Our home, Birmingham was listed in the top 10 city destinations in the world by Rough Guides in 2015! It may not be everyone’s first choice but if you visit England, you’d be missing out on a great destination! Here’s just a few reasons to visit Birmingham for a city break.
Reasons to visit Birmingham for a city break
Birmingham is Middle Earth and Lord of the Rings was basically set here. Once home to J.R.R. Tolkien, Birmingham provided the inspiration for many of the characters and landscapes in his hugely popular books. There’s an entire Tolkien Trail around the region, so we’ve planned a Lord of The Rings movie fest to get us geared up for a visit to the Two Towers of Gondor and the Eye of Sauron! Watch this space for our Tolkien post.
The Balti was invented in Birmingham, so much so that the word ‘Balti’ is commonly used by Brummies to refer to any Indian cuisine, whether it’s a Balti or not. Don’t miss out on a visit to the Balti Triangle for an authentic evening meal. With the area feeding 20,000 diners every week, they can’t all be wrong!
Top Tip: most restaurants in the Balti Triangle are unlicensed but welcome diners to bring their own.
Whistles issued to the crew of the Titanic were made in Birmingham. Dating back over 250 years, Birmingham’s jewellery quarter has a wealth of history and even today, about 40% of all UK jewellery is manufactured here. Aside from almost 500 jewellers, the area is home to Birmingham’s last remaining Georgian square, St Paul’s and is now surrounded by restaurants and trendy bars.
Birmingham has more canals than Venice. It’s not a myth! With 35 miles of canals in Birmingham, it makes Venice, with 26 miles seem like a dry dock! Although Venice certainly has more gondolas. Some say a journey on a barge along the canal can be quite restful. After one evening in mid-winter on a party barge, I’m not convinced!
Birmingham is home to more parks than any other European city and 6 million trees have their roots planted firmly in Brummie soil. The Clent Hills are only a short drive away too and a fabulous place to indulge in a blanket of bluebells during Spring.
Birmingham Library is the largest public library in Europe! Not only that, it’s a wonderful space to wander around, and you don’t even need to be able to read!
Birmingham’s nightlife is cracking, so long as you avoid Broad Street unless you want to mix with the young, scantily clad and intoxicated youth. Head to the funky Jam House, the romantic underground Bacchus Bar or the Old Joint Stock, which has to be the grandest pub in Brum.
With Birmingham city centre being relatively compact, it’s a shopper’s paradise. I confess, I’m an avid hater of shopping and will actively avoid the vintage custard factory, the mega shopping centre of the Bullring, the sophisticated designer stores of the Mailbox and the uber-modern Grand Central that looks like somewhere the crew of Starship Enterprise might hangout. I like the 800 year old markets though; they’re pretty interesting and a vibrant place to visit. Expect plenty of Brummie banter from the stallholders! If shopping is your thing, Birmingham is a far better choice than London.
Things you should know before you visit Birmingham
As with most of the UK, Birmingham has its own unique dialect. Here are a few words you may hear on your visit to Birmingham and what they mean:
- Bostin’ = Awesome (as in the title of this article)
- Our kid = affectionate term for younger person, usually a brother or sister
- Round the Wrekin = taking the long way round when there’s a shorter, more direct route
- Outdoor = off licence. If you want to buy a bottle of wine to bring to the Balti house , you’ll buy it in the outdoor
- Cob = bread roll
- Got a cob on = in a bad mood (it doesn’t mean wearing a bread roll)
- Island = traffic roundabout (e.g. go straight across the island means take the second exit at the roundabout)
- Pop = a drink that isn’t tea, coffee, water or alcohol
- Buzz = bus (as in mode of transport)
- And a few descriptive but potentially offensive terms:
- Half-soaked = someone slow-witted or stupid (to be blunt)
- Nawse = someone quite irritating
- Wrong ‘Un = someone not to be trusted
Walking in the city centre is probably your best option. It’s fairly compact but if you really need to, hail a taxi cab.
There’s a huge bus network across Birmingham. Just remember that you should give the correct change to the driver and they don’t take notes.
Birmingham has 8 local train lines and links to many of attractions across the Midlands. There are 3 train stations in the city centre: Snow Hill, Moor St and New St.
Top Tip: A Brummie is a person from Birmingham, NOT from the Black Country. Do not offend us by trying to take on our accent and getting it wrong!