One Day In Birmingham (UK)

Penny W-TStarred Page By Penny W-T, 22nd Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>England>The West Midlands & The Peak District

Birmingham is the second city of England, although at times this is disputed by Manchester. However for my purposes the original definition still holds and the city has a lot of hidden treasures for the visitor to find.

The Middle Triangle

One day is really not sufficient time to explore, so you have to be very discerning as to what and where you want to explore. Do your research before you come and that way you will see as much as is possible to squash into one 24 hour period.
For our exploration today I am going to stay within the immediate city centre area which is defined as the area between New Street, Corporation Street and Colmore Row, and the junction with the two main routes into the city along Broad Street and Bristol Road. These two latter routes will also comprise the basis for a further tour as a lot of venues can be found along these main arteries leading into and out of the city centre.

The Centre

Let us start in Victoria Square, around which we will find several of the famous buildings and locations. The Square contained an imposing statue of Queen Victoria surrounded by the period building that is the Town Hall and the imposing building that houses the Art Gallery and Museum and all the Council offices and conference rooms. I have had the good fortune in the past to attend a few banquets and functions in the Council Banqueting Suite.

Art Gallery and Museum

Spread over several floors of the building there is a remarkable collection of art work, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics and design work in a variety of artistic media. In the museum there is also much to absorb, my one everlasting memory being the full scale skeleton of a T-Rex dinosaur that fills the room he inhabits. To be honest, this building alone could take most of your day and there is a tea room and specialist gift shop within its environs, for you to take refreshment mid tour and to find memorabilia to take home. Being duly refreshed in the tearoom, we can progress outside and continue exploring more buildings.

Town Hall

Birmingham Town Hall is a Grade I listed concert hall and venue for popular assemblies opened in 1834 and situated in Victoria Square, and is neo-classical in design. It has, for years, had an open door policy for mid week lunch time concerts that are free for people to access as they will. For people not working to a 24 hour deadline, this would be an ideal place to take a rest. Prior to the opening of the Symphony Hall, it hosted many international orchestras for classical concerts as well as other musical events.


From here it would be logical to progress along Colmore Row where you will find Birmingham’s cathedral, the only fully Renaissance style cathedral in England apart from St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The Cathedral is a beautiful green oasis in the centre of this metropolis. The perfect place to step inside to a cool environment and awe inspiring architecture and decor. Rest your feet either in the cathedral itself or on one of the many benches on the green outside.

Shop 'til You Drop

Turning then into Corporation Street and then into New Street, you will find all the shopping centre outlets from the huge department stores to the unique trendy boutiques and the cheap and cheerful shops. At the junction of New Street and Corporation Street, a left turn would allow you to go and explore the Bull Ring Shopping Mall, and the Pallisades. (These areas really need a lot of time to explore). From here back along New Street will bring you back to Victoria Square where we can venture into the new Library.

The New Library

The Library of Birmingham is a public library, situated on the west side of the city centre at Centenary Square, beside the Birmingham Repertory theatre. The Library of Birmingham has been named on the shortlist for the renowned Riba Stirling Prize alongside strong contenders from many of England’s biggest cities, for their architectural innovation. It is open various hours seven days a week. If you only have a few moments to spare, take time to step inside its amazingly spacious foyer that leads to several floors of infinite knowledge.

ICC-NIA-Symphony Hall

In the last few years the adjacent area, edging onto Broad Street with its junction onto Paradise Circus, has been transformed with the futuristic architecture of the International Conference Centre and its integral National Indoor Arena and the renowned Symphony Hall. Internationally renowned orchestras and conductors can be seen at events at Symphony Hall, and a wide range of events from political to sporting, are held in the ICC and NIA. Wide escalators move you from floor to floor in this building.
Just outside across Centenary Square is the Repertory Theatre, which also has a very welcome cafe that looks out over the square and lets you see the world passing by.

Canal system and Sea Life Centre

Just a short way along Broad Street and you will discover Brindley Place where the splendid panorama that is Birmingham’s Canal network opens up before your eyes. There are canal cruises on traditional narrow boats, and also moored narrow boat tea ‘rooms’ as well as some splendid cafe-bistros along the canal sides. Overlooking part of the canal network is the Sea Life centre with its variety of sea life carefully overseen so that the public can wonder at the majestic life that abounds in our seas.

Further parts to explore

At this end of Broad Street turn right and the dual carriageway here will lead you to the Jewellery Quarter, historically renowned and well worth some time to explore the many workshops and design centres that encourage visits from the public.
This end of Broad Street if you carry straight on, opens into Hagley Road. Along here you can take a left hand turn that will lead you to the Botanical Gardens.
Or you can turn left and discover the Bristol Road, that will take you out of the city boundaries to discover Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Cannon Hill Park, Bournville home of Cadbury World and on to Birmingham University campus.
But all these locations are going to need more than One Day in Birmingham so we will have to consider a tour at a later time.


History, Research, Shopping, Travel, Visitor Venues

Meet the author

author avatar Penny W-T
Published articles on education themes, travel, history and writing techniques. Written a book on WW1 - Gallipoli, and travel books. Run a marketing network for small businesses.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Great article! I've missed seeing you around here!

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author avatar Penny W-T
20th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks Phyl. I m having a rough patch at the moment and not very focused on my writing. But things will get better

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author avatar Retired
18th Aug 2014 (#)

A true Brummie would say that the second city is London!

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author avatar Penny W-T
20th Aug 2014 (#)

But I am NOT a Brummie John I am a Black Country woman, and to us Birmingham is just the next door city. I don't even count London in the equation.

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author avatar Retired
20th Aug 2014 (#)

I appreciate the difference! By the way, I'm East Midlands as opposed to West!

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author avatar Penny W-T
20th Aug 2014 (#)

Oh ! Nice to know there are some local people on here, most of my contacts so far have been in the US and Canada

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