Published: January 27, 2019
Birmingham skews young. With nearly half its population under 25, it’s a youth-centric city that brims with cheerful optimism. For proof, mall-shop at The Bullring and The Mailbox, see creative street art in vintage-loving East Side, or take to the scintillating nightlife on Broad Street.
It’s all bull. A giant bronze one, to be precise. This 5-ton statue stands at the middle of the mall, ready to charge. Charge your credit card at one of 140-odd stores, including big-brands like Gap, Armani Exchange, Forever 21 and G-Star Raw, plus English department store stalwart Selfridges. Afterwards, grab a treat from Millie’s Cookies and count your purchases
Bring a healthy appetite … for shoes! This building has gone from Royal Mail sorting centre to the hottest mall in town. Dandy up at fashion shops like Emporio Armani, or mix it up with a medi-pedi and a facial at Harvey Nichols. Whether you’re catching a film at the Everyman Cinema or dining out bistro-style, there’s always something happening here.
The orchestra is in session. Cue strings, woodwind, brass and percussion – and with a ding of the humble triangle, the music begins. See a performance by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and hear the orchestra reach a thunderous crescendo. Rock, pop and stand-up comedy shows are regular fixtures, in a venue celebrated for its acoustic flexibility.
Broad tastes or niche needs? Whether you’re after a buffet or a balti, Broad Street has got you covered. This is Birmingham’s most renowned strip, packed to the brim with all-you-can-eateries and intimate canalside restaurants. After dark, join the young, fabulous and infinitely stylish to party the night away at Jongleurs, Mooch Bar or Gatecrasher.
No hippos were harmed in the making of this theatre. Or cast in a production. Home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet, many a lithe body has piqued and pirouetted across the stage since it first opened in 1895. Outside of ballet season, the theatre hosts the works – opera, pantomimes, dramas and a never-ending parade of West End shows. Book early for tickets.
“Where were you on World Turtle Day”? May 23rd’s festivities may not be celebrated far and wide, but this centre centre takes them seriously. Every year, they draw attention to the plight of turtles in the wild. See them, plus blacktip reef sharks, horseshoe crabs, Gentoo penguins and a big fat floppy Pacific octopus while walking the transparent underwater tunnels.
Chocolate’s in this season. Shoes, handbags, that sort of thing. Buy chocolate in the form of your favourite objects at the biggest Cadbury shop in the world! It’s attached to a factory that walks you through the brand’s history, and how they produce the most indulgent substance known to man. There are even chocolate-themed rides for the littlies – and free samples.
The lights dim. A figure steps into the spotlight. The crowd roars! See your entertainment heroes and heroines perform inside this multi-purpose entertainment venue. Over a million people a year pool into the city from far and wide to enjoy bands like The Moody Blues, Fleetwood Mac, Maroon 5 and Take That, plus comedy and sports. There’s something for everyone!
Get back to basics. These back-to-back houses are built around a communal courtyard. Once upon a time, a quarter of Birmingham’s residents lived here in cramped conditions. They squeezed into places much like this to work, rest and play. Learn about the lives of Birmingham’s forefathers on the quirky walking tour, or visit for a spot of boutique shopping.
There’s no time like the present to discover the past. Take a deep-dive into the foundations of modern science at this family-friendly museum. It holds a massive collection of classical artefacts, including some of the world’s earliest coins. Explore the city’s industrial past, the IMAX cinema and the state-of-the-art Planetarium.