Visiting England’s Second City

First-time tourists travelling to England naturally choose to visit London. The country’s capital is comparable only to New York and is therefore understandably the choice destination for travellers. However, if you are planning on visiting Britain for a second time or if you have the time free on your trip then you should definitely go to England’s “Second City” (Birmingham).

Here’s what you should check out once you get there.

Sport

Like with all English cities, sport plays a huge role in the day-to-day life of Brummies (Birmingham natives). The city has two main soccer clubs; Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Villa currently compete in the Premier League, the highest division in England, at the beautiful and ornate Villa Park, which these days is a lot more attractive than their football under criticised boss Paul Lambert. As for City, they have fallen on hard times in recent years and currently play football in the Championship.

Villa Park by Harry Vale

It isn’t just football teams that Birmingham has in an abundance. The city is also the home of the historic Edgbaston Cricket Ground. Bar the national side, who usually play at least one game a year at the venue, Warwickshire contest there, and contest well – their seven County Championships makes them the fifth most successful cricket club in the country.

The Belfry Golf Course, home of the 2002 Ryder Cup, is just a short drive from the city. With some of the best greens and fairways in the UK, it is a must-stop if you are a golf aficionado. With three PGA European Tour courses to play on, you should be satisfied. Keep one eye on the website for the next pro-Tour date and then get your golf tips and odds at betfair.betting – here’s a free one; Lee Westwood does pretty well there.

Culture

Birmingham is a melting pot of varying cultures who have assimilated to make one cracking hybrid culture. To really make the most of this culture clash is to visit the Balti Triangle. Birmingham is the proud inventor of the Balti curry and as such does the best in the world. Most of these restaurants that you find yourself eating in are just people’s front rooms, which is most endearing and made even better by the Bring Your Own Beer policies.

Nightlife in Birmingham is particularly well-noted, with three areas to get excited about. For starters there is Broad Street, the main drag of the city which houses your superclubs, like Gatecrasher and Risa. This area is jam-packed with people from the 18-24 demographic and hen parties. It also has numerous bars and restaurants adjacent to the canal – Birmingham has more canals than Venice – which runs through the city centre. These places are more of a shoes-and-shirt-type night out.

by Mal B

Towards New Street Station, you find Arcadia. Here the bars are a bit more upmarket and the clientele are of an older age. Going out of town and to Harborne you have the pubs of the students of the University of Birmingham. Here you have quirky pubs and quirky people, some of whom are hipsters and some who like to pretend to be.

Things to visit

Birmingham’s Bullring shopping complex is a very popular attraction. With shops ranging from Apple to Victoria’s Secret the choice is stupendous and gives you no excuse for not being able to pick up the perfect present for your nearest and dearest.

As libraries go they don’t come much better than Birmingham’s central library. This architectural triumph has a superb facade that intrigues your eyes, drawing you to the front door. Once inside you are treated to nine floors of books, many of which are found on the spiral bookshelves which they incorporate on the higher floors. With a terrace on the seventh floor, not only is it a good place to read, but it is a good way to see the city.

Birmingham

Library by ahisgett

You can trace the history back of the University of Birmingham back to 1828, although it took until 1900 before it gained university status. The campus, located in the Edgbaston area of the city, is well worth a visit. There you can see the iconic Joseph Chamberlain clock tower and works from Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh in The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Just down the road from the university is the Cadbury’s Factory. If you love chocolate then you want to get on down to Bourneville and take a tour. Be warned, expect to devour copious amounts of chocolate.

 

 

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