Birmingham is the most populous British city outside London, but it is surprisingly “usual”. Major companies, universities and institutions are located here, maybe it is comfortable for living, but for tourist it is a city for one day visit.
What to do:
Go to ThinkTank Museum. It is interactive science museum (tickets cost £12) where you can touch and press everything. Also they have planetarium. I strongly recommend to attend at least one “star show” – screen on the ceiling helps to imagine that you are in the countryside, it is very exciting.
Visit Jewellery Quarter, because 40% of British jewels are producing in Birmingham. Even Jewellery Museum is placed on the real jewellery factory: permanent exhibition, cafe and shop are free for visit, but tour will cost £5. Museum is open till 4pm, last tour begins at 3pm.
J.R.R. Tolkien spent his childhood and youth in Birmingham. Sarehole Mill became famous not only as 1 of 2 working watermills in the city, but also as a source of inspiration for author when he described Shire in “Hobbit” and “Lord of the rings”. In 16/17 or 22/23 May 2015 Tolkienists’ event – Middle Earth Weekend – will take place at Sarehole.
The Bull Ring – the main trading square in Birmingham. Weekend market with different household stuff and vegetable marker are located here. It IS NOT a tourist market, you won’t find any souvenirs there. You can visit it to understand how British people live. Huge shopping centre – Selfridges – is situated nearby. It has a modern futuristic design.
How to get there:
Trains from London Marylebone or London Euston to Birmingham New Street (one way ticket from £6, 2h journey);
Prepare your visit plan in advance – in this city you should know when you want to go, there is no certain tourist centre with accumulation of attractions. That’s why when you’ll go for a walk you will find pretty square with sphinxes at best, but you’ll never get to ThinkTank Museum occasionally if you won’t know where is it.