Creativity and invention are in Birmingham’s DNA. At the height of the industrial revolution the English city was known as the ‘workshop of the world’, and it registered three times as many patents as any other city. Catching flights to Birmingham will take you to the city that gave the world the modern steam engine, Cadbury’s chocolate, lawn tennis, HP Sauce, the Mini, Dunlop tyres, the first professional football league, Brylcreem and lots more.
Today, as one of the youngest cities in Europe, Brum, as it’s affectionately known, continues to re-invent itself. It’s packed with cultural attractions, from historic sights such as the Grade I listed Jacobean mansion Aston Hall, to Villa Park – home of Aston Villa Football Club. Then there are the world-class acoustics of Symphony Hall and the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Hippodrome Theatre.
It’s a city on the up, as you can see from its acres of green spaces and miles of rejuvenated canals leading to the stunning new Library of Birmingham and the modernist structure of the Selfridges building at the iconic Bullring shopping centre. In fact, Brum is one of the top destinations for shopping in the UK, with an eclectic retail scene that ranges from the renowned Jewellery Quarter to its exclusive mall, The Mailbox.
You’ll want to save some of your pennies for Birmingham’s food and drink too, and the diverse dining scene that reflects the city’s cosmopolitan population. There’s everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to a vibrant street-food culture. Add a thriving network of independent coffee shops and it’s clear that Birmingham is a culinary force to be reckoned with.
Each of Brum’s eclectic neighbourhoods has something to offer. In post-industrial Digbeth you’ll find a vibrant creative community, trendy Moseley has more of an indie vibe, and King’s Heath is pure suburbia. And at the heart of Birmingham’s appeal are the good-humoured, down-to-earth ‘Brummies’.