azzari too, 204 Lightwoods Road ((on the corner of three shires oak road, just up from the Bear Tavern)), ☎ 0121 429 6621, . A rather expensive contempory restaurant, which fuses continental food with Caribbean food. £25-£30.
- The Kings Head (Gastro Pub), Hagley Road, ☎ 0121 277 4130, . Previously the legendary drug superstore 'Quantum', was closed for a while and has been extensively refurbished to become an upmarket pub serving restaurant style food. Good food but there can be long waits. £20-£30.
- Martin's Tandoori (Indian and Bangladeshi Cuisine), 22 Abbey Road, ☎ 0121 429 8287, . On a par with Teknaf on the high street and better than the other balti houses in Bearwood. Martin's offers a more traditional feel with cosy booths and friendly staff. £10-£20.
The Haweli on the Hagley Road opposite The Kings Head is widely regarded for its Peshawari cuisine. Allegedly, Sir Mark Tully ex India correspondent for the bBBC is a fan of its food
Bearwood High street is littered with a ridiculous amount of takeaway joints, most are not noteworthy of a mention.
Neelams Kebab House is excellent.Food is nice genuine and tasty. Karachi Kebab House opposite the Bear Tavern isn't too bad either but not apatch on neelams. It is open literally all the time.
There is a great chinese takeaway opposite Martins Tandoori and next to the Abbey. It is called Oriental Delight and is definitely one of the best in the surrounding area. For Traditional Fish and chips, 'The Abbey Fish Bar' is probably your best bet (opposite the Abbey). 'Lightwoods Fish Bar' sells interestingly coloured orange chips for the more adventurous traveller!
- The Dog, Hagley Road (On the corner of Galton Road by Lightwoods Park). One of the Ember Inn chain pubs. Much like any of the other Ember Inns, can get extremely busy on Friday and Saturday nights, owing to it being the only decent pub in Bearwood now. Now hosts acoustic live music nights on Tuesdays. Per Pint £2.50 -£3.10.
- The Bear Tavern, High Street, . Formerly the Bear Hotel. Its the place to go in Bearwood to watch sport and is fairly cheap compared with The Dog or Plan B over the road. It is open late (til around 2) on the weekends and is also the place to go for a fight, with trouble on the weekend a regular occurance. Used to be a good place for live music and comedy (Frank Skinner, Ed Byrne and members of the Fast Show have performed here) but sadly there doesnt seem to be any entertainment on at present.
- The Abbey, Abbey Road ((Corner of Thimblemill road)), ☎ 0121 434 6941. A local pub for local people. Nicknamed 'The shabby abbey', to say it has a parochial atmosphere is an understatement. Saying that the beer's cheap, if not amazing and the food is a bargain and edible.
- Plan B (Trendy Bar), 113/114 Three Shires Oak Road. The premises of 'Plan B' have been a bar for a while now. It started life as JD's bar, a seedy hole that had topless bar maids on certain nights of the week. It was then closed for a while until it opened as atticus, a trendy alternative bar selling good european beer and having live music on Sunday evenings. It closed its doors, a casualty of the credit crunch but has now reopened as Plan B. Early reviews aren't favourable.
- The Old Talbot, Hagley Road, Bearwood. Small public house located on the corner of Anderson Road and Hagley Road. It's was thriving in the 80's and has slowly declined. The last time I visited the bar had closed due to lack of trade, but the lounge was still busy. It is a fairly good pub if you want a quiet drink.