Birmingham Travel Guide

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Birmingham Travel Guide

Birmingham Local History

Birmingham started life worth twenty shillings; at least that is what is recorded in the Domesday Book, when it was a small settlement back in the early Middle Ages. Surrounded by parkland and half a dozen small villages, the granting of a weekly market in 1166 was to see an influx of traders and entrepreneurs, and lead to the construction of the famous canals to facilitate the import and export of products and goods.

Over the ages, the surrounding villages were to amalgamate and become the vast metropolis Birmingham is today, covering an area of eighty square miles, with a population of a million people. Although it is a modern, vibrant city with a diverse community and important industrial legacy, its ancient churches and castles still stand, offering an insight to its history.

Birmingham Attractions

Top Attractions

Aston Hall This historic Jacobean mansion, ornamented by turrets and gables outside, and plaster ceilings and friezes within its palatial walls, was built over the period 1681 to 1653 for the Holte family. It has a room where Charles I slept in 1642, and there are marks on the staircase testifying to a gun battle between the Parliamentarians and the Holte family.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts This art gallery in Birmingham University was built in over four years from 1934 to 1938 by Robert Atkinson, and is rapidly becoming one of Birmingham's hottest attractions, with works by Rubens, Turner, Gainsborough and other such heavyweight names in the world of fine art.

Brindleyplace Located next to the International Convention Centre, this US$357 million complex houses a trendy little world of bars, restaurants, shops and theatres. It is here that the Ikon Gallery puts on temporary exhibitions of modern art, video and other such fascinating insights to mind of modern man and his weirdness.

Cadbury World Willy Wonka move over, THIS is a chocolate factory! Visitors can learn about the history of this marvellous gift from the gods that is so much more than just a sweet tasting delicacy, but a mood enhancer, and comforter of note. Learn the history of chocolate, see how it is made, and sample its delights on a tour of the site.

Jewellery Quarter fifteen minutes from the city centre, is Birmingham's jewellery quarter, and the site of jewellers' workshops since the 16th century. The Smith & Pepper jewellery factory in the museum is much as it was when it was the top designer and manufacturer way back when, and visitors can watch as modern workers create pieces of perfection on the old machines.

Peter Clark Antiques Very nice little antiques shop, the only one in Birmingham that does real Georgian antiques. 36 St Mary's Row.
submitted by Jan Bowman, 29/08/06

Birmingham Shopping

Birmingham offers modern malls and shopping centres that are as bright, flash and fancy as any in the modern world. It also is home to a very old jewellery trade, and antique pieces or up-to-the-minute designs can be bought at the Jewellery Quarter which is located just fifteen minutes for the city centre.

Birmingham Activities

Birmingham Nature Centre - this is the perfect place to take children who have become bored with shopping or sightseeing. About 134 species of mainly British and European wildlife live here in surrounding as close as possible to their natural habitat and there are rabbits, deer, goats and other small animals for them to see and learn about.

Weston Park - While Mom and Dad can enjoy the formal gardens and magnificent 17th Century House; the children can have fun in the woodland adventure playground, miniature railway, and pets' corner of this beautiful place.

National Sea Life Centre - bring your children to Brindleyplace to see the world's first 360 degree transparent under water tunnel and allow them the experience of seeing sharks, stingrays and strange marine creatures swimming around them.

Birmingham Parks & Gardens

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens - these 18th century walled gardens take the visitor back in time with a holly maze, and section of historic vegetables, herb garden, and other delightful features.

Cannon Hill Park - located just two miles from the city centre, the gorgeous flowerbeds, lakes and pools make this one of the finest parks in Birmingham, and also offer tennis courts, bowling and putting greens, and marvellous rambles through a wildflower meadow.

Spoilt for choice - Birmingham offers modern malls and shopping centres that are as bright, flash and fancy as any in the modern world. It also is home to a very old jewellery trade, and antique pieces or up-to-the-minute designs can be bought at the Jewellery Quarter which is located just fifteen minutes for the city centre

Birmingham Restaurants and Bars

Birmingham has become home of the famous Balti, a dish originating in Pakistan, and enthusiastically adopted by the locals. The name Balti means 'cooking bucket', with spicy food cooked in one pot and served with naan bread. Cuisines adopted from many countries including France, Italy, Latin American and the Caribbean are all served in the hundreds of cafes and restaurants in the city¬Ö all a far cry from the traditional English fare of sticky buns, roly-poly steam puddings, and fish and chips.

Birmingham Restaurants

Waxy O'Connor's - Broad Street, although Waxy's is known for the quality of food, it will not cost an arm and leg to eat here, and this is where you can try a Birmingham Balti or a seasonal dish from the menu, such as Donegal Salmon or a Crock of Mussels, while watching a major sporting event on the telly.

The Aylesford Town House and Restaurant - a couple of minutes from Warwick Castle, is open for light meals and snacks throughout the day, and at night offers classic cuisine and an intimate setting for dinner.

Pasticio - Millennium Point visitor and attraction centre, the pastries baguettes, cakes and snacks served in this French style patisserie are of excellent quality and good value for your money. There are also coffee and hot pies available.

Birmingham Bars & Clubs

The Nightingale Club - located beneath the Burlington Hotel, New Street, and this nightclub with no less than 5 bars on 3 levels, 2 discos, restaurant, games room and garden, and has won the 'Best Midlands Gay venue' and a number of other awards.

The Old Joint Stock - located on Temple Row West, and overlooking Birmingham Cathedral, offers a range of superb ales and excellent home-cooked meals.

Ministry of Sound - on Broad Street, Dance and Soul sounds bring in the crowd at this Birmingham version the London scene.

Birmingham children's activities

Birmingham Nature Centre - this is the perfect place to take children who have become bored with shopping or sightseeing. About 134 species of mainly British and European wildlife live here in surrounding as close as possible to their natural habitat and there are rabbits, deer, goats and other small animals for them to see and learn about.

Weston Park - While Mom and Dad can enjoy the formal gardens and magnificent 17th Century House; the children can have fun in the woodland adventure playground, miniature railway, and pets' corner of this beautiful place.

National Sea Life Centre - bring your children to Brindleyplace to see the world's first 360 degree transparent under water tunnel and allow them the experience of seeing sharks, stingrays and strange marine creatures swimming around them.

Useful Birmingham Links

Birmingham Destination Guide
a guide answering your questions about Birmingham, England, UK.

Birmingham Destination Guide
a guide answering your questions about Birmingham, England, UK.

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