With more miles of canal than Venice and beautifully restored heritage buildings, Birmingham offers wonderful cultural attractions, many of which are unique to the UK. As a result, Birmingham is quickly gaining a reputation as England’s hidden gem. If you are looking for a city rich in history UK City Guides has the inside scoop.
Birmingham offers some of the UK`s most stunning architecture. From Medieval structures to new developments through the city`s “Big City Plan”, Birmingham displays the best architecture the UK has to offer. Just a few of these must see sights are:
Stoneleigh Abbey – Built in 1154 for a small community of Cistercian monks, this beautiful development provides a rich tapestry of architecture and landscape which is fully open to the public. http://www.stoneleighabbey.org/
Coventry Cathedral – No trip to Birmingham is complete without seeing this incredible structure, notable as being voted the nation`s favourite 20th Century Building. http://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/
The Bullring – Completed in 2004, this radically modern structure houses an exciting and stimulating shopping experience with over 140 shops including names lime Selfridges and Debenhams. http://www.bullring.co.uk/
Visiting Birmingham will more than satisfy those culture vultures. Just a few of the museums available to the public are:
Saint Nicolas Place – Housing Birmingham’s largest collection of Medieval and Tudor buildings, these grade II listed buildings are easily accessible from the city’s centre. http://www.saintnicolasplace.co.uk/history.php
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts – Considered one of the finest small collections in the UK, this collection includes paintings, sculptures and drawings from worlds renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso and Matisse. http://barber.org.uk/
The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – Housing artefacts from the last 200,000 years of history, this centrally located museum also provides free admission, simply a must see. http://www.bmag.org.uk/
One of Birmingham’s most unique attractions is its extensive waterways. The most relaxing way to get around, these tours provide gateways to the city’s many attractions. If you fancy seeing the city from a new perspective the following offer fascinating tours of the city:
Sherborne Wharf – Visit the International Convention Centre (ICC) mooring, Oozells Street, Icknield loops, the national Indoor Arena and the National Sea Life Centre. http://www.sherbornewharf.co.uk/
Away2Canal –This trip takes you past the picturesque University of Birmingham and many of the same attractions as above. For the time-sensitive visitor, this tour provides the choice of either a 30 minute or hour trip. http://www.away2canal.co.uk/
Dudley Canal Trust – For a more comprehensive look at the city’s rich history, this tour offers trips to the city`s limestone caverns and covers over 420 million years of fascinating natural history (however they have thoughtfully condensed it into just 45 minutes). http://dudleycanaltrust.org.uk/
One of Birmingham’s largest leisure attractions, Cadbury World is a chocoholic’s dream come true. One of only two such attractions in the world, the other being New Zealand, Cadbury World offers the chance to see how your favourite chocolate treats are made. Not to be mistaken for an everyday factory tour, Cadbury World enriches the tour with experiences such as playing in chocolate rain to riding aboard the magical Cadabra ride and meeting the infamous Cadbury drumming Gorilla. http://www.cadburyworld.co.uk/
Unique to Birmingham, for over 200 years the Jewellery Quarter is home to some of the world`s most highly skilled goldsmiths and jewellery makers. Affectionately known as “Birmingham’s Gem” the quarter is home to over 100 specialist jewellery retailers giving you the chance to have a special gift made to order on site. In addition to jewellery, the area is constantly evolving with galleries, wedding shops, gift shops and fashion specialists.
To best experience all this quarter has to offer, a stay in one of the most iconic of Birmingham`s hotels (situated in the heart of the area) is a must. A solid hotel choice in the Jewellery quarter would be Hotel Du Vin. This hotel is housed in the former Birmingham Eye Hospital which has been beautifully converted, incorporating 66 rooms whilst retaining all the original features of this ornate, early Victorian red brick building. http://www.hotelduvin.com/locations/birmingham/