There is something about these large cities of British Islands that somehow remain under the radar of large tourist groups. In fact, there is a lot to them. Birmingham is located in the West Midlands, about 180 kilometers northwest of London. Known as “the city of a thousand trades”, it is considered to be the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. However, in recent years this otherwise boring commercial and industrial city transformed itself into one of the most magnetizing places in England.
Today the mixture of cultures and the result of a modern and cosmopolitan vibe that it created, make this place an essential spot to visit in England.
You will find soon enough that Birmingham has a life that few cities in England today can boast. The industrial heritage that left its mark during the 19th century completes the tourist offer that we will find in the city.
Red Brick Walls and Pub Culture
Marvelous canals, the glory of legendary rock bands, and unrepeatable Christmas parties in Birmingham paint the picture of Industrial revolutions bastion like nothing else. To understand the process of modernity that counts today, we must understand that Birmingham was hit hard by Nazi aviation in World War II. Being a great British industrial enclave and therefore one of the places that most generated benefit to the English coffers, Hitler tried to erase it by all means.
For this reason, Birmingham is a strange and disconcerting city for the traveler. When reviewing its history one believes that its architectural or cultural heritage is deeply rooted for centuries. But, the raw (and sad) reality is that modern buildings are found in places where bombs destroyed the British historic center.
Just as you step on its vibrating streets you will feel its differences. From the classic buildings and orange brick factories to the big shopping centers guarded by modern buildings full of stained glass windows, Birmingham is the city of many contrasts. Channels are the artery system that builds its solid, industrial body.
They prove to be the symbol of the industrial power since the time of the revolution when merchants sailed along city shores. Nowadays, they are conceived for leisure and recreation. Obviously, they do not have the beauty of Venice but its beautiful red-orange brick buildings prove to be the great relaxation spot to stop and watch as small boats cross the main channel or as people go from top to bottom.
Embark into Art, Culture, and Shopping
All around the city, you will be able to embark on charming cruize along them, and such cruize can easily take you to the many restaurants, bars, pubs and concert halls that are usually located in the area of the channels. From there you will probably head for one of the religious icons of Birmingham that is Cathedral of St. Philips, which is located on Colmore Row.
This cathedral was created in the 18th century and has an English baroque style. It is a small cathedral, but it has a large number of decorative elements, both inside and outside. During the week it is usually open from 8 am to 8 pm and on weekends from 9 am to 16 pm, so there will be just enough time to visit one of two most famous landmarks of this city.
The other one would be the Church of St. Martin. It is located on New Street, and its contrast with the modern buildings around it makes it even more charming. The church was enlarged in medieval times and the resulting structure consisted of a lofty nave and chancel, north and south aisles and a northwest tower with spire.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit nearby famous shopping centers. An emblematic building in Birmingham that you will find just down the street from St.Martis church is Selfridges. It is part of the Bullring shopping center, therefore, in addition to photographing it from the outside, you can also take advantage of shopping in it. Since its construction in 2003, it has become one of the most famous buildings in the UK, with its curved facade and pulverized concrete.
You can also gossip stores in the John Lewis complex, the Great Western, Piccadilly Arcades and the Mailbox. Birmingham is one of the best places in the country to go shopping according to tourists who left the city. But, of course, there is so much more to this place then a few famous churches and shopping centers.
At least far more then it could fit in this short article. The only true way to find out all of its faces is to come and see them for yourself. The beating heart of middle England awaits for anyone looking for some fun and a nice dosage of cultural shock.