The Insider Guide

Birmingham is the second largest city in England by some distance, the birthplace of Cadbury’s chocolate, filming location for Peaky Blinders and home to more canals than Venice. Here’s our guide to help you discover the best the city has to offer.

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The Main Attractions

The dense network of canals that run through Birmingham once allowed it to become the first great manufacturing city and the land of 1000 different trades. The waters are less used for such things now, but the canals do make for some beautiful, peaceful walks through the city which immediately juxtapose the image many people have of Birmingham as purely industrial. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens and 250-acre Cannon Hill Park do a pretty good job of this too. We can’t go any further without mentioning a bit of that industrial side though. The Jewellery Quarter is an industry hub and urban village near the city centre steeped in history, and Cadbury’s was actually founded in Birmingham, when John Cadbury opened shop at 93 Bull Street in 1824. This is the city we have to thank for the Dairy Milk, the Creme Egg and a whole lot more than that, and Cadbury World, which tells the history of both the company and chocolate generally, is a popular tourist attraction. There’s plenty of culture beyond the chocolate though - just head to the Custard Factory. Don’t worry, we’re not sending you on a dessert tour of Birmingham, the Custard Factory is actually a thriving creative, hipster hub, home to a variety of boutique shops and trendy bars, cafes and restaurants in 15 acres of resorted Victorian Factories. Art lovers should also visit the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery to see the world’s largest collection of pre-Raphaelite art, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, a Grade I-listed Art Deco building opened in 1939 by Queen Mary. The Thinktank is the award-winning Birmingham science museum, and when you’re done with the sites, there’s always the famous Bullring, one of the UK’s largest shopping centres. Birmingham is a thriving city, amazingly, currently Europe’s youngest on average, and with this comes a thriving music and nightlife scene. There’s a lot more to the first manufacturing city than first meets the eye.

Neighborhoods in Birmingham