Birmingham (map), in the West Midlands, approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Central London, is Britain’s second-largest city. Known in the Victorian era as the “City of a Thousand Trades” and the “Workshop of the World“.
Since the 1990s, Birmingham has been undergoing a radical change and many of the post war buildings have been replaced. The majority of the city centre is now pedestrianised, and the canals cleaned up to make for attractive walkways.
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The very central point of Birmingham is Victoria Square (map). The main railway hub is New Street station (map), next to the huge Bullring (map) shopping centre.
Core City Centre (map) – extends northwestwards of the New Street station, inside the confines of the A38 and includes much of the surviving pre-war historic buildings of Birmingham, a number of important institutions and the historically prime addresses such as New Street or Colmore Row.
Southside – the part southeast of New Street station retains a more traditional ambiance with small buildings along narrow streets. Parts of it are occupied by Birmingham’s Gay Village (map) and Chinese Quarter (map).
Jewellery Quarter (map) – true to its name, workshops in the quarter still produce 40% of the UK’s jewellery. As such, it retained its 19th-century appearance lost by other industrial parts of Birmingham and became a tourist attraction itself.
Moseley (map) is a suburb. Much of Moseley Village dates from Victorian times and is a conservation area.
Farmer’s Market (Moseley, map). 4th Saturday of every month. There is a selection of farm produce, but many stalls selling all manner of local foodstuffs (pies, jam, deli foods, etc.). It was a finalist in the best farmer’s market in the UK competition.
Broad Street (map), the No 1 party street of Birmingham, has a large range of clubs, bars and pubs. This is a good location for a decent English Friday night.