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Like many other cities, Birmingham has a link with the Roman Empire. The city was mentioned as far back as 1086 in the Doomsday Book, and developed into an important trade centre from the 12th century onward. During the 17th century, a large weapons industry grew up. Among others, Birmingham provided Oliver Cromwell’s army with weapons and later on they supplied Napoleon. During the golden age of the Industrial Revolution, the city grew rapidly thanks to its supplies of iron, coal and labour. Subsequently, Birmingham became an important hub in England’s canal and train networks, and these days the city has a network of over 60 km of canals and other waterways, which is more than Venice. Today the canals are mostly used for pleasure boating, making it a perfect way to discover Birmingham. During the Second World War, large areas of the city were destroyed, and the city centre was rebuilt. In recent years, however, an architectural renaissance has occurred and old squares, streets and waterways have been restored and renovated. Many typical British brands, and frequently world famous brands have been created here, including Bakelite, Cadbury’s, Brylcreem, HP Sauce and Typhoo Tea. The city’s inhabitants include J. R. R. Tolkien and Ozzy Osbourne. Today, Birmingham is a fast growing tourist destination with a compact, pedestrian-friendly city centre and where many exciting attractions are waiting to get explored. A city full of surprises where the English old world charm meets the new and young vibrant atmosphere thanks to the many students in the city.
With world-class galleries, inspiring museums, beautiful gardens and outstanding heritage attractions you will find yourself busy and if chocolate is your thing then you have for sure come to the right city because it is here you will find the famouse tourist attraction Cadbury World. Birmingham offers something for every taste and every age. All you need to do is to start exploring the city and get inspired.
With Michelin-starred restaurants, stylish eateries, some of the best Indian restaurants in the UK, yummy street dining, family-run favourites, new hot spots offering fusion, Birmingham has for sure something for every taste. If you aim for Broad Street, there is a lot to choose from, and excursions to other districts such as the Jewellery Quarter may also be worthwhile. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from, so start discover and find your favourites.
Finding a café to relax in is not hard in Birmingham, since the city is experiencing a coffee shop boom. You will find everything from international brands to the growing number of family-owned cafés who really knows how to make your favourite cup of coffee. Scattered across the city centre and the suburbs of Birmingham, you will never be far away from a cup of the java or a yummy dessert.
With the huge student population in the city, Birmingham’s nightlife is as famous as it is varied, a vibrant mix of pubs, bars and nightclubs. Head over to the well-known and bustling Broad Street, the centre of nightlife where you will find some great nightclubs, bars and a casino. Another area that deserves a visit is Digbeth, Birmingham's best kept secret that is quickly becoming a hot clubbing area and where regular music events take place. Birmingham is for sure a lively city that boasts some of the best nightlife in the UK and you will definitely enjoy a good time.
Birmingham do not lack in shops, in fact, the city is claimed to be a shopper’s paradise where everything from mega malls, to charming markets and independent stores are on offer. And with a compact and pedestrian-friendly city centre, it is never been easier to stroll around from store to store. When it comes to shopping malls, you will be spoiled with choices with the largest shopping centres in the UK, the Bullring, to House of Fraser, Selfridges and Grand Central. They all stock all your favourite designers and the latest brands. A stone’s throw from the Bullring is the flea market in Saint Martin’s Market, locally referred to as The Rag. After 50 years, it is still increasing in popularity. If you want to buy jewellery, you should head for the unique Jewellery Quarter where hundreds of talented craftspeople and designers are displaying their things, making it a perfect place to find gifts and souvenirs. The shops in the area also sell antiques and clocks. The bustling shopping streets like New Street and High Street is packed with stores selling well-known brands but also where independent boutiques can be found, so make sure to stroll around these areas when in the shopping mood. One thing is for sure, you will not leave Birmingham empty-handed.
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