England’s second city is full of culture and top-quality shopping, with many miles of canals to charm the visitor.
Birmingham has lots to offer: from bustling shopping areas to excellent live-music venues, art galleries to a chocolate factory! Much of the city’s most interesting history originates during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, when numerous technological advances were made in the many factories and workshops operating here.
Many canals remain from those long-gone days, when they were crucial transport links with other parts of the country. Now, they add numerous pleasant waterside hangouts and opportunities for boat tours to the city. In fact, Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice!
Victoria Square is at the heart of many of the city’s favourite attractions. Check out the wonderfully romanticised pre-Raphaelite masterworks in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, or admire Baroque Birmingham Cathedral. If fashion’s more your thing, the most exclusive chic clothing can be found at The Mailbox, while big brands and the hottest styles can be found at the Bullring Shopping Centre.
Children will love tracing incredible scientific advances at the interactive Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum. Browse around the Jewellery Quarter to appreciate the handiwork of these master craftsmen, and maybe pick up something for that special someone.
The city’s musical scene really comes alive during the summer months. The Birmingham Jazz Festival gets the city moving to a different beat during the summer, and there are lots of free performances. For a more refined experience, soak in the melodic tones of outstanding orchestras and classical musicians at the Symphony Hall.
When you need a break from the concrete jungle, Sutton Park offers wide open green spaces, along with golf courses and boating lakes. At the opposite side of the city, to the south, you can walk in the shadow of J.R.R. Tolkien at beautiful Sarehole Mill. Both parks are a short hop on the train from the city centre, and are just two examples of the 3,237 hectares of green spaces on offer here.
Younger members of the family will love the sweetness of Cadbury World. Later on, as evening comes around and you start to get hungry, there’s a lot to choose from. Birmingham’s dining scene is heavily influenced by African, Chinese, Caribbean and Indian cuisine, with the “Curry Mile” in the south of the city particularly popular with diners.