During the Shakespearean era, Birmingham was a market town in the centre of a wooded countryside. Today, the city is a vibrant tourist destination with state-of-the-art museums and galleries, innovative theatres and vibrant shopping areas which make it a perfect weekend destination. It is sometimes referred to as the 'Venice of the North' because of its numerous canals. Situated 100 miles northwest of London, Birmingham has plenty to see and do. The city offers everything from fine dining, to shopping, to vibrant nightlife, to family activities.
With so many attractions, it's a good thing that there are plenty of Birmingham hotels to go around. And, if you are trying to stick to a tight budget, there is plenty of cheaper accommodation. If you are looking for just the right place, there are plenty of cheap Birmingham hotels on the southwest side of town. There are also several luxury hotels that suit different needs: romantic luxury hotels, spa hotels and business hotels. Budget hotels are popular and many are situated in the centre of Birmingham, close to its tourist attractions. Those who are interested in hitting the bars and night clubs can stay in the Broad Street area, known for its numerous nightclubs and bars. Visitors can choose from an array of serviced apartments, very cheap hotels, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, hostels and motels which can be found in the city centre and in the less busy areas of the city.
Top Birmingham Attractions
If you're looking for a tranquil spot in the middle of the hustle and bustle, head to Winterbourne House and Garden. The estate houses antiques and acres of botanical gardens. It is the perfect place for a quiet afternoon walk. Once you're there, you will totally forget that you're only a few miles from the city centre! In the city centre, you'll find the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the city's finest museum, which has a great collection of Pre-Raphaelite art. Another innovative place to visit is Thinktank, which promises inspiring interactive fun. This modern museum investigates a myriad of things, from taste buds to locomotives, using state-of-the-art digital technology.
If you love jewellery, you'll enjoy the Jewellery Quarter, which has two free museums: The Museum of Jewellery Quarter and the Pen Room Museum. There are also several art galleries, more than 100 jewellery shops and 200 historic buildings in the Quarter. The National Sea Life Centre takes visitors on a spectacular undersea voyage and has a glass tunnel surrounded by a one-million litre tank where marine animals and fish swim inches away - just one of the 60 displays in the Centre. A canal-side village and world-class open air museum, the Black Country Living Museum has costumed people working, living and interacting in a traditional setting, just as the people did in the past. Don't miss the Dudley Zoological Gardens, where you can come face to face with lemurs and walk through a rainforest.
One of the most popular attractions in Birmingham is Cadbury World - a must-see for anyone with a sweet tooth! While you're there, you can see how Cadbury chocolate is made and even how the company comes up with all of their creative gift box ideas. Once your mouth is sufficiently watering, you can take advantage of samples at the end of your tour. And, if you're a major chocoholic, there are a slew of Birmingham City hotels within a few miles of Cadbury World, so that you're never too far from the chocolate paradise. Another must-see in Birmingham? The canals. Most people don't know it, but Birmingham actually has more canals than Venice does! There are sightseeing tours along many of them - along with restaurants, bars, and even cheap Birmingham hotels.
Kids and Family
There are so many themed parks and fun places for the entire family in the vicinity of Birmingham you will have a hard time deciding where to go. To mention a few, you can spend a fun day with the family at Gulliver's Kingdom, with rides and attractions that kids from two to thirteen will enjoy. Twin Lakes Park is a beautiful park in the woods featuring rides and indoor play centres. Wicksteed Park attracts around one million tourists a year. Its 147 acres of lakes and parklands are dotted with more than 35 rides and attractions including the famous Waterchute. The West Midlands Safari and Leisure Park gives visitors a safari experience complete with rhinos, elephants, lions and giraffes. The Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Pool thrills visitors with wave machines and two flumes. The Stafford Butterfly Farm is a simulated tropical forest with numerous butterflies, sunbirds and Koi carp.
The bustling city of Birmingham becomes even more vibrant at night. There are many bars, restaurants and pubs close to each other, each contributing to the jovial evening atmosphere. On the upside of Broad Street, the Australian themed Walkabout bar is a good place for people who are visiting for the first time. It has plenty of seating, and a huge dance floor. Music is varied, from Indie to Pop, to R&B. Nearby are Brindley Place, which runs alongside the canal, and Summer Row, which is behind the library. There are bars and good restaurants in this part of town. A short walk from the city centre is the Mailbox, which is connected by a bridge to a pathway that leads to more bars and restaurants serving Italian, Indian and Spanish fare. The Arcadian in China Town offers a more relaxed atmosphere and numerous Chinese restaurants, with a few establishments offering other Asian cuisine, such as Indian and Japanese food.
You'll never go hungry in Birmingham with its plethora of restaurants offering various English, European, Asian, Mediterranean, and Caribbean fare. Pizzerias abound and there are many fast-food eateries where you can grab a bite to eat at reasonable prices. One of the places near the city centre that offers a variety of indoor and alfresco dining is Brindley Place. There are 16 restaurants in this area featuring a variety of menus that are constantly being changed. Another complex that offers several restaurant choices is The Arcadian, a unique complex constructed around an attractive piazza where visitors can enjoy al fresco dining. There are a number of restaurants offering cuisine from different parts of the world. Providing entertainment is the Glee Club, set among the restaurants. The Glee Club provides first class comedy acts from around the world.
Arts and Entertainment
Birmingham offers a host of cultural gems and colourful entertainment for everyone. The acclaimed Birmingham Royal Ballet calls the Hippodrome its home. Here, and in the Alexandra and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, as well as in The Door, a merry mix of ballet, opera, musicals and major dramatic productions are shown throughout the year. The Midland Arts Centre features a more eclectic selection of theatrical events, films, exhibits and workshops. Film buffs can watch the latest film releases and Bollywood blockbusters at the multiplexes and at The Electric, the oldest working cinema in the UK, adorned with art deco. They can also watch at the Odeon, the Arcadian and, at the UK's largest cinema with 30 screens, Star City. Some of the finest galleries in the country are in Birmingham. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery houses the world's best collection of Pre-Raphaelite art. An outstanding collection of Renaissance and Impressionist art is housed at the Barber Institute of Fine Art and the Ikon Gallery features outstanding contemporary work.