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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery | © Jared Zhengquan/Flickr
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery | © Jared Zhengquan/Flickr
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12 Reasons You Should Visit Birmingham Over London

Picture of Richard Franks
Freelance Travel & Music Writer
Updated: 3 July 2017
While most tourists head straight for London, little do they know that the UK’s sleeping giant, Birmingham, is just 90 minutes away by train. This is not just any old town, it’s the UK’s second largest city and is well worth visiting if you don’t fancy queuing for everything and paying £1 for a can of pop.

Birmingham remains the top destination for Londoners

Thanks to the city’s proximity to the capital, redevelopment and costs, Birmingham is at the top of the list for those relocating from London. It’s one of Europe’s youngest cities and it’s also one of the most creative, so it’s no surprise that creatives are moving to one of the most developing cities in the country. If Londoners are moving here, they can’t be wrong.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery | © Jared Zhengquan/Flickr

It’s a lot quieter

If you hate crowds, hate queuing or just hate people in general, New Street Station is still a lot quieter on Saturday afternoon than Victoria Station, despite the city’s modest 1.1 million population. We’re not saying the city is immune from crowds, but trust us when we say you’ll be surprised at how much more personal space you have in the city centre.

Birmingham may not have a tube, but public transport is cheaper

If you’re looking to move to Birmingham or visit for a prolonged period, a monthly travel pass in Birmingham will cost you around £60, while a similar pass in London costs around £140. Think of all of those sweet pennies you’d save.

A Birmingham buzz (bus)
A Birmingham buzz (bus) | © Helen Cobain/Flickr

You can forget about those awkward glances on the tube, too

Arghhhhh, where do you look?! You won’t have to worry about that here, as people on the train actually smile at you and may even strike up a conversation. No, really. Honestly. We’re serious.

And if you can’t be bothered with the bus, use the many miles of canal

Birmingham boasts more miles of canal than Venice, all of which are regularly used by narrow boats and people on foot or bike via the maintained footpaths. The canals tend to follow the train line, so if you fancy a summer evening stroll without getting lost, Birmingham is perfect for that.

Narrowboats in Birmingham
Narrowboats in Birmingham | © Neil Howard/Flickr

You don’t have to sell your soul for a pint

£7 for a beer? Nope. Of course, there are expensive places in Birmingham, but you’re looking at one of the cheapest cities in the UK for a pint here. The average cost of a pint is around £2.90, which sounds pretty good to us.

Forget Oxford Street. In Birmingham you have personal space when shopping

No more elbow barging your way through those horribly packed London streets. Just like any major city, Birmingham is still busy at peak times, but you very rarely have to queue for an age to try something on. You definitely don’t end up stuck behind legions of slow walkers, as there’s actual space to walk around them.

The Mailbox, Birmingham
The Mailbox, Birmingham | © Bs0u10e0 / Flickr

It’s a lot cheaper to live and stay

Hey, Harry. Ditch that £1,200 a month cupboard under the stairs and rent a full house for £650 in Birmingham instead. House prices in Birmingham are growing so you’ll need to be quick, but you could buy a 3 bed house in the trendy south Birmingham suburb of Moseley for less than the price of a 1 bed flat in Croydon. Hotel prices are considerably less than the capital too.

You can visit the areas J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration from in Lord of the Rings

Avid LOTR fans may already know that J.R.R. Tolkien is from the city and grew up around the area of Moseley. It’s said that certain areas of the suburb (Moseley Bog, Sarehole Mill) were key in the author’s inspiration when writing the books, the latter even hosts a Lord of the Rings-themed weekend each year!

Sarehole Mill, Birmingham
Sarehole Mill, Birmingham | © Elliott Brown/Flickr

Birmingham has more Michelin stars than any other city outside of London

Brum is serious about its food and with more Michelin stars than any UK city outside of London, it’s not hard to understand why. Whether you’re after a quick bite at one of the city’s independent street food markets, or you’re after more of a fine dining experience, no stone is left unturned here.

Regeneration is rife in Brum, so chances are there will be something new each time you visit

New buildings are popping up all of the time, so if you visit once, you’re likely to end up seeing something new on your next visit. The bank HSBC has even decided to move from London to Birmingham, with brand new headquarters being built on Broad Street in the city centre.

Birmingham
Birmingham | © bs0u10e0 / Flickr

You’ll get to love the accent. Honest…

The Brummie accent is known to be mocked, but really it’s friendly, endearing and humorous. Even if you don’t understand them at first, we’re sure you’ll get used to it and grow to love it, bab.