Birmingham is England's second largest city. It grew as a result of the industrial revolution and reflected all the worst of that era. If you visited in Victorian times, you would experience dirty air and factories and slums where the workers lived. Some legacies of that past still remain. Nevertheless, there are some good reasons to visit this sprawling city. The waterfront development, Brindley Place, houses arts, a sealife centre, and shops.
Museums include the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery, home to collections of fine art (British watercolours), applied art (Arts and Crafts), archaeology, and local and industrial history. There's a jewellery manufacture quarter, built around the preserved workshops and offices of a Birmingham jewellery firm. The museum tells the story of Birmingham's past jewellery trade in a guided tour.
Timber framed Blakesley hall, built in 1590 as a farmhouse, is furnished in the late Tudor and Stuart traditions. Soho House is an 18th century manor house, restored to reflect the times.
Aston Hall is a Jacobean house, built between 1618 and 1635 by Sir Thomas Holte. Inside are elaborate plasterwork ceilings and friezes, a carved oak staircase, and a 136-foot long gallery. Period rooms contain fine furniture, paintings, textiles, and metalwork.
Of course, being a large city, Birmingham has no shortage of art galleries, musical performances, sporting events, and stage productions.
St Philip's Cathedral is one of many architecturally interesting older buildings in the city. It is the seat of the Bishop of the Bishop of Birmingham, It was originally built as a parish church and consecrated in 1715, but in 1905 became the cathedral of the Diocese of Birmingham. Thomas Archer built it in the baroque style. There are four pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows by Sir Edward Burne-Jones in the church.
Chocolate lovers will want to put Cadbury World at the top of their list. Located just outside Birmingham, factory tours must be booked in advance.
If you enjoy riding on vintage trains check out Birmingham's offers at Vintage Trains You'll find all the details for a fun day out for the family.
Greater Birmingham Attractions
For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.
Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 327 0062
Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses
Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 454 1860
Web: Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Chamberlain Square, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 303 2834
Black Country Living Museum
Dudley, near Birmingham on the A4037
Tel. 0 121 557 9643
Web: Black Country Living Museum
Blakesley Road, Yardley, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 464 2193
Web: Birmingham Museums
Broadfield House Glass Museum
Compton Dr, Kingswinford
12 miles from M5 Junction 2 (Dudley) or Junction 4 (Stourbridge), off the A491 Stourbridge - Wolverhampton road in historic Stourbridge Glass Quarter (Dudley is part of the Birmingham-Wolverhampton megapolis)
Tel. 0 1384 812 745
Tel. to book a tour: 0 121 451 4159
Web: Cadbury World
54/56 New Road, Willenhall
Walsall, near Birmingham
Tel. 0 1902 634 542 (Wed & Sat only); at other times 0 121 557 9643 and hold for the operator
Museum of the Jewellry Quarter
75-79 Vyse St, Hockley, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 554 3598
Soho Ave, Handley, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 554 9122
St Philip’s Cathedral
Colmore Row, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 262 1840
Web: St Philip’s Cathedral
Walsall near Birmingham
Tel: 0 845 111 2909
Library Building, Lichfield Street, Walsall
near Birmingham, WS1 1TR
Tel. 0 1922 653 116
Birmingham Tourist Information Centres
Convention & Visitor Bureau
2 City Arcade, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 643 2514
Fax. 0 121 616 1038
Visitor Information Centre
130 Colmore Row, Birmingham
Tel. 0 121 693 6300
Fax. 0 121 693 9600
Birmingham Skyline courtesy Birmingham Press
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
City Centre photo courtesy Roger Kidd
Jewelry Quarter church courtesy Roy Hughes
Blakesley Hall courtesy Robin Scott
Soho House courtesy Chris Allen
Victoria Law Courts courtesy Richard Rogerson
Cathedral courtesy Eirian Evans
Town Hall courtesy James Yardley
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