Birmingham is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and visitor numbers are rapidly on the rise year-on-year. Below we’ve outlined 10 reasons why we think you should definitely visit Birmingham, including its world class venues and historical areas to explore.
At the time of writing, Birmingham has 5 (five!) Michelin starred restaurants which is more than anywhere else outside of London. Simpsons in Edgbaston, Carters in Moseley, Turners in Harborne alongside Adam’s and Purnell’s in the city centre are all critically acclaimed and deserving of their stars. With other independent restaurants like The Wilderness and Original Patty Men receiving rave reviews from those who dine in them, you’re really spoilt for choice.
You’re right to be surprised when we say the heart of Birmingham’s canal network flows right through the city centre and contains some stunning gems when you walk along the towpaths. There’s plenty to do along the pathways in the city centre including pit stops at a number of canalside bars like The Flapper and The Malt House, or you could do a spot of shopping at the Mailbox. The canals also run adjacent to the main Cross City train line, which leads to other areas of the city like University and Bournville.
Birmingham houses some wonderful independent music venues, from the likes of The Sunflower Lounge through to the Hare & Hounds and The Flapper. If it’s international acts you’re after, try the Barclaycard Arena, Town Hall & Symphony Hall and the Genting Arena, all of whom regularly host some of the world’s biggest stars.
The Electric Cinema is the oldest operating cinema in the UK and is just a stone’s throw away from New Street Station, so you can’t miss it. There’s also the mac Centre in Cannon Hill Park, or the new kid on the block, Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, who have found a home for themselves in the Custard Factory. All of these cinemas show both new films and classics, so there’s something for everyone.
Take an excursion away from the high-rise city centre to find some of Birmingham’s most beautiful green spaces, like Cannon Hill Park, Aston Hall, Winterbourne House and Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens; the latter a fully restored, Baroque garden with a tea room and plenty of activities for the family to get involved with.
Birmingham has seen a resurgence of new bar openings in recent times, with up-and-coming chains like Cosy Club and The Botanist making a home here, as well as The Button Factory in the Jewellery Quarter and independent bar Tilt, a pinball and craft beer haven nestled away in the city centre.
Not only is there the Bullring, one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe, there is also the Mailbox – a fine dining and retail outlet beautifully restored in a former sorting office. If independent shopping is your thing, there’s Great Western Arcade & Piccadilly Arcade; two aesthetically stunning corridors of local, independent retailers ready to be explored.
Birmingham’s a rather historical city and its raft of museums backs this up. Away from the main museum in Chamberlain Square, you could visit Ikon Gallery, or head south of the city to Moseley for a trip to Sarehole Mill – a 250 year old working watermill – and Moseley Bog, both famous for their association with acclaimed writer J.R.R. Tolkien. There’s even an entire museum dedicated to Birmingham’s 19th century pen trade!
Okay, so Birmingham might not have the most successful football teams, but when you take in to account the amount of sport the city has to offer, it’s up there with the best. Take Aston Villa and Birmingham City for example, the city’s two main football teams, both attracting tens of thousands of fans between them each week. Birmingham is also home to the world-famous Edgbaston Cricket Ground which regularly hosts international teams, with the 42,000 capacity Villa Park having a history of hosting international sporting events. Athletics and tennis are a focal point with the city welcoming some of the world’s best each year.
Brummies (that’s Birmingham locals) are some of the friendliest you’re likely to meet in the UK. With self-deprecating humour, a tendency to hold doors open for others, and, can you believe it, friendliness on public transport, this city is home to a wonderful community who are proud of where they come from. Really, we could list a lot more than 10 reasons, so why not come and visit Birmingham to see for yourself!