Central Birmingham

Central Birmingham

The Roundhouse, 1 Sheepcote Street, Birmingham, B16 8AE

The Roundhouse in Birmingham, based in the heart of Ladywood, has been brought back to life once again, thanks to a unique partnership between the Canal & River Trust and National Trust

Now transformed, The Roundhouse building offers a place which people can use to explore the city and the region’s historic canals.  It makes the perfect school visit venue!

A uniquely curved building

The Grade II * listed building had stood quietly for 140 years as the city developed around it.

It was originally designed and built in 1874 as stabling and stores for the Public Works Department as part of a massive city improvement plan.

Imagine 40 or more horses delivering stone, lamplighters, who would take their carts and horses out to light the streets of Ladywood and the nightsoil brought from the city to be sent out via the canal to city allotments and farms. Its position tucked next to the Birmingham Old Mainline Canal close to the city centre meant the area acted as a wharf and was at the industrial heart of the city.

Owned by the Canal & River Trust, the building has been restored in partnership with National Trust. This work has been made possible thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and from Historic England.


Pre-visit virtual workshops (KS1 & KS2)

Water Safety

Learn how to spot the hazards of being near water, what to do in an emergency and our SAFE message (Stay Away From the Edge).

Introduction to Rivers and Canals

An introductory workshop to give some context before a waterside visit. Learn the difference between canals and rivers and how they are used today.

Our virtual pre-visit workshops are a great activitiy to set the scene before a waterside visit. Each workshop lasts 30 minutes for KS1 and 40 minutes for KS2.

Workshops on site at The Roundhouse

Guided Horse Trail

Our horse trail takes the children on a journey of discovery, unearthing the secrets of the local area through first-hand observation of the canal and buildings which surround it. Learn why horses played a vital role on the canals and see the marks they left on our lives. Children will learn how to make their own memories of Birmingham’s Canals using sight, sound and touch. It’s a great activity to support wellbeing.

Build a Canal

This session helps children understand how and why canals were built, how they changed Britain and how canals are different to rivers. It provides an interactive way of discussing local industry and how the arrival of the canals shaped the landscape.

Floating & Sinking

This workshop will help children develop a clearer understanding of the factors affecting whether something sinks or floats. Children take the challenge of loading a model boat with cargo, trying not to sink it!

Learning Resources

Use the following resources to support learning on your trip and back in the classroom:

Life on the English Waterways

All About Canals

Building & Carrying Topic Pack

All About James Brindley

Find out more about pioneering canal engineer James Brindley.

Self-guided trails

Self guided tours – Roundhouse Birmingham


Toilets and indoor classroom space are available at The Roundhouse.

Coaches will need to drop off at the roadside, outside the Roundhouse building. For full details on how to get there please visit: https://roundhousebirmingham.org.uk/getting-here/


Visits to The Roundhouse are FREE! 

However, if you wish to add a boat trip to your visit then there is a charge. Let us know and we can put you in touch with a local boat trip operator. Boat trips are paid direct to the operator.