A information to Birmingham: Why it's the UK's most underrated metropolis

Regardless of being broadly known as the UK’s second metropolis, Birmingham is commonly relegated to the butt of the joke. Peaky Blinders might have given town’s fame a lift, however the crowning jewel of the West Midlands is incessantly outlined by its industrial previous – and extra lately, by the actual fact it’s received the world’s greatest Primark.

In case your information of Birmingham is restricted to a fast Google picture search, which throws up pictures of gray structure and stretches of high-street procuring, you’d be forgiven for underestimating town. However although it is likely to be a good illustration of your rapid environment stepping out of New Road Station, it’s actually not the entire image. Anybody who has ventured past the Bullring will know that Birmingham is a lot extra.

With the 2022 Commonwealth Video games being hosted in Birmingham this yr – and a mere 100 days away now – there’s an opportunity this criminally underrated metropolis could also be increased in your record to go to than ever earlier than.

So here is our information on the place it is best to go while you go to.

Absorb some tradition

From trendy galleries to exhibitions that includes well-known names, stately properties to historic mills, Birmingham’s funding in its tradition is evident.

Birmingham Museum & Artwork Gallery, which is simply as spectacular on the within as it’s on the surface, is probably the obvious selection for absorbing some tradition. Their everlasting assortment options Pre-Raphaelite and Italian Baroque artwork, alongside trendy British artwork and digital pictures. 

Their momentary exhibitions have explored vital themes, comparable to physique picture, feminism, and town’s historical past of revolution. Birmingham’s historical past may be explored additional at websites like Blakesley Corridor and Soho Home, run by the tutorial charity Birmingham Museums Belief.

Additionally value a go to, is the Ikon Gallery, a up to date artwork venue located in Brindleyplace. The Barber Institute of Wonderful Arts, on the campus of the College of Birmingham, has items by the likes of Monet, Manet, Rodin, Degas, Turner and Picasso.

There are additionally loads of theatres – the Hippodrome is the bottom of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, in addition to musicals like The Shade Purple. SIX and Les Miserables. Should you choose to be the one dancing, slightly than watching others, you may get shifting at one in every of The Jam Home’s salsa workshops on a Thursday night time.

Music venues for each style

As the house of Ozzy Osborne, Electrical Mild Orchestra and Peace, it’s no understatement to say that Birmingham’s music scene is various.

For mainstream music followers, Utilita enviornment host larger concert events starring the likes of Dua Lipa, Alicia Keys and Foals. The goldilocks music venues, the ornate O2 Institute, and the marginally larger O2 Academy are additionally common stops on large names’ excursions, with artists like Declan McKenna, Rina Sawayama and BROCKHAMPTON because of play later this yr. And for extra intimate gigs, smaller music venues like The Noticed Canine, Hare & Hounds and The Crossing are normally stuffed with dwell music and DJ units.

The classical music scene within the metropolis can be large, from the Metropolis of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s performances within the ornate Symphony Corridor, to the Birmingham Conservatoire which hosts round 300 occasions a yr.

You will discover upcoming gigs and concert events at Go to Birmingham.

There’s loads of nature should you search for it

Birmingham is repeatedly diminished to its metropolis centre, packed full of retailers and high-rise buildings. However it’s removed from a concrete jungle. In addition to parks within the coronary heart of town, there are numerous locations to take pleasure in nature just some minutes from the centre.

Cannon Hill Park in south Birmingham is town’s greatest park, spanning 250 acres. It’s good for a summer time picnic and pedal-boating. One other good spot is Warley Woods within the west and should you’re ready to journey additional out of the centre, Lickey Hills is a shocking nation park with lovely views of the realm.

Only a quick stroll from the College of Birmingham’s foremost campus is Winterbourne Home & Backyard, a quiet haven full of gorgeous flowers, greenhouses, and an Edwardian home. And whereas the phrase ‘lavatory’ is much from interesting, Moseley Bathroom was one of many haunts of a younger JRR Tolkien – it should be fairly nice to encourage the creator of Center-Earth.

Briefly: there are many inexperienced areas to take pleasure in all around the metropolis, so cease considering the one color you’ll see in Brum is gray. 

For an even bigger record of parks within the metropolis, try Birmingham Metropolis Council’s record.

The best place within the UK: Digbeth

Celebrated for its nurturing of creativity and tradition, there’s a cause Digbeth was named the best place to dwell within the UK by The Occasions in 2018.

You possibly can simply spend a weekend in simply Digbeth alone. Placing avenue artwork is scattered all through the realm, the neon-paint splattered Ghetto Golf within the Custard Manufacturing unit is quite a lot of enjoyable, and spectacular golf equipment like The Mill and Lab11 host large occasions all year long. Alongside the extra apparent spots, a lesser-known spotlight is Minerva Works – a artistic house with a classic store, report retailer, cares, music venues and artwork areas.

And we will’t focus on Digbeth with out mentioning the long-lasting Digbeth Eating Membership – a weekly food and drinks competition with a rotating solid of avenue meals distributors, serving every part from cauliflower wings and curry to candy waffles and loaded fries.

Foods and drinks

Birmingham has all the apparent – and reliably scrumptious – chain eating places like Wagamama, Pizza Categorical and Pho. However as comforting as it’s to have these choices, the magic of Brum’s meals scene lies in its impartial venues.

From the cosy Cherry Purple’s, situated simply exterior of Birmingham New Road, to what is likely to be the perfect bottomless brunch at Fuel Road Social, there are numerous impartial eating places and cafes to take pleasure in within the centre and within the suburbs alike.

Birmingham is understood for its beautiful Indian and Balti eating places, however Zindiya Streatery & Bar is a specific spotlight. Run by husband and spouse duo Ajay & Shivani Kenth, it serves Indian avenue food-inspired dishes which can be as tasty as they’re Instagrammable, in a social and vibrant setting.

In addition to a smorgasbord of cuisines, Birmingham’s impartial bar scene additionally offers it brownie factors. The Jekyll and Hyde is an award-winning cocktail/gin bar, full with Dickensian décor, and for beer lovers, the Submit Workplace Vaults have over 400 bottled beers from all around the world.

The Impartial Birmingham app may give you as much as 25 per cent off of town’s greatest venues, so be sure that to test it out should you do go to post-pandemic.

Birmingham is a thousand cities in a single, filled with tradition, leisure, and nature. Hopefully, you’re now satisfied that second place is definitely greatest.