Second only to London as the most populous UK city, Birmingham has risen from the tangible ashes of World War II to become a surprising beacon of the Midlands. Read more.
Second only to London as the most populous UK city, Birmingham has risen from the tangible ashes of World War II to become a surprising beacon of the Midlands. The city was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and has embraced the history carved out in its canals and factories by modernizing around them. Beautiful walkways line canals, shopping opportunities are plentiful, museums and galleries like the Ikon gallery provide sensational art and culture and the list of clubs and bars is immense. Though not a picturesque city, iconic structures such as the Bullring can still impress and before you know it you’ll become enamoured with the warmth of the city and its very distinctly accented residents.
Travelling to and around Birmingham
Birmingham International airport is a major airport situated 8 miles outside of central Birmingham providing a number of direct flights to European and domestic destinations. The center can be easily reached from Birmingham International Rail Station or by bus, coach and taxi. Once in the city, bus routes are extensive and one of the best ways to move around. Most of the center of Birmingham is pedestrianised making it easy to navigate on foot once there and taxis are also an option, though challenging to find on Friday and Saturday nights. Download the Network West Midlands App for information on routes and timetables for public transport.
Chocolate, canals and culture
Whether your interest lies in art, culture or even chocolate, this city aims to please. Two must see museums are the Thinktank, Birmingham’s immersive Science museum located at the Millennium Point complex, and the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery, an important collection spanning fine art and archeology as well as local and industrial history. If you still have room to learn whilst being entertained, a visit to the National Sea Life Centre will provide a fitting end to the educational triad. For a unique way to explore the city and its extensive canals join a canal cruise and coast through the striking Gas Street Basin from a comfortable, seated position. The shopping savvy should head to the Bullring, not only home to a plethora of shops, but also one of the famed Selfridges stores in the UK. The sweet toothed will be happy to sugarcoat their trip with a visit to the Cadbury World experience situated in Birmingham, ready to give you a background to the brand as well as a taste of their delicious chocolate.
Nightlife and entertainment
The city is buzzing on Friday and Saturday nights and with so much choice available, even the odd evening after work can find watering holes quite occupied. For an all in one experience, The Arcadian located in Southside provides the full package. With bars, restaurants, a comedy club and nightclub on one lot, you’re covered for evening fun. The Hippodrome and Old Rep theatres and Electric cinema are close and have an interesting schedule of events so make sure to see what’s playing. The NEC, LG and NIA arenas also put on some superb events from gigs to wine fairs and TV shows so again, check what’s on and download the Birmingham IN Guide app to discover the city’s best hangouts and hotspots. Broad Street is one of the most popular in Birmingham, a half-mile of bars and clubs where there is something for everyone, though It can get quite rowdy on the street. If you’re looking for something more upmarket in the way of bars and restaurants, try The Mailbox, situated in the center of Birmingham only 10 minutes from New Street Station.
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Landmarks in Birmingham
- The Barber Institute of Fine Arts (20)
- St. Andrew's Stadium (20)
- St. Chad's Cathedral (21)
- CBSO Centre (35)
- National Sea Life Centre (Birmingham) (25)
- Birmingham Peace Pagoda (Dhamma-Talaka Peace Pagoda) (20)
- Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (43)
- Birmingham Central Mosque (20)
- National Exhibition Centre (NEC) (20)
- Villa Park (20)
- Birmingham Town Hall (44)
- National Indoor Arena (21)