Just a 90-minute flight from Shannon, Birmingham Airport is linked to the city’s railway by its free Skyrail service. From the train station, a £3-£5 ticket will get you into the city centre in around 10 minutes. You’re then ready to discover a multitude of historic sites, museums, theatres, attractions, eateries and shopping opportunities that make Birmingham a wonderful destination for a weekend break.
Birmingham started life as a 6th century Anglo-Saxon village but grew to prominence during the Industrial Revolution. You can get a real sense of Birmingham’s industrial legacy by visiting the Black Country Living Museum, one of the finest and largest open-air museums in the United Kingdom. The Living Museum is a sizeable, fully-preserved industrial town with a plethora of interactive exhibits.
Fancy a bit of retail therapy? Why
not head to the historic Bullring District. Once the city’s meat and
cattle market, it is now a vast shopping area encompassing 140 shops and
cafés in a pair of striking glass-covered malls.
Birmingham is said to have more canals than Venice, many of them converging on the vibrant bars and cafés of the Gas Street Basin. Head there for a drink or three. If you’re looking for something to eat, the balti curry was invented here, so it would be rude not to sample this local delicacy.
Make your way to the Balti Triangle where you’ll find the most authentic Southeast Asian food in Britain. After dinner, culture vultures should catch a performance at the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The Symphony Hall is regarded by many as the finest concert hall in Europe due to its perfect acoustics and floating base designed to minimise vibration.
Birmingham’s citizens love their football. Aston Villa is one of the oldest clubs in the world, and it’s worth visiting the home ground of Villa Park to catch a game. Local rivals Birmingham City are also based here. Its home ground, St. Andrews, never fails to generate a great atmosphere. It’s wise to book well in advance though – tickets for league games can be scarce on match days so get in touch with the official ticket offices of the clubs to check availability before you set off.
Thinktank Science Museum (£7-£11) provides a great education day out for kids. With over 200 hands-on displays on science and technology, including a digital planetarium and outdoor science garden, the museum will keep them occupied for hours. If the young ones still aren’t satisfied, Birmingham is home to Cadbury World (£11-£14), a theme park dedicated to Britain’s favourite chocolate. The park has 14 attractions including play areas and chocolate making zones ensuring it’s a firm favourite.