Ever thought about visiting the West Midlands in the United Kingdom? There’s more here than meets the eye so take a look at these ten very good reasons why you should start planning that visit.
1. The Canals – more here than Venice
Birmingham, the second most populous city outside London, is famed for its canals which have seen a revival in recent years. Take a narrow boat through the city to some of the Warwickshire villages or stop off in Brindley Place for a beer. It is an excellent way to see the industrial heritage of the region from the water.
2. Shopping- You can shop until you drop
One of Birmingham’s iconic sights is the Selfridges building located in a newly refurbished Bull Ring with one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK. There’s Touchwood in Solihull too, as well as the out of town experience at Merry Hill and a regenerated Mailbox.
3. Balti triangle – You can taste some of the best curries in the world
Birmingham is renowned for its Balti restaurants and some of the finest cuisine is in Ladypool Road and Sparkbrook. This is one of the must do experiences when in town and is a favourite with locals as well as visitors.
4. The world class sporting venues
The West Midlands has some of the best football clubs in England including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Aston Villa. For athletics the Alexandra Stadium is a major draw and cricket at Edgbaston is legendary.
5. The Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham is at the heart of the jewellery industry and there are many artisans, gold and silversmiths, and gem experts in Hockley. Otherwise known as the Jewellery Quarter, Hockley is an excellent place to buy a ring or other fine jewels.
6. The Christmas Market
Each December Birmingham hosts one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe. The city centre becomes a blend of cinnamon and mulled wine scented haven of gifts, and Christmas cheer and attracts thousands of visitors.
7. You can get to Middle Earth
Well Moseley actually. J. R. Tolkien lived in Moseley, Birmingham and there are places all over the city linked to the Hobbit, Gollum and other characters of Middle Earth. Look closely towards Birmingham University and the two towers inspired part of the famous trilogy. There’s Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill amongst other Hobbit settings.
8. Explore the Black Country
Britain’s industrial heritage was built on the back of places like the Black Country, renowned for the coal mines. Today visitors can go to the Black Country Living Museum and see how the area was at the turn of the 20th century. As well as authentic schoolrooms there is a coal mine and other industrial exhibits. Don’t forget to listen out for the distinctive dialect. In Birmingham a row of back to back houses is also interesting to visit as it shows how life was in Victorian times.
9. Take in a concert
Birmingham has a host of renowned concert venues and has seen many bands hail from the city including Status Quo. There’s classical music at the Symphony Hall and bands playing at the NEC. You’ll also find live music in many of the pubs and a vibrant jazz scene around town.
10. You can get to a green space in minutes
Whilst the West Midlands is an industrial area there are lots of green spaces within the city and the countryside is just a short drive away. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston are a delight to explore and Solihull has Bruton Park. Just a short drive away are the rural villages of North Warwickshire that inspired George Eliot, and the orchard growing areas of Worcestershire.
The West Midlands has something for everyone. Just come over and see for yourself.