Top 10 reasons to visit Birmingham, UK.
A lot of people don’t realise that Birmingham is Englands second city. That’s right! Not Manchester or Liverpool – Birmingham! There are so many reasons to visit Birmingham. Whether you are from the UK and looking for a city break or visiting the UK from abroad and wondering where to stop on your road trip. Birmingham is a great place to explore and here are my top 10 reasons why….
Birmingham has become one of the best shopping cities in the UK. The famous bullring shopping centre has a wide range of shops for all budgets. Including four fabulous floors in the renowned Selfridges.
For vintage finds and unique boutiques head to the custard factory in the Digbeth area. If you are lucky there will be a vintage fair or show. Excellent for one-off pieces and rare gems.
For the fashion conscious to the bargain hunter. Birmingham has got something for everyone.
2) Museums and Art galleries.
There are lots of interesting exhibits in and around Birmingham. Perfect for art lovers. The museum and art gallery in Victoria square is home of the Staffordshire hoard. The biggest Anglo-saxon gold and silver metalwork ever found. In addition to this there is a baroque art collection and the history of Birmingham exhibit.
As well as the main museum, there is the Thinktank science museum. This is a great place to take kids for interactive learning and discovery.
A smaller art gallery can be found at Birmingham University. The Barber Institute is home to some spectacular paintings. Famous artists work including Turner, Van Gough, Monet and Renoir.
3) Real ale pubs and great nightlife.
The craft beer scene has well and truly landed in Birmingham. There are so many cool pubs, whether independent or chain you will find your perfect one for you.
For no-nonsense real ale explained try The Wellington or the Post Office Vaults. For a slightly fancier affair try The Botanist with its extensive beer list.
There are also my favourites to try… The Victoria, The Lost and Found and Rose Villa Tavern to name but a few.
4) To visit the world of chocolate.
Birmingham is the home of Cadbury and all its chocolatey delights. To explore Cadbury world is another great reason to visit Birmingham.
Take a self guided tour through the 14 zones and discover how chocolate is made. Interactive exhibits and video presentations make it a day both adults and children will enjoy. Plus taste lots of delicious chocolate treats and take home a goody bag too!
5) Entertainment at the Theatre.
There is always a show to see when you visit Birmingham. As one of the largest touring venues in the UK, the Birmingham Hippodrome hosts Ballet, musical theatre, comedy shows and more. The New Alexander theatre and the Birmingham rep are other popular venues. Whilst the Old joint stock, the blue orange theatre and the Custard Factory are smaller more intimate venues.
6) To sample the local food scene.
Birmingham may be known for the balti. It is true you will never get a better curry than when you visit Birmingham. However there is so much more.
You will find Michelin star dining at Purnells and Simpsons. International food including Polish grub at The Karczma and South american at Bodega Cantina. And of course great British pub menus across the city.
The most exciting event for foodies at the moment is the street food scene and Digbeth dining club. A weekly event where you can try the latest creations from the most impressive street food vendors in Birmingham.
7) To catch a sporting event.
Birmingham is home to two football teams in the top leagues. Premier League team Aston Villa play at Villa Park. Championship team Birmingham City play at St Andrews. Games are played between August and May and are mostly on a Saturday.
Both international and local cricket matches are played at Edgbaston Cricket ground. Home to the Warwickshire bears, the season runs between April and September.
Ice hockey, Golf and Rugby can also be enjoyed in and around the city. Check out what sporting events are on in Birmingham here.
8) Sightseeing by Canal.
Boasting ‘more canals than Venice’ the canal system in Birmingham can give you views with a difference. With different companies offering tours. You can choose from public, private and party boat tours.
9) Animal attractions.
The National Sea Life Centre can be found in the heart of Birmingham. See turtles, sharks, penguins and more. There are lots to do with kids too. Interactive rock pools, the penguin ice adventure and a calendar of special events.
Birmingham nature centre boasts animals from around the world. Opportunities here include animal encounters and keeper for the day.
10) Annual events.
The streets of Birmingham come alive at Christmas time with the Frankfurt Christmas market. Soak up the atmosphere at the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria.
Birmingham Pride is a carnival parade that takes place at the end of May. A celebration of LGBT life in the city.
St Patricks day parade held is in Digbeth, the old Irish quarter. Celebrated by the Irish and the ‘Irish for the day’. Expect lots of drinking and clinking.