Old and New
Birmingham is a city of amazing contrasts between old and new when it comes to architecture, with newly refurbished stations across the road from Victorian arcades and the ancient St Martin’s Church just a few hundred meters from the alien-like construct of spheres that make up the walls of the most icon Selfridges store in the UK.
While they may not have Oompa Loompas, touring the Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory is still an experience that will delight any small child or chocolate-loving adult. As you go round, you are literally handed fistfuls of chocolate bars at regular intervals, and a small glass of melted chocolate will keep babies and toddlers quiet for quite a while. The history of the factory is very interesting, and it’s situated in the stunning village of Bourneville, which was originally built for the factory workers by the staunchly Quaker Cadbury family.
Load of Bull
Birmingham and bulls have gone together for a long time. The Bullring shopping centre is one of the biggest in Europe, and outside it stands the bronze frame of Bully, the city mascot, who is frequently decorated to reflect the season or key events.
Brummies love their music, as befits a city that was the home of Ozzie Osbourne, Black Sabbath, ELO, Pato Banton, Duran Duran, Jamelia and so many more. There is a huge range of musical genres in evidence and a large number of music festivals where you can experience them.
German Christmas Market
Technically known as the Frankfurt Christmas Market, this arrives in November and stays until Christmas, with its wooden stalls and bars drawing in hundreds of thousands of people who come to buy unique Christmas gifts and sample traditional German food and drink. If you plan to do heavy Christmas shopping here, you’d be wise to look for serviced apartments in Birmingham such as http://www.8waterloostreet.co.uk/ so you have enough space to store all of your purchases – a standard hotel room almost certainly won’t be big enough.
Frank Skinner, Jasper Carrott, Joe Lycett and the late great Tony Hancock were just some of the comics to hone their skills in Birmingham. The annual comedy festival helps ensure the laughs just keep coming.