The relaxed lifestyle in Birmingham is one of the city's best assets, and new arrivals are sure to find something to pique their interest among the wide variety of sights, attractions and events.
Shopping in Birmingham
Arguably the country's best shopping hub outside of London, Birmingham is a mecca for big spenders and bargain hunters alike. Bullring & Grand Central, a megamall made up of two shopping centres joined by a bridge, offers everything a shopaholic can imagine. Other popular shopping centres include The Fort, The Square and Mailbox Birmingham.
Eating out in Birmingham
From Michelin-starred fare to mouthwatering street food, Birmingham has a wide variety of cuisine to explore. Food from every corner of the globe can be found here, and the city has the English tradition of afternoon tea down to a fine art.
Birmingham is the birthplace of the 'balti', a type of curry made in a flat-bottomed steel bowl with two handles. This unique piece of equipment was first designed by a Pakistani restaurant owner in the '70s and manufactured locally. The best place to sample this dish is the 'Balti Triangle', made up of several Pakistani restaurants.
Outdoor activities in Birmingham
With forests, public gardens, lakes, canals and parks, Birmingham residents looking for a breath of fresh air are spoilt for choice. Whether looking to go for a stroll, enjoy a picnic or go for a bike ride, there are plenty of picturesque places to do so. Highlights include Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston Reservoir and Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens.
See and do in Birmingham
The city's vibrant culture and fascinating history mean there's always plenty to see and do in Birmingham. Below are our top picks for a day out.
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
This hidden gem is nestled at the heart of the University of Birmingham's bustling main campus. Though it's a fairly small gallery, it's well worth a visit as it's packed full of paintings from the greats, including Monet, Degas, Gauguin, Botticelli and Van Gogh.
Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park
Cute critters abound in this lovely park where visitors will be able to spot a few of its furry residents, such as red pandas, lemurs, meerkats, otters and monkeys. A visit to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is more than just a fun afternoon out, as the support of visitors helps the park in its mission to conserve a number of endangered species.
A delicious day out awaits those visiting Cadbury World, which is situated at the original Bournville manufacturing site. Learn about the history of chocolate and the Cadbury company, enjoy a chocolate-themed high tea, and embark on the 4D Chocolate Adventure, a unique cinematic experience that includes motion seats.
What's on in Birmingham
The fun seemingly never ends in Birmingham, whose annual calendar is packed with exciting festivals, concerts, celebrations and showcases throughout the year. Here are a few of the city's not-to-be-missed events.
Birmingham Pride (September)
Head to the area fondly known as the Birmingham Gay Village to join in on the city's yearly celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. The main event is the Pride Parade, where the typical turnout of participants and viewers numbers more than 75,000. Beyond the parade, there's much else to experience, including a street party, concerts on the main stage, cabaret performances and a funfair.
Birmingham Heritage Week (September)
The city's annual Heritage Week sees all sorts of attractions opening their doors for free in the name of celebrating Birmingham's history and culture. This usually includes at least a few venues that aren't normally accessible by the public, giving attendees a rare opportunity to peek behind the scenes.
Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market (December)
Kick off the festive season with this beloved event as stalls pop up all along Victoria Square and New Street. Having a go on the big wheel, ice rink or carousel is sure to be a blast for one and all, and don't forget to indulge in some traditional German fare.
►To find out about transport in the city, have a read of Getting around in Birmingham
Are you an expat living in Birmingham?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Birmingham. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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