I've been living in Birmingham for almost 6 years now (oh ehm gee!) but I don't think I've shared enough of the second city on this blog. When I first came here, I was stunned. I was absolutely perplexed by the complexity of the life here. I'm not gonna lie, it took me a while to learn how not to get consumed by it all & actually enjoy living here. In today's post you can read about the top 5 things you can do in Birmingham when you come for a day trip.
⇢ SHOPPING: There's 5 shopping complexes in the very city centre of Brum - Bull Ring, Pavillions, House of Fraser, Pallisades (which is being currently rebuilt and will have a massive John Lewis opening in 2015) and Mailbox (with Harvey Nichols). You can find over 1,000 shops (both independent & chains) within just a 20 minute walk. It's safe to say you are likely to find anything you're looking for (and what you didn't even know you were looking for!). There are also the cutest flower stalls along New Street - the picture below is from this Valentine's Day.
⇢ HERITAGE: Although Birmingham's motto is to go forward, there's more heritage & culture than you're able to digest in a single day. A lot of buildings in the centre have been rebuilt & modernized over the past few decades, however the front facades have been kept on most of them. Walking around the city centre you can admire some gorgeous buildings such as the Town Hall, the City Council buildings, Museum & Art Gallery (with the largest pre-Raphaellite collection in the world), St Philip's Cathedral or you can even make your way to the Jewellery Quarter, one of the oldest quarters in Birmingham which is boasting with beautiful jewellery stores, old factories & museums. When it's sunny you can walk around the Jewellery Quarter discovering various plaques on the sidewalk - each of them tells you one interesting fact about Brum. (Did you know that the whistles for Titanic were made in Birmingham?!)
⇢ FOOD: Birmingham is well known for its multicultural character and with the wide range of ethnicities & nationalities comes also an incredible number of various cuisines. From Polish to Indian, even Scottish, you can find literally anything your taste buds could possibly fancy! On New Years Eve me, Justin & a couple of our friends took a little trip to the Balti Triangle - a part of Birmingham where they make the best authentic curries in the whole Midlands! *dribbles* It's only some 15 minutes on the bus from the centre and it really is a culinary experience. Another end of spectrum would be my favourite chippy called Frydays in Martineau Place - which almost no one knows about, but their fish & chips (for £2.50!) beats posh chipperies hands down any time.
⇢ FUN: Sometimes tourists forget that there is more to this city than just heritage buildings, fancy restaurants & dozens and dozens of shops. On a rainy day you don't have to battle your way through shops - you can enjoy a day in the Sea Life Centre (hint - there are usually 2 for 1 vouchers floating on the internet), see a steam engine in the Think Tank, go for an afternoon of ice skating in Leisurebox or go onto the top of the new Library of Birmingham (which opened last September) and admire the view of the whole city centre.
⇢ EVENTS: There's always something happening in a large city that Birmingham is. From a number of street festivals (in the beginning of June there will be a Caribbean food festival, nom!) to farmer's markets & theatre shows and evening jazz concert. Most of the nights you can listen to free gigs while having a few drinks or even dinner in places like the Yardbird and the Old Joint Stock. And the Hippodrome will be showing Manon Lescaut opera in March which I'm beyond excited about!
Birmingham is situated rather conveniently in the very heart of England which makes it uber accessible for everyone. You can hop on a train pretty much anywhere in the country and arrive at one (out of three, yes - three!) train stations right in the very city centre of Brum. A lot of rail companies offer cheap deals, especially when you book in advance - e.g. CrossCountry (who has got no booking fees when buying online!).
Have you been to Birmingham before?
What did you think about the city?