All eyes are on the Midlands, as Birmingham plays host to this year’s Commonwealth Games.
If you’ve got tickets to an event, or are just looking to explore Birmingham sometime soon, these are some of the best spots to check out…
1. Cadbury World
A fun day out for kids and adults alike, Cadbury World features a self-guided tour, a history of chocolate and opportunities to see how your favourite sweet treats are made. A visit to the gift shop is vital, too.
2. St Philip’s Cathedral
Consecrated in 1715, this church is steeped in history and has been standing proudly in the city throughout the industrial revolution. It’s the third smallest cathedral in the UK, but still has plenty to show off about – be sure to check out the stained glass windows, designed by Birmingham-born pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones.
3. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens first opened in 1832, with the glasshouses added later. It’s a popular spot with a lovely tearoom, butterfly house and seasonal walks.
To really get into the spirit of things, you can go on the special Commonwealth trail through the gardens, created for the Games.
4. Sheldon Country Park
On the eastern edge of Birmingham, this sprawling park is home to 300 acres of grassland, wetland, hedgerows and mature woodland. There’s also a small dairy farm called the Old Rectory, dating from the 17th century, located near the main entrance.
5. The Balti Triangle
The Balti curry was created by a Pakistani Brummie restauranteur in the 1970, so surely one of the best places to enjoy the dish is the Balti Triangle. Located just to the south of the city centre along Ladypool Road, Stoney Lane and Stratford Road, it’s packed full of curry houses serving up tasty delights.
6. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Home to an impressive collection of artefacts and pre-Raphaelite works, Edwardian tearooms and ever-changing exhibitions raising the voices of minority groups and under-represented work, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is the perfect place to spend a rainy day (or escape the sun!).
7. The Bullring
A huge shopping mall, the Bullring is like Oxford Street in the Midlands, with huge brands and restaurants all in one place. If shopping is your thing, there are plenty of stores to explore.
8. Gas Street Basin
The Gas Street Basin is where the Worcester and Birmingham Canal meets the BCN Main Line, and it’s become a hotspot for up-and-coming bars and restaurants. It’s also home to popular brunch spot the Gas Street Social, where you can definitely nurse a gold-medal-standard hangover.
9. The Jewellery Quarter
This is the jewellery industry hub, home to independent jewellers, diamond dealers and workshops, as well as the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, which has a neatly preserved old-fashioned workshop (currently only open for special events). With stunning Georgian buildings along grassy St. Paul’s Square, it has become the go-to place for indie stores, hipster bars, and art galleries.