Although I wasn’t born in Birmingham, it is definitely the place I call home and have done for many years. It’s an amazing city, full of diversity and so many great things to see and do.
Here are 5 things you should know about England’s second city:
- It has a lot of green space – when I say a lot, I mean the most of any European city. With around 600 parks and public open spaces as well as numerous privately-owned but publicly accessible areas, you can always find somewhere beautiful to spend time outdoors. A few of my favourite spots include Cannon Hill Park (loads of space and loads of activities), Sarehole Mill (feels like you’ve stepped back in time) and the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral (perfect to sit and have a picnic lunch whilst watching the world go by).
- It changes every single day – there is constant re-development happening throughout Birmingham so although it’s not the most convenient when you’re trying to drive somewhere (and don’t even try to give directions unless you’ve driven the route that same day!), it really is wonderful to see so much investment being made into this great city. I live in the city centre so over the past few years have seen the day-by-day changes at New Street Station/Grand Central and have loved seeing the dramatic changes of Paradise Forum and the old Central Library.
- It has amazing food and drink choices – whatever cuisine you want, you’ll find it in Birmingham. From Michelin-starred restaurants (and Birmingham has the most in the UK outside of London with 5); the eclectic options at Digbeth Dining Club; family-run balti houses; all the usual high-street chains; and so much more. It really doesn’t matter what you like to eat and drink, you will definitely find the perfect fit for your tastes in Birmingham.
- It has really fabulous shopping – yes, all the usual high-street shops are available but Birmingham offers so much more than that. Fiercely proud of its independents, Birmingham is home to such brilliant stores including Smithsonia in Piccadilly Arcade, Liquor Store in Great Western Arcade, and Chouchoute Chocolaterie (truly beautiful and delicious chocs).
- It plays host to world-class sports – I love sport and Birmingham doesn’t disappoint when it comes to top-level sports events. Athletics at Alexander Stadium, tennis at the Priory, cricket at Edgbaston, badminton at the Barclaycard Arena, and yes, football too (questionable on world-class though…have I mentioned I’m a rugby fan?).
Birmingham really does offer so much and I absolutely love living here. Never a dull day and always something new to see and do as well as all the old favourites (I will never tire of a trip to Cadbury’s World). What are your favourite things about Birmingham? Or, what would you like to know about Birmingham and I can try to help? Leave a comment or tweet me @amiilau.