History of Birmingham
In the county of West Midlands is the second largest city in the country – Birmingham, a significant industrial and scientific center, since ancient times famous for its fairs.
Already in the 16th century, Birmingham became widely known for its development of metalworking and jewelry (there is still a quarter in the city full of various jewelry workshops and shops, products of which are marked with a special brand: an anchor known throughout the world). The city developed so rapidly that a century later it became an important figure in the country’s industrial arena. And in the political life of Great Britain, Birmingham played a significant role, because it was largely thanks to him that the parliamentary reform of 1832 was carried out.
The twentieth century for the whole world passed in constant preparations for war, and Birmingham did not pass by this militaristic activity either. Here, military factories began to develop rapidly, which still did not save the city from air raids during the Second World War.
A few years later, Birmingham blossomed again, and now a trip to it is a real pleasure.
Local architecture of the XVII — XIX centuries. will not leave its connoisseurs indifferent. If a free day appears, it is worth visiting one of the many museums, among the expositions of which everyone will find a spectacle to their liking.
There are three large universities in Birmingham, one of which is the University of Birmingham, which is famous throughout the UK and beyond. And it is not surprising that the city gave the world so many wonderful scientists and engineers (for example, William Murdoch and John Baskerville).
Among other things, Birmingham is known for its sporting life, it is the birthplace of several famous football, basketball and rugby clubs. One of the most popular and “titled” football clubs in the country – “Aston Villa”, – it is Birmingham who considers it his home.
The British came up with a special nickname for the inhabitants of Birmingham and dubbed them brummi, for their accent and the special dialect common in this area. But you should not assume that only uneducated peasants speak it: among many famous English cultural and art workers, there are carriers of this regional dialect. These include, for example, the entire first line-up of Black Sabbath, and the famous Ozzy Osbourne. Despite the fact that Brummi is not the only dialect of Birmingham, this definition is firmly entrenched for all immigrants from these places.
Sights in Birmingham
Church of St. Paul
On the square of St. Paul in Birmingham stands an elegant 18th century Anglican church, which gave it its current name.
This rectangular temple is a bit like St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, but the spire, which evokes thoughts of similarity, was added only at the beginning of the century before last. The church is famous for many of its elements, now considered works of art. Thus, the intricate enameled stained glass window by Francis Eginton, which has now migrated to the Dallas Museum of Art, previously decorated the east window. The local authority, completely rebuilt in the 60s of the last century, now pleases its listeners not only with church music, and even the local bells regularly play the role of chimes.
Birmingham National Exhibition Center
The first exhibition in the center known throughout the country took place in 1976, and since then more than 5,000,000 visitors visit this seventh-largest exhibition center in Europe (covering an area of 200,000 m²). It is noteworthy that not only large international exhibitions are held here, but also attention is paid to small expositions.
The Big Arena, which is part of the center, often becomes the venue for a variety of events – from music to sports.
Getting to the National Exhibition Center is not difficult: in just half an hour by bus or train, you are there. This place is definitely worth a visit – after all, there are so many diverse events that you will take a real trip around the world, “diluted” with time jumps.
Jewelery Quarter Museum
From ancient times Birmingham was famous for its masters of jewelry and their creations. It is not surprising that in the richest quarter of the city a museum was opened dedicated to this glorious art. He occupied the former building of the jewelry factory, the owner of which once simply closed the doors of his brainchild, preserving the entire original setting.
The exposition tells the story of the occurrence of jewelry, its development and introduces visitors to the process of creating jewelry. The museum has a small shop where you can buy small souvenirs or branded jewelry at very attractive prices.
Birmingham nature center
Almost in the very center of the city, on Pershore Road, there is a small zoo that has gathered bright representatives of fauna from all over the world. You can spend several hours here and seem to visit all six continents. Not afraid of reptiles?
Then look into the local terrarium and marvel at the size of some of them. Children especially like it here, so if you are relaxing with your family, be sure to take the time to visit this place.
In recent years, the center has focused on breeding endangered species of animals, and often their efforts are crowned with success. Therefore, Birmingham Zoo is one of the few places where you can watch the life of representatives of unique species.
National Center for Marine Life
Another popular place in the city is the National Center for Marine Life, introducing visitors to the mysterious and unusual inhabitants of the deep sea. The center is a huge aquarium, which during construction cost the state 5,000,000 pounds. There are about 60 various aquariums of all sizes, opening doors for visitors to the underwater world.
The huge, completely transparent round tunnel, which allows visitors to be at the bottom of the sea, is especially popular, and majestic sharks, toothy killer whales, winged slopes and small curious fish flocks pass by.
Leisure in Birmingham
Birmingham hosts year-round exhibitions and festivals. The year here begins with an international sports car exhibition, which is traditionally held in mid-January.
In the auto world, this is one of the largest events, and simply amateurs in this business cannot but like it, because this is a real show with racing in historic cars along the country’s largest covered track, fascinating stunt stunts and the presentation of automotive innovations from leading world manufacturers.
“Fashion passes, style remains,” – under this slogan the annual MODA UK exhibition can be held. They do not pursue popular trends here, but carefully refine the style. Within its framework, about one and a half thousand famous fashion designers represent their creations, so you can not only enjoy the shows here but also choose something for yourself.
If you like photography, be sure to check out the European photo exhibition, which takes place in Birmingham in March. The Photography Show takes four days, which fits a wide variety of lectures and workshops that reveal to the uninitiated new facets of the photographer’s skill. Also here you can be one of the first to see the new works of the famous lens masters.
How to get to Birmingham
Birmingham Airport, located 12 km from the city, operates flights from many European cities.
Buses arrive at Digbet station from different parts of England, including London (cost from GBP 14.50, travel time 2 hours 45 minutes), Oxford (1 hour 30 minutes), Manchester (2 hours 30 minutes).
The train service is Virgin Trains, and trains depart from New St station, located near the Pallasades shopping center. A ticket from London will cost 6-15.50 GBP (travel time will be 1 hour 30 minutes), from Manchester – from 9.50 GBP (travel time 1 hour 45 minutes).
Local transport in Birmingham
Public transport carries passengers throughout the West Midland region. A 6.t GBP Daytripper ticket allows you to use the services of buses and trains for the whole day, starting from 09:30 in the morning. For travel at an earlier time, it is better to purchase a Centrocard. All types of tickets can be purchased at the tourist center, located near the New St Station.
The Birmingham tram line, The Metro, connects New St. Station and Wolverhampton, passing by Jewelery Quarter, West Bromwich and Dudley. Ticket prices range from 2.20 GBP. A ticket that allows you to use both the services of trams and buses will cost 6.30 GBP.
You can rent a car at EasyCar, located on 17 Horse Fair.
Hotels in Birmingham
Rentahotel Birmingham (4 *) is one of the most popular accommodation options in the city center. It offers spacious, modern rooms with air conditioning and cable TV, a hearty breakfast and freshly baked pastries every morning, and a variety of cocktails in the hotel’s trendy bar.
The Jurys Inn on Broad Street is an extremely cozy and comfortable, yet fully modern corner in the heart of the city. In the rooms you will find everything you need for a comfortable stay (and even a little more, they like to take care of pleasant things here). Among the other advantages of the hotel are the 24-hour reception, on-site parking (for an additional fee) and dry cleaning services.
If you prefer a luxury vacation, you should pay attention to City Nites Birmingham (4 *) apartments, the stylish rooms of which will pleasantly surprise you with their interiors with French windows, a spacious living room and a fully equipped kitchen. From the hotel you can easily get to the main restaurants, pubs and clubs, and shopping fans will surely enjoy the proximity to the Brindlapleys shopping center.
Holiday Inn Express Birmingham – Castle Bromwich (3 *) is a good chain hotel, pleasing guests with fairly low prices. The price includes breakfast buffet and parking. If you wish, you can dine in the hotel restaurant or in the spacious lounge bar. Of the few drawbacks, one can only name the distance from the center – it is about 12 kilometers from here.
But the Hampton By Hilton Birmingham Broad Street (3 *) hotel is located next to the Symphony Hall and the National Indoor Gallery. His staff is multilingual, so here you will not have problems, even if you do not speak foreign languages. This option is well suited for families.
Restaurants and Pubs in Birmingham
One of the most popular restaurants in the city is The Actress and Bishop, famous for its traditionally English cuisine and a wide selection of various alcoholic drinks.
Thanks to its intricate interior, this establishment turns out to be a real time machine that sends you on a journey through centuries past.
In prim England you suddenly wanted a little exotic? Adil Tandoori restaurant will surely please you with its unexpected taste combinations and the cooks’ love for experimentation.
If you are lost among the gastronomic variety – order a specialty tandoori chicken, which is simply delicious here, or seafood with aromatic herbs.
There are many good pubs in Birmingham, and The Bull, the most popular of them, is divided into a cozy room and decorated in the style of Old England bar area. Here you will always feel at home, and a large selection of drinks and a wide variety of snacks will definitely not let you get bored. And you can treat yourself to real home-cooked food.
The British Oak small restaurant has been delighting its guests with delicious food and quality service for almost a hundred years – this is what visitors are reminded of with amazing stained glass windows and antique furniture. They gather here not only to taste national dishes and ale – this is a great place for quiet cozy gatherings by the fireplace or an evening with friends spent playing billiards.
The spirit of antiquity is also felt in the Old Royal Pub, which has occupied one of Birmingham’s historic buildings. Tasty beer or ale for traditional snacks, surrounded by elegant bent furniture, forged lamps and state-of-the-art plasma panels that regularly feature sporting events.
Shopping in Birmingham
Shopaholics should walk at least once along New Street, High Street and Corporation Street, where the bulk of the stores and boutiques in Birmingham are concentrated.
If you want to bring branded jewelry from your trip, you should look for it in the Jewelry Quarter, full of a wide variety of precious metal products. And of course, take a stroll through the tea shops popular here – a gift bought here will surely please your friends.
For fresh food, head over to New St – every first and third Wednesday of the month there is a Farmer’s Market.