Birmingham is known to everyone, but if you asked various people what they remember most about the city, or what they like the most, they would each give a different answer. There are numerous reasons why Birmingham would be loved and remembered, and here are just a few of the top suggestions.
The Busy Bullring
Shopping is one of the most popular recreational activities to do in Birmingham, and the best place to do it is in the Bullring shopping centre. With multiple floors of shoulder-to-shoulder shops, countless eateries, and coffee shops, it’s all too easy to waste a day away here. You’re sure to be sharing the enormous space with a crowd of people as thousands are drawn like moths to a flame every single day. Although the number of visitors has been accelerating in the last decade, the Bullring has in fact been popular since the Middle Ages when the market was held in the area.
Another attraction to the Bullring is the Bullring Bull – a bronze sculpture outside the main doors which has fast become a symbol of the city. It was not designed and built for profit, only to bring people joy. In that case, it has done very well, since hundreds of tourists insist on standing and waiting around near it to get a picture with themselves touching the bronze beast. The sculpture has also been titled as one of the world’s top 10 public works of art. What’s not to love?
The Treasured Theatres
There are a huge number of theatres and concert halls in Birmingham, all of them showing an incredible range of performances. You can spend an evening watching a drama, a musical, a ballet, an opera, or a pantomime. With built in bars and snack shacks, it’s very easy to spend longer at a theatre than you need to, and the enjoyment will skyrocket.
The Birmingham Hippodrome, the city’s largest and most notorious theatre, and is the UK’s most popular single auditorium with over 500,000 visitors a year. It is the home stage for the Birmingham Royal ballet and hosts touring West End shows. It also happens to hold the biggest annual pantomime at Christmas, bringing well known and well-loved stories to life with comedians and celebrity names.
The German Market
Every November and December brings the Christmas German Market which spans an incredible length throughout Birmingham. Some stall holders come all the way from Frankfurt to bring you clothes, food and crafts in all styles and sizes, including the famous frankfurter sausage and German beer. Once you’ve tasted your hotdog and downed your pint, you can wander along the twists and turns of wooden huts, examining the merchandise and buying whatever you want for a very reasonable price.
Did you know that the German Market in Birmingham is the largest outside Germany? It lures in 5.5 million visitors every year, so needless to say that the crowd is always thriving, hitting an atmosphere you can’t experience anywhere else.
There are too many incredible buildings in Birmingham to think about, but there are a couple which deserve a special mention. The first is the Symphony Hall – this concert hall has a lot of use, and not just for orchestral or choir performances. It’s also used for comedy shows, community events, conferences, and graduation ceremonies. Widely considered to be one of the finest concert halls in the world, it’s acoustics are priceless.
Also worth a mention is the Library of Birmingham, recently built to be the largest library in the UK –the architect, Francine Houben, called it the “people’s palace”. Inside its strong yet artistically detailed walls are collections of important international archives, photography, and rare books. There also happens to be a state-of-the-art gallery space, a flexible studio theatre and an outdoor amphitheatre. Incredibly, in 2015, it was the most visited attraction outside of London. Who would have thought it possible to spend an entire day inside a library without studying?
With all these attractions, is it really that hard to see why Birmingham makes a great second city? The tourist spots and community pulls bring most residents together with visitors, offering a million different ways to spend your day.