I used to only visit capitals or at least big cities with some significant sights or other. Now, since returning to Europe, I’ve discovered the beauty of visiting cities just because they are located ideally to meet friends of mine. This is how I came to spend a weekend in Birmingham last week – it was simply the only airport that made sense for me and my friend to fly to. So we met there with no clue what to expect of the city, but that’s, in my opinion, a nice way to experience something new without any expectations.
We arrived in Birmingham early Friday, so we had plenty of time to walk around the city (and it IS possible to see the main sights by foot). Saturday we went to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit the various Shakespeare related spots and Sunday we went to a park and the city centre before heading to the airport. I’ve compiled a small list of what you could do on a weekend in Birmingham:
Okay, it’s cheating a little, because we did have almost three whole days in Birmingham, seeing as we arrived early Friday and left Sunday late afternoon. Our Friday we spent taking a stroll along the canals (some cute places to eat or have a drink), we visited the library which is a beautiful building, the Bullring (shopping mall) and the bronze bull outside it, the Mailbox (also kind of a mall/building with restaurants) and of course, it’s perfect to grab a drink or go clubbing at Broad Street… We just had a walk through it on our way back to the hotel though, watched a movie and went to sleep. Before you judge, it was late (at least 9 PM!) and I’m old.
After a jog around Edgbaston Reservoir (there’s apparently a Buddhist temple there which we sadly didn’t manage to find. Would have been awesome to see!) we headed to Stratford-upon-Avon. Definitely worth a visit. Tip: Take the train there, and make sure to pick up a leaflet at the station – it gives you a 2 for 1 discount to the popular attractions such as Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place, Hall’s Croft, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and Mary Arden’s Farm. There are loads of tourists, but the town is cute, the gardens nice, and we were even lucky to catch a free, outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play.
In the evening we managed to get back to Birmingham in time for dinner and some stand-up comedy at The Comedy Loft on Broad Street.
Actually, the Sunday was supposed to be all about a foodie festival in a park, but when we got there and realised there was a £14 entrance fee and THEN you’d have to pay for all the food we bailed and headed towards the city centre again. At least there we wouldn’t be charged to enter a place to eat.
We did a bit of shopping and just had another walk around the city which is quite interesting with many architecturally significant buildings. They seem to be building lots and lots of new things everywhere so it seemed like the whole city was one giant construction site.
I’ll recommend going to Birmingham if it fits in your schedule somehow – it’s not the greatest city I’ve ever visited, nor the worst. There seems to be lots of stuff going on so it’s really nice to have a look at what’s on during the days you’re there and join whatever is happening. Also, it’s true what they say. MANY possibilities to get a curry there, so, you know… Go for it!