As an industrial city, Birmingham has very few
noteworthy historic sites; however, it does have a wealth of great cultural attractions
to offer. At Chamberlain Square, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, whose holdings
include the world's largest collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings, is a must. The
museum also offers a wonderful interactive exhibit.
The Ikon Gallery, strategically located on Oozells Square, stands out as one of the most
important contemporary-art galleries in Europe. Works by British as well as
international artists are on view here. You'll also find a Spanish-style café on the
Those with an appreciation for all manner
of jewellery shouldn't miss the historic Jewellery Quarter. Here, some 100 of the most
renowned jewellers in Britain, who produce more than a third of the United Kingdom's
regalia, can be seen at work. To admire the most beautiful pieces and learn about the
district's history, head to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. The museum also houses
a shop that offers a great selection of locally made creations.
In Handsworth, the elegant Soho House, the former home of
industrialist Matthew Boulton, is open to the public. Inhabited by Boulton from 1766 to
1809, the place features beautiful rooms as well as a garden.
Chocoholics will undoubtedly make a stop at Cadbury World so as to
learn about the history of cocoa, observe the chocolate-making process and enjoy free
samples. For the admission fee, visitors also receive a few chocolate bars.
Although Birmingham and its
region are rather quiet during the day, the city truly comes to life after sundown.
Indeed, Birmingham is justly proud of its highly recognized, thriving nightlife. There
certainly is no shortage of theatres, live-music venues, pubs, bars and nightclubs of
all kinds. The Broad Street-Hurst Street area is proof positive of the city's amazing
Music-lovers partial to jazz or
classical music will enjoy the Birmingham Jazz Festival, held during the first two weeks
of July, and the prestigious City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which regularly
performs at the Convention Centre's Symphony Hall. And for theatre-goers, the Birmingham
Repertory Theatre, the Hippodrome and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (in
Stratford-upon-Avon, southeast of the city) regularly stage plays.
Last but not least, Birmingham is known as the capital of the balti,
a famous Kashmiri dish visitors should be sure to sample before leaving the city, which
is home to a great many restaurants ("Baltihouses") specializing in this type of
Where on earth
Located in the heart of England, in the Midlands,
Birmingham is the second-largest city in the country, after London. It is home to over
one million people, with more than twice that in the urban area.