Birmingham

What you need to know before you go

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    Birmingham is a multi-faceted modern metropolis, where centuries-old churches stand alongside architecturally adventurous mosques, and where a diverse population fuels a famously eclectic dining scene. Art aficionados can spend hours marveling at masterpieces in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, while shopaholics can sate their urges in the sleek surroundings of the Bullring centre.

    Birmingham is the birthplace of the Balti, so a fiery Indian feast should definitely be on your to-do list while you're in town. And the city heats up after dark, with an array of cosy real ale pubs, chic cocktail bars and pulsing nightclubs to crawl between.

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    Find diverse shopping, cutting-edge art and a global dining scene on a Birmingham city break. Book a Birmingham hotel to enjoy this lively West Midlands city.

    Shopping central

    Re-defining Birmingham’s cityscape near New Street Station is the curved exterior of the Bullring Centre, clad in gleaming discs like a sequinned dress. Housing 160 stores, the complex includes four floors of Selfridges and designer shopping like Armani and Hugo Boss concentrated in the stylish Mailbox mall. For vintage finds and organic food head to Digbeth’s Sunday Flea, in the Custard Factory art hub, south of the centre.

    Culture hub

    The innovative Ikon Gallery in the city centre Brindleyplace shows off the latest in contemporary art in a glorious neo-Gothic schoolhouse. Its sister gallery, Ikon Eastside, lies in regenerated Digbeth to the south. Behind the Victorian facade of the free-entry Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is the world’s largest pre-Raphaelite collection. Modern art masterpieces reside in St Paul’s Gallery, north of centre in the Jewellery Quarter. Book tickets at Symphony Hall to hear classical pieces performed by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The Electric Cinema’s global film programme and the Birmingham Hippodrome are popular with film buffs and theatregoers. 

    World cuisine

    For sublime curries, the Balti Triangle of Sparkbrook, Balsall Heath and Moseley in south Birmingham is a must on a Birmingham city break. Take your own drink as most restaurants are unlicensed. Chinatown, near the Bullring, is crammed with great-value Oriental eateries. In the summer, nothing beats alfresco dining by Brindleyplace’s canals. For Michelin-starred food, order guinea fowl and Devonshire crab at city centre Purnell’s restaurant.

    Family-friendly fun

    Over 200 hands-on exhibits bring science and history alive at Thinktank at Millennium Point, north of the Bullring. Star-gaze inside its state-of-the-art Planetarium. At the National Sealife Centre by Brindleyplace, sharks, rays and sea turtles are among the residents of the million-litre ocean tunnel. Also don’t miss its Sensorama 4D cinema where you can even smell the seaweed. Four miles from central Birmingham is Cadbury World. Experience a virtual chocolate rain shower and stock up in the world's largest Cadbury store.

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