The second biggest city in the United Kingdom, Birmingham, offers lots of things to do. From a designer library to luxury shops and canal boat trips you would not run out of things to do in Birmingham.
Shopping to do in Birmingham
Last year, I visited Birmingham for a quick shopping trip with my sisters. At just 1 hour and 30 minutes from London Euston, Birmingham was an ideal shopping location for several reasons. Firstly, shops are cheaper than in London. Secondly, most of the shops are located close to each other linked with gateways making it ideal on rainy days.
Here is our itinerary for a 24-hour shopping trip to Birmingham.
One can’t visit Birmingham without enjoying a shopping spree. Birmingham is the shopping hub of the Midlands where shopaholics are spoiled for choice. Bullring opened in 2004 is undeniably the heart of Birmingham’s shopping centres. With more than 160 shops and concessions, it will be difficult to leave empty-handed. High street shops, designers shops, food hall, restaurants, everything is designed to make you enjoy a shopping day out. Obviously, if you are not interested in shopping you will not be charmed by it. In case you decide to avoid the Bullring, at least stop by to admire the facade of Selfridges. The steel framed building is a great piece of art.
Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham, B5 4BU
If you prefer to shop independent then you should add Custard Factory to your itinerary. Situated in the “Creative Quarter” in the industrial district of Digbeth, the area is home to independent shops, cafes and bars as well as creative and digital businesses.
The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA
Along with Broad Street, Brindley Place is where most clubs and bars are located. The area comes to life in the evening with music and lots of eating places. The area was the site of factories until the manufacturing industry went into decline in the 70s.
Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2JF
The Mailbox used to be the Royal Mail’s main sorting office for Birmingham but since 2013 it’s the perfect place for people who like to work, shop, drink and have fun. It’s cosier than the shopping centre and offers high-end shopping with designer shops like Harvey Nichols, Hugo Boss or Jaeger.
The Mailbox, 7 Commercial Street, Birmingham, B1 1RS
The library of Birmingham is not your typical library. As well as books, the library offers events and exhibitions and even a lovely secret garden. It was so secret that I couldn’t find it! The building which opened in 2013 is just impressive both inside and outside. The angular exterior combined with the detailed exterior decoration makes it a great piece of architecture not always associated with libraries. The inside is very spacious and modern. Once you have explored the ground floor which is similar to normal libraries, head to the Shakespeare Memorial Room which Victorian decor contrasts with the modern library. If you have time, take the elevator to the Skyline Viewpoint for a panoramic view of Birmingham.
Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND
Where to stay
We stayed at the Aparthotel Adagio Birmingham which is located very close to the Bullring Shopping Centre. We wanted a central location, close to the shops, restaurants and sights since we only had 24 hours in Birmingham. Another convenient hotel we contemplated was the Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC. This stylish hotel is also centrally located.
Take a canal boat tour
Did you know that Birmingham has more canals than Venice? With 35 miles of canals compared to Venice’s 26 miles of waterways, there is no doubt. However since Birmingham is much bigger than Venice, you will not be able to see that it has more water unless you experience it for yourself. So take a walk along the canals on a dry day and enjoy. To explore more and see the extent of the network, take a boat ride. You can take a boat between Brindley Place and the International Convention Centre quayside and explore Birmingham’s past as an industrial city. Sherborne Wharf and Away2Canal offer interesting tours. After the ride, stop by one of the many restaurants and bars of Gas Street Bassin.
Eat, eat then eat some more
Birmingham has an extensive range of culinary options. From fine dining to street food, there is something to suit all palates. The most famous dish in Birmingham is the Balti. However, if you are not a fan of Indian food, you can find food from other countries like Italy or China. We stopped by Zizzi, a chain restaurant offering Italian pasta and pizza.
Have you been to Birmingham? What is your favourite place there?
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