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Visit Birmingham

Today Birmingham attracts over 33.5 million visitors every year and has seen a 10% increase in those numbers over the last six years.

Why? Because Birmingham and the region is diverse, exciting, acclaimed for its cultural strengths and heralded as a foodie haven. Located right in the heart of England, Birmingham is incredibly easy to reach by air, rail or road.

Endless experiences start in Birmingham

Here's a quick guide to the history, heritage and culture of Birmingham as well as some of the events and attractions you can enjoy in the city centre and across the region.

History

The Birmingham area has a special place in history. It was the birthplace of the industrial revolution. Inventions that emerged from this area – the steam engine, the light bulb – have fundamentally changed the way the world works. Once famous as a 'City of a Thousand Trades' and the 'Toyshop of Europe', Birmingham was a world leader in the production of pens, buckles, medals, coins, buttons, jewellery and guns, enjoying a worldwide reputation as a powerhouse of manufacturing and invention. Nowadays Birmingham thrives on being the regional capital and centre for employment and commerce. Innovative new industries are rapidly making Birmingham their home, from graphic designers to computer game programmers, and are supported by Birmingham’s world-renowned universities and colleges.

Heritage

From jewellers, churches and the origins of Cadbury’s chocolate, to the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Birmingham's history has created some outstanding heritage attractions to discover, explore and enjoy. Visit Birmingham’s last surviving Back to Back housing - a beautifully restored 19th-century courtyard of working people’s houses. Stop by the Black Country Living Museum to experience what day-to-day life was like 100 years ago or visit Birmingham’s unique 200-year-old Jewellery Quarter, which is still producing over 40% of the UK’s jewellery and home to the award-winning Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

Culture

A vibrant mix of nationalities, religions, arts, interests and ideas exist side by side in England’s second city. It’s what makes this city’s cultural offer so rich with festivals and art events occurring throughout the year.

Any cultural visit to this city would not be complete without a visit to the Ikon gallery – a converted neo-gothic building and home to Birmingham’s contemporary art collection. Not far from this you’ll find Birmingham’s Museum and Art Gallery. As well as housing the world’s largest Pre-Raphaelite collection, this spectacular Victorian building holds the magnificent £3.285 million Staffordshire Hoard. This is the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon Gold ever found in Britain.

While you’re here take the opportunity to be enchanted by Birmingham Royal Ballet, or the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s leading symphonic ensembles. The award-winning CBSO is the resident orchestra of Symphony Hall – an equally prestigious and simply stunning, contemporary music venue famed for its perfect acoustics.

Accommodation

Whether it’s sleek and contemporary or traditional and homely, Birmingham and the region has the accommodation to suit your needs.

With over 6,000 hotel rooms in the city and 28,600 bed spaces in and around Birmingham, from elegant 4-star rooms through to comfortable budget options and well equipped serviced apartments, Birmingham and the region has something to suit every budget.

Food

Birmingham has a history of producing comfort food. Chocolate, cocoa, custard and tea are all famously connected with the city. But there’s another side to this city’s food offering. Birmingham boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city outside of London. There’s a thriving street food scene too. Overall the culinary cultures of 27 different nationalities are represented in Birmingham.

Eating out in Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull is like going on a gastronomic tour of the world. With the influence of Birmingham’s multicultural population, a must-try is the Birmingham Balti. Just a short hop from the city’s centre is the famous Balti Triangle, which now attracts over 20,000 visitors each week.

Attractions

With world-class theatres, thought-provoking museums and a chocolate factory, there’s an abundance of attractions to tempt you.

Dudley Zoological Gardens has welcomed visitors since 1937 and boasts some of the world’s rarest animals. Half a million chocoholics visit Cadbury World each year to discover the history and magic of chocolate. The National SEA LIFE Centre’s glass tunnel takes you on a spectacular undersea voyage through an enormous one million-litre ocean tank, where giant green sea turtles, black tip reef sharks and tropical reef fish swim inches from your head.

Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is the most modern of science museums. Hands-on displays explore everything from full size locomotives, aircraft even intestines and taste buds. There’s also an incredible planetarium which uses state-of-the-art digital technology to present breath taking images on a 360° domed ceiling. Plus you can view hundreds of gleaming machines at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull. And when it comes to shopping Birmingham has over 1,000 shops within a 20-minute walk.

Explore the surroundings

Birmingham’s central location puts it at the heart of a world of experiences. As the capital of this region, it’s the ideal starting point for so many adventures. Take the time to discover some of the most interesting and picturesque areas that England has to offer. Visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Shakespeare’s hometown in Warwickshire and do battle with knights at the extraordinary Warwick Castle.

The Severn Valley Railway links Worcestershire and Shropshire. Board an historic steam engine and explore the towns, villages and countryside of these two beautiful counties. Discover neighbouring Herefordshire, famous for its farm-fresh food and locally made cider. Or explore the home of world-renowned potteries and origins of the latest Anglo Saxon gold hoard in Staffordshire.

 



Content / Images courtesy of Visit Birmingham