Where to stay in Birmingham
Where to stay in Birmingham
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What you need to know about Birmingham
Birmingham is the UK’s second biggest city, and unquestionably one of the most exciting and happening for visitors. In recent years, Birmingham has invested in gleaming shopping centres, as well as extensive restoration to the city’s canals and Victorian buildings.
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There’s also a new tram line extension through the city centre, new parks and public spaces, and more glitzy apartments and office buildings than you can shake a stick at.
Hot on the heels of this urban regeneration comes some of the coolest shops, bars and restaurants you’ll find outside of London, alongside outstanding museums and galleries, an eclectic art scene, and a wealth of industrial heritage that has transformed Birmingham from Britain’s manufacturing capital into a buzzing cultural and creative hub.
Food and drink
Brum (as it’s known by locals) has a hugely culturally diverse population, and this is reflected in the exciting range of restaurants you’ll find in and around the city, representing over 27 different cuisines and gastronomic cultures. You'll certainly need more than a weekend break to sample them all!
You’ll find all the top high street café and restaurant chains, alongside some outstanding gastropubs and four Michelin-starred restaurants.
You can also sample the hundreds of quality Indian and ethnic food outlets in Birmingham’s famous Balti Triangle – it’s not for nothing that the city is known as the curry capital of the UK! If you don't feel like leaving your serviced apartment, you can always order a take-away and enjoy it in the comfort of your home from home.
Birmingham has transformed into one of the UK’s premium shopping destinations in recent years, combining huge malls like the Bullring and the (very fancy) Mailbox with quirky artisan shopping quarters and vibrant markets.
You can shop in style at Harvey Nicks and Selfridges, explore eclectic boutiques for gifts and accessories, or head for the bargain-hunters paradise of Birmingham’s famous Bullring market, where locals and visitors have been buying everything from fruit and furniture to buttons and ballgowns for over 850 years.
If jewellery is your thing, you’re in for a treat. Birmingham’s jewellery quarter is where more than 40% of the UK’s jewellery is made and hosts over 100 specialist shops where you can browse, barter or even commission your own unique piece.
Birmingham is a great location for foodie shoppers too, with lots of food markets, speciality delis and fancy food halls packed with tasty treats and ingredients – make sure you take home some local sausages and curry spices!
Birmingham has been feeding the nation for centuries – Cadbury’s chocolate, HP Sauce, Bird’s Custard and Typhoo Tea all originated in Birmingham, and they’ve been making consumer goods and cars here for many years too.
Now the city’s economy covers service industries too, particularly in conferencing – 40% of the UK’s conference trade comes to centres like the NEC in Birmingham, most of which are easily accessible from your serviced apartment. Car manufacturing is still a big part of Birmingham’s industry, with plants for MG Rover (who are only making MGs these days), and Jaguar Land Rover based in the city.
Getting to Birmingham is easy, whether you come by plane to the nearby international airport, take a coach or train from all the major cities in the UK, or drive via the M40, M6 or M5, which all lead directly to Birmingham.
Birmingham is a big city, but it’s easy to get around on foot if you don’t mind stretching your legs a bit. Walking also means you can explore Birmingham’s 50km of glorious canals (more than Venice, no less), huge sections of which have been lovingly restored as places to walk, eat, or just sit back and watch the canal boats go by.
If you’d prefer, there are local rail lines and the new Midland Metro tram system that provide quick links to all the attractions, and a fantastic network of buses that connect everyone to everything. Taxis are well regulated and good value, so they’re a good choice if you’re heading home after a night out.
Things to watch out for
Birmingham is generally considered to be a safe city, and many of Birmingham’s less salubrious areas have now been transformed by redevelopment. However as with most large cities, there are still areas (around Digbeth bus station, for example), where you wouldn’t want to hang around late at night, so make use of the city’s excellent public transport and taxi services.
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