Birmingham - England's Second City - City Break
We visited Birmingham in September 2008 to see if the claim that it had shaken off its image of dark, satanic mills and concrete flyovers was true.
Situated in the 'Heart of England' we soon discovered a major jewel in the English crown and not just in the historic Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.
The evidence of Birmingham's industrial past can't be avoided. As a major place of English industry, particularly 'metal bashing' as the locals term engineering and metalwork, warehouses and factories have been sympathetically restored and converted into modern offices, apartments, shops and places of entertainment. This attractive, cleaned, brickwork is punctuated with modern buildings, open spaces and public art with plenty of green. Birmingham is the historic heart of the English canal system, with more navigable canals than Venice.
Birmingham City is a place of contradictions where you can see the cutting edge art at the Ikon Gallery or study the old masters at Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery. With around 500 restaurants and eateries you can either discover balti where this legendary curry story began in the UK or book into a number of Michelin star restaurants.
Our favourite places were the Sea Life Centre in Brindleyplace, Broad Street, Brindleyplace itself on Broad Street and the nationally aclaimed Cadbury World on Linden Road, Bourneville.
Why not try the 'Floating Coffe Co' a 70 ft narrow boat ideally positioned by Brindley Place for a relaxing drink and a light snack.
The Sherbourne Wharf 'Waterbus' can transport you along the city canals making catching the bus something quite different.
Other places to visit:
Indoors: Besides the Sea Life Centre, Brindleyplace and Cadbury World in Bourneville try 'Back to Backs' on Hurst Street, The Mailbox Shopping Centre on Wharfside Street, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery opposite Chamberlain Square, the Ikon Gallery in Oozells Square and the Thinktank, Millenium Point, Curzon Street.
Outdoors: Canalside Walks, the Botanical Gardens, Westbourne Road, Edgbaston and The Jewellery Quarter.
The Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham's 250 year old Jewellery Quarter, produces around a third of all Britain's jewellery. Visit the Museum of The Jewellery Quarter on Vyse Street, Warstone Lane and Hockley Street. You will find The School of Jewellery on Vittoria Street.
Unfortunately you can no longer ride the Wheel of Birmingham in Centenary Square but there is plenty of public art to enjoy. Centenary Square is now a regular venue for Birmingham's outdoor festivals, concerts and performing arts. Also during the winter months, usually November, December and January there is a public ice-skating rink.
For entertainment you could try the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Broad Street or the Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street or even The CBSO & Symphony Hall, Berkley Street.
Where to stay:
Apollo Hotel, Hagley Road or Ibis Birmingham, Ladywell Walk as possibles.
FORMULE1 - 3, Bordesley Park Road, Birmingham B10 OPD - REVIEW
Eating and Drinking:
Jessica's, Montague Road, Edgbaston.
Le Petit Blanc, Brindley Place.
Simpson's, Highfield Road, Edgbaston.
TMUK apologise for the repetition of some place or proper names with different
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