Birmingham
Dainis Derics / 123RF
  • Compare your :
  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Flight + Hotel
  • Private Rentals
  • Cars
  • Holidays
  • Destination

Birmingham

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Our Editorial team's advice

Birmingham is making a comeback! Still known by many as an industrial city lacking in character, Birmingham has poured millions into renewing its image over the past few years, and today it's at its best. A multicultural and vibrant centre of energy, the second largest city in England houses some excellent modern art museums, and the biggest collection of Pre-Raphaelite works in the world. 'Brum' is not renowned for its architecture, but there are plenty of gems amongst the concrete jungle which reflect Birmingham's intriguing history, including the charming 'Jewellery Quarter'. The city's multicultural heritage means that there is a great selection of food stops and a varied and innovative music scene.

To see

Birmingham's much loved Custard Factory is a must when visiting the city. Once an old custard factory (as the names suggests!), it's now a hip bar/club and an animated community which celebrates the arts in all their forms. The IKON gallery is another cultural hive. Boasting 450m of exhibition space, the IKON hosts cutting edge exhibitions and installations, while the restaurant serves up delicious Spanish food! The jewellery quarter is a unique conservation area home to over 400 independent jewellers and 200 listed buildings. There is also a fascinating museum which gives you an insight into the humble beginnings of Birmingham's bling industry. In June the jewellery quarter plays host to Birmingham Vintage Fair, which is a great event for lovers of alternative fashion.

To do

Birmingham is home to an intricate network of canals (more, in fact, than Venice), which are attractive remains of the city's industrial past. Take a walk along the canals and explore some of Birmingham's architectural gems. Head over to the trendy suburb of Moseley, which has enough bars, restaurants and boutiques to please the most cosmopolitan among us. Moseley hosts a farmers' market once a month, and an impressive arts festival every summer which is popular with all ages. On a rainy day head to the Bullring shopping centre. This postmodern bubble looms over the town centre, and was part of a regeneration project to transform the inner city. There are plenty of shops to please all. If you're after something a little less mainstream, there are also a number of cool vintage shops in the area.

pros

cons

To think about

Birmingham is worth a stop, but more than a couple of days is likely to exhaust the city's charm. Trains are plentiful and direct from London, and all of the Northern giants such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. The city has a large university and many events take place during term time.

To avoid

North Birmingham is less savoury than the rest, and certain suburbs of the city are associated by locals with crime. For those looking for night life, avoid Broad Street, which is supremely tacky, unless that is what you're looking for.

To try

Chicken tikka masala has often been referred to as Britain's national dish. So why not head to Birmingham's renowned Balti triangle to test out the best of British cuisine! The area emerged in the 1970s following the influx of Pakistani and Kashmiri communities in Birmingham, and today boasts over 50 mouthwatering restaurants. The Bull Ring open market has recently been subject to an enormous renewal project. The original market was a staggering 800 years old, but the food and produce is fresh and delicious!

To bring back

North Birmingham is less savoury than the rest, and certain suburbs of the city are associated by locals with crime. For those looking for night life, avoid Broad Street, which is supremely tacky, unless that is what you're looking for.