Most people know Birmingham to be the second largest city in the UK. And as you might have read from my last post, it is also home to the beloved Cadbury Chocolate and Peaky Blinders. Whilst all those things are true, Birmingham has so much more to offer, that you will only grow to love it after making a quick trip up to the Midlands.
Birmingham’s a lovely cosmopolitan city; it’s London without the intensity and makes for a great day trip to be out of the hustle and bustle of London. It is also only about an hour and a half away from London by train and makes for a great reason to get those student railcards back in action. Having spent three years in Birmingham, I have grown to love the city and all its little quirks. Besides, with the recent Eurostar delays, perhaps it might be best to put those Paris weekend trip ideas on hold and give Birmingham a shot.
1. The lush parks and history
There is no denying that London’s got beautiful parks and lovely green spaces. But sometimes they do get a wee bit crowded from all the tourists. I don’t know about you but I like to have a calm atmosphere when I’m having an outdoor picnic with my friends. And with spring having just sprung, parks are likely to get a lot more packed in the months to come. Cannon Hill Park and Moseley Park are great green spaces to hang out in without having to compromise on the ambience. Plus if you’re a Tolkien fan, you wouldn’t want to miss out on visiting Moseley Bog. It’s only a 25-minute walk from Moseley Park and inspired some settings in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
2. They have record-breaking landmarks
Birmingham also has the largest library in Europe and the world’s tallest freestanding clock tower also known as Old Joe. The library is only a short walk from the train station but if you are looking to visit Old Joe you could take a short trip to University Station from New Street Station. It’s no Leaning Tower of Pisa but getting a picture with Old Joe will be a nice addition to your Instagram feed.
3. The cute little art scene
London’s amazing museums might be no match for Birmingham, but you could say that about almost every other city in comparison to London. Be sure to stop by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery at Chamberlain Square, which is in the city and free to access. They have a beautiful collection of modern art, interesting installations and a stellar collection of Baroque paintings that will definitely knock your socks of. If you’ve got some extra time, be sure to stop by Ikon Gallery; it runs trendy exhibitions and it also has a nice little café out front for that much-needed caffeine stop.