Britain’s second city too often plays second fiddle to its celebrated siblings around the UK. But for tasty food and drink, great shopping options, lively nightlife and plenty of cultural things to do, it’s an ideal weekend break.
More canals than Venice, more trees than Paris and more Bullrings than anywhere north of Barcelona, is the standard and elevated guidebook pitch for the UK’s second largest city, but one that works more on technicalities than truths (see our Hipster’s Guide below). The reality is that Birmingham is a post industrial city that is rarely beautiful, and moreover one that lacks a world-famous cultural behemoth… but that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of things to see and do. The city centre has been invigorated by the sparkling new version of its long-standing Bullring shopping centre, whilst the Jewellery Quarter provides a pocket of red-bricked prettiness that’s fun to explore on foot. Three major universities (Birmingham, Aston and UCL) mean the city is awash with bright young things, either thinking or drinking, or both, at any given time, and this brings a brash excitement to everyday life in Brum.