During August we had a house sit in the little village of Water Orton, only 20 minutes by train to Birmingham City Centre. This gave us several opportunities to spend time exploring the city of Birmingham UK. Some of the sights we discovered delighted us including the medieval Bull Ring market, the vibrant canal area, and the majestic Victoria Square. Oh the shopping is also worth saving your money for.
6 Sights that Will Surprise You When Exploring the City Of Birmingham
Birmingham we found is the largest and most populous city after London. The city grew extensively during the industrial revolution and today it ranks as a major international commercial centre with six universities. Despite its reputation as an industrial city, we found exploring Birmingham to be interesting, and we discovered an attractive vibrant city.
Birmingham offers a starting point to nearby places like Leicester or Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare’s Town and Cadbury World. So it might just be time to spend time exploring what Birmingham has to offer.
If you arrive by train into New Street Station, you will find a building with a great layout to access the many areas of the city centre. With a large shopping complex on the first floor, it makes the perfect place to meet up for a coffee and chat with friends.
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Shopping in Birmingham’s City Centre
If you only have a day in the city, spend the day exploring Birmingham’s city centre, especially if you love to shop. The great feature of the city is the pedestrian precinct areas making it so easy to walk, shop and talk without the nuisance of cars.
Yes named after Queen Victoria, the square showcases some beautiful architecture and the famous “The River” statue. The Town Hall opened in 1834 and the Council House mosaics will keep your head tilted upwards for awhile.
What got our attention was the 1.75m statue of a woman “The River” posed naked (Terry where are you?)
But what we learnt was her nick name “The Floozie in the Jacuzzi.” It’s because she once sat in a fountain – the largest in Europe at one time, but due to a water leak, was transformed into a flower bed.
Is where you will find The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. This stunning building houses many exhibitions, the Staffordshire Hoard getting our attention (Terry your Danish ancestors not mine.) A local farmer while ploughing his field, came upon the items buried for safe keeping from the Viking raids.
St Philips Cathedral
When you pass by the cathedral, you’ll notice a lot of people taking time to sit and enjoy the gardens in the cathedral square. It’s probably because nearby there are great eateries to grab a coffee or something to eat.
The cathedral came about when St Martin’s in the Bull Ring could not cope with the growing population. Robert Philips in 1710 donated land and so in recognition, the church was named after the apostle Philip.
The market area of the Bull Ring dates back to Medieval times around 1154 when a local landowner Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter from Henry II. The area was expanded in the 1800’s to provide covered market halls.
The Bull Ring has had a varied history, but today it is still a vibrant centre for shoppers. The Friday market selling fruit, vegetables, fish and meat alongside clothing and haberdashery is always worth a browse.
However what you need to find is the iconic Birmingham Bull. It was voted one of the worlds top 10 public works of art in 2015, alongside the Statue of Liberty and David by Michelangelo.
Birmingham City Centre Canals
When you need a break from shopping then we suggest you take a walk to visit and explore the Birmingham City Centre Canals. Definitely a must see.
Make your first stop a visit to the Jewellery Quarter. It is said 40% of the jewellery in England is made here in Birmingham UK. (We have a blog coming soon.)
We enjoyed exploring the city of Birmingham and what it has to offer. You will discover it is the perfect base to explore more of England and its historical places. And if you love chocolate then a visit to Cadbury World is a must.
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