Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

If you say the word “Birmingham” to people who have some knowledge of the UK, the first words that will come to mind will not be “holidays” or “tourism”, but rather “industry”  or “factories”. However, this view of Birmingham as the industrial heartland in the UK is wide of the mark.

Birmingham today has moved on from its industrial past, and is now a vibrant, modern city that has many attractions for the visitor to see. Some of these are listed below:

  1. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – this fine museum holds many interesting and varied collections, collected from the Midlands area, and also from around the world. For example two, exciting new additions to the museum’s  collections include a selection of drawings made by Leonardo Da Vinci, which is currently touring the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The drawings give a snapshot of Leonardo’s vast knowledge, in areas such as engineering, map making, anatomy and sculpture. The collection is at the museum till 25th March 2012

Alternatively, you can go the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to see the Staffordshire Hoard, a collection of priceless Anglo-Saxon artefacts found in a Staffordshire field in 2009. It is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered, and contains pieces of incalculable value.  The exhibition is ongoing until the end of 2012.

  1. The Balti in Birmingham – You cannot come to Birmingham without sampling the local cuisine. The Balti (a curry dish) was introduced into the city by Kashmiri immigrants in the 1960’s, and has been the city’s dish of choice ever since. Go for the full Balti restaurant experience, and have onion bhajji’s, and naan bread with the main Balti dish. Most of the Balti restaurant’s in Birmingham are in the South of the city, between the Sparkbrook, Balsall Heath and Mosely areas; this area is known as “The Balti Triangle.”
  2. Shopping – with the famous “Bullring” area having been developed in the early noughties, Birmingham is now known as one of Europe’s shopping Mecca’s. The Bullring has over 160 shops and restaurants for you to choose from, including department stores Selfridges and Debenhams. Restaurant options include Pizza Express, Brown’s and Ben and Jerry’s.
  3. The University – The University of Birmingham is one of the leading examples of Victorian “Red Brick” University architecture. Along with civic Universities established at the same time (Manchester, Sheffield), Birmingham has a grand clock tower (known as old Joe), a grand great hall, and an impressive library building all in the same area. Its buildings are worth checking out in an afternoon. Get to the University by train – the line South West out of Birmingham leaves New Street station and stops at the University.
  4. Nightlife – Night owls and party goers are well served by Birmingham’s night life scene.  The main areas to hang out of an evening are Broad Street, the Arcadian, Brindley Place and The Mailbox. Broad Street and the Arcadian are a little more “old skool” night spots, whereas Brindley Place and The Mailbox are a bit more upmarket; they attract a slightly more older crowd. Take your pick! Birmingham has more students than any city in the UK except London, so is served well for clubs, bars and pubs.
  5. Comedy and Theatre – Try the two main comedy clubs in Brum – the Glee Club (the Arcadian) and Jonguleurs if its a laugh you’re after. Or, for something more serious, try one of the many theatres in the city.