In the heart of the Midlands, you will find the city of Birmingham. It is known for its cultural diversity, canals, chocolate history and shopping – to mention but a few. The welcoming nature of the ‘Brummie’ capital means that it is an interesting and unique place to explore. A wealth of cultural sites, culinary adventures, as well as football stadiums and shopping paradises, means that there is something for everyone in Birmingham. The heart of the city is easy to explore on foot or for the more adventurous explorer – why not try the canal network? There are said to be more canals in Birmingham than in Venice!
Birmingham is also a transport hub for reaching other exciting destinations across the UK, so if you have a little more time on your hands, why not jump aboard!
There are many different districts of Birmingham, and each of them are unique and rich in cultural history. If you have a limited amount of time in the city, we recommend you head out of the city centre and visit one, or all three, of our recommendations:
Brindleyplace - It’s all about the canal in Brindleyplace! The beautiful picturesque district is the ideal place to have a canal boat experience, or alternatively just watch the boats go by, while enjoying dinner, or a drink, in one of the many restaurants, bars and cafes. But Brindleyplace has more to offer than just its waterside location. The district is host to many venues -Barclaycard Arena, Ikon Gallery and The Crescent Theatre. Make sure you check the calendar before you visit, as from June onwards, the area hosts events, such as Dragonboat Festival and local markets.
Digbeth - As the creative heart of the city, Digbeth is an artist’s paradise. One of the most iconic buildings in the area is The Custard Factory. The building is decorated in art, and was originally the factory where eggless custard was invested and produced. If modern art is not your particular interest, then head to The Old Crown Pub which is the oldest secular building in Birmingham, and dates back to the 1300s
The Jewellery Quarter - Even if you don’t want to pick up something sparkly for a loved one, The Jewellery Quarter is worth an afternoon trip. Did you know that 40% of British Jewellery is produced there, and in the district there are over 200 listed buildings? This world-famous area of Birmingham is stepped in history, and St Paul’s church, and the surrounding square, is a beautiful example of Georgian architecture.
Why not catch up on a bit of reading? Head to Broad Street, and see the eye-catching, post-modern architecture of Birmingham’s library. The library was only opened in September 2013, and represents a new vision for Birmingham. The design is very unique, which is probably the reason why it has won so many architectural awards. It is also a totally digitalised library, and built in an energy-efficient manner. This is a visionary building that represents the Birmingham of the future. If the weather is nice, explore the rooftop gardens and the fabulous views over the city.
In stark contrast to the modernity of the new library, we recommend that you head to Back to Backs. The National Trust charity offers a unique opportunity to step back in time, and experience what life was like living in Birmingham between the 1840s and 1970s. The name ‘Back to Backs’ comes from the fact that the houses were built back to back around a communal courtyard. Experience everything from a 1930s sweetshop to a tailor’s shop, and enjoy this fascinating glimpse of social history. Tours are available from Tuesday through to Sunday, and you can book online
Thinktank Science Museum is an exceptional museum which brings science to life with its 10 themed galleries. The whole museum is interactive and has everything from locomotives to a planetarium. This museum is not just for kids, it is awe-inspiring for any age and well worth a visit.
Birmingham is the home of a diverse range of ethnic groups and cultures. With this, the city offers a plethora of cuisines, and truly something for every taste. Here is our selection of a few restaurants to tickle the taste buds.
Situated in the Jewellery Quarter, The Vaults used to be a Victorian cellar, but today you will find a chic and sophisticated underground restaurant, which is the perfect retreat. The furniture is bespoke and this compliments the exposed brickwork.
The dinner menu is concise, but offers some delicious contemporary British cuisine. Choose from two courses for £34.99 or three courses for £39.99. If you aren’t really too hungry, no problem. There is a lovely bar with a wide selection of drinks and cocktails, plus secluded booths in which you can sit and truly escape the world
Birmingham is home to some great Indian food, so much so that the Balti Curry is set to be given protected food status, like Champagne or Parma ham. With this in mind, it would be a shame to miss out on the regions delicacy. The Balti Curry, which takes its name from the metal dish in which it is cooked and eaten, is available throughout the Balti Triangle. The area is located in Sparkhill, Balsall Heath and Moseley
Like many big cities, there are an abundance of hotels to choose from, but to narrow down your search, here are two of our Birmingham hotel recommendations :
This luxurious hotel is located inside The Cube at The Mailbox and provides you with excellent panoramic views of the city. The hotel has 52 boutique rooms, and perhaps the best views can be found on the 23rd and 24th Floors. However, all rooms are beautifully decorated, with a chic, modern theme, and offer an extremely high-standard finish. The main draw of this hotel is its proximity to shopping in The Mailbox and the array of bars & restaurants situated nearby.
This 4-star hotel is a reasonably new addition to Birmingham, however it already has a fan following. The position directly opposite The Bullring is an attraction for many, but personally I feel the interior of the hotel is the main selling point. The rooms are executed to the highest standard with nothing overlooked: the lighting and heating is all controllable by a touch screen, and the bathroom is complemented with a rainfall shower. If you manage to leave the luxury of your hotel room, then you are surrounded with a variety of pubs, restaurants and bars to explore.