My Guide to Birmingham
Birmingham is the UK’s second-largest city, with over a million inhabitants. Located in the Midlands, it has convenient access to the rest of the region and was renowned as the center of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is now a bustling, cosmopolitan area with much to see and do, great shopping, and vibrant nightlife.
Location: The Midlands, England
County: West Midlands
Area: 267 sq. km
The Culture of Birmingham
Birmingham's cultural side is primarily built on music, and the city has developed some of the most influential bands of the last century, ranging from the heavy metal of Cadbury World, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin to the new Editors and The Streets. This legacy is carried out in the city's fantastic music venues, such as the Custard Factory and Midlands Arts Centre. Similarly, for classical music fans, the Symphony Hall is often regarded as Europe's finest concert hall.
However, music isn't Birmingham's only cultural asset.
The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery contains a vast collection of artworks, while the Hippodrome is the most popular theatre in the country, regularly presenting top musicals and pantomimes.
The Cadbury chocolate factory, situated on the outskirts of Birmingham, is an almost special aspect of the city's history. It is a big tourist attraction, offering guides, games, and, of course, plenty of free samples!
Shopping in Birmingham
Birmingham is one of the best shopping cities in Europe, with a large and varied selection of stores. The massive Bullring Shopping Center, which contains 160 stores, is the focal point of high street shopping. Redeveloped in 2003, it is one of Britain's largest and busiest shopping centers, catering to almost every high street shopper's needs.
The Mailbox Shopping Centre features over 50 exclusive high-end luxury clothes and lifestyle stores, as well as scores of pubs, cafes, and bars for a more upscale shopping experience.
There are also numerous markets held on a regular basis throughout Birmingham. Highlights include the award-winning Bullring outdoor market, which has 160 stalls and is open most of the week, and the New Street Farmers' Market, which is held once every two weeks.
Eating out in Birmingham
The restaurants in Birmingham represent the city's incredible cultural diversity. Birmingham has a restaurant for everybody, whether you want a Michelin-starred evening meal or a short foreign lunch.
The Balti Triangle, which contains over 50 Indian and Asian restaurants all within walking distance of one another, is a must-see. It is so one-of-a-kind that it has been designated as one of the country's "must-see" experiences.
Transport in Birmingham
The train is the most convenient way to get to and from Birmingham. There are excellent rail connections to both London and northern England, as well as several stations located across the capital.
The city is also well-connected by rail, with many of the country's major highways running through or joining Birmingham, as well as the most prominent motorway junction in the United Kingdom- Spaghetti Junction.
If you want to do something a little different, there is also a network of canals (like the one on the left) that stretch across Birmingham and are filled with hundreds of barges. Why not rent one for a week for a one-of-a-kind vacation?
Sports in Birmingham
Football and cricket are the two sports most closely linked with Birmingham. Aston Villa, Birmingham, and West Bromwich Albion are the three Premier League football teams that compete in the area. All of them have their own spectacular stadiums in Birmingham, and tickets are usually very simple and inexpensive to come by.
The Edgbaston Cricket Ground, one of the most popular and renowned grounds in the UK, is also located in the area. The Warwickshire cricket team plays there several weeks throughout the season, and there are frequent England international 'Test,' 'One Day,' and 'Twenty20' matches at very reasonable rates during the year.