The second largest city in the UK, Birmingham is a cool and cosmopolitan place with a vibrant ambience and a booming economy. It was the fastest growing city of the 19th century and by the 20thcentury it had become the hub of the country’s manufacturing and automobile industries.
Now Birmingham’s is home to one of the best shopping districts in the country, as well as many little creative and artistic hubs.
Where to Stay
A great self catering option is the City Nites apartments. Centrally located, City Nights offers fully equipped suites which are perfect for both business and leisure purposes.
For a fantastically central option, the Copthorne Hotel is on the doorstep of all the city’s shops, many leisure activities and very close to the city’s business district. The hotel offers 212 comfortable and stylish rooms.
A luxurious choice is the Hilton Garden Inn. Situated in the classy area canal district, and a stone’s throw away from all the city’s main attractions, this stylish hotel offers a fantastic buffet breakfast, where the chefs prepare waffles and omelettes in from of you.
Backpackers should head to the Hatters Backpack Hostel. Voted number 1 Hostel in England in 2012, this cheap, safe, clean and friendly hostel with a large garden area offers en suite rooms and movie nights where guests can enjoy free pizza and popcorn.
The beautiful Paragon hotel offers tastefully decorated rooms but manages to maintain the splendid décor of the building’s traditional historical architecture. Some of the rooms boast panoramic views of the city.
What to Do
Half a million chocoholics visit Cadbury World Each year. Situated just outside the city, the chocolate factory gives guests the chance to learn about the history of chocolate, and offers a great selection of tasters and treats for all the family to enjoy!
The Ikon Gallery showcases a fabulous range of modern art from around the world. The gallery features thought provoking art through a variety of different media such as sound, film, photography, painting, sculpture.
Shopping enthusiasts would do well to head to the Bullring. The busiest shopping centre in the country, the Bullring has over 160 shops and a huge range of bars, cafes and restaurants. Prepare to shop till you drop.
The Twycross Zoo – World Primate Centre is home to almost a thousand animals of about 200 species. Visitors can see the zoo’s many unique features such as the South American Tropical House, the Borneo Longhouse and can eat at the Zoo’s delicious Himalaya Centre.
Families can enjoy a fantastic day out at the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum. Featuring over 200 hands on displays of science and technology, this museum also has an outdoor science garden and a digital planetarium.
Where to Eat
For a Michelin starred treat, head to Purnells. Located in the Jewellery Quarter in a terraced Victorian terracotta building, visitors can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail in the restaurant’s bar before they sit down to a delightful gourmet experience.
Indulge those exotic tastebuds with a sensual Indian feast at Pushkar. Serving exquisite Punjabi and North Indian cuisine, this restaurant has had rave reviews and even features its own funky cocktail bar.
Experience a taste of Persia at Shiraz restaurant. With dishes such as Cello Kebab Koobideh and Lamb Shank Baghali Polo, this restaurant serves delicious and authentic Iranian cuisine for very affordable prices.
Delight your inner Italian by booking a table at Cucina Rustica. Situated in the heart of Birmingham, Cucina Rustica serves up authentic Italian food in a relaxed ambience. Diners are encouraged to order the apperitivo, a delicious platter of Italian goodies with an alcoholic drink, served Monday – Friday from 5 – 7 pm.
When to Visit
Travelling from within the UK, train and bus tickets are best booked a few months in advance to get the cheapest deals. The city does not really experience a peak in tourism, and is generally visited all year round.