Birmingham

About

About Birmingham

Birmingham is the second largest city the UK  with a population of more than one million , one of the youngest populations in the world.

It attracts over 34 million visitors a year, is voted the most popular destination for meetings, conferences & events and named the UK’s most entrepreneurial city, outside of London.

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Unlike the other industrial areas of the Midlands, Birmingham turned its hand to every kind of manufacturing.  And it was her that the fathers in the Industrial Revolution: James Watt, Matthew Boulton, Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestly and Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles) formed the Lunar Society – a melting pot of scientific and industrial ideas.  It’s still in existence today.

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William Boyle’s gold-covered statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch in the city centre

 

As a result of ideas that came from the society – the first purpose-built factory, gas lighting, the mass production of steam engines and more – a small market town turned into an economic powerhouse.

Brum city centre is small and easily walkable and has a variety of interesting architectural styles, having partly been rebuilt with a new Convention Centre, BullRing Shopping Centre, and is booming and bustling with restaurants.

It as also burgeoned as an arts centre with a new library opening last year, the Royal Ballet in residence and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

How to get to Birmingham

It also has its own international airport, eight miles east of the city centre. This is served by Birmingham International Station from London Euston.  Chiltern Railways runs from Marylebone to London in 1 hour 25 minutes.

Places of interest


The Bull Ring and Selfridges

The Bull Ring shopping centre was completely rebuilt in 2001.  It is now split into two sections with a view of the medieval church of St Martin’s in the middle.

The Selfridges’ store (pictured below) which is covered in shimmering metal discos has become an iconic landmark.

Selfridges

The architecturally remarkable Selfridges building is decorated with 15,000 spun aluminium discs

St Martin’s Church 

This church has survived being bombed by the Luftwaffe and the 60s rebuilt of the city around it.  Inside you will see a beautiful stained glass window by Burne-Jones.

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Houses the world’s largest Pre-Raphaelite collection, including some 2,00 art works. In 2009 it purchased the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found with over 1500 pieces, mostly related to battle.

Gas Street and The Mailbox

MailboxThe Mailbox opened in 1998, was the redevelopment of the former Royal Mail sorting office in Birmingham city centre and is under and £50 million redevelopment due to complete in 2015

 

Brindley place and the Ikon Gallery

Pitcher and Piano Brindley Place

Brindleyplace is named after James Brindley, the 18th century engineer responsible for many of Britain’s early canal – Birmingham is at the centre of the UK’s canal system

Here there are bars and restaurants galore.  In the summer when the weather is good as it was here, it can get very hectic.

The Ikon Gallery is known for its cutting-edge exhibitions in a converted Gothic schoolhouse.

 

Birmingham Pitcher and Piano

The Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, home to over 400 jewellery businesses, has been a national epicentre for jewellery design for over 250 years

Shopping

Harvey Nichols Champagne Bar Birmingham

  • The city remains in England’s top three most visited places to shop with £1.64 billion expenditure
  • Birmingham’s Bullring has hosted markets since the 12th century
  • The architecturally remarkable Selfridges building is decorated with 15,000 spun aluminium discs
  • Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, home to over 400 jewellery businesses, has been a national epicentre for jewellery design for over 250 years
  • The city is set to receive its first John Lewis store in 2015, which will feature more than 350,000 products
  • Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is the biggest of its kind in the UK with nearly 200 stalls lining the city centre, welcoming over 4 million visitors in 2012
  • The Bullring is the size of 26 football pitches with more than 160 shops and can you believe it will be 10 years old this year
  • Touchwood is 650,000 square feet of retail heaven in the heart of Solihull
  • Westfield Merry Hill in the Black Country has over 240 retailers, an Odeon cinema and 7,200 free parking spaces
  • The Mailbox opened in 1998, was the redevelopment of the former Royal Mail sorting office in Birmingham city centre and is under and £50million redevelopment due to complete in 2015
  • The UK’s first integrated destination leisure complex (£150 million), Resorts World, will open in 2015

Canals

Birmingham canalside

Birmngham has more canals than Venice!

Canals were the lifeline of Black Country industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here the canal boats show how cargoes would have been carried to and from ironworks in the area. The canal tunnels under the limestone hills in the area are some of the longest in the country. The horses that drew the narrow boats could not go into the tunnels so that boats had to be legged through which was pretty tiring work – even for the fittest person.

Are you passionate about ‘Brum”?  Why not share it in a review?

Activities

Have you discovered something fascinating in Birmingham – that you enjoyed?  Share it in a review!

  • mmummy-and-xray Birmingham Museums Mummy Mania
    - ‘Mummy-mania’ set to bring visitors to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Egyptian Gallery An alignment of Sunday night TV drama, Hallowe’en and an age-old enthusiasm for all things slightly macabre has curators in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Egyptian gallery braced for a veritable Ra-ce of visitors during October half-term! … more
  • IKON What’s new at the IKON Gallery Birmingham
    -   Black Country Voyages  Summer 2015 Converted narrow boat tours the Black Country canals Project links young people with Black Country arts, heritage and cultural organisations Lead artist Jacques Nimki presents The Black Apotheca Summer events include BCNS summer boat gathering, International Festival of Glass, Stourbridge, and community festivals Floating your … more
  • Ikon Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
    - Ikon is an internationally acclaimed art museum situated in central Birmingham. Houses in a magnificent neo-gothic school building, it is an educational charity and works to encourage public engagement with contemporary art through exhibiting new work in a context of debate and participation. It offers free entry to all. Ikon … more
  • Wine and dine Malmaison Hotel – Birmingham
    - One of the most conveniently located Birmingham hotels, Mal Birmingham is a converted Royal Mail sorting office right at the heart of The Mailbox, an upmarket shopping and dining destination in the city centre. We’ve put our own unique stamp on the building, which has 189 lavish bedrooms and suites … more
  • Birmingham Hippodrome
    - Home of the Royal Ballet.  Also has plays and West End productions. Hurst Street 0844 338 5000 www.birminghamhippodrome.com Submit your review. Submit your review Name: *Email: *Website: Review Title: Rating: 12345 Review: * Required Field Check this box to confirm you are human.
  • Hampton by Hilton Hotel, Birmingham: Review
    - Hampton by Hilton Birmingham Broad Street 200 Broad Street Birmingham B15 1SU T: +44 (0) 121 329 7450 F: +44 (0) 121 329 7460 There are a number of great things about this hotel: 1. It’s very central – a few minutes from the International Convention Centre, the canals, library … more
  • The Electric Cinema
    - This is the UK’s oldest working cinema, built in 1909. It’s an interesting Art Deco building showing mainstream and arthouse films. Sofas and waiter service. Station Street 0121 643 7879 www.theelectric.co.uk Submit your review. Submit your review Name: *Email: *Website: Review Title: Rating: 12345 Review: * Required Field Check this … more
  • Symphony Hall
    - One of the most acoustically advanced concert halls in Europe – home to the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Broad Street 0121 780 333 www.thsh.co.uk Submit your review. Submit your review Name: *Email: *Website: Review Title: Rating: 12345 Review: * Required Field Check this box to confirm you are human.
  • Birmingham Repertory Theatre
    - Classic and new works Centenary Square, Broad Street, 0121 236 4455 www.birmingham-rep.co.uk Submit your review. Submit your review Name: *Email: *Website: Review Title: Rating: 12345 Review: * Required Field Check this box to confirm you are human.
  • Selfridges Manufacturing and migration: discover Birmingham’s heritage on this City walk
    - Distance 13/4 miles Start: Bullring Shopping Centre Finish: Victoria Square Did you know that Birmingham has been described as the ‘Workshop of the World’? On this walk you can discover Birmingham’s history as a manufacturing centre of goods ranging from copper coins to chocolate, from printed books to jewellery. See … more

 

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