Birmingham may be England's official second city, but it's often eclipsed in the eyes of foreign visitors. Not just by London, but by Manchester, Liverpool, and other cities. It's a shame, because Birmingham, located right in the center of the country, has plenty to offer.
Birmingham has been around for centuries, but it wasn't until the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that the city really came into its own. Thanks in part to its central location and network of canals that made it a transport hub, Birmingham became a major industrial city and was once known as the workshop of the world. This made it a prime target for bombing during World War II, and the city suffered a lot of damage that was exacerbated by the decline of British manufacturing that followed.
However, in recent years, Birmingham has reinvented itself as a cultural and entertainment hub. Its radically redesigned town center and multicultural population make it one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in the UK. Drop off your bags at a Birmingham luggage storage locker and see for yourself what it has to offer.
A weekend in Birmingham
A weekend in Birmingham won't by any means exhaust everything the city has to offer, but it will give you a good sense of what there is to see. A couple of days is enough to visit some of Birmingham's top attractions and sample the vibe of the city.
- Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region it occupies were a center of vehicle manufacturing. The National Motorcycle Museum is located in Birmingham and contains motorbikes dating all the way back to the nineteenth century. It's a must-visit for gearheads and fans of industrial history.
- Maybe it's an example of the British love of irony that the National Sea Life Center is located in the country's most landlocked major city. Either way, this vast aquarium is a perfect place to visit for families. Walk through a glass tunnel that makes feel as though you're strolling underwater among sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and other aquatic creatures.
- Cadbury's chocolate is an icon of British confectionery, and it all started in Birmingham. Visit Cadbury World for a unique chocolate-themed amusement park with rides, a 4D cinema experience, and of course, plenty of opportunities to taste and buy delicious chocolate.
Birmingham is a big city, and it can take a while to see everything it has to offer. You can make things easier on yourself by dropping off your bags at a Birmingham bag storage. The lighter you travel, the more you'll get to see of the nation's second city. Explore in confidence, knowing that your belongings will be safely looked after until you return.
Off the beaten path in Birmingham
Despite its size and variety of attractions, Birmingham doesn't get anything like the tourists that London does. As a result, it's not hard to escape the crowds and see a quirkier side to the city. Drop off your bags at a Birmingham luggage storage locker and see some of these lesser-known attractions for yourself.
- Mosley bog is a preserved patch of ancient woodland just outside Birmingham. Full of old moss-covered trees and little ponds, it's also home to some burial mounds dating back to the Bronze Age. Often visited by J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings, Mosley bog is thought to be the inspiration behind the Shire and other locations in Middle Earth.
- If you're a fan of urban photography, check out Birmingham's abandoned Curzon Street Station. Built in 1838, the station was closed in 1966. Since then, it has been used occasionally as an exhibition space, but the old building has been left more or less abandoned. It's a great place to explore and get some unique photographs of the city's industrial decline.
- Delve into the past at Aston Hall. Built in 1635, this impressive manor house was originally the home of Sir Thomas Holte. Damaged during the English Civil War of the 17th century, the building now offers tours that explain more of the history of the area.
What to do alone in Birmingham
Traveling alone lets you experience a city at your own pace and concentrate on what you most want to see. Whether you're in Birmingham for pleasure or for business, there's lots to see and do on a solo trip. Drop off your bags at a convenient suitcase storage in Birmingham and start your solo adventure.
- The Great Western Arcade in the heart of the city is like a trip back in time. This relic of the Victorian era is a great place to wander in any weather and explore some of the quirkiest shops in the city.
- Birmingham's Jewelry Quarter is a national treasure. This historic area has been central to the UK's jewelry industry for centuries. Now, it is being redeveloped. It's a great place to wander and experience both the city's history and some of its most interesting new bars, restaurants, pubs, and other attractions.
- Located on the edge of the city, Sheldon Country Park is the ideal place to take a break in nature. Three hundred acres of countryside offer plenty of walking trails, and you'll also find a 17th-century dairy farm that demonstrates the traditional methods of farming once practiced in the area.
The best souvenirs in Birmingham
As the home of Cadbury chocolate, Birmingham is the ideal place to pick up some sweet souvenirs. Cadbury World has an impressive gift shop where you can find all manner of treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. Alternatively, you can pick up unique necklaces from the library of Birmingham emblazoned with unique Birmingham phrases such as 'alright bab' and 'tara-a-bit'. You won't go far in Birmingham without hearing people talk to each other that way, so they make great mementos of the city. And if you're after something a little stronger, head to Loki Wine and grab a bottle of Langley's Number Eight gin, which is brewed right in the center of Birmingham.