I feel sorry for Birmingham, I think it gets a bad rep, and undeservedly so. Birmingham, with its towering concrete buildings, weird silver domed shopping centre, and surprisingly green and luscious parks, will always have a place in my heart. It is the first place I lived away from home, the city where I earned my degree, and most importantly it’s where I met my husband and gave birth to two of my three children.
I made a lot of memories in this city.
So why the bad reputation? Well a lot of people say it’s ugly. I can kind of see what they mean, can’t you?
Well, yes, like everywhere else in the country, there are some areas that look a little sorry, or could do with cheering up a bit. But, there are also some very beautiful parts to the city, particularly in and around Victoria Square.
Then there are the parks, Birmingham has 571 parks totalling over 3,500 hectares of public open space, more than any other European city. Cannon Hill park alone is home to 250 acres of conservation and woodland, providing an escape into nature in the heart of the city. This well-loved Birmingham park also plays host to 2 well equipped childrens’ parks, a busy arts centre and regular community events, amongst other attractions.
Aside from spending your days exploring Birmingham’s many parks, there are plenty of other ways to keep yourself occupied here too. From shopping at the Bull Ring, where I whiled away much of my student life, to enjoying gigs at a wealth of music venues, as well as catching up on a bit of theatre, darling, at one of Birmingham’s many theatres. There can be no excuse for feeling bored in this vibrant city, there is always so much going on.
I have to say one of the things I miss the most about Birmingham, is it’s restaurants. We now live in Evesham, which aside from a few gems, is very lacking in good food. Whereas, in Birmingham you will find plenty of tasty food to choose from, from almost every conceivable cuisine.
If you are a fan of Chinese food, then there are lots of places to try in the city’s Chinese quarter, but the well known Chung Ying Garden restaurant is my favourite. It has a distinctly Chinese atmosphere inside, which reminds my time in Hong Kong as a child, and the food is very reasonably priced for its quality. My favourite dish is the Salt and Chilli Prawns, I could eat it all day. Chung Ying Garden have a sister restaurant, named Chung Ying, located nearby, which is also very good.
My favourite place for a good Thai meal can be found at Sabai Sabai in Moseley. There are a few other Sabai Sabai’s dotted around, one in Harborne, the other in Stratford, but Moseley will always be my preference. We spent a lot of time in this suburb’s trendy pubs when we lived in nearby Kings Heath and I am still very fond of this quirky little place.
I could go on about the city’s food until I am blue in the face, there is so much choice. It seems like Birmingham has a blossoming foodie culture, with its abundance of great restaurants and newer food markets like KingshEATh Street Food Market and Digbeth’s, Singapore street food inspired, Dining Club, emerging across the city. One thing you can count on when visiting Birmingham, is that you will not go hungry.
These reasons, as well as too many others to mention, are why I believe you should not be so quick to dismiss Birmingham. It really is a fabulous city and well worth a visit or two! If you’re planning a trip to Birmingham, then you might like to take a look at the great offers available from the InterContinental Hotels Group. They have several hotels situated across the city, to help you make the most of your visit to Birmingham.
*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post, though all thoughts and feelings are my own.