Elias Pelcastre

Why Birmingham isn’t so bad…

Least trustworthy accent? Least employable accent? Any Brummie will tell you the same, as soon as the responses to the ‘Oh where are you from?’ question are narrowed down and it becomes clear you’re from B’town, you will normally either get the mickey taken out of you for being from such an awful place (they’ve probably never been there) or people look at you with a sense of sorrow, assuming your future prospects are significantly less attractive than the rest. And I’m just as guilty as the rest who attempt to hide their origin, often announcing I either live in Wales or I’m actually from Solihull which isn’t part of Birmingham etc etc.

The saddest part is actually that Birmingham really is an incredible city. I won’t claim it to be the most beautiful place going, however there are many beautiful parts. Obviously being a major city it has its problems, but I don’t remember the last time Moss Side or Hackney were doing that great either. So, if I’ve convinced you to give it a shot, here are the best things you should do whilst you’re here;

1) Symphony Hall. One of the most celebrated concert venues in the world. It holds over 250 events a year, the programme includes jazz, pop, folk, organ recitals and dance performances among others. I first visited here when I was very young and although I didn’t really understand what I was watching, I remember being in total awe of the building itself.
2) Cannon Hill Park. It is the biggest park in the city and successfully combines relaxation, sports and culture. There’s funfairs, tennis courts, lakes to boat on as well as the Birmingham Nature Centre and the Mac Theatre.
3) Brindleyplace. This canalised development located in the heart of the city is home to the Sea life centre, art galleries, a theatre, the national indoor arena as well as the many bustling bars and restaurants. It is also an incredibly beautiful place to take a stroll down at night.
4) Broad Street. If you love clubbing – go here! This hedonistic road contains the most famous clubs and bars the city is known for and is a sea of debauchery until the early hours. Without fail. Every morning.
5) Cadbury World. This would surely be one of the top memories of any child who’s lucky enough to visit… a museum all about the history of chocolate with free samples and a ride at the end, chocolate truly comes alive here! It’s also a very important part of the history of the city for the people of Birmingham and explains this and the origin of the coco bean itself in a fun, family friendly way.
6) The Birmingham Back to Backs are the last surviving back-to-back houses in Birmingham which have are now being preserved as a museum by the National Trust. Constructed in the 19th century to house the expanding population, they are an important part of the city’s history and are an important visual reminder for older people still residing around the city.
7) Jewellery Quarter. Situated South of the city, the quarter houses the largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade in Europe and also produces 40% of the UK’s jewellery. Although foreign competition has resulted in the area becoming partly residential and party a hub for creative businesses it is still an exciting, cosmopolitan part of the city to visit. There is also a museum which gives a good insight into how the industry used to run.
8) Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Personally I love art galleries and the way the history of the city is blended in and told in an artistic way makes it a very interesting place to visit. There are many new exhibitions which appear from time to time and the gallery contains some really beautiful pieces of work.
9) Millennium Point. This part of Birmingham is largely education and is home to Thinktank, the Birmingham Science Museum and an acting school. For leisure users, there are also a large cinema and theatre performances to enjoy.
10) Get out of Birmingham. I mean, it’s called the Midlands… you’re in the middle of the country! Warwick and Stratford are only a stones throw away and offer an opportunity for a breather from the fast paced city life.