People when they talk about the UK, they tend to focus on London a lot. This is not without reason, as one in six Britons calls London and it’s surrounding areas home. However, there is much more to the country than just one big city. Let’s take a look at it’s second city (by population), Birmingham.
Birmingham is a much smaller city, with the actual city itself having a population of just over a million, but don’t let that small number fool you; this is a city full of good gastronomy and culture.
A lot of Birmingham’s more interesting attractions are actually free! For those of you who like hiking and history and fantasy, you can do all three in one on the famous Tolkien Trail. You can hang out at what locals call “The Mac”, a great place for meeting people or even just people-watching. You can also explore the lovely park around it, or check out the brilliant architecture at one of Birmingham’s many churches, especially St. Martin’s.
For shopping you can check out the Jewelry Quarter, in the Hockley area. This is the biggest jewel district in all of Europe, and well worth a visit for any jewelry aficionados. Birmingham also has a world-class mall called the Bullring Shopping Center, which incorporates traditional markets into its milieu, among many other things. Honestly, this mall is much more interesting than anything on that level in London, according to many. Also definitely worth a quick look is the BBC in the Mailbox, which gives tours of a BBC facility, and you get to watch them working live on the air.
Museums and art galleries abound of course, including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and also the Dudley Museum and Art Gallery, both of which bridge both concepts. Fine dining is centered around the downtown core but can be had everywhere. Honestly, the UK is highly underrated for gastronomy, especially since in the last 20 years or so people from all over the world have been moving there and getting into the food business.
Options for getting around include public transportation (which is very good although more limited at night perhaps), taxis, rideshare, or if you really want to go all out, get a luxury service such as Blacklane.
So next time you go to the UK on vacation, you don’t have to be stuck in London like everybody else. Branch out to Birmingham and you might be surprised at how much you’d been missing.