Striking steel and glistening glass buildings have replaced many an ugly 1960 office block, and there are canalside galleries, modern malls, and museums catering to every taste dotted around Birmingham’s buzzing streets. The center of town is bursting with chic restaurants, aromatic curry houses, and traditional pubs hosting live music events. ‘Brum’, as the locals have affectionately dubbed it, is surprisingly green too, with large expanses of lush parkland and a labyrinth of winding canals which provide respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Things to see
The futuristic Bullring shopping centre is an impressive sight. Covered in gleaming glass, it’s a striking icon of the city and home to sleek designer stores, high street staples and eateries offering everything from fast-food to full-blown three-course meals. As you enter, you can’t miss the five-tonne bronze bull sculpture which welcomes shoppers from all over the world. It’s here you’ll also find the four-floor Selfridges department store which dazzles with its sparkling aluminum disc façade. The NEC stands wide and proud near Birmingham International Airport and its 20 inter-connected halls, expansive outdoor space, and LG Arena play host to major events and exhibitions as well as some of the biggest names in the music industry who put on high-energy shows to entertain thousands of fans. There’s never a dull moment in Broad Street, Birmingham’s pulsating entertainment heart. From chortlesome comedy nights to chic clubs to canalside bars to cinema complexes, the choice is endless.
Hotels in Birmingham
There’s no lack of hotels in Birmingham, with the city offering numerous options, especially when it comes to mid-range choices. The good value, big name chains fight for attention and cater well to family stays in the city with plenty of amenities such as WiFi and satellite television to keep all ages happy. When it comes to full-blown luxury, you can expect hotel rooms with sweeping views of the city’s skyline, as well as facilities including swimming pools and in-house fine dining experiences. Brum’s not short on B&Bs or budget hotels either, just be prepared to stay in a more suburban setting.
Where to stay
Birmingham’s a sprawling city, and a stay within the city center itself will allow visitors to Birmingham to stroll around comfortably on foot thanks to conveniently pedestrianized walkways. The leafy area of Solihull, with its expensive-looking mansion houses, is another convenient hotspot and only a short distance from Birmingham Airport and the NEC. Edgbaston is similarly green and another well placed area to stay, especially for those into sport as it offers easy access to Edgbaston Cricket Ground as well as good value for money.
How to get to
Birmingham International Airport is the gateway to the city for many arriving from abroad, and there’s a free Air-Rail link from the airport to Birmingham International Rail Station. From here you can catch a train to New Street Station which will whisk you to the center of the city in less than 20 minutes. New Street Station is also well-connected to the rest of the UK, with direct links to the likes of London, Edinburgh, Oxford and Bristol. Within the city, you can travel around by light rail metro, bus or even ride the local canals by water bus.